Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Recap: Eggnog French Toast & Chilled Christmas Punch


I hope everyone had a great holiday season! My husband and I made the trip down to Illinois for Christmas. The weather caused us to change our travel plans a bit and added about two hours to the drive down, but we arrived safe and sound and had a wonderful Christmas with my family.

Life has been a little crazy the past few weeks so I’m a bit behind on posts. I have a couple of recipes from before Christmas, but I wanted to get these two posted since they’re relevant to the season. Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the music, the traditions, the hunt to find a gift that will make the recipient smile with joy (the crowds in the stores and parking lots I could do without though). But it’s all over too fast. We spend so long preparing for it and in a matter of hours, it’s done. It’s kind of like cooking. Some things require quite a bit of preparation, but once they’re on the table, they don’t last long. Such was the case with the Eggnog French Toast. The preparation wasn’t difficult; in fact, this was one the easiest recipes I’ve made, but it needs to be refrigerated overnight so plan ahead if you want to prepare this for breakfast. Like Christmas, this meal was worth the wait. I am not a fan of eggnog and I loved this French toast. It doesn’t have an overpowering flavoring, but is sweet enough to make you sit back and savor the taste. My family decided this recipe would definitely become a new holiday tradition.

We also fell in love with the Christmas punch. It’s an interesting combination of flavors that is instantly refreshing. There is no alcohol in this punch so it’s great for the whole family, but if you wanted to make it an adult beverage, we all thought either vodka or rum would be a good addition. But be careful, this is one of those drinks that goes down easy so it wouldn’t take long to get pretty tipsy.

Cooking at my parents’ house can be a dangerous endeavor because they have three large dogs that love to be wherever you are. And in the kitchen, this usually means sprawled out on the floor beneath where you’re trying to cook. When you try to step over them, they have a knack for always lifting their heads or standing up as soon as you are precariously positioned above them (typically with a pan of hot food in your hands). They force you to pay attention to what you’re doing and watch every step you take. Not a bad thing when you’re in the kitchen.

The day before we were supposed to leave, flurries turned into a winter storm warning that dropped 10 inches of snow. The dogs had fun searching for toys buried in the snow and we got to witness my dad’s unique double shovel technique for clearing the driveway. But the time finally came to dig out the car, pack it up and head back to Minnesota.

Ryan and I kept hoping that someone graciously came over and plowed out our driveway while we were gone. No such luck. Instead, we got home at 11:00pm to a driveway buried beneath a foot of ice-covered snow with a 2-foot berm of solid ice at the end from the snowplow. We parked in the street, dug out a trench, put the car in 4-wheel drive and slid into the garage. The next day we also discovered several large branches from the behemoth pine tree in the back yard had fallen. The entire day was spent shoveling, breaking down branches, and trying to convince Murphy to come inside to warm up his feet (he tried to pick all four feet off the ground at once because they were so cold, but was having too much fun playing in the tree carnage and attacking the shovel monster to go inside).

Finally, the lure of his Christmas loot won out and he came inside to play with his new toys. Santa Paws was very good to both Murphy and Chico (he must not have seen the holes in the backyard or in the wall) and they were both overwhelmed with excitement when they opened their presents. Yes, I wrap presents for my pets. If you could have seen the enthusiasm with which each of them tore into their gifts, you’d understand why.

After a long day of unpacking and winter yard work, we all passed out before our heads even hit the pillows. Murphy was happy to be home in his own bed without the incessant barking of dogs disturbing the vision of sugar-plums dancing in his head. Another Christmas has come and gone. Soon, the lights will be down, the stockings will be packed up and stored away, and the only thing we’ll be left with is the snow and ice from the Christmas storm. Even though radio stations start playing holiday music the day after Thanksgiving and stores put up their decorations shortly after Halloween, it all goes by too fast. Christmas brings a feeling of joy and a sense of hope that, this year especially, is so important. I find myself staring into the dawn of not only a new year, but a new decade and wonder where it will take me. After nearly a year of unemployment and the recent news that my husband’s company will also be having layoffs in the next few weeks, I’m just not ready to let go of that hope and happiness from the Christmas season. Thursday night, I’ll raise my glass to toast the new year and instead of making resolutions for 2010, I’ll make myself a promise to enjoy every moment. If I’ve learned anything this holiday season, it’s that it all goes by too quickly and we need to enjoy this journey, not rush to get to the destination…whatever that is.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


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  2. I might have to try that double-shovel technique tomorrow after the next storm, that looks awesome.

    But nothing is as awesome as the Mr. Bill toy that Murphy has! Bravo!