Overdue Christmas Post

So, it’s been a while!

To be honest, I didn’t really feel much like posting while I was home. And the past few days I’ve been back have been insanely busy. Oh well, better late than never, right?!

Christmas

christmastree12/25/12

I had a really enjoyable Christmas morning at home with my immediate family and my grandparents, who came to stay with us for a week. I was so happy they were able to come – they hadn’t been to our house for the holidays since I was little!

G-ma & I

G-ma & I

Stockings are totally my favorite part of the gift-opening festivities. I was so excited to play Santa this year for everyone…with the help of a big Target shopping spree 😉

Stuffed and left by the chimney with care

Stuffed and left by the chimney with care

Amazingly, we had a White Christmas in Texas! We typically get about one snow “storm” per year, but it was such a coincidence that it happened on December 25th this year. It was beautiful. The only downside was that I couldn’t go see my mom for a couple of days because the roads were too icy (Texans don’t know how to deal with that stuff!). However, in some ways it was really nice to be forced to truly relax and do nothing.

Crazaaay

Crazaaay

Anyway, back to the day’s recap…after a relaxing Christmas morning, we got ready for our guests (mainly my step-mom’s family) and main meal. Here are the recipes I contributed to the day’s feast…I sort of forgot to take pictures before we dug in!

christmasmains12/25/12

Top: Basic Roasted Brussel Sprouts, left: Cranberry Orange Lentil Loaf, right: Sweet Potato Grits

Full spread

Full spread

I was shocked almost all of the lentil loaf got eaten! Most of my step-mom’s family members are more traditional meat and potato eaters, but I guess it looked appetizing?! Everyone said it was good 🙂

Personally, I really liked the grits! We ended up having a lot left over, so I ate them throughout the week with some eggs on top – delish.

For dessert, I made this Carrot Cake 

carrotcake12/25/12

I have no idea why, but it didn’t rise…like at all. It still tasted great, though! I used Tofutti Cream Cheese to make the frosting, but accidentally added a bit too much almond milk so it was bit too runny.

My step-sister and I also made a LOT of Christmas cookies. We have started a great tradition of staying up late and decorating them together on Christmas Eve 🙂

x3 = a LOT of decorating

x3 = a LOT of decorating

I have used this recipe (gluten free!) the past couple of years, they turned out a little crisper than I would have liked this time around, but I think that’s just a personal preference. No one could tell they were GF!

Finally, I went the homemade route for some of my gifts this year, and was very pleased with how they came out! I followed the directions here exactly, doubling the recipe to make a total of 8 jars.

homemadesoupjars12/25/12

Ok, well I think that’s enough recapping for now… New Years’ and half-marathon recaps coming soon!

Christmas Survey!

Merry Christmas!! 

Forgive the large gap in postings, I have been at home since Friday and have been busy with lots of shopping and cooking/baking, and more importantly just spending time with my family.

I feel very grateful to have been able to come home and spend so much time here.

I will do a better recap of my Christmas (with recipes!) soon, but for now here’s a fun survey I’ve been seeing around the blog world 🙂

1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song? 

I always like Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas, and N*SYNC – Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, however I don’t really have any ultimate favorites. This year I discovered Christmas on Pandora, which I’ve listened to my past few long runs – love!

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?

This was the first year I ran. Usually I take the day off, but with my race coming up I wanted to keep up with my normal running schedule. I’m glad I did it – it was one of those runs where I just felt FANTASTIC afterward.

3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning? 

Hmm, it really varies! Someone in the family always cooks the traditional menu items (mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing, etc), but I like to make my own variations and/or extra vegetarian items. This year I contributed a lentil loaf, sweet potato grits, and roasted brussel sprouts.

4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition? 

I love going to pick out the tree and decorate with my family while Christmas music plays in the background. I also love making Christmas cookies from scratch – rolling the dough, dying the icing, etc. When I was young, we had a tradition that everyone would choose one gift from under the tree to open on Christmas Eve, but I’m not really sure why it hasn’t been happening the past few years 😦

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree? 

Real! We had a fake for years, but one year decided to go real and haven’t turned back. Can’t beat that smell!

6. Christmas pajamas… yay or nay?

YAY! I have been wearing the same pair for 5 years… 🙂

7. Where do you spend the holidays? 

All over! Christmas morning is at my dad’s, then later in the day I usually go to one of my aunt’s houses where my mom’s side of the family is.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat?

Aforementioned Christmas cookies, for sure.

9. Open presents all at once or take turns? 

Christmas morning = take turns. One person passes out gifts then we all go around in a circle one at a time. Stockings (best part!) are last, and kind of a free-for-all; everyone just pulls everything out at once. When exchanging with extended family, it’s usually an all at once kind of thing.

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie? 

Elf all the way! However, this year was my first year (!) really watching A Christmas Story all the way through, and I have to say I was a fan.

Hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas (or any other holiday you celebrate!!)