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My Christmas Gifts

December 29th, 2012

Yesterday, Mr Chiots and I finally celebrated our Christmas. What did I find under the tree?
First off, Mr Chiots and I bought each other snowshoes. Technically they weren’t Christmas presents, but around this time of year just about everything gets labeled as a gift. They’re nothing fancy, just the cheapest ones offered by L.L.Bean. We took them out for a test hike yesterday and LOVED them. No doubt we’ll get more than our money’s worth with these.
Brian Snowshoeing
I also received a few cookbooks: The River Cottage Cookbook and River Cottage Every Day
Books 1
Lucky me, I even found a Clarington Forge long handled shrubbery spade and potato fork under my tree. I would have never purchased the potato fork for myself, it’s rather pricey, but I’ll take it as a gift. Clarington Forge tools are well made, this potato fork is a beastly tool, heavy and very well made, it will certainly last me the rest of my life and probably long outlive me.
Clarington Forge Tools
Mr Chiots and I are very practical gift givers, generally we buy useful stuff for each other. He lucked out with a nice Filson wool shirt, a wool sweater, new suspenders and a few books as well.

What did you find under your tree this year?

A Smashing Success

December 26th, 2012

After mentioning in my post about the big dinner we had planned, many of you asked for photos. Of course I took photos all throughout the day. The beauty of a meal like this one, is that it doesn’t take a lot of work, it’s a lot of waiting around. I was lucky enough to score a beautiful 10.5lb standing rib roast from a local farm last week.
Making Christmas Dinner 1
Christmas Dinner Again 1
This isn’t my first time cooking a standing rib roast, we’ve enjoyed them New Year’s a few times in the past. This year I decided to give Alton Brown’s dry aging a try. Basically you wrap the roast in a towel and put it in the fridge for a few days to dry a little. I’ll give it two thumbs up, so did everyone else. The dry aging is supposed to help the meat cook more evenly, providing a medium rare roast throughout instead of one that is cooked on the ends and rare in the middle.
Christmas Dinner Again 2
The beauty of a standing rib toast, is that it bakes in the oven for a few hours while you prepare the rest of the meal. The Christmas dinner menu from The Williams-Sonoma Entertaining was my guide for the meal because all of the sides are made on the stovetop. There were mashed potatoes with celery root, caramelized carrots, oyster stew, sautéed mushrooms, marsala au jus, fresh horseradish sauce and a very impressive Yorkshire Pudding!
Making Christmas Dinner 5
Christmas Dinner Again 3
Dinner’s like this are great because they’re a good excuse to get out the nice glasses and silverware. It reminds me of the joy of setting up tea for the dolls as a kid.
Making Christmas Dinner 8
Making Christmas Dinner 6
The meal was perfectly rounded out by a maple bourbon pecan pie, which was AMAZING. I used my Grandma Graham’s Pie Crust Recipe. The bourbon in this recipe really helps cut the sweetness of the pie. I’ve always found pecan pies to be way too sweet, but this one was just right!
Making Christmas Dinner 2
Making Christmas Dinner 3
bourbon pecan pie
Mr Chiot’s even roasted decaf coffee beans and fired up the coffee maker to make cappuccinos for us to enjoy with the pie. Along with the maple bourbon whipped cream and the pie, it was the perfect ending for a wonderful meal.
Making Christmas Dinner 7
Christmas Dinner 4
We were happy that my parents and our neighbor (who brought some wine) came up to enjoy it with us. Oh yeah, the recommendation that you need one pound of standing rib roast for every person is a bit overkill, looks like we’ll be eating on this for the next week (not that I’m complaining).

What did you enjoy for Christmas dinner?

Holiday Fun

November 29th, 2012

This week we’ve been in Ohio. We traveled back on Thanksgiving day, enjoyed a big meal on Friday and on Saturday with our respective families. Sunday, Mr Chiots went down to the family cabin to hunt, while my mom and I stayed at her house. This week as been filled with lots good food and holiday fun.

We set up a small Christmas tree and the kids and I made popcorn, cranberry, and gumdrop garland for it. The kids loved making simple decorations for our tiny tree.

Later in the week we made cookies to send to my brother down in Georgia who won’t be able to make it up for a visit this year.

Tomorrow, Mr Chiots and I will be heading over to sign the closing papers on our house, the buyers will hopefully be signing next week. This coming weekend we’re celebrating Christmas with my family, then we’re heading back home to Maine. We’re looking forward to a laid back Christmas at home!

Do you ever celebrate holidays early?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.