Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry X-mas, Longwood trees, GTTC, and conjuring Nana

Merry Christmas!!!

This is our ridiculously large tree pre-tinseled. Sorry guys, but I must generalize here and suspect it's a man thing to go out and try to bring home the biggest tree available.

Above and below are some of the sides I made to go along with our holiday ham. Above - my first attempt at cooking (and eating, believe it or not!) Brussels sprouts. They were very delicious simply roasted with a few thin slices of apple in olive oil and tossed with some bacon (I figured a bit of bacon makes everything a little more palatable, right?), sea salt, and a splash of white wine vinegar. The potatoes below were inspired by a recipe in Bon Appetit for German Fried Potatoes. Unfortunately, I cut out the ingredients, but only part of the directions. The concept seemed simple enough. The potatoes are parboiled the night before, refrigerated, and then cut into pieces and pan-fried in lard (or bacon-drippings in my case). I fried the potatoes along with finely chopped red onion. The potatoes are then dressed with: olive oil, mustard, malt vinegar, and salt. The recipe also called for a splash of lager beer. It's garnished with finely chopped chives.

When I announced we'd be conjuring Nana tonight, my older daughter thought I was proposing a seance. No...just following Nana's recipe for Magic Cookie Bars from our probably 35 year old cookbook. Nana would have been very happy with the cookie bars we made for Santa!

Here are some other photos from my trip to Longwood Gardens. This festive wreath below is made of different herbs.

This tree, in a section of the Longwood holiday display, was made by the music department at a local school. I thought the sheet music paper chain was very cute.

I'm not saying I particularly love this, but I did think it was very clever. Can you tell what the Santa ornaments are made from?

Finally, one of the very large lit trees at Longwood...

I'm not sure what's going on with the order of things, but I know many people who don't have much reason to celebrate this season. Tragic and very sad things are going on for several people I know right now. I do hope everyone has a happy and thankful Christmas and New Year. And for those going through a rough time, I hope you can find solace in friends and family, and know that things get better.


  1. It's a real tree and it is so tall, touching the ceiling. I bought a Christmas Meatloaf from the supermarket to try and it tasted good.

    Wendy, I came over to wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. Hi Wendy, yours is a magical and lovely Christmas, and I especially adore the photo of the large tree. It was very sensitive of you to add the acknowledgement of those for whom Christmas is an ordeal. As a social worker I am always aware of the downside of Christmas for so many people.

    So ... best wishes and happy new year to you and your family. My latest post is dedicated to you.

    cheers, catmint

  3. Merry Christmas, I love your tree and those brussel sprouts look very good too.:)

  4. Merry Christmas to you and yours and the best of the New Year to all of you!

  5. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Wendy! That tree is surely a big one, but does look good, and I bet your house is filled with its wonderful smell. Your first attemp of Brussels sprouts looks delicious. I have not tried cooking Brussels sprouts yet :)

  6. Such a beautiful X-mas tree decoration everywhere!
    Merry Chrismas and Happy New year!

  7. I love those magic cookie bars - I'll bet Santa loved them, too. :)

  8. I agree with you that men always want larger trees. My husband picked out a 7 foot tree! Yours is lovely. I especially like the Santa ornament gardening. Very cute. I love brussel sprouts, its one of my favorite veggies. The herb wreath looks amazing, I bet it smells so good!

  9. That bottom photo of the lit up tree - WOW! How neat it would be to see that in person!
    LOVE the Santa gardening ornament. I really wanted to find a gardening ornament this year for myself, but never did. Yours is adorable!
    You guys are my heroes for getting a real tree. :-) We did it one year, I failed miserably at giving it enough water, and it made a huge mess. We bought a fake tree at an after-Christmas sale that year and that was that. LOL
    Brussels sprouts are the one food my husband refuses to eat. He's an awesome sport about most veggies, but he draws the line at brussels sprouts. So glad yours were good though - they look much tastier than the mushy boiled ones my mother served us as kids.
    Thanks for sharing all your pictures, they're so fun to look at!


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