25 December 2012

A Beach-Themed Christmas


Well, another post disappears...


Yep, a sports metaphor from a sports-clueless girl. On Christmas afternoon, our oven gave up the ghost. Wouldn't light. Broken. The control panel works beautifully, as does the infrared broiler. I think it's the electronic ignition.

Our planned pork roast Christmas dinner waffled a couple of times early in the day, then disappeared altogether and resurrected as a wonderful Boars Head Boneless Smoked ham half that I bought on a whim at Caputo's on Friday--along with some Bel Gioioso Mascarpone and Bel Gioioso American Grana cheeses. Those in-store tastings can be quite effective.

The Fun Kids slept until a fairly decent hour and we divied the presents into three stages: from mommy and daddy; stockings from Santa; and gifts from grandma and grandpa (CA+me). 17 mos. LC will never be left in the dust by the older two--he LOVED Christmas.

Then, MA and I worked with LE and JA to make an oldie, but a goody--Apple Cinnamon Donuts. We made three dozen miniature Apple Cinnamon Muffins, then MA dipped (more like swam) them in butter, and LE and JA rolled them in cinnamon sugar. YUM!


Serves: 12

Cooking Time: 15 min

  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 3/4 cup apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Grease bottom only of 12 medium muffin cups (3 dozen mini-muffins).
  3. Beat egg slightly, stir in remaining ingredients just till moistened.
  4. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake till golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes (@12 minutes for mini-muffins).
Then, dip each warm muffin into melted butter and roll in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.

By noon we'd pulled together a Bloody Mary bar and several noshes for the adults:

  • Tomato-basil-garlic-balsamic bruschetta
  • Pickled beets-goat cheese-toasted walnut bruschetta
  • Assortment of cheeses and crackers
  • Ambrosia baguette
  • Mascarpone and fresh red raspberries on Carr's Whole Wheat crackers
  • Truffle pâté from Fresh Market
  • Crudités
Somewhere in there, JA (5-1/2), LE (3-1/2), and I (What! You actually thought I'd parenthesize my age?) dressed the table for our beach-themed Christmas with candles made from seashells collected at Virginia Beach, and Croatan and Outer Banks beaches, surrounded by more seashells, and blue and white glittery-snowflakes and holiday greetings--Merry, Cheer, Joy... Before placing the shells, etc., I'd spread a brown kraft paper runner down the center of our farmhouse table. Then, we sprinkled white sand (salt) all about. (JA is worried about the clean-up...)

There was some sincere discussion about skipping our roast pork dinner and repeating the noshes... But after almost everyone had a nap, we concluded that we'd feed the Fun Kids early and have an adults-only Christmas feast.

I whipped-up a brown sugar-honey-mustard glaze, and we nuked the Boar's Head ham, microwaved the Creamy Potato Casserole, and cooked the Trader Joe's Haricot Verts stove-top, finished with a lemony Almadine. Had to skip the dinner rolls (no oven). In spite of some stumbling blocks, our dinner was lovely and very tasty.


2 lbs. hash browns, defrosted
1/4 c. melted butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 to 2/3 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. grated sharp cheese (Colby or cheddar)--I used chunks of Velveeta

Mix above ingredients and put in a greased 9"x13" or shallow microwavable bowl.

350 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Crackers, crumbled
1/4 c. Butter

Melt butter and stir in cracker crumbs mix. Sprinkle topping over potatoes and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Or, microwave until cheese is melted and all is hot.

Our dessert was German Chocolate Brownies (Based on the Baker's Chocolate One-Bowl Brownie recipe--just substitute Baker's German Chocolate) with French Vanilla Häagen Dazs ice cream.

These were brownies I created (and froze the leftovers) for food gifts. (The Coconut Toasted-Pecan Topping got messed up somehow--operator error--so, I packaged the topping separately from the brownies. Voilà. Also, passed-off a larger jar as ice cream topping...)

We finished the evening by (re-)watching Picture Paris. JE and MA saw for the first time.


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