“And so Happy Christmas…”

Christmas 2011 came and went in a flurry of excited yelps and wrapping paper scraps. The bambino got the Big Millennium Falcon, as he’d dropped hints about it for months:


And oh, how he loves it.


Everything else is a bit of an after-thought. But that’s okay. I’d rather he be super-excited about getting the one big thing he asked for than be “meh” about all his gifts. I myself finally got the one gift I’ve been dropping hints of my own about for a couple years now:


The Pioneer Woman’s first cookbook! And just in time, too, since her second one will be coming out in March. I left her a comment in the hopes that on her next book tour, she’ll maybe stop in Sioux Falls. I’m pretty sure that I could talk Melissa, Jessica and Katie into going with me if she did a book signing there. Tucked inside the book was another gift:


Free money at Buttercrust! Woo hoo! I’m trying to decide if I want to use it for household baked goods, or if I want to use it just for myself, and clean them out of chocolate croissants one day. I have time to think about it–They won’t open back up until Tuesday.


My final gift from Jay was a table-top tripod. I did that practice shot in the kitchen with it. Hopefully it means no more blurry photos for awhile! Until I get my DSLR anyway…I decided that if we get decent-enough bonus checks from work next month, I am getting myself an Olympus E-PM1. I’m sorely tempted to go ahead and order one from Costco.com, as they’ve got a package on the E-PL1 that includes the camera, TWO lenses, and a case, for $400, through the end of the year. Part of me thinks it’s too good of a deal to pass up, but the rational part of me says to wait until I have the actual cash to purchase it. I dunno. I’m obviously still on the fence about it.

I got presents from my mom as well:


I do kind of wish I’d opened this last night–It would’ve gone so well with my Cincinnati-themed dinner! I also got some more Longaberger stuff:


And:


My mom mentioned that she was slightly annoyed when she saw my Secret Santa had also gotten me measuring cups, but as I pointed out, there have been MANY times where it seems I just don’t have enough 1/3 cups or 1/4 cups on-hand when I’m baking. So as far as I’m concerned, 4 sets is just fine. Heck, I have 5 sets of measuring spoons (for the same reason).

My dad almost always sends cash, which went into the snow blower fund. It looks as though by the end of the month, we’ll have more than enough to get ourselves one…Which hopefully we won’t even need for a little while longer.


We’re not expected to get anything that sticks around till at least the middle of January, and I’m hoping that as dry as we are right now, we’ll get lucky and winter will give us a huge break this year!

Around 2, I figured I should get to work on something dinner-related. I started with the pie:


Funny how I went from the World’s Ugliest Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving, to quite possibly the prettiest pumpkin I’ve ever made (minus the crust–No matter how I try, my fluting skills absolutely suck)! After that came out of the oven, around 3 I decided maybe it was time to get a shower and actually get dressed. I then got to work on my dinner rolls, and used my stand mixer to see how that would work:


That would be the dough hook in action. It was SO nice–I got the dishes from making the pie washed while that was going. After I got the dough settled and rising, I got the chicken in the oven, got potatoes peeled, and green beans cooking (over the course of a few hours).


The chicken looked good enough–I realized, though, I made a huge mistake when I cooked the chicken. You’re supposed to roast them breast-side up. That chicken’s not breast-side up. When I was trying to pull it off the rack, I couldn’t figure out why it was basically collapsing on top. Ah, because the back was falling apart. The breast itself didn’t have crispy-crunchy skin, but it was cooked through, and that’s all I ever worry about when cooking poultry. Everything else turned out very well:



I had some pie with whipped cream after, and I am STILL stuffed. Thank the gods for elastic waist pants! Happy Christmas everyone!

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