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Posts from — December 2013

Santa sacks

less boxes

I changed my decades old tradition of present wrapping this past Christmas. I’ve always wrapped each family member’s gifts in their own unique and individual wrapping paper.

more bags

None of them knew, until Christmas morning, whose gifts were whose.

santa bags

When the kids were little, this method kept them from counting to see who had more and from shaking gifts they would have otherwise known belonged to them.

This year, I still wrapped the gifts, I just didn’t worry about using a specific paper or tags. Instead,  I used personalized Christmas Sacks from Harrow & Green, a small company in London.

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December 31, 2013   3 Comments

Top 10 recipes of 2013

A look back on the Best of 2013 from LesPetitesGourmettes.com.

best of 2013

Plus a bonus recipe from way back in 2012 that I just have to add – because I love it and because I am going to make a big batch of it today! And… just because.

avocado and crasin

I know the question you are asking yourself, “Linda, how on earth did you compile your top 10 list of best recipes from 2013?”

Very scientifically, that’s how.

2 dozen chocolate banana bread muffins

Here is the exact criteria needed to make the top 10 list:

  1. Most feedback and comments here on the blog.
  2. Most often pinned on Pinterest.
  3. Most shares, “likes” and/or comments on the Les Petites Gourmettes Facebook page.
  4. Most loved by me – in other words, a recipe could make the cut because I really like the recipe!
  5. Finally, the last criteria was that it was not one of the recipes from a three-week period in February when I did that stupid 3-week life-sucking cleanse. Not a one of those would ever make any Top 10 list. Nowhere! Never! Not Ever!  I only wish I could get those 3 weeks of my life back.

pesto and manchego

On to the TOP TEN -

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December 30, 2013   4 Comments

Christmas dinner 2013

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
We did.
Of course, the best part is having all my loves home with me!

o christmas tree

For Christmas Eve, we brought back a tradition we began last year (when I had a fractured pelvis and could not stand up in the kitchen to cook) and we once again had blue cheese fondue. We are all in love with the new simple, fun, and communal approach to a special family meal. The kids voted that we add in chocolate fondue for dessert in 2014. Dave and I made that vote unanimous.

2013 Christmas table

This was our Christmas day tablescape.

glitter L

For our Christmas day dinner, the main course was something I taught at Les Gourmettes, individual beef Wellingtons.

beef tenderloin

You’ll notice that some of the photos below were taken while I was prepping for that class.

tenderloin

I purchased a full beef tenderloin and cut it into 16 pieces. This was the most economical way to feed a crowd.

16 steaks

For our holiday meal, I purchased already cut filet mignon.

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December 27, 2013   2 Comments

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2013   No Comments

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

The following four ingredients take 5 minutes to assemble…

The resulting meat will be feeding your family and guests for days on end…

And they deliver the most versatile, easy, meal-making thing you’ll have had in your refrigerator in a long time.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

Tender, juicy, and tantalizing Kalua Pork is amazing as is. Stuffed into a toasted roll – pretzel rolls being my personal favorite – is a meal in itself.

But there is so much more you can do with it; add to omelets or frittatas. Fill a wrap or toss into a salad. Pile into tortillas or crisp lettuce leaves, garnished with tomatoes, guacamole and salsa, for sumptuous tacos or lettuce wraps.

You get the idea – this stuff is versatile!

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December 24, 2013   2 Comments

Overnight Eggnog French Toast

This recipe came from the food section of our newspaper and was provided by our local dairy, Shamrock Farms.

IMG_5623

We didn’t trim our tree until Saturday