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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Farewell Christmas, Hola 2012

I took a look around our neighborhood late last night.
We are not the only ones with our Christmas lights still blazing.

So please, come in . . . if you can get past our fierce guard dog . . .
for a glimpse of what we've been up to this Christmas.
Which is mostly . . . eating, at least according to this post!
(Ha ha!  Just noticed the empty box leaning on the stairs.
It's already been recycled; this picture is from New Year's Eve.)

Back we go, to the week before Christmas.
When we celebrated Chanukah.
That Old House gets her money's worth out of the winter holidays, that's for sure.

For years our girls have timed their Christmas visits home
to be here for an annual Chanukah Latke dinner.
Latkes are potato pancakes, and I make the shredded kind.
 And that's all we eat at that dinner -- crispy hot latkes, with sour cream and applesauce.

Most of the traditional Chanukah foods are fried in oil,
and I am sure you know why.  Oil.  Lamps.  The miracle of the 8 nights.  
I make a mean potato latke, if I do say so myself.
There are other ways to make them, but this is how we like them.
I've seen recipes for sweet potato latkes, celery root latkes, latkes with carrots,
and all sorts of other abominations . . . but not here.  We are potato pancake purists here.

We also light our Menorah, and everyone teases me because I insist that the Menorah, with its lit candles,
has to stand in the kitchen sink for safety's sake if we leave it burning unattended.
And this is nuts, how?

Christmas morning, in the Parlor, and this year . . .
the joy of a third kid.  (A fourth if you count Howard.)

 A robotic arm for Howard from Anne, who has promised to help him assemble it.

Josh sporting his new hat from me, and one of his cigars from Howard.
We'll turn this one into a Jersey boy yet!

And what Dad wouldn't love to find bacon-flavored popcorn under the tree?

Howard in the sunroom, testing out the portable hammock I got him.
Have hammock, will travel to beach house.
I so wanted to see if I could fold it up with him still in it, 'cause then I'd have a portable-hammock-husband.
He was not game for this plan.

Christmas breakfast was something special.
Josh and Alida made Monkey Bread, a tradition with his family.
 And it was so good with strong coffee!

Anne made her trademark Special Waffles, which are so light you can hardly believe they are real.
Really.  They have no weight.  Therefore, they have no calories.

Later on Christmas Day, we piled in the car for the drive to Peg and Bill's house.

Peggy in her kitchen, preparing a fabulous dinner.  (It really was!)
I want her big Sub-Zero fridge and freezer, on the left.
She says I can't have them.  Sisters are so mean.

 Bill, in charge of the liquid refreshment.  Always a popular guy.

And Howard, in a new Christmas sweater, telling me to stop taking silly pictures.
 I didn't take pictures of all the "kids" as they were all wearing not just fuzzy slippers,
but questionable pajamas.
My girls and Peggy's decided years ago that if they were just going to be at one another's houses
for Christmas, they could just as well stay in their PJs and be comfy.  And that's what they do.

I love how Peggy does her mantle at Christmas.

Their Christmas tree, and the view across the foyer to their dining room.
This year there were so few "grownups" and so many "kids,"
that the kids got the dining room and we sat in the kitchen.  Ah, times change.

Ernie, the yellow Lab, filled his bed with torn wrapping paper,
and settled down for a long winter's nap with his favorite duck.

During the holiday, Josh and Alida cooked dinner for us.
Chinese food -- the real deal.
While on their honeymoon in China in July, they took a cooking class.

It paid off.  This was so delicious!
They've promised to share the recipes, so when I get them I'll pass them along to you.
They are well worth trying.

On the Friday after Christmas, my girls and I scooted west on Route 80, to a Cracker Barrel, for lunch.
Now, Cracker Barrel wouldn't have been our first choice for a Ladies' Lunch Out,
except it was Friday and that means Fish Fry.
Oh yeah.
Fried cod, mac & cheese, and stewed apples.
 Brought back memories of the old Howard Johnson's Fish Fry nights.
Well, for me, anyway.  My girls are too young to remember them.

Anne got chicken, but Alida and I got the fish.
So, how is it, Alida?
I think she likes it.

Somewhere along the way that week, I made a big lasagna.
We're talking enormous.  Turkey roasting pan size.

 Me, I like the corners of lasagna.
This one fed the family, and then some a lot of friends.
Including Alida's former college roommate Alyssa and her boyfriend Steve,
shown here posing for me before leaving for a party on New Year's Eve.
"Mom, it's freezing!  Take the picture, already!"
Kids today.  No guts.

And the litany of What-We-Cooked and What-We-Ate isn't over yet.
On the day after New Year's, another group of "kids" at the house, and a huge pot of chili.
This is half the chili, keeping hot in a Crock Pot.
Alida made the chili, using the Silver Palate recipe that I love, and she took this picture, too.
Multi-talented, that child. 

Howard and I escaped the madding crowd, and lit a fire in the parlor.
So, it was a little fire.

 That brings us to today.  Saturday, January 7th.
Christmas is over, and the season of Epiphany began yesterday.

Our Sunroom tree is slated for de-decorating this weekend, and the
long trip to the curb.  It will end its illustrious career as mulch for the county parks system.

The Parlor trees are faux,
so as my sister-in-law Doris says, "They can stay up pretty much . . . forever!"
 But they won't.  I'll peck away at them this week, and the house will lose its glimmer and glitz,
and be a Plain Jane once again.  That's OK.  I think it's time we started decorating for Groundhog Day.
Any suggestions?

