Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Week

Currently, Andrew is doing a bajillion push-ups for P90x and I'm eating strawberry mousse. This aptly sums up my holiday week.

I feel like most of my holiday break has been about fabulous food. After all, there are so many great foods in the world. Chocolate. Cheese. Chocolate cheesecake. There was also some exercise interspersed within the week (that P90 Tony is EXtreme and he kept telling us to "bring it") in order to feel like I could live with myself and my relationship with heavy cream. There was also some Christmas Day Harry Potter 7: The Deathly Hallows (part one), as well as some snow on December 26th. Really, snow in December in Georgia is something of a Christmas miracle.

This year, Andrew and I tried to start developing some Christmas traditions. Away from both our families, I realize how important it is to really take ownership of what traditions we want to pass on to our children. If I can get some of these habits cemented early in their lives, they won't be able to object -- it's tradition.

-Kids, you remember you are supposed to clean the bathrooms on Christmas Eve? It's what we've always done.

-Kids, thank you for the 1 hour massage coupon you all bought me for December 26th. This is a very important tradition for all of us.

-But Mother, what is the "sit quietly and read a book for two hours so there can be peace on earth" tradition? We hear the children from the other villages get to do things like 'play,' and 'open gifts?' What are 'gifts' mother?

Perhaps not all these traditions will work out. We shall see.

Notably, Andrew and I decided decorating Christmas cookies should have a place in our holiday rituals. I think I might have taken it a bit too far though -- insisting we make our own cookies, our own icing, prepare two different kinds of icing: outlining and flooding icing, insisting we color the icing, organize the cookies into two trays: pretty and not-pretty etc. The whole process ended up taking about three hours. If only I had people to give these cookies to...

Instead, most of them died a slow, stale death.


Christmas cookies

Guess what tray Andrew's robot cookie ended up on?


Let's just say the gingerbread man next to him is missing a leg.

For dinner traditions, since there were only two of us, I also decided not to make a turkey or ham for Christmas. Instead, I thought an intense five-course meal would be more delightful. Mostly, I think it just meant more work. I don't plan on doing this ever again. I wouldn't make it in Iron Chef. Too many things going on at one time in the kitchen means I forget to add baking powder to the cinnamon rolls, sour cream to the cheesecake, and eventually decide it's just faster to take things out of the oven with my bare hands.

The day started with some pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon rolls are a wonderful tradition for all.

Love that golden color:
pumpkin crolls2

But I love frosting more:
pumpkin crolls

For dinner, we ate a lot more food. I also learned that I don't really know how to properly set a table. Andrew helped me though. His mother taught him those kinds of things. My mom taught me how to play Lottery Scratch-its. Love you mom.

Place settings:

I still don't really know where bowls go. I guess I should have paid closer attention in Mrs. Reno Hoff's hospitality class.
place setting

We ate these mushrooms:

And this salad with homemade dressing (it had scary anchovies in it..but was still good) and homemade garlic croutons:
caesar salad

Some beer-cheddar soup and chives:
beer cheddar soup

Some fresh homemade bread:

Twice-baked potatoes and salmon:
Parenthetical note: clearly I don't know how to construct a plate. I didn't have parsley so I put folded chives on the plate. This may have been a mildly tacky decision.

And finally, mini cheesecakes:
mini cheesecakes
Blueberry for Andrew. Pumpkin for me.

Christmas time especially made me miss Oregon. We opted not to fly home and save ourselves quite a bit of money. I'm not sure if anyone else has ever spent Christmas with just his or her spouse, but it is strange. Opening presents takes about five minutes. Eating takes about 20 minutes. And essentially you find yourself unsure of what to do with all the extra time you're left with on Christmas Day. It was special for us though. A time to enjoy the blessing of being together (which is so easy to take for granted) and a time for life to slow down, to regroup, to prioritize, to be sure that the trials and triumphs of the past year have not crowded out the more important things, like love. Or the most important thing, that God becoming flesh and dwelling among us, that God incarnate, God with us, means there is always hope. Always light. And always life.

Now I have to go do P90x for the rest of my life in order to combat the evil cinnamon rolls. There is still a pan left in the fridge and I intend to destroy them. By eating them.

Missing all my friends and family this season and hoping the holidays were jolly for all.

The Browns
(technically Andrew had no part in this post so he cannot be responsible for anything that was said. The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Mr. Andrew Brown)


Mary-Anne said...

Wow, I'm very impressed. Your food looks absolutely delicious. I have never spent the holidays with just Nathanael and me, although I kind of want to. It would be strange, though. I'm so glad you got to spend Christmas with Andrew though!
P.S. I HATE P90X and Tony. Boo! I did the whole 3 months and didn't lose a pound. I think I gained weight. Albeit, it was muscle, but still...

Joshua and Mallory said...

Oh frustrating. I wrote a comment and it didn't post so now I actually have to use my brain to remember what I said.

I have an idea. How about you send all of your leftover cookies to Josh and I? I am not technically allowed to eat them, but I am sure that I could make an exception. Also, next year the three of us (and Bella too!) have every intention to fly out to Georgia for Christmas so we can eat your food. I hope you don't mind. In addition I do appreciate your disclaimer regarding Mr. Andrew Brown. I needed that clarification.


Kari said...


Amanda said...

Lyndsey, sometimes I wish I had married you instead of Andrew marrying you.
(Before you freak out, that was a joke. Sorta.)
Your Christmas dinner looked absolutely delicious and the cookies were beautiful (even the not-pretty tray).
Since I don't know how to cook anything, I will probably fast every Christmas once I'm on my own. Can't wait....

KeriAnn said...

Lyndsey, ignore the segment of my email which questions what you served for christmas dinner. Thanks for sharing. :)

lyndsey said...

Mary-Anne -- It was sort of fun to just spend the holidays solo. It made me feel grown-up. And Tony may be the most annoying person ever but there is no way you didn't get sort of ripped for doing that program for 90 days...nonetheless, I'm impressed with your dedication.

Mal -- I really should have mailed the Christmas cookies to someone because they actually lasted quite a while. And yes, please come visit!

Amanda -- My blog exists only for the intent of luring you to Georgia. Maybe I can cook up something special on July 26th?

Rich said...

Lyndsey, I just read your post and really enjoyed it! Keep writing, filling us in our your lives and making us laugh. Rich & Cindy

Amy said...

Hi Lindsay and Andrew! Found your blog via Carmen's...lovely to hear a bit about your lives:) Happy New Year!!

SarahJohnson27 said...

Crazy how it takes hours in the kitchen to prepare such a feast and a mere 20 minutes to devour it