Happy New Year!….Better late than never…….

Bah-Humbug! Is it over yet?

Wow! Here we are post-Thanksgiving, post-Christmas, post- St. Stephen’s Day, post -Farl Week (more on this later) and post- New Year and not even one “post” from me since Halloween. Where does the time go? So quite a bit has happened since I last bothered to blog. Christmas as usual was a whirlwind. We were busy with events leading right up to Christmas Day on which Jay and I hosted both sets of parents for dinner. This year we did a bacon wrapped beef tenderloin roast with horseradish sauce, potato and leek gratin, garden greens with champagne vinagrette and yorkshire puddings, topped off by Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes with a side of vanilla ice cream.

Bacon Wrapped Terderloin with Roasted Mushrooms

Yorkshire Puddings

Dinner is served!

Molten Chocolate Cakes about to be plated & paired with ice cream

For whatever reason, this meal was significantly less stessful to prepare than those in the past. Perhaps I’m just getting more experienced in dealing with all of the small kitchen disasters one can be faced with when preparing for a dinner party. All in all, very enjoyable. The following day, St. Stephen’s Day, our parents returned for brunch. My brother Russ, sister-in-law Jen and their kids Riley and Jason stopped by as well. We had plenty to eat: two tarts-a ham and a bacon, scones-chocolate chip and currant, strawberries and cream, bacon cheddar biscuits, almond coffee cake, sliced ham with buttermilk mini biscuits, etc.

Brunch Table

Riley makes a selection

Kids really make Christmas, so there was big excitement for all involved. After spying some squirrels outside who were enjoying their St. Stephen’s Day peanuts, Riley and Jason were ready to get down to opening some prezzies.

On Squirrel Patrol

Riley really loved a princess castle that her Pop-pop and Granny gave her.

Wait..it was Riley who loved her castle right? My what big boots you have Riley!

Strawberries and Cream in a castle

Jason gets some help with a prezzie

He gets into the swing of things

Everyone joins in the fun

Perhaps some had a little too much fun...

Quite fittingly, we discovered that there is an actual Ridgeway Brewery in Oxfordshire England. We purchased a few bottles of their Christmas Ales. Splendid. Hope to visit it in person some day.

Ridgeway Ale

Overall, a very merry Christmas! Want to see more pics? Please click on Christmas/St. Stephan’s Day photos to view our entire gallery.

Later in the day, we had a few friends stop by as well for a very “chill” St. Stephen’s Day wind down. One particular highlight of the evening was that Peter, Jenn and Guiliane stopped by with the newest addition to their family-Eliana Camille-only 17 days old!

Eliana Camille Alcantara

How is that for adorable huh? Jenn is the photographer here. As you can see, she is awesome. Her business website, JLAphotos, is currently undergoing an upgrade, but make sure you check back soon. For those of you who can’t wait for a further peek at her gorgeous photography, take a look at her personal blog. She has many fantastic shots posted there. I particularly love the way she is able to really capture the personality of the children she photographs by having them just be themselves. There are few stiff, posed photos. That being said, she does do some awesome portrait type photography as well. Take a look at her work here on Fishnets and Photos. These HOT photos pay homage to the pin-up girls of yesterdays. Great for bachelorette parties or maybe a memorable Valentine’s gift for that special someone.

Jay and I both received some awesome prezzies as well. Too many, I’m ashamed to say, to mention here. However, I thought I would take the opportunity to show off a couple. Jay purchased these two fellows for me from a place called Motley Mutton.

Pajo Sheep

Tarquinn Squirrel

They are needle felted wool creations. Needle felting, for those who are not familiar with the process, is basically sculpting a form with wool. First you roll or bunch carded wool into a shape and then poke the wool with a barbed needle. This action causes the wool to become tangled and intertwined. The more the shape is stabbed, the tighter the twined wool. What Motley Mutton achieves with this process is amazing! Definitely take a look at this etsy store, her stuff is just adorable! I’m hoping to learn how to do this….I’ll keep you posted.

Speaking of prezzies, Gimlet was very happy with this giant, peanut butter rawhide bone.

Lucky Dog!

Jay is really pleased with his new EBOW. What is an EBOW you may ask. It is a piece of musical equipment which makes his guitar sound a bit more like a violin. Take a listen here:

With all of the Christmas festivities done, Jay and I looked forward to Farl Week. Farl Week, for those who don’t know, is the week following Christmas. During that week, for every single breakfast I prepare potato farls from our Christmas Dinner leftover mashed potatoes. You may have noticed that our Christmas Dinner this year did not include mashed potatoes. Not to be cheated out of Farl Week, I made up a batch on Christmas Eve and stuck them right in the fridge so they’d be ready on December 27th! A potato farl is basically a potato pancake, fried in butter or bacon drippings….YUM! I first became a fan when I had them in Ireland. There you can just buy them pre-made from the store. Those farls are basically shaped like a slice of bread, which is nice because you can put eggs and bacon on top of it and fold it over for a little breakfast sandwich. I cut mine out with a biscuit cutter and add a little shredded cheddar cheese to the mix. The recipe is easy: 1 Cup leftover mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper to taste, cheddar cheese (or any other cheese you prefer) if you would like. Mix it all up, roll it out, cut into biscuit shapes, or I have even fried the entire farl round and cut it into wedges when it was done. I think I prefer the biscuit shapes though because they are a bit more crispy.

Rolling out the farl dough

Biscuit shaped farls

Frying 'em up!

Awesome Farlicious Breakfast

There were many awesome treats to be had over the whole holiday season and I assure you my waistline is happy that Farl Week only lasts one week. Farl Month would be a nightmare….a delicious nightmare…but…We’ve definitely tried to get back into the working out/ watching what we eat daily routine. However, I have recently come across some fantastic recipes and I’m sure we’ll have to take a break from the diet drudgery to try them out. Check back soon (Promise I will be better about the posting frequency…..)

Gimlet scarfs a snack

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