I’m sure I should have some theme for the day or major point to make on this eve before Christmas, but instead I think I’ll just do the run down. And to start, my nails look fabulous! So fabulous that I’m typing very carefully so as not to chip the tips.
It helps to understand my manicure compulsion if you understand my history as a nail biter. Though I officially stopped biting my nails in high school, I’ve been known to relapse. I’ve gone through the acrylic nail phase twice–love the lasting polish and french manicure options, hate the upkeep and price. I’m currently au naturel in the nail department, so I decided to splurge on a manicure for Christmas. I woke Dancer Girl and Gym Girl up at the outrageously early hour of ten a.m. this morning (at least as far as they were concerned), and we went out for manicures for Gym Girl and me and a pedicure for Dancer Girl, who appropriately is going to a dance on New Year’s Eve and wanted nice toes for her open shoes.
Looking lovely, we ran by to drop off presents for Best Friend’s kids along with some cranberry chutney for the family. We visited a bit before heading home to get started on all the food preparations for today and tomorrow.
I am responsible for desserts for tomorrow’s meal at my in-laws. We’ll have Adventure Guy’s mom and step-dad, his sister’s family of four, his step-sister’s family of three, and his step-brother’s family of three as well as the five of us. Adventure Guy actually made the first of the desserts, his favorite angel food cake with a chocolate pudding filling and whipped cream for frosting. This is the cake he requests for his birthday each year, and he couldn’t resist the excuse to have it at Christmas. I also made a peppermint brownie tart and a pecan pie. And, even better, my brownie tart looks just like the one in the picture at the site. I love it when that happens! I’ll also cut up some of the rum cake and strawberry bread I received as gifts and take that along with the homemade toffee to round out the desserts. I think we’ll be sufficiently sugared up by the end of the day.
But, of course, children cannot live by dessert alone, so there was both dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow to prepare. Christmas Eve we always have beef fondue, twice-baked potatoes, broccoli and rice casserole, and pan rolls. So in the midst of pie baking and tart making, I bake the potatoes and mixed up the casserole. And suddenly, it was time to go to the Christmas Eve service at church.
I let Adventure Guy talk me into going to the 4:oo p.m. service against my better judgement. His argument was that it would get us home in time to eat at a reasonable hour and get to the main Christmas Eve event, the official It’s a Wonderful Lifeviewing. I should have made more of my point of “all the small children will be there, and we no longer have small children.” Anyway, it was about as nice a service as one can expect when there are parents who allow their children to run around the sanctuary or roll under the pews. I have little patience with this, not because my children never did such things but because the minute they started we removed them so as not to disturb others. Child removal is evidently a dying art.
I did enjoy the music, though, which was better than the standard kids’ service fare due to some visiting bluegrass musicians and a duet sung by a classmate of Soccer Boy’s and her mother. Her mom sings often at church and has a beautiful voice, but I’d never heard the daughter, who is eight, sing. It was amazingly good, and I’m one of those people who tends to cringe when a young child sings at church. It’s almost never good. This was definitely an exception. I can’t wait to hear her voice matures.
Once home, we had dinner, enjoyed by all, and Adventure Guy and I broke open one of our bottles of 1997 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. We save them for special occasions, and deemed tonight to be one of them. I’m also thinking from the general reviews, that it’s time to drink these bottles while they are at peak rather than waiting too much longer.
The wine eased the dinner cleanup and my final cooking tasks: crunchy brunch egg casserole and cream cheese danish for tomorrow’s breakfast. We’ll have those plus fresh fruit, milk, and orange juice after we see what Santa has left.
Crunchy Brunch Egg Casserole
2 c. plain croutons
4 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
Bacon, crumbled (optional)
In bottom of buttered dish combine croutons and cheese. Mix remaining ingredients except for bacon and pour over crouton mixture. If using bacon, add to top. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes. May be prepared several hours in advance or the night before and refrigerated until ready to bake. Do not add bacon until right before baking. Serves 6.
Cream Cheese Danish
2 8 0z. tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
8 oz. plus 3 0z. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
4 T. butter, melted
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbs. milk
Spread one tube of crescent rolls into the bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9 baking dish. Cream together cream cheese and sugar; spread over top of rolls. Top cream cheese mixture with remaining tube of crescent rolls; pour butter over all. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. In a small mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk; drizzle over danish. Cut in squares. Makes 14 servings.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day tomorrow. Merry Christmas!