Christmas, Part Two

I spent most of yesterday morning baking while Elf, Muppet Christmas Carol, and Mrs. Santa Claus played in the background.

My homemade soft pretzels following AB’s recipe turned out beautifully.

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I made these for the food exchange, but I kind of wanted to keep them for myself…I shared a small ‘tester’ one with Dave, and they were incredibly doughy and chewy; just as good as Aunt Annie’s! I couldn’t find pretzel salt at any grocery store and was forced to use sea salt instead, which worked just as well.

I also whipped up a Tarragon Mustard for dipping using Dijon mustard, dried tarragon, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Scrumptious.

While I was waiting for the pretzel dough to rise, I worked on my food contribution for dinner: Mini Bell Pepper Quiches. I found the recipe in this book I picked up last year during Family Holiday Shopping Day.

It’s a bit dated, but it has some great recipes in it. Because I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to make pie crust, I substituted puff pastry shells, which worked splendidly. The recipe was easy and delicious, and even though I’m a bit iffy on quiche, I thought these were very tasty.

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Bell Pepper Mini Quiches

  • 24 puff pastry shells
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red and green bell pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 oz shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of cayenne
  • dash of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Press pastry shells evenly into each muffin cup (using 2 muffin pans) to line bottom and sides.

In a medium skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add pepper and garlic and cook until softened but not browned, about three minutes. Remove from heat, stir in thyme, and let cool.

Distribute bell pepper mixture and cheese evenly among pastry shells. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk, salt, cayenne and nutmeg. Ladle into pastry shells.

Bake 20 minutes or until filling is puffed and golden and pastry is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Dave and I arrived at my Grandma’s for Christmas Eve at around 5:00pm. I like to get there early so I can see everyone come in. But we were greeted by a few familiar faces…

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My niece Aurelia.

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And my seeesters!

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My Uncle Jeff, ever the jokester, wore a Santa t-shirt saying “Does this suit make me look fat?”

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My cousin Jake moved back to Wisconsin from Oregon this year, and I swear, I still see him the same amount…hardly ever! It was good to be in his company again.

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And so good to see the Bains again, even though our Christmases get smaller and smaller.

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Dinner was a ham sandwich, cheesy potatoes, butter beans, seven layer salad, and a stuffed mushroom. And a quiche that I snatched off the plate and consumed before photographing.

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My Dad could win any eating competition he entered in; I so wish I would have inherited his metabolism (although he does work incredibly hard every day, too!).

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Decembeard brings people together! Well, just men I guess. I’ve been working on my beard for awhile, and it’s just not coming in.

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Christmas Eve is exhausting.

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Onto Christmas part three at my parents! Then off to Christmas part four at my Aunt Colleen’s. Wish me luck!

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