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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Dinner

Christmas is a time for family bonding, cooking, traditions and fun but Christmas in the B household this year was more like a commercial for a pharmacy. The week before Christmas, my entire family got hit with a nasty flu/cold bug. Lucky for me, I was the lone healthy one (thank you sweet Jesus!!!) I wasn't even sure if we'd end up having Christmas dinner but thankfully by Christmas Eve, people were starting to show signs of life (after finally coming downstairs three days later, we nicknamed my dad Lazarus).
Instead of the usual turkey or ham or turducken for Christmas dinner, this year I went with a lamb roast. And it was good, I mean it was REALLY good. I paired it with Pioneer Woman's duchess potatoes, homemade cheesy bread, sweet glazed carrots and asparagus.  I was really excited because I had been SO looking forward to making the lamb. Last spring, I found an amazing recipe for an herb encrusted lamb roast with a mint vinaigrette that was crazy good and I had been craving it ever since. The recipe is very straightforward and the mint puree is divine. I think I may have started a new Christmas tra-dish-ion (see what I did there?)!
Start by making the herb rub, fennel, cumin seeds, salt, & peppa. Then brown it in the ol' cast iron skillet.

Once you get a nice brown crust on the first side, flip it over and put the whole thing in the oven at 350. This roast was 4.5lbs and I cooked it for about 3-3.5 hrs. In hindsight, I would have pulled it out after 3 or maybe even 2.75 but it was still scrumptious!

Tasty herb crusted lamb. OH. SO. GOOD.
The vinaigrette. Mine looks a LOT less green than the recipe I followed but I used the exact same ingedients so who knows, I smell a little color enhancment in ye old photo shop!! 

The duchess potatoes pre-egg wash and baking.

Had I read the recipe in advance, I would have known that you need to chill the potatoes for a half hour or so before brushing on your egg wash... this was NOT happening since dinner was almost done and the potatoes weren't set up enough to brush anything on them. What to do, what to do? Pour egg wash all over the entire batch and check out the awesome eggy film it creates in between servings. Hey sometimes you gotta improvise!
Activating the yeast for my cheesy bread.

Let the dough rise, form it into long, twisted baguettes, let rise again and slap em in the oven for 20 minutes. 
After the bread bakes, resist the urge to not devour it immedieately. Instead, slice little pockets into it for, wait for it... CHEESE
Slather on a generous helping of garlic butter and try to contain your excitement as you wait the 5 to 10 minutes for it to melt in the oven.

And there you have a delectable Christmas dinner that will heal the sick... or at least coax them out of bed long enough to get seconds!

Here's a follow up to my card wreath. It looks SO much better filled with cards!

A few shots of the tree.


I snagged a few of the snowflakes I made for my office Christmas party and hung them in the kitchen along with some evergreen boughs.

My glittery reindeer! Mr. B keeps offering to "fix" his neck, funny guy that Mr. B!

My grandma's vintage Christmas decorations circa 1960. It's not Christmas until this lil guy goes up.

I hope this holiday season finds you surrounded by the ones you love and remember, as cliche as it sounds, Jesus is the reason for the season!!!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!


Mrs. B

Friday, December 14, 2012

Luscious Lemon Bars

One of my all time favorite desserts are lemon bars. I mean they are just SO good. The gooey, tangy filling and the crunchy, flaky crust are like a magical melody to my taste buds!!! Mr. B has been asking me to make some desserts for Christmas, so when I saw a case of Meyer lemons I knew what he was getting!

Aren't these most BEAUTIFUL fruits?!?
 Here's the recipe if you'd like to take these on for yourselves. 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/4 half and half
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Start by pre-heating your oven to 350°.  Mix the first five ingredients together. If your food processor has a pastry blade, this is the perfect time to try it out. Otherwise, you can use a hand mixer or even a fork to break up the butter. You want the dough to be chunky. Press your dough into a 9x13" baking dish and pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the crust starts to brown.

While the crust is cooking, mix the remaining ingredients (obviously, not the powdered sugar!). Once you've done this, pull the crust out and pour the filling over it while it's still hot.

Double check for seeds!
Ready to bake.
Place in the oven and continue to bake for another 25 minutes or until the filling has set up. Sift remaining powdered sugar on top and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.


Mrs. B

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Card Wreath

Here's a fun way to display your Christmas cards without taking up your entire mantle or all the shelf space in the house! Use a wreath form, clothespins, and ribbon to make a festive and functional display piece for your holiday cheer. It's so easy and you can really get creative with the colors and size of your wreath.

I started by ordering 100 pack of plain clothespins and a medium size wooden wreath form from amazon. I also picked up some grosgrain ribbon and a 3M hook to hang it on the wall without making a hole. 

Next, I spray painted the form and the pins in a metallic gold. 

After the paint dried, I busted out my trusty glue gun and got busy placing the pins around the form. I left an open space large enough for the ribbon and started gluing the clothespins on either side of that. The great part about using the wood form and the wood pins is that when I messed up, I could simply pull the pins up, peel off the dried glue and re-arrange them. This is important because as you go around the wreath, you'll discover that you aren't as meticulous as you think you are and somehow the pins are getting all "caddywhompus". 

After getting the clothespins in an even circle around the form, I attached the ribbon by wrapping and gluing a piece around the empty space. Then I took a longer piece and tied it around the already covered area, then tied it again at the top in order to hang it. 

I used the metal 3M hook to place it on the wall leading into the living room so when Christmas is over we won't have a hole to patch.

Hope you try this out, it's a great way to turn your holiday cards into art!


Mrs. B

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Not Your Typical Black Friday

For most people Black Friday consists of waiting hours in line, withstanding freezing temperatures and macing the competition to get their paws on the season's must have goodies. I, however, am not a fan of cold or crowds or retail violence and typically skip this All-'merican pseudo holiday.

So, after recovering from our food comas, my mom, her friend and I decided to hit up the National Arboretum and their amazing Bonsai exhibit, then the National Gallery of Art for some classics and topped it off with a moonlight stroll around the Capital. I can't even begin to tell you how awesome the weather was. We're talking 65 and sunny, it was fabulous! Growing up in a mountain state, this is truly something to be excited about. Past Thanksgivings could very easily mean snow so to be able to bop around D.C. in just a sweater was de-light-ful!

There's not really much to "take on" with this post but I got some great shots and wanted to share. Enjoy!


Mrs. B