I hope you all had the merriest of Christmases, and I wish you all the happiest of New Years.

May 2012 bring us joy, purpose, friendship, and uneventful weather!
God bless us, everyone.  -- Cass


  1. Hi Cass - I went looking for you yesterday and had decided to give you one more day before I sent out the searchers with their lights, dogs and heat-seeking equipment. So, it was just cooking, eating, entertaining and partying that kept you away - great fodder for blogs!
    Your Christmas looked wonderful. Happy New Year!

  2. The house looks beautiful and the food looks so good. makes me hungry. Richard from My Old Historic House.

  3. Cass..I love your looks like y'all had a lot of fun this Christmas..your parlor trees are just well as everything else..seems like the older I get the longer I leave my Christmas decorations up.. :-) changed my mind about taking down the trees today...maybe next week...
    enjoyed seeing your pictures..

  4. Cass, I always love your posts but this one was even "specialer" than the others. I kept giggling at all the funniies. I swear our hubbies may be twins separated at birth. And that fooxd!!! how I wish samples of that could be sent from your blog to mine!"

  5. Wow Cass, you look like you had a fun-filled holiday with family! Great photos and great fun I am sure.

  6. Looks and sounds like your holidays were very enjoyable and with lots of yummy food.
    Have a Wonderful New Year!

  7. Oh Cass what a fantastic Seasons period you lived!!! Everything is gorgeous and delicious!!!! May you have a specila happy new year as you wish it to be!!! Blessings, xoxoxoxo , Flavia

  8. I just put my Christmas decorations away this morning. :-))

  9. Looks like a wonderful Christmas, Cass! All the food looks so yummy and your home is so pretty! Love the photo of Ernie and his paper and the duck! I hope that your 2012 is off to a great start! Happy Saturday!...hugs...Debbie

  10. That was an extremely pleasant post. The lasagna looked good enough to just grab a fork and dig into the photo. Yum!! Thankfully my MIL made it for us this week so I didn't attempt it.

    Loved the thought of a "portable husband in hammock" Thanks for the giggle.

  11. Wow what a wonderful time filled with friends, fun and good food. Looking at it all made me hungry! Happy New Year to you Cass, hope all your endeavors go well--especially that new little shop!

  12. Hi Cass!!
    happy new year!!
    your trees were beautiful!!
    so glad you and family enjoyed Christmas..
    from start to finish..
    my tree came down yesterday..
    put away all the Christmasy stuff..
    rearranged the furniture ..again!
    now sitting here at the Computer..
    eating cookies..
    and watching the snow falling..
    warmest hugs..

  13. Thank you Cass, I enjoyed seeing your lovely family and seeing all of you having a great holiday season. Best wishes for good health and great happiness in this new year. Smiles to all,Susie (She Junks)

  14. Hello my dear friend..I pray you have the very best year ever..Girl I got hungry just reading this post ha ha!! Love the potatoe pancakes I did to make some for this house YUM!! Hugs and smiles Gloria

  15. Wow! Wow! WOW!!!!!!!!
    Amazing pics. I can smell ),
    but not taste the food. :0(
    I want. I want. I want me some of that good stuff.

  16. know how to celebrate! I lost count of the meals you shared! Your Christmas morning and day looked like so much fun. Family is the best.

    Welcome to the New Year!


  17. What a fabulous celebration. I love the house and its decorations and the food. Everything looked delicious.

  18. I'm full now. You do know how to cook though don't you. Everything looks so good!

  19. Hi Cassie Pooh! Oh, my, can I just come and live with you! Your home is so pretty and I love the carpet up your stairs. Love peeping into other folks homes too! Your food looks so good! I could kinda sneak in and you might not even notice me with all the other folks there. :)
    Be a sweetie,

  20. It looks like a wonderful time was had by all!
    I want your potato pancake recipe..I love them but have never found really good ones to make.
    The fish at Cracker barrell, looks yummy.
    Isn't fun to look back at the pictures and know it was a great holiday!

  21. LoVe Latkes too! Not Jewish, but 100% Polish and I learned how to make them from my grandmother. With sour cream and appleasauce and a sprinkling of sugar, of course!

    Enjoyed your holiday food post so much. I remember going to Howard Johnsons for Friday Fish Fry...only my mother always ordered all-you-can-eat fried clams! :)

    I'm blogging to avoid taking down my Christmas trees and holiday decorations. bleh!

    Happy Epiphany,


  22. I knew I shouldn't have looked at your blog this late -- now I am STARVED!!!

    Your latkes certainly look better than those I made from the mix -- oh well. Share the recipe??

    I didn't know Cracker Barrel as in the North -- we have Catfish on our Fish Friday. It's quite tasty.

    Happy New Year!

  23. Cass~
    I want that recipe for your potato latkes! They look like the ones my grandma's friend used to make when we were kids and I have never found any that tasted even half as good.
    Love that your holiday's were filled with such merriment.

  24. What a wonderful Christmas! Loved seeing all the family pictures! Beautiful tree, beautiful house, beautiful family! And yummmmmm to all the food shots!....Sheesh I'm hungry now *winks* Vanna

  25. Hi's me again! I'm obviously behind on reading your posts...shame on me! Mercy, that was one busy week. I'm not too familiar with Jewish traditions and such, but I do know about potato pancakes. I love them and with sour cream and applesauce? Yum!! I like to serve mine with pork chops.
    Looks like you and your family had a blessed and happy holiday season.



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