Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas came and went -

A really great trip to the now wintry North Carolina mountains last week.
One evening we enjoyed walking to a French bistro in snow flurries. 
Next day we had a meeting with longtime friend and blogger Penny from
 Enjoying The Simple Things. We met for lunch in glorious sunshine with a
 thoroughly enjoyable visit to her beautiful home on a hillside, then came back
 to non-stop readying for Christmas!

I baked a lot for Christmas Eve!
Traditional English Mince Pies (with a dollop of rum butter added at serving time).
Tiny Cheese, Onion & Black Olive Scones (later split for a spread
 of herbed Boursin).  Costco supplied the baked brie and some great cheeses,
 and I made really crispy herbed crostini from rustic baguettes.
The grapes I roasted after brushing with a marinade of olive oil, white wine vinegar
 and honey - a new recipe which went over well, tasted so good, and looked great
 on the cheese board.
We took a late evening drive around the neighborhood to view lights and luminarias
lining the streets - all very festive.

Christmas Day was quieter. We visited with friends for drinks then spent
 the evening at home. I made Asian inspired salmon, Brussels sprouts roasted
 in olive oil and crushed garlic almonds with perfect plain mashed potatoes.
Dessert was Christmas pudding topped with more rum butter and fresh whipped
cream - oh my, I see more walking and exercise in the near future - like later today! 
The sun is shining and temperature perfect at 63F so no excuses not to head outside.
 Our meal was enjoyed in front of the hearth with a blazing fire. . . . . . .and watching
 the "Call The Midwife" Christmas special. OMG it was fabulous and filmed on
 Scotland's beautiful Hebrides Islands - one of the few places
 remaining on my 'travel bucket list!

Today, Boxing Day, is always a favorite day of the year for me.
Time to reminisce about childhood holidays and take a little 
quiet time planning for the year to come.
We have a busy month ahead which includes the garden - tree company coming
 to remove a dead oak (thanks to woodpeckers over-pecking!), and some serious
  pruning of other large branches now overhanging the roof.
Hopefully an indoor project involving paint and furniture will be done. . . . . . and, 
after the holiday decorations are down and stored, some serious purging and
 downsizing as we clear out 'stuff' room by room.
I don't make a list of New Year resolutions, however in my mind I know what 
needs to be addressed to get me organized here at home for what will hopefully
 be a great 2020!

If I don't make it here again before New Year's Day, I wish you all the 
very best for a happy, healthy and wonderful Year. 


  1. We watched the Midwivws too. There hasnt been much worth watching here but we did enjoy the service of Carols from Kings the other night.

  2. It was fun to see you both Mary. Here's to a fabulous 2020!

  3. Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas! How wonderful that you got to visit with Penny. I had never heard of roasted grapes, but they sound delicious. I can imagine how that would intensify the flavor and be perfect on a cheese board.

    Can you believe we hit 60 degrees here yesterday and in the low 60's today?! (We set a record!) Brian and I were out and about all day, shopping and we were just wearing light jackets. It was glorious. Back to reality tomorrow.

  4. Your pre-Christmas trip and all your Christmassy activities and the food sound lovely! I am not sure about the roasted grapes but am intrigued enough to give them a try.
    Like you, I don't make resolutions but know what I want to (or need to) do and achieve in the next 12 months.
    All the best for 2020 to you and your loved ones, dear Mary!

  5. Dear Mary,
    Beautiful photos. It all looks so delicious. Please be careful with the "serious purging".
    Wishing you and Bob a most spectacular New Year with lots of good health and many new and wonderful places to discover.

  6. Happy, Healthy, Joyous 2020 wishes!

  7. Your Christmas season sounds just lovely. What wonderful food. Oh no! I forgot to watch PBS on Christmas evening. There were a couple shows I wanted to see including Call of the Midwife. I can go online and usually find them though. Your North Carolina trek sounds just wonderful too. It is always fun to meet up with an online friend. Happy New Years to you and your Bob!

  8. Your Christmas Eve food looks delicious. The roasted grapes are new to me, and something I'd like to try. We have had a house full of people coming and going, but on Monday everything will slow down. I'm enjoying the family time with gusto, but am also looking forward to some time alone at home before returning to work. There are projects in my mind, and like you, I don't make resolutions. Happy New Year, dear Mary and Bob!

  9. Your Christmas sounded lovely Mary and your food delicious with a touch of Olde England in there !!!
    Happy 2020 to you and yours ...... may it be a very happy and healthy year for you and your friends and family. XXXX

  10. Mary, your Christmas feast sounds thoroughly divine! I love it all. "Asian inspired salmon"- while not quite sure how that's prepared, I'm sure it was incredible. And, yes, I actually made out of this world mash potatoes too, along with roasted Cornish hens, parsnips, wild carrots and turnips! The veg didn't turn out great, must admit, as I think I stuffed out tiny little roast pans for our tiny little oven way way too much! But, everyone loved the mash at least. Interestingly too, and so VERY unlike me, I was NOT the centre of attention, commanding the conversation, peppering it with delicious tidbits of hilarity, if I do say so myself. No, I was too busy in the kitchen, letting others enjoy the festivities. It certainly beat our xmas day in KY though even so as Alex's mom never did anything and still doesn't.

    You know, I miss you over on IG and the reality is, I'm unlikely to do much in blogger land these days, other than maybe a post of two a year but I determined not to lose touch with a few blogs/people I enjoy the most- with yours certainly coming to mind. So, my hope is to visit every 10 days or so and catch up then. Best keep moderation on for odler posts too so you know whenever I might leave a comment.

    Whilst Alexandra and I are utterly (still) exhausted from our "bumpy" year plus, out of the blue she mentioned visiting NC sometime to see you and possibly Cass too as she's always wanted to see Boston. Firstly though, we need to get our finances more in order! Anyway, know that you are being thought of and I'm sending fondness and good wishes to you for this year across the miles. Please have a merry Sherry toast or what have you with Bob for me. Clink!


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