In between two apple posts, here is a topic changer! I wanted to post about my trip back home and holiday activities to date. How is your holiday season going? After arriving back in Maryland just over a week ago, I am finally adjusted to the time zone. It was time to get ready for traditions, family, and food!
We started off with some final shopping for Christmas before leaving for New York over the weekend. Each year, K’s cousins have a Secret Santa gift exchange. This year I had someone I had never met, but it was okay because she had a wishlist I could use.
While in New York, we had to visit a few food places. The first one was a Jacques Torres chocolate shop. I have to go there each time I visit New York. Basically, I need the chocolate chips, and I need a cookie.
Next was the Bouchon Bakery, home of such fabulous treats as the Better Nutter (think Nutter Butter cookie in huge form).
Besides cookies, there were also yummy croissants.
Even though we weren’t hungry, we had to try the grilled cheese. Super awesome bread and cheese.
Third on the list was Momofuku Milk Bar. We went to one of their smaller locations, but it was really cute.
We picked up a bunch of things, including some treats that we have waiting for us, still (we are exercising some restraint). It is neat to see how the treats look at the shop when I have made them at home.
Finally we ended at Beurre & Sel, a Dorie Greenspan stand at the Essex Street Market.
We picked up a couple sweet cookies, as well as two containers of savory cookies. We enjoyed the sweet cookies in front of K’s family Christmas tree.
Because I couldn’t avoid the baking bug, I made butter cookies I plan on sharing at some point in the future. I also made my stuffing recipe from Thanksgiving.
My dad is getting his “dessert of the month” sometime over this next week, but we have to pick a day because he needs to eat it fresh.
Christmas has been at my parents’ house for as long as I can remember. The first year without my mom we had it at my aunt’s house, but have gone back to having it at my dad’s. It’s different going over to his house to open presents, though, because I was so used to waking up and going down the stairs to see what was under the tree.
As for the tree, we’ve used the same Christmas tree for as long as I can remember, too. For you real tree people, sorry, I just can’t get on your side. I love our artificial tree, and all of the fun ornaments we hang on it. Some people go for matchy-matchy decorations, but we love our wide assortment.
This year, Christmas meant waking up at my in-laws’ house to open presents with my husband before brunch, which was a rice noodle soup:
Then, after hanging out a bit, we left to go to my dad’s and prepare for the rest of the family. We had a nice fusion Christmas. My family always makes 3 entrees for our big meals: chicken/turkey (turkey this time), ham/beef (beef tenderloin, roasted), and pasta (baked ziti). We also had sausages, and my in-laws made sticky rice. I like how we get some traditional food, in with the Italian and some Chinese food. For dessert, my in-laws also brought a coconut rice flour sesame cake. It’s hard to describe, but tasty. It was a perfect not-too-sweet dish after all of the food. We had a few other treats as well.
At some point during dinner, we sing the 12 Days of Christmas. This started a couple years ago, and we have been doing it ever since. My parents have glasses with each of the presents on a glass, and we had the bright idea to sing the song with each person singing the line of his or her glass.
This year I was Four Calling Birds:
The video is always funny, and it’s great to be able to laugh at ourselves. K’s parents joined us this year for the first time, and it was fun to share it with them. I love that everyone sings, even if it’s hard to get it all right (we have lyrics printed to help, since people have been drinking glasses of wine by this point). This year, after dessert, we had an added bonus of playing holiday bingo. My aunt brought all of the supplies, including fun gifts.
One of the best parts this year was being able to watch my nephew experience Christmas for the first time when he was a bit more aware of things (last year he was only a couple months old).
I hope everyone who celebrates had a great Christmas. My family shows that you can be Jewish/non-religious/Chinese/Italian/Catholic/etc. and still get together to have a fun time.