Since we hosted the double Holcombe and Malone holiday this year, I spent a lot of time planning and preparing FOOD for all our guests! Christmas morning, I was up early baking pumpkin muffins and cutting up fruit for the fruit salad, for our early Christmas breakfast spread.
My family spent the morning enjoying these pumpkin delights, sipping hot coffee, and slowly opening presents. We were short two family members, since my sister and her husband were celebrating on a late honeymoon to LONDON! Every time we opened her gifts and card, the whole group got a little sniffly…
Check out this awesome MUSHROOM growing kit that Rebecca sent me!! She saw my blog post about the original mushroom stump, and got me my very own kit to grow portabellas – my favorite! I have to wait until mid-January to open the box, but rest assured, it will be featured on the blog!
Once we were done, we cleaned up and got ready for the rest of the Malone clan to arrive. While we waited, I began prep for my Christmas feast. Starting by breaking down the smoked turkey for the carnivores. Everyone kept offering to do this for me, as apparently vegetarians are afraid of meat? I reminded them that I have handled far worse things than a cooked turkey in culinary school….
I actually picked out the recipes for our Christmas dinner while I was reading Cooking Light on the treadmill on Thanksgiving Day! I narrowed the selections down to the few best, and set to work getting ready for a wonderful dinner with my fabulous combined families. Our spread included…
The infamous smoked turkey. Notice my pretty holiday dinnerware! I got this last year as an super early Christmas present from my mom – I love it!
Sherried Green Beans and Mushrooms. I pretty much followed this recipe exactly, except I replaced the sherry with white wine vinegar.
Israeli Cauliflower with Panko. This was absolutely delicious – a definite favorite contender at the table! I think panko can pretty much make anything taste fabulous though.
Bulgur with Dried Cranberries. I made this early in the day so that it could sit in the refrigerator for a while and the flavors could marinate and intensify. I doubled this recipe (since we had 8 people!), but chose not to double the cranberries or the oil, in order to scale back the calories a bit. This was my second time making this recipe, and I still absolutely loved it. One for the permanent collection!
While all of these dishes were delicious, the star of the dinner was the Roasted Carrots with Smoked Paprika! Holy YUM! This will definitely be a new go-to recipe. We sliced the carrots with a mandolin in order to get the desired flat shape, which made them roast quickly and evenly. These were the first leftovers to go.
Combined with family all the way from Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Atlanta, it was the perfect Christmas dinner.
But what is dinner without DESSERT, right? Ugh, there was more dessert this holiday season than my house has ever seen! Starting with a massive arsenal of Christmas cookies. My mom showed up with enough cookies to feed all of Charlotte! She’s been making the same cookies for literally 30 years, and it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without these Holcombe classics. (For the record, that is a cookie tray, not my individual plate!)
On the Malone side, they have two family favorites. Grandma Jacque’s famous pumpkin roll (made for the first time by Tina!)…
And Casey’s brother Kirt always requests a pecan pie at any family function or holiday. My family never ate pecan pie, so my taste buds aren’t quite adjusted to the sweetness. Regardless, this was homemade and delicious.
I never totally gorged myself with desserts or food during the holidays, but I opted to have dessert every night, which is something I never do. Even having eaten pretty small quantities at a time, I can tell they have added up, and it is time to get back on track.
That effort started tonight, with a much needed trip to Y2Yoga with Amanda for some hot vinyasa! And much to my surprise, Whit was there too!! The Charlotte bloggers (minus Kath – we missed you!) were sweating out our holiday sugar, and back to our healthy, normal selves.
Despite my dessert overload, I was really happy to have served my guests such a delicious meal that was also incredibly nutritious, well balanced, and overall low in calories. Had they not seen me working out of a Cooking Light magazine, I doubt they would have noticed any difference. Hurrah for a happy and healthy holiday feast!