Christmas Dinner

This year, I wanted to experiment with a few new and non-traditional recipes (for example: berry pie instead of pumpkin pie). The following highlights some interesting recipes I made from Real Simple and Epicurious.

Caramelized Onion Tart With Apples: I chose to make this because I liked the fact that this recipe was a mix of a savory and sweet flavors. Specifically, caramelized onions add a perfect flair to any recipe. Plus, this recipe called for Pastry Sheets which means I didn’t have to make the dough! Simple, easy, few ingredients, and delicious! What’s not to love?

Step 1: Chop Onions and Apples

Step 2: Caramelize Onions;
Add Apples and Other Spices

Step 3: Thaw Pastry Sheets, Add
Sour Cream, Apples and
Caramelized Onions, Bake!

Mustard-Crusted Pork Roasted With Shallots and Wine Sauce: This recipe just LOOKED amazing from it’s picture so I decided on a whim to make it. Good thing I wasn’t dissappointed! The addition of mustard made the pork juicy and very flavorful.

Step 1: Toss Shallots in Olive Oil

Step 2: Mix Mustards and Chopped
Sage; Add to Pork

Step 3: Bake at 400 Degrees for 95
Minutes, Cut, Serve!

Now, this next concoction was a mix of two recipes: Classic Sour Cherry Pie With Lattice Crust (crust) and Mixed Berry Pie With Ginger, Orange, and Almond Streusel (filling). Every time I make pie, I always end up with too many leftovers that do not get eaten in time. So, this time, I opted to make individualized berry pies. Plus, I found a super good deal at Kitchen Kaboodle ($2.95 each for Ramekins!).

Step 1: Make Dough With Flour, Butter,
and Other Ingredients; Chill Slightly

Step 2: Use Rolling Pin to Roll Out
Dough, Spread onto Ramekins,
Cut Off Border

Step 3: Use Pastry Wheel to Cut Lattices

Step 4: Stir Filling with Berries,
Sugar, Cornstarch, and Lemon Juice

Step 5: Fill Dough, Place Lattices, Bake!

The dessert definitely took the longest hands-on time to make, but it was definitely worth it. I hope your Christmas was fabulous!


5 Things I Love About the Christmas Season

Christmas is one of my FAVORITE times of year — family traditions, delicious food, wonderful sights, and the reminder to be thankful makes this a truly enjoyable time.

1. Christmas Lights — Every house on Peacock Lane in Southeast Portland is completely decorated in Christmas lights starting on December 15 and lasting through December 31. I don’t know if I’d get any sleep with all of the lights and constant stream of cars passing through if I lived there, but I am in complete awe and admiration of their light display!

2. Christmas Sweets — Not only do I love desserts and all things sweet, but I love concocting sweets into some type of creative invention. So, Gingerbread Houses seem to satisfy this desire through the Holiday season. Although I didn’t make my own this year, I did manage to luckily find a Gingerbread competition while on vacation at the lodge in Sunriver, Oregon. These definitely weren’t the traditional Gingerbread houses, but I did pick a few to show of my favorites:

Gingerbread Ski Lodge

Gingerbread Barn

Gingerbread Woodstock Style

3. Christmas Music — There’s something about Christmas music that always puts me in a good mood. I haven’t had time to go this year, but last year I went to The Grotto in Portland and loved hearing the choir sing.

4. Christmas Movies — Even though we watch it (It’s a Wonderful Life) every Christmas, it never gets old.

5. Christmas Food — Of course, I couldn’t forget the Christmas food! This year, I experimented with new recipes and a non-traditional dessert for the Holiday season. Check it out here.


Festive Biscotti for December

Biscuit? Bread? Cookie? Depending on who you talk to or what region of the world you are in, Biscotti takes on a different classification. In my opinion, I view Biscotti as a dessert and therefore classify it as a cookie.

This recipe for Almond and Lemon Biscotti Dipped in White Chocolate seemed like a perfect choice and one that I could easily modify for some Christmas flair (red, green and white colored sprinkles!).

Step 1: Mix Eggs, Sugar, and Lemon Zest

Step 2: Stir Almonds into Mixture

Step 3: Bake Dough Once, Slice, Bake Again

Step 4: Melt White Chocolate, Dip
Biscotti, Add Sprinkles

So, no matter what you classify Biscotti as, when done right it does not disappoint!

Next time, I will opt to experiment with pistachios and cranberry or perhaps include some chocolate (to satisfy my chocolate cravings, of course).