Happy 2015 everyone!
I'm really looking forward to this new year, because the end of 2014 has been kicking my butt! This October & December everyone in our family has been sick 4-5 times (definitely not the norm). There have been three terrible colds/flu, fevers, lost voices, and a stomach bug. I'm nearing the end of the latest illness & just so sick of being sick!
The flu ate up our nice 2 week Christmas break as well, and all of those nice productive plans went straight out the window as we suffered on the couch. We even had to cancel a visit from some friends that live out of state who we only see about once a year! Luckily everyone was OK on Christmas day, the kids had a blast, and everything went well enough to mark the holiday a 'success', so I am very thankful for that.
Is spite of the sickness, I have done a ton of cooking this break! My parents came over Christmas Eve and we had a fun snack night, working on a puzzle while watching White Christmas. You can see our spread above. The only recipe we *have* to make every Christmas are Martha's delicious Ginger Scented Pecans (top left & bottom right). It is one of those recipes where people will hunt you down at a party to tell you how incredible they are!
Then at the center left you can barely make out the Choclate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies Justin & Orson made. In the very center are the Chicken & Bacon Pastry Pockets, which were probably too much work for that night, but I was craving them! Then we filled out the rest of the tray with pomegranate seeds (right), Christmas themed Goldfish (top & bottom), tacquitos, and a veggie & dip tray on the side.
Christmas Day I made a Thai Rice Chopped Salad (with Peanut Ginger Dressing) for my mom's side that I'll share on here soon. My dad's side is a very meat-and-potatoes group, so we tried to play it safe with Gooey Peanut Butter Brownies, but there were a million people there, and twenty deserts stacked on top of one another, so it did not even get opened by the time we left. Oh well!
For New Year's we had a couple over for gaming and we finally did the 'roll your own sushi' night we'd been meaning to do. I went a little overboard with fillings and laid out cooked shrimp, popcorn shrimp (leftover from the kid's dinner), cooked crab mixed with mayo, *bacon*, cream cheese, celery, carrots, avacado, green onions, asparagus, and cucumbers. I couldn't find the pre-cooked tempura bits I was hoping for, so we decided to experiment with pork rinds for crunch. American style! There was also eel sauce & spicy mayo to drizzle on top.
I showed them the steps for making a roll and everyone (including my husband) was able to easily roll up their own sushi! You can see my roll above, and my first student's roll below.
I thought it would be fun to have circle-themed food since they are a symbol for New Year's, and made Datemaki, a traditional Japanese New Year's food made of a sweet, rolled omelet (with a little fish). The flavor reminded me of sweet imitation crab. They were OK, and a fun experiment, but I doubt I'll make them again.
Our friends brought sausage balls, tacquitos, and Angel food cake. There was *way* too much food ~ I never ended up cooking the egg rolls I had, we didn't make it to the cake, and were barely able to experiment with the sushi combinations we wanted to try! I've learned next time we have a sushi night we can have friends bring drinks or some of the fillers, but we definitely don't need a lot of extra nibbles!
Did you cook up anything fun for the holiday?