Christmas

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I hope you are having a nice holiday season! I’ve been busy visiting family and wrapping up a very busy work year but wanted to share a few favorites from the Christmas season to keep the cheer alive, especially as the weather in Boston has turned downright gross! Wishing you all a Happy New Year . . . see you in 2016!

Four Seasons Boston Wandering Boston and taking in the decorations at the Four Seasons

 

Old South Church Boston

Listening to choir practice and feeling thankful at the Old South Church

 Christmas lights

Driving around Milton looking at the beautiful Christmas lights Christmas tree

bubble lights

Loving the old fashioned Christmas decorations on my mom’s Christmas tree

milk and cookies Milk and homemade cookies every night before bed

kerrygold cheese  Incredible food gifts like this package from Kerrygold, makers of the best Irish butter and cheese ever. I received this as part of the Kerrygold blogger network, but we basically don’t buy any other butter ever. It’s the best.

 

family Spending so much time with my niece and nephew! I spent a week at home, which is the longest amount of time I have spent there in many, many years.

 

kitten

Cuteness from my mom’s new rescue kitten, Gabby

 

pomegranate for Champagne

wine Pomegranates and Champagne, what a delicious and festive combo!

 

IMG_1958 Christmas dinner prime rib string bean casserole Christmas dinner favorites, including prime rib with horseradish sauce and the classic string bean casserole. I love it.

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Tags: Christmas, family, holidays, lifestyle, NJ, Travel

Because it’s Monday, and somehow Mondays during the holiday season are extra hard to get through, I’m sharing a few holiday wine and food ideas. Whether you’re entertaining for 10 or more or just having a quiet night for one or two, it’s worth treating yourself to something special this season.

And let’s face it, we’re all preoccupied with food, wine, and fun this time of year, and you’re already counting down to the weekend despite the fact that it’s only Monday (and I have to work 8:30 – 4:30 on Sunday; Saturday is still a day off!).

Greet your guests (or just sit back and relax with a special someone) with oysters and little glasses of your favorite dry bubbly or wine of the sea.  The Martín Códax Albariño is really perfect for any seafood your serve but would work especially well with a chilled seafood platter of oysters, shrimp, and smoked salmon.

Serve your oysters with something a little different, perhaps a chipotle mignonette (my favorite!) or an apple ginger mignonette. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean everything has to be heavy and overdone; the zip of a mignonette with some gorgeous briny oysters are a welcome brightness in the dead of winter.

Neptune Oyster

While you’re mingling and listening to your favorite festive music (Harry Connick Jr.’s When my Heart Finds Christmas and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas are two great options.), have your main courses already on their way to perfection.

The below photo probably looks familiar, since I blogged about this red wine gravy roast not too long ago. Another way to make a rich, delicious roast is by first marinating it in espresso and spices, which I did this weekend. Gourmesso sent me lots of samples of their Nespresso machine friendly pods, and I have been loving their coffee in my cup as well as in recipes. I cooked my most recent roast in the slow cooker on low all day with some beef broth and three shots of espresso, along with spices like black pepper and garlic powder. Toward the end I added pearl onions and butternut squash and served with a sweet potato mash and a carrot salad (recipe coming later this week). A roast is an easy thing to set and forget, and it’s a fun place to play with bold flavors like strong coffee or a big Cabernet.

coffee marinated roast

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole is a must-make side dish, no matter what your main course is. For Thanksgiving, I used Tiffani Faison’s recipe, which was featured in Spirit Magazine. Here’s a similar recipe; I used fresh broccoli and didn’t have lemon juice in mine but otherwise this is pretty close. Everyone at Thanksgiving was raving about this dish, and I will be making it for Christmas. It would go perfectly with a roast prime rib, which is what we normally eat on Christmas Day. A casserole topped with Ritz crackers and butter might not be fancy, but it is good.

broccoli cheddar casserole

Brussels sprouts are a great side to a beef roast, and they are particularly delicious when mixed with some form of bacon. Roast your sprouts until soft with thick cut bacon, red onion, and a splash of cider vinegar for a salty, tangy treat.

brussels and bacon

‘Most people think of cranberry sauce as a side for turkey, but I love a spiced ginger and orange cranberry relish with just about any protein. A cranberry cocktail is just as delicious; add a scoop of cranberry relish to the bottom of a glass and top with whisky or rum and soda water and ice. Instant sparkly, strong holiday cocktail!

cranberries

If you’re like me, you’ll let your guests bring dessert. I am not one to care about or fuss with sweets, and it’s always good to have a dessert lover share his or her favorite!

For more holiday recipes and holiday food and wine ideas, here are a few older posts. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments!

Holiday Recipe Roundup

Holiday Treats

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Tags: Christmas, cooking, entertaining, Food, holidays, lifestyle, oysters, recipes, wine

Happy day before Christmas Eve! I hope you are enjoying a cozy weekend with friends and family. We had a traffic-free drive to New Jersey yesterday and are now pondering what we should do with the day. It will definitely include some last-minute shopping!

It’s a time of year for sharing our homes, our hearts, and our delicious kitchen creations, so I thought I would pull together a few of my favorite treats from the past three years of blogging, even if they didn’t make for the best photos. Please feel free to share a link to your own favorites in the comments!

Peppermint Frozen Hot Chocolate Martinis

peppermint chocolate

 

White Chocolate Pretzel Peppermint Bark

white chocolate pretzel peppermint bark

Sachertorte

Sachertorte

 

Godiva Coffee Martinis

Baileys coffee martinis

Easy Chocolate Mousse

chocolate mousse

Guinness Ice Cream Floats

Guinness

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Tags: chocolate, Christmas, cocktails, dessert, Food, recipes

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