Friday, December 25, 2009

Foodie Friday-Christmas Classics

Merry Christmas to all! I'm a bit late posting this, but at least it's still Friday!

Earlier today, we enjoyed dinner with some friends at their home. My contribution was a smoked ham that was given a brown sugar, orange and mustard glaze. Oh my, oh my, was it ever delicious!
I also brought chocolate-raspberry squares to share, but I left one dessert at home...a pan of gingerbread. This evening, we topped the moist, spicy cake with lemon sauce.

It was a traditionally perfect ending to a peaceful and lovely day.

I hope everyone had a beautiful and blessed Christmas.


PS: Please stop by Designs by Gollum and see who served what this holiday. Our hostess, Michael Lee, has Mr. Linky up, running and ready to assist you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas in the City

Thought I would post a few more pictures of the Christmas street vignettes scattered around our home. These buildings and accessories are from the Department 56 series called Christmas in the City. If you've ever lived, worked or just visited Manhattan, I think they may bring back a memory or two.

Perhaps you've been to a see a show at Radio City...
and have seen the lovely Rockettes.Maybe you've gone to a Broadway show and have tried to get an autograph from one of the stars.
You may have walked by this synagogue in mid-town. This building is an amazingly accurate reproduction.If you were very brave, you probably rode the subway. Hopefully you didn't fall on a patch of that famous sidewalk ice!
Walking the streets, you might have caught sight of more than one couple who were desperately in love. Looks really hopeful, doesn't she?
You may have seen a fabulous toy shop...
or prehaps you bought flowers from a street vendor.Maybe you saw a business man getting a shoeshine on the street.Did you ever see Christmas trees being sold in the middle of the sidewalk?
And there are always Policemen around, although everytime I've asked one for directions they don't seem to know where to go!I'm old enough to remember organ grinders and their monkeys...and the sidewalk newstands, although they are almost all gone now.I hope that you've enjoyed this little tour, and that perhaps it's stirred a memory or brought a smile. Everyone should see the 'City' at least once at Christmastime!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Deck the Halls - Some of everything...

Not long after my husband and I were married, I decided that we needed Christmas dishes and I found some I liked at a small gift shop in a neighboring town. Problem was that they were rather expensive, so I only bought a few pieces every year. I made it to 10 settings and then the shop closed! I really wanted 12, but never found them any where else.
Except for a broken cup and chipped dinner plate, we still have them and enjoy them every holiday season.Fruitcake update...It was fabulous. I say was, because it's gone.It was moist, very boozy, and luscious.It's now a memory. I think our guests enjoyed it too.

I thought that I would share some of our glass ornaments with you this week. Some are Radko's. Some are Polonaise. Some are dime store. Our collection has grown so large that it covers 2 in the living room and one in the master bedroom.

There are kings waiting to follow the star...

Some very fancy and artistic shapes...

some funny, cute, pretty or pious characters...

and many beautiful birds.

Many thanks to Susan at Thoughts From Over the Rainbow for hosting 'Deck the Halls' this year. Please stop over at her blog and thank her for her efforts, and while you're there, check out her lovely home and the decorations that all of the other participants have posted. Thank you Susan!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Foodie Friday-Real Men Eat Quiche

Real men do eat quiche. I know this for a fact, because I've seen them do it when I serve these mini quiche appetizers at our parties. They really disappear quickly. I've also seen them eat small versions of spanakopita. They can't resist the spinach and feta filling.This year we're going to find out if they'll try this.... It's sauerkraut soup, and we serve it as part of our traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner called Wigilia, (which I'll tell you about next week), but we thought it would be fun to serve at our open house this Saturday.

Just in case no one likes it, there will be plenty of other soups, salads and sandwiches on the menu, along with a large assortment of different homemade appetizers. Here's what we're offering this year...

Manhattan Clam Chowder
Butternut Squash Soup
Pasta e Fagioli
Sauerkraut Soup

Caesar Salad
Spinach Salad with Mandarin oranges and Mushrooms
Potato and Green Bean salad

Roast Beef Wraps with horseradish sauce
Chicken club sandwiches with bacon
A make your own cold cut platter for Italian heroes
Hot open face mozzarella sandwiches with roasted red pepper and fresh basil.

Desserts??? We're going to crack open the fruit cake that I showed you last week
Frozen pumpkin torte with gingersnap crust
Raspberry-chocolate squares
Pecan pie
Plain vanilla cake

If anyone leaves hungry it won't be our fault.

Now, scoot over to Designs by Gollum and visit our hostess for Foodie Friday, Michael Lee. She's made arrangements to send you on a delightful culinary adventure. Bet there's lots of Holiday cooking going on this week!
PS: About an hour ago, I had a pre-party meltdown, and declared that I'm crazy to be doing all of this cooking from scratch. I threatened to go to Sam's Club next year and just buy everything ready made. My husband listened patiently, the meltdown moment passed, and by now I'm back in the kitchen. I'm sure that's where I'll be all day tomorrow and Saturday, so please forgive me if I don't have a minute to visit until after the party. I'll catch y'all on Sunday...Nancy

Monday, December 14, 2009

Deck the Halls-Week 3

Most of our Christmas decorations now involve our large collection of Department 56 Christmas houses, but we still have a few favorite items that we display every year. The Father Christmas that I made a number of years ago always has his place of honor. He's built on a large styrofoam cone and wire apertures. His gown, hat and sack are sewn, then saturated with fabric stiffener and draped on the form. Once he's dry, which takes forever, he's then given a liberal coat of gesso and painted. The final step is to apply an antiquing solution. I really look forward to bringing him out every year.
We always decorate our mantle, and with the exception of new battery operated candles this year, it pretty much has stayed the same for the last 2 years. The wreath is dotted with tiny white lights, which weren't on for this picture.
Most of our Christmas houses are in the huge wall unit in the living room. While I'm not terribly fond of this monstrous piece of furniture, it does serve its purpose this time of the year. Our builder drilled holes in all of the shelves to accomodate the wiring.
There's a city scene on the dresser of our master bedroom.
We also have a second tree in here, and it's a nice spot to watch a Christmas movie while my husband's watching hockey!
New this year is a scene on the small sideboard in our dining room. Victoria Station is a large piece, and really didn't fit any where else.
We even have city houses on top of our kitchen cabinets. The builder installed outlets up there to accomodate the plugs.
Each shelf in the living room wall unit it a complete street scene. They come alive at night when the lights go on...
We even have street lights.
There is a vignette that centers around skaters on the frozen river...
and another with a Vicar standing in front of his cathedral.
There is the obligatory English castle...and a housewife buying her Christmas turkey...or is that a goose???And then there are the pubs. We have several.All of the streets are heavily populated with people running their Christmas errands or doing their jobs. In the scene below, there are children dragging home the yule log.

I hope you've enjoyed this brief tour of our Dickens Village streets. Next week I'm thinking of taking you on a tour of the 'City'.

Now please visit Susan at Thoughts from over the Rainbow. She's our hostess for Deck the Halls, and she'll have Mr. Linky up, running and ready to take you on a fabulous tour through homes decorated for the holidays.