Jeff's parents and Melissa came over today to celebrate Christmas a week early--my family's Christmas is on the 25th. It's just easier for everyone if we spread the two out. I found it hard to plan a cookie and dessert spectacular for only five people. You know? But it's Christmas. You can't just offer one kind of cookie, can you? People expect a variety, and by making partial batches of everything, I managed to provide four kinds of cookies and a Yule log. Lloyd, Norma, and Mel were more than happy to take home goodie bags of the leftovers.
I created a sort of woodland tableau with the the log and rocky road (recipe here) in our kitchen nook, which really isn't a nook, but I don't know what else to call it. Few things are more satisfying than arranging glitter pine cones on a cake and positioning toy animals on chunky fudge-stuff...and then dusting the whole shebang with powdered sugar. I found our tiny pine tree--still studded with tiny sparklies--and topped it with a favorite earring. Every once in a while I'll come across an item in the house that was undoubtedly part of Nicole's bellydancing paraphrenalia, and I think the diamond-looking garland that criss-crosses the tree was part of one of her costumes.
The dining room table held my usual three-tiered pie stand--I can't help it! I love it!--and two silly candy trees I put together one afternoon last week during a burst of madcap craftiness. You can find the easy instructions here. I used those green foam cones you can find in most floral departments and bought a big bag of cheap candy. A few hot glue sticks later, I had a couple of candy trees in less time than it took to listen to the She & Him Christmas album.
(Sorry so blurry! It looked good on my camera's screen!)
Treats included my usual iced sugar cookies, marbled ice box cookies (I'll blog about them soon), and peanut butter blossoms from Joy of Baking. This marked the first time that I've followed along with a video recipe as I made it, pausing as needed. The cookies are nothing out of the ordinary--so many people bake them this time of year--but the recipe is perfection. Give it a try right now!
Let's take another look at that Yule log (recipe here).
Chocolatey good times. Gluten-free, too! I think. (Does cocoa powder contain gluten?)
I took all of these photos before the party started. I wish we would have had Christmas during the evening instead of in broad daylight. The noonday sun, such as it is this time of year, poured in through our big windows, diminished the beauty of our pretty lights, and served only to show off dust and the occasional cat tumbleweed, as I like to call them. But that's showbiz, right Bun?
Bun made sure that she was in the kitchen at all times, ready to take advantage of any opportunity to scavenge carnitas, macaroni and cheese, and the rest of our lunch buffet. Last night a bored Jeff and I made a short film where we gave Bun an early Christmas present--a tiny parcel of the aforementioned carnitas--and taped it to the floor. Here it is for your enjoyment (contains a couple of Breaking Bad references).
Merry early Christmas!