Friday, December 30, 2011

Winding down 2011

The week between Christmas and New Year's is one of my favorite times of the year.  The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over and traditionally Dan will take the week off for a staycation. 

The neat freak part of me is tempted to clean up the Christmas decorations and put every back in order.  But for Dan it's a time that he can finally relax and enjoy the tree, read through the cards, and just kick back.  Besides, the family hates it when I'm in cleaning mode.  It makes them grumpy.  And I hate to clean and organize when people are a) grumpy and b) present.

So, I satisfy my need to tidy up by organizing my desk and papers, buying a new 2012 calendar and setting goals for the new year.  More about that later.

This Christmas, I gave myself the gift of letting go of a lot of stuff.  I sent just a handful of cards and only baked two kinds of cookies.  Amazing for me.  For the first time ever in my life, I spent Christmas away from home!  We rented a condo in beautiful Grand Lake, Colorado, and spent the weekend with my family.  Twenty people and eight dogs!  It was such great fun.  On Christmas Eve, we were at a local ski resort, watching fireworks, a parade of skiers carrying torches coming down the mountain and giant snowcats in the formation of a Christmas tree.

Christmas Day included a morning walk in the brisk mountain air and in the afternoon a prime rib dinner.  Everyone pitched in the side dishes with family favorites.  I made Aunt Mary's Tangy Mashed Potato casserole, my sister-in-law made her famous spaghetti squash, and my niece made Gram's cheesecake.  Another niece made crescent rolls that were to die for.  Awesome, that these young girls are such great cooks!

One of the reasons we went to the mountains was so we could have Christmas Day with Luke, who was working at the ski school.  He and his cousin were assigned to the toddler "sick and sad" room -- for little kids who aren't feeling well or are just "sad" and miss their mom and dad.  I love that!  And I could just see Luke, all 6'3" of him, consoling these little kids.

We took Lilly with us and she proved herself as a hunting dog!  All that chasing butterflies and flushing out squirrels in the backyard has paid off.  She didn't even flinch at the shot of the gun, and managed to find a few ducks in the process.  Luke and my brother were very pleased.

I have to admit, it was nice to take a blogging/computer break the past couple weeks.  But I'm eager to get back at it and come up with a new plan for 2012.  More recipes, more 'nesting' ideas, and more visiting other blogs! 

Enjoy what's left of 2011 and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Recipe

I know I said I was taking a break, but just have to share my 'go-to' appetizer recipe for this season.  My friend Liz served it at Book Club last month and everyone loved it.  I made it for my dad's 80th birthday party last night and it was a hit!  Serve with sliced baguette (slice 'em thin!).

                           Avocado Chimichurri                           

2Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, minced (1 Tbsp)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 avocados cubed
slices of French bread for serving


combine the 1st 7 ingredients.
whisk in the olive oil
stir in cilantro and parsley
gently fold in the avocado
spoon onto the bread slices

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We still have so much to do, and we're plumb tuckered out. I think I'm going to take a little blogging break. If we don't see you before the big guy in the red suit rolls around -- have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Love to all from Over the Backyard Fence