Holiday Cheer - Put the Kettle on.... Blog at - 292236

Put the Kettle on....

Holiday Cheer 
Dec. 16, 2012 12:32 pm 
Updated: Dec. 22, 2012 1:20 pm
About 12 years ago, give or take a year, Jon and I started a tradition with another couple we have been friends with since we were teenagers in high school.  We take turns preparing a special dinner and we spend the evening with these dear friends.  This year was their turn to have us over.  Way back when it all started we had no intentions of starting such a tradition.  We just invited two good friends over for dinner.  We don't prepare many "fancy" meals where we pull out the good dishes, crystal wine glasses, candles, linen table cloths and the like.  That first dinner was so much fun that they said they wanted to reciprocate and have us over the next year.  From there it turned into a "competition" of sorts where we have tried to outdo the other's meal from the previous year. 

 Lisa sent me a text message early last week.  Would I mind bringing a salad and a bottle of wine for dinner?  She has admitted she just can't make a salad.  This from a woman who has made delicious rolled flank-steak, cioppino, crab cakes to die for...   Of course I agreed to help out.  I had to know what we were eating, though, so I could bring wine that would go with dinner and make a salad to "match".  She sheepishly admitted she was making lasagna.  She didn't think lasagna really qualified as a "special" dish for this special dinner but it was what she was making.  I disagree.  A good lasagna can be very special.  We chose a bottle of merlot from our stash from our Virginia wine vacation and it turned out to be an excellent choice.  Her lasagna was delicious!  She made her own sauce, loaded the layers between the noodles with lots of cheese and sausage, and baked that pan to perfection!

For dessert she had made a cranberry/apple cake.  It also was delicious and a big warm mug full of red sangria punch finished the night off.

While Jon and I were at our friend's house enjoying fine food and even finer company - the rest of my family was assembling at my daughter's house.  That is the rest of the family that was still in Ohio.  My younger sister and her daughter had flown to Florida to attend the Eukanuba Dog Show and to see my older sister who had driven there from South Dakota.  Deb, the older sister, has a Spinone Italiano dog (Partito is his name) that was invited to be a participant in this National Championship Invitational Dog Show.  She originally was not planning on attending - Florida is a long way from South Dakota - but a friend of hers had also been invited to attend and convinced my sister they could ride together sharing costs and keeping one another company.  As soon as my younger sister, Jeani, heard this she purchased plane tickets for herself and her 17 year old daughter.  Jeani also owns a couple of these Spinone's and Shannon is fast becoming quite the handler. 

Partito (aka Party Kid) won Best of Breed and would be going back into the ring for Group! Debbie decided that Shannon could take him into the ring - it would be a chance of a lifetime to participate in such an event!  This event also was going to be live-streamed and my daughter figured out how to play it through her computer onto the TV and invited Grandma & Grandpa over to watch, as well as Jeani's husband and son.  Thus, the gathering at Kristal's house.  I really wish we could have been there as well.  It's also going to be aired at some point on TV, so I will eventually get to see the show. 

I can imagine that when Deb and her friend load up their car and head West toward South Dakota the drive may not seem as long as the drive out was.  At least they'll have plenty to talk about. Partito not only got to go - he did it up good and made his "fans" proud! 

Once we have our dinner with our friends, I declare the Holiday season of food and cheer officially here!    This week is my last week of work before a two week break and I am meeting a friend tomorrow evening and another on Tuesday and another group of us will be meeting at the local winery on Thursday for some holiday cheer.  I'll take a batch of wassail and a tray of cookies to share with co-workers on Thursday.  Our family food celebrations start on Sunday afternoon and will continue on Christmas Eve at my daughter's and end with everyone coming to our house for Christmas Dinner.  I love these celebrations and all the fantastic food and great company!  This year there is only one thing that could make these times perfect and that is if only Steve were coming home.  When he does finally make it back to Ohio for a visit we'll just have a feast at that time! 
Dec. 16, 2012 3:15 pm
Your family/friends traditions sound AMAZING!! And the fact that you have your DS to look forward to, makes it all the more special!! I do agree with you, lasagna is so time consuming that by the time your done, it is a special occasion!! Lol thanks for sharing Mother Ann. Merry Christmas to you n yours:):)
Dec. 16, 2012 5:06 pm
Merry Christmas to you Patty Cakes! Thank you for stopping in.
Dec. 16, 2012 6:52 pm
WOW is all i can say.Thanks for sharing,enjoy,enjoy,enjoy.Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Dec. 17, 2012 6:09 am
That sounds like so much fun! The dinner and the dog show! Where are the photos of the dogs? :) I hope you and yours have a safe and happy holiday season! Merry Christmas!
Deb C 
Dec. 17, 2012 6:20 am
I love your tradition, started unintentionally, but into a memorable and meaningful holiday tradition of friendship and love. I learned something new – spinone Italiano dog. Congratulations to your sister! Have a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas!
Dec. 17, 2012 3:55 pm
@manella - Merry Christmas! @Cat Hill - Sadly I have no pictures of her dogs that I can post on here. Merry Christmas to you and your family as well! @Deb C - The spinone are very interesting looking dogs - they almost look like a mixed breed of some sort, they are big and they drool alot. LOL You also have a wonderful holiday and Merry Christmas!
Dec. 21, 2012 4:24 pm
Very nice post, Mother Ann! Merry Christmas!
Dec. 22, 2012 4:29 am
Thank you, Mike, and Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Dec. 22, 2012 6:18 am
What Fun, Mother Ann! Getting together with family and friends is always a good way to enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas!
Dec. 22, 2012 1:20 pm
Lela - Merry Christmas to you!!!
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Mother Ann

Home Town
Streetsboro, Ohio, USA
Living In
Ravenna, Ohio, USA

Member Since
Oct. 2009

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert

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About Me
I've been married for 33 years, and live in Ohio. We have a daughter who is married and lives nearby. Our son graduated from college and moved to South Dakota. He has his own place but still goes to visit my sister and brother-in-law and have dinner with them occasionally. We have two black labs that get to go duck hunting with dad and two cats. We own a Mexican restaurant and are learning alot about the food industry. I love to eat, go camping, read, spend time with family and friends, watch movies, and drink wine; not necessarily in that order.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake - anything chocolate is fine with me. Seafood, chicken dishes and slow-cooker fare.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My husband and I enjoy cooking together with wine. We pop open a bottle of wine and get cooking. :-)
My cooking triumphs
Whenever I can put together a meal that gets many compliments and leaves the diners satisfied is a triumph in my book! I love to cook meals for family and friends.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married we had my grandparent's-in-law over for a pot roast dinner. The meat came out great, but the potatoes and carrots were still half raw. My husband's grandfather went to cut his fork into a carrot and it flew off his plate. He looked at me, winked, and said he loved his carrots that way!
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