Christmas Dinner

When people get married, they have to find a way to handle holidays with their two respective families.  Do they try to combine into a single, large celebration?  Or do they find a way to juggle the two families’ celebrations?

P1120959 In the case of my sister and brother-in-law, they have opted for the latter approach.  Holidays are alternated.  Thanksgiving was with my side of the family this year and Christmas Day will be with my brother-in-law’s family.  Because of that arrangement, we had our official Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve.

We will do another Christmas Dinner, a more casual one, at my grandmother’s house on Thursday.

Before I tell you about dinner, though, we were met at the airport Tuesday evening by my sister, two nieces and mother, left.  It was dark already and very cold, but they braved the thirty-minute drive to the airport to be there as we walked off the plane.

What a nice way to be welcomed to the chilly midwest!

After an easy dinner we put the girls to bed and then discussed the Christmas Eve menu.  My mother and sister had planned it out and done the shopping, so I volunteered to cook.  The menu:

  • A leg of pastured lamb my parents had brought over form a butcher in Indiana, roasted in a rosemary-garlic rub
  • A grilled pork tenderloin in a mustard and honey marinade
  • Traditional mashed potatoes
  • Roasted carrots with a light maple syrup glaze
  • Leafed Brussels sprouts with bacon
  • San Francisco sourdough bread
  • For dessert, “The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford”, a refrigerated dessert that combines the best of chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and cream cheese.

It was a pretty easy menu, which left time during the day for all sorts of fun.  First off, it snowed about an inch last night.  Not a significant amount, but enough to go outside and do a little sledding.


Above: Me, Ava and Emily in the front yard.  I have some fun video from that but no time tonight to edit it.  Look for it in a future posting. 

In the afternoon, we completed the “gingerbread” house project.  Which more accurately would be the graham cracker house project.  Something about my nieces’ personalities could be interpreted from their decorating styles:

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After that fun project, at which copious amounts of sugar were ingested, I started preparing the dinner in earnest.  My brother-in-law took care of the grilled pork loin, but everything else was in my hands.  Here’s a look at the results:

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From top left, clockwise: the lamb, pork, sourdough bread, mashed potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts.

The dinner turned out very tasty, a nice simple meal.  The lamb is a different breed than the one sold most commonly.  It has a tamer taste and was very enjoyable.  The pork was really moist. 

The Brussels sprouts were my favorite.  I think taking the time to core them and pull the leaves apart really makes a big difference, making them sweeter.  Usually, when they are served whole, I find them a little bitter.  It is a bit of extra work, but worth it.

Sadly, I have no pictures of the Next Best Thing to Robert Redford.  My apologies.  But it was tasty.

After dinner, we headed to church for Christmas Eve service.  It was at a United Methodist church, the one my grandparents and sister and brother-in-law attend, the same one my parents were married at, the same one where I was baptized.

One observation, though: is it just me, or are protestant churches especially gifted at making upbeat hymns celebrating joyous occasions such as the birth of their savior, sound mournful?


We returned home and the girls helped set out some snacks for Santa Claus: spiced nuts and cream puffs with eggnog to drink.  Strange, huh?  Here’s a short video in which I capture the discussion about this choice:

Happy holidays to you and yours!

27 thoughts on “Christmas Dinner

  1. @BR_Fan – I have several trip reports backed up about 18 months, but haven’t had the time to write them.  That includes two BR trips so I didn’t bother photographic this one.  And you know what?  Lots more fun when I’m actually just enjoying the trip!  =)
    Merry Christmas.

  2. Aw…cute girls. But I must say, the thing that caught my attention the most (in the video) were you beautiful and long eye lashes! (Note: Just a compliment). Hehe. But seriously, I was like, are those real? And I like the BBQ answer Ava(?) gave. Cute. And that dog that was strolling around was really cute too. Merry Christmas!!!

  3. Why is the dessert called “the next best thing to Robert Redford?” Is that an official name?Btw, we ended up getting a dutch oven as well for Christmas. The Architect apparently knows how to use it 🙂

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