I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

After Christmas

Hello! I hope everyone has been having a wonderful holiday. For me Christmas is so fun, so exciting, such a joy to gather friends and family [as best I can] around my table to celebrate the season. So much anticipation---for months!

So much planning and effort, yes, enjoyable, but...then....boom. It's over.
There was a cute Snoopy cartoon online, "Christmas is over, I'm ready for summer." It's a letdown!

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When I was a little girl the festivities lasted the entire week or more, all through until January 5th, tree taking down day. We got off school the week before Christmas, so the holiday seemed to last forever. My parents often hosted a big grown-ups-only party during this week. I loved seeing my mom in her chiffon cocktail dresses and very high heels. One year her dress was apricot!, instead of black. I loved that dress. My parents would almost entirely redecorate the house for New Years. The tree would stay but the holy-pine-Santa stuff would be gone, everything would be silver and gold, with ornaments hung from the ceiling lights, trays of glittery glasses and intriguing bottles of obscure liqueurs to sneak a taste in thimble sized crystal goblets. Champagne at midnight in vintage ''flutes'' with hollow stems that showed off the champagne bubbles.

Some years my dad would make masks for everyone, silver and gold with feathers; another year crowns for all the partiers, again silver and gold with glitter. Oh and those funny loud paper horns, and sparklers!

Some years they were into cocktails...there was a glass and chrome shaker and more specialized glasses. Martinis/ Manhattans---eeew when you're six or even ten. But also Grasshoppers and White Russians, Bellinis and mimosas.  My dad often cooked--filet mignon and duchesse potatoes* at midnight on New Years; party foods like Kentucky ham and pheasant and roast pork loin would appear on the buffet.

New Years Eve dessert was a ball of peppermint ice cream, frozen extra hard in a round mold, then rolled in coconut to form a ''Snowball''. These would be set into a stemmed crystal cup on a bed of chocolate sauce or creme de menthe. A single birthday candle would be stuck in each and lit: ''Happy Birthday! Happy New Year,'' we'd scream.

The  point is: my expectations are high. Here's my menus.

Christmas Eve
savory antipasto, with cheeses and three kinds of salami, olives, hummus. 
Champagne brought always by a good friend.

Main course

spinach stuffed mushrooms.

Peppermint ice cream
Cookie and sweets [marzipan etc] tray for dessert

Christmas Day

"sweet" antipasto: apples/ orange/ lemon slices; sweet cheeses, 
cocktail cookies from Trader Joe's.

Horseradish crusted Prime Rib with gravy

creamy horseradish sauce/ onion-garlic chutney
Wild rice pilaf
asparagus with Bearnaise sauce and fresh herbs

creamed onions

 assorted red wines

Dessert~ Cranberry lemon bars.

I was so busy cooking and serving I did not get good pictures, too bad. But all was tasty and enjoyable. The new butcher provided us with a delicious roast, the main event!

I was exhausted, but not in too much pain, so I consider the dinners --and gifts, well-liked!--a success.
Today I rearranged some things in the house. Mo and I were able to sit on the deck and sew---60*.

New Years will be quiet, as my family is elsewhere now. Mo and I will enjoy a quiet midnight, watching for fireworks on the ships far out at sea.

What do you do for New Year's Eve/ Day?



gone to the beach...


Duchesse Potatoes

Use a muffin tin or 3 1/2" tart pans

use both parts of a  store bought pie crust to make tiny tart/pie shells. 
Bake 350* for 12 minutes. 
Filling: mashed potatoes, sour cream, grated white cheddar, minced onions, butter, to taste. 
Bacon bits optional. 
Whip the filling with a fork til fluffy, then fill the tiny tart crusts. 
Mound the filling up pretty.
Dab of butter in each center, plus a fine sprinkle of paprika. 

Bake about 25 minutes until the potato tops are browning lightly.

Remove carefully, I use a fork.

Serve with bacon-wrapped filet mignon grilled in the open fireplace. 
Hollandaise sauce
And Champagne.


  1. Dang. I just finished dinner and my mouth is watering!

    Count your blessings that I'm 5,000 miles away or I'd be at your front door with a plate and a fork. ;-)

    Hugs and love.


  2. Oh my gosh! There are so many things I want to comment on, but it would look like I wrote a book!

    Love the images of the parties your parents had. Didn't our Mom's have the most beautiful dresses? I so wish I had some of my Mom's. The champagne flutes with the hollow stems must have looked magical.

    We hade tamales topped with over-easy eggs for Christmas dinner, lol. We were supposed to have guests, but they came down with bad colds so it was just the two of us. After a day of running around visiting, I just didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. It was a nice relaxing end to the day :)

    Lucky you...60 degrees!

    I will be working on New Year's Eve, but will be home by midnight. I think New Year's Day will be dinner with neighbors.

    Happy New Year Lizzy! All the best to you and your family!


  3. Hi Kel! Happy New Year! Your plans sound great. I love the idea of tamales and eggs, easy and fun! [Hunter, above, makes tacos for Thanksgiving! yum.]

    Yes our moms had beautiful dresses. I ve never even owned a cocktail dress! My holiday outfit is khaki capris, a black t shirt, and my red and white striped apron! [I call it my chef's outfit.]. Oh and my bright red crocs. ...Imagine wearing coral chiffon instead! I do have a couple of my mom's dresses, a red velvet she wore every Xmas Day for years and a black taffeta [weird] coatdress that she loved for some reason. A few others I sold on eBay---they d never fit me, she was tiny, just a smidge over 5' tall.

    Fun to remember. Have great New Years.


  4. Our Christmases were special but not very fancy. Sometimes I think it'd be fun to do a fancy meal and dress up - but in real life it'd probably stress me out!

    We went to 3 different Christmas gatherings...I'm looking forward to a low-key New Year's Eve. We have 'nibbles' and a movie marathon, then do the Southern 'good luck' meal New Year's Day - cornbread and black-eyed peas. Hey, it's worked so far!

    Happy New Year everyone! Have fun and stay safe!

  5. We must have came from different sides of the tracks. I hardly remember Christmas as a kid, much less any food. I certainly don't ever remember New Years Eve either.
    We keep our dinner pretty low-key. Since we went out for Thanksgiving dinner I made a turkey. It was the first year it was a bit of a flop! But we were making memories.
    Hubby and I will spend a quiet evening indoors for New Years Eve.

  6. I just love the stories of your parents! My parents used to have parties too and I remember having to go across the street to sleep over with my best friend. No kids allowed....LOL We will have a low key Eve and then on the Day we have a tradition that we take down the tree and watch Bowl Games all day and snack. It actually is alot of fun. :) Happy New Year! Kit

    1. Oh yes! My best friend's parents would come to the party, so we'd stay at her house with a babysitter.

      Tree down Day sounds fun, I know you enjoy your football! Happy New Year!

    2. Thanks! I can't believe you had 60 degree temps! We are looking at -16 on Monday night! Yikes...LOL Happy New Year!

  7. Yum, everything looked good. I, too, have fond memories of lots of food and good times with family and friends. Our dinner here was good - as well, too busy cooking and serving to grab a few pics. Anxious to see what your little heart stitchy becomes. Love ya!


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