Another Holiday Season Come And Gone… - Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen Blog at - 262762

Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen

Another Holiday season come and gone… 
Jan. 2, 2012 5:20 pm 
Updated: Jan. 3, 2012 2:23 pm

I had been looking forward to this Christmas for about 6 months, as soon as I had bought our flight tickets.

In 2004, I moved to California and this was going to be only the second Christmas I’d had with my parents since.  The holidays were always a big to-do with my family and since moving I always seem to find a void, missing my family, while others are hanging their stockings with cheer.  But not this year!

DH and I flew out to enjoy Christmas in New England!  I had a great time with my parents, brothers, aunts and uncles, my mim and her husband, and I even caught up with an old friend from middle school. 

Pre-Christmas, we did a Yankee swap at my aunt’s house in Connecticut.  It was full of laughs and got even funnier when my uncle started mixing drinks from his full bar.  There was a buffet of turkey sandwiches, sausage and meatballs, chicken parm, roasted potatoes and veggies, lasagna and sh*t in a shingle-which is ground beef and sausage with cheese on a toasted English muffin (there has got to be a better name for those things).  For desserts there were a few different quick breads, cookies, and cheesecakes.  Someone always brings a wacky gift, and this year my husband took it upon himself to throw a naughty novelty gift into the pile.  I won’t say what, but the remainder of our vacation was peppered with jokes of reference.  The party had turned out to be quite entertaining!

Christmas Eve, my parents made a Cornish hen dinner for the 6 of us. We then watched my favorite holiday classic, Scrooge with Albert Finney, as my mom finished making her desserts.


We all got together again at my parents’ house for Christmas day.  My parents made a ham with green bean casserole, butternut squash puree, heart-attack carrots (carrots slow-cooked in butter for hours…sooOOOooo good!), mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, peas, white and wheat biscuits, and plain green beans.  There were at least 6 bottles of wine, plus beer, milk, water and coffee.


For dessert, there was Chocolate mint pie, pumpkin pie, my aunt’s own super moist pumpkin bread and cream cheese frosting, my own Wicked Apple pie, sugared pecans, and I made peppermint bark.

And all the presents!  This is one spoiling family, let me tell you!  One thing that certainly is not in short supply is love and laughs when this bunch gets together.  Hahaha, my brother got my parents a mini replica leg lamp from A Christmas Story!

All 12 of us got together for pizza one last time before DH and l flew back.  It’s always hard to leave my family because I never know when I will get to see them again, but I know I will have more great memories next time I do.  The trip went by so fast…they always do.

Back in California, my husband and I were happily greeted by our 2 cats, Matteo and Miyu.  It was clear that they missed us by how much they followed us around, meowing and purring.  I had worried Matteo might give me the cold, furry shoulder, but it was not the case.  My step-mom-in-law was very kind to take care of the kitties in our absence.

DH and I enjoyed a quiet New Year’s Eve.  I made Chinese food at home and it was amazing!  I cheated and bought frozen eggrolls, and even they came out great in the oven.  I made sweet and sour spicy chicken with bell pepper, onion and carrot, garlic cashew chicken with green onion and mushrooms, garlicky carrots and snow peas, and fried rice.  Everything was very tasty.  I had bought a bottle of champagne, but we fell asleep and instead drank it on New Year’s Day.  We happened to wake up just in time to say ‘Happy New Year’ and went back to sleep!  On New Year’s Day I tried my hand at my own Hoppin’ John Stew, and it came out yummy!

Today we took down our Christmas decorations, officially wrapping up the Holiday Season of 2011.  May the New Year find us all with good health and happiness.  Cheers!

buttery, caramelized heart-attack carrots
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Mom, Dad and the ham
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a glass of Christmas cheer?
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Leggy lamp!
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Chinese food on New Year's Eve-it's tradition!
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Let us eat!
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peppermint bark
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Chocolate Mint Cream Pie
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Jan. 2, 2012 6:19 pm
What a terrific blog! I almost felt like I was there! So glad that you were able to have such a wonderful time with your family. And all the food- yum! If you care to share the recipe for those carrots, I would be interested in trying them- they look delish! Thanks for sharing a bit of your holiday. Happy New Year!!!
Jan. 2, 2012 6:35 pm
AAAWWW Lissa, the thing I kept reading w/o seeing any words of such is HOW MUCH YOU LOVE YOUR FAMILY!! And your folks got a Leg Lamp? I hope your Mom puts it in the front window! Haha What a Fabulous blog and a great way to end the old and bring in the new. I'll bet your glad to be back to Calif weather too! Isn't it beautiful? Hope your new year is the Best:):) thanks for sharing.
Jan. 2, 2012 6:38 pm
Thanks for reading Puck, I will have to submit the how-to on those carrots!
Jan. 2, 2012 6:40 pm
Hi Patty Cakes! I do love my family so very very much! And yeah, the temperature bump was also nice returning to CA! Cheers to you and yours!
Jan. 2, 2012 7:14 pm
Lissa, the food sounds wonderful, but Christmas with your family....the best present of all! Happy New Year!
Jan. 2, 2012 7:24 pm
A Christmas of plenty! Plenty of fun, plenty of food and wonderful family to share it all with. Glad you had a merry Christmas, and what better gift is there than the Leg Lamp. Did those boys at the 'kid's' table manage to keep their hands off of it??
Jan. 3, 2012 11:06 am
thanks lucylove, happy new year to you as well!
Jan. 3, 2012 11:08 am of those boys was the purchaser! (and I sat at the 'kids' table too...guess it was the 20s and 30s table!)
Jan. 3, 2012 12:48 pm
What a wonderful holiday season for you. The town where I grew up kicks off the Christmas season by a ceremony to light the leg lamp in the hardware store window. It draws a bigger crowd than the lighting of the Christmas tree.
Jan. 3, 2012 2:23 pm
Hi BigShotsMom, that is too funny! Thanks for stopping by!
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Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA
Living In
Cobb, California, USA

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Aug. 2004

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Baking, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Quick & Easy

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About Me
I live in beautiful wine country, Northern California, on the edge of state forest. My husband and I are in our 30s and have the most amazing little 1 year old girl. I haven't had as much time in the kitchen since becoming a mom, but I love that she is getting old enough to enjoy my cooking! I enjoy riding my motorcycle and snowboarding, camping, classic and hard rock music, tattoos, singing, and *of course* fiddling in my kitchen! I love trying new recipes and have had fun as an Allrecipes Allstar in the Brand Ambassador program!
My favorite things to cook
Skillet dinners, chicken, vegetables, rice, pasta, cookies, brownies, quick breads, Italian, Asian, mac & cheese, mushroom or broccoli Alfredo, pie-especially apple, pear and chicken pot pie, pork in the crock pot for carnitas or BBQ pulled pork.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My parents have always had lots of food at family get-togethers! Such a selection of food that there's hardly room for plates at the table: nuts, cheeses, wings, beans, meats, veggies and many other side dishes, cakes, cookies, pies, etc-there's something for everyone! There's no excuse if you go hungry at one of our family functions. There's always good food, drinks, people and laughs :D
My cooking triumphs
It's nice to be able to throw things together on the fly without having to make a trip to the grocery store. Learning the methods of cooking have made it easier and my food tastes better. I never have dry chicken breasts, pork chops or burgers anymore! Dec 2012: I finally made fudge that set properly!
My cooking tragedies
Trying out new recipes that don't taste right or I don't care for. Or turning my back to do 10 things at once and burning something. Mistakes = lessons learned. Sometimes you have to do a little trial-and-error to get something how you like it. I'm still trying to perfect French loaf.
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