Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014

Merriest CHRISTmas to you all!  So how was your celebration like?

My in-laws usually take a trip out of the country during the holidays. We usually go with them since my husband's business allows us to go out of the country only during the long Christmas break.  But for this year we decided to not go with my in-laws to HK.

Everytime that we are home to celebrate the holidays, I prepare the food for Christmas Eve dinner, just like this one right here. Holiday cooking always gets me excited! I woke up extra early to prepare our holiday cookies... to make sure there's something sweet to munch on the entire day while we are busy in the kitchen and for when we are opening our presents.

One by one, my kids started joining me in the kitchen for our whole morning bake fest!  With songs in the background while we were baking, it seemed like there was a party going on in our kitchen!

These Lemon Meltaways literally melt in the mouth!
These are the kids' favorite!  They are really shortbread cookies, but I've altered the recipe to use cornstarch to take the place of part the flour to make them melt in the mouth.

Raspberry and Almond Shortbread is C's ultimate fave cookie!
 I make an extra big batch because he really loves them that much!
These color of the cookies is perfect for the holidays, and the small bite-size is perfect to pop in our mouths when we unwrap our presents.

With three kids, our tree is brimming with gifts every year! There are a lot more gifts on the side of the tree which are not included in the photo anymore. That, plus the foodie gifts which have been quickly placed in the pantry. We are always thankful for the blessings, and so every year as they open their gifts, I also ask the kids to clear up their toy storage and wardrobe.  We give away some stuff to make way for the new ones.

Christmas Eve and I still have some wrapping left to do! I hate that I procrastinated this year...

I prepared a cheese platter as a pre-dinner snack, something to nibble on while they sit on the table waiting for me to finish cooking the steak and scallops. This is an herbed cream cheese mixture wrapped in whole almond nuts (to resemble pine cones) and the other one is wrapped in bacon bits. Thank you Pinterest for always rescuing me!:)
I got a Ball mason jar filled with mixed nuts as a Christmas gift, so I segregated all the almonds and used them for this appetizer.  The rest of the nuts are inside my freezer, waiting for a cookie project.

The kids finished one whole ball of cheese while waiting for dinner. On the other hand, C and I preferred the one covered in almonds.  The cholesterol is just too much for our old bodies! hahaha!:)

This year, I prepared a simple dinner because we were going to have Christmas Day lunch with my mom's side of the family in Pampanga.  My cousins are good hosts who throw parties with good food, indulgent sweets and fun raffle prizes. I was expecting to be stuffed for lunch with them, so I explained to C it would be a good idea to scale back for dinner this time. Babawi na lang sa New Year's Eve Dinner.

The scallops are always a favorite with the family!

The kids wanted to have a movie marathon on Christmas Eve, so we indulged them by letting them sleep in our room for the movie night, complete with iced tea, chips and cookies.  For some reason, the Home Alone series is such a hit with my kids, even if they saw the movie for ten million times already.  Memorize na nga yung script! They also love the Ocean's Eleven series. But too bad for the kids, hanggang 12 midnight (or just a little bit after that) lang ang kaya namin ni C.  We were just so sleepy already. And of course I had to remind the kids that we were all going for a road trip the next day.  And as I wrote here, one of the things to do for a safe road trip is to make sure that the designated driver gets enough sleep the night before a trip.

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 My mom's side of the family hail from Pampanga, and so for this Christmas Day family lunch, we drove north. They said the family was in complete attendance this year.. 3 sets of long tables for the 1st generation, 2nd and 3rd.

My cousins take their parties seriously!  As you can see, meticulous details are given to everything.   The tables were all decked out in holiday fashion.

 The centerpiece for the kids' table even had treats on it.

 Here's a partial shot of the party... And yes, Santa hats are required! Teehee! My brother, a cousin and a family friend hosted the program and games.

This is the kind of family party where you get Starbucks GCs for just showing up.  The raffle prizes were so much more grander... with my folks taking home a Nespresso machine!

There were a lot of food... yummy food. Just enjoy the visual feast!

But the star of the buffet set-up was the carving station! Which had salmon, turkey, lamb, prime rib and a super tender and flavorful cochinillo.  Everything was done by their in-house chef.



While C came back for seconds for the cochinillo, my fave was the prime rib.  Just look at that! OMG, it was so good, I am still dreaming about it until now.

 The dessert bar was overflowing too, but I was too stuffed from the prime rib already.

My first plate

My plate from the carving station... which I shared with C, so please don't judge me! :)

And my second plate... the beef and pasta was really sooo good! So good that when it was time to get left-overs, I quickly asked for these 2. Which made my youngest sister quip, "napaka-houewife naman ng peg mo!"  Of course! Saves me from cooking kaya, noh! Hahaha!

After the scrumptious lunch, everyone was called to join the games.  There were about 4-5 games, with the participants pre-selected to form teams already. Pinoy Henyo, Charades, and a lot more... No KJs allowed in the party.:)
YAY! C and I won the couples game.  We were the last couple dancing with an apple between our foreheads.
With all the fun games, raffle, and exchange gifts, the party quickly extended into late merienda, but no worries because the crepe station and self-serve soft ice-cream made sure all the adults and kids were well-fed and over-stuffed.


It was already past 5 o'clock when we headed home. Everyone had a great time, and the wonderful sunset which accompanied us made the long trip back home so much more enjoyable.

When we got home, the kids quickly laid out all their winners' loot to show me.  It's so funny how the li'l man chose his prizes... the 3 canes of Kisses were chosen for each game he participated in and won!  Eeeep! Can you spell favorite?

How did your Christmas go?