Happy holidays everyone! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or even Kwanza (you never know!), I hope you got to spend the holidays with your loved ones. Christmas has always been my absolute favorite holiday. I love the food and the music and the lights, and how there are weeks of build up too it. Of course I love getting gifts as well, but I love picking out gifts for my friends and family even more. This year, every member of my immediate family was completely surprised by at least one gift under the tree, which is the best part in my opinion! And that’s no easy feat with my dad and brother in the house. They are the masters of shaking, squeezing, and smelling gifts to figure out what they are before they open them. Personally, I prefer to be surprised. But anyway, on to this year
That’s my dad opening his big surprise gift, an iPad from my mom. It’ll be another 10 years before anyone manages to get my dad a gift that elicits an expression like that!
My mom was super excited about her brand new 14 cup food processor. Hers started to die during the Thanksgiving holiday. And according to my dad (who is famous for his extensive consumer research before buying any major appliance), it’s the biggest baddest food processor you can buy
I’m not going to include a picture of the gift I was most surprised by, because it has my mom’s full name on the front. But it doesn’t really require a picture to show how special it was. My brother and I both received a hard bound copy of our family’s entire history (starting with our great grandparents on both sides) written entirely by my mom. She’s been working on it for two years and it was finally ready for Christmas this year. It was completely unexpected, and definitely the most meaningful gift I received. She also has copies for “whatever children might come along” (her words, not mine) 🙂
On a more materialistic note, my kitchen got totally pimped out this year! (side note: my grandma heard me telling my aunt this, and asked me what being “pimped out” means. II realized I had no clue how to explain that to my 74 year old grandma. LOL.)
Now all I need is more counter and storage space in my kitchen! I am SO excited to finally have a Keurig coffee maker! And I was completely surprised by the panini maker. I’ll definitely make paninis with it, but I’m especially excited about all the other things I can make with it, like my pesto parmesan turkey burgers which don’t turn out as well when they’re made in a skillet. That cookbook generated quite a bit of humor this morning (it’s called “100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get You Everything You Want in Life”) as my brother described how awkward he felt buying it in the store. Then my mom flipped through it and saw Let’s Make a Baby Pasta, to which she said “you’d better be careful with that one!”
Other than the fact that I unknowingly bought my brother something he got for his birthday two years ago (Purdueopoloy), gift giving was a success. After opening gifts and having brunch, my mom’s parents and two sisters joined us a few hours later for a second round of gift giving and Christmas dinner. We do a gift exchange with that side of the family and everyone gets two people and their list which equals a set amount. Since everyone pretty much knows what they;re getting (unless they did their list so early they forgot!), it’s not the same as opening gifts with my parents and brother. But it’s still fun. My gifts from that exchange display my nerdiness
My dad’s parents also joined us for Christmas dinner but they came a little after my mom’s family. Then we exchanged gifts with them as well. And we still have one more round of gift giving on the 29th when Alex’s girlfriend joins us for New Years!
Dinner of course was delicious. My mom asked if I wanted to make something again like I did for Thanksgiving and I said I didn’t have a particular recipe I wanted to make but I’d be happy to help make something from her menu. Somehow that never happened though. Oops. I think my mom wanted me out of the kitchen though because my throat started to hurt around lunch time and I’ve been feeling run down lately. But I felt better after eating so hopefully it was just low blood sugar and the affect of not sleeping well lately (I had surgery on my toe on the 21st so it’s been hard to sleep because it hurts every time i change positions).
Of course I’ll include the menu since this is a foodie blog. My aunt Jen brought spinach artichoke dip for an appetizer (yum!). And then dinner consisted of a pork crown roast, apple pecan stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, a salad with greens and oranges and a pomegranate dressing, green beans with bacon walnuts and bleu cheese, and my mom’s famous california overnight rolls
Dessert was a frozen peppermint chocolate Yule log (I’ve never had one before!) made by my mom and Jen made apple crisp.
As usual, the day went by way too fast. But I had a wonderful time with my family and was once again reminded how blessed I am. Enjoy the rest of your time off and have a happy new year!