Saturday, February 8, 2014

2013 Holiday Happiness

December is long gone, but that doesn't mean one can't reminiscence! We spent the holiday surrounded by loved ones and amazing food. These people have set an incredibly high standard; I think I'll have a nervous break down when we decide to host for a holiday! This is literally what Christmas Eve has looked like since I could remember... 

Piles of Portuguese grub stacked to the ceiling. Seafood as far as the eye can see. Ride wine and espresso being passed out to everyone in a binge coma. Desserts covered in sugar and cinnamon. It's a beautiful thing. 

There were a few non-traditional things at the table and the MVP award goes to Susana's "Gingerbread Cookies." I've NEVER cared for gingerbread cookies but hot damn these were fantastic. I loved how they weren't overpowering or super sweet. They were so good, I thought that she purchased them at a fancy bakery. Post to follow on our rendition of this tasty treat!

After the festivities, we made our way in the cover of night to Mike's parent's house. The differing traditions have worked perfectly! I grew up celebrating the Eve, he grew up celebrating Christmas Day. No fuss, no muss with the families. This is only a single example, but it never ceases to amaze me how our different worlds merged together so perfectly.

This Christmas was a milestone because it was my first as a wife and daughter-in-law. Mike and I are both big family people; if my mom and brother didn't like someone that I brought home- they were shown the door. My mother thinks the world of him and I must admit, my in-laws make me feel like a really chubby, happy kitten. Now I know how Autumn feels! It's always a warm greeting, plenty of hugs, and delicious food. Mega jackpot.

Another milestone this year was the hubby's grandparents drove in all the way from Texas. Yes, they drove. Talk about hardcore. I didn't get to meet them until the day of the wedding and even that was a few fleeting seconds among the chaos. Growing up, I didn't have many opportunities to get know my own grandparents as they were in New York. We're a huge family with lots of commotion and they always had their hands full. Being able to talk to these two people as family and my new grandparents.... is difficult to explain. In a good way. I was a sucker for both of them instantly.

We spent the day cooking and relaxing. It was totally low key and what the doctor ordered. I got to experience some American cooking, like Texan caviar and an addictive cheese ball. Heck yah baby, black eyed peas, sweet potato, and ham. Some pecans got burnt before being added to the casserole. On a hunch, they were put on back steps for the local wildlife. It quickly turned into a squirrel frenzy. 

It's a creative crowd, so I made wreaths out of rosemary for table settings and grandma used cranberries as a decorative base to the candle center piece. For the directions on how to make these smell-good placeholders, check out Spoon Fork and Bacon's post here! If you don't have a home garden, plan early. I was running around stores trying to find enough rosemary and ended up looking like a crazy person swiping (and getting caught) the last two sprigs from a neighbor's front door garden. Eh heh.

As I was writing this post , we started to discuss what a wonderful world it would be if we could keep the cheery spirit of December year-round. People tend to be a little nicer, the office a little less stressful. I guess it's just to make sure that we appreciate the time off with family all the more and heck, every season has it's beauty and fun.

It's long over due, but happy holidays everybody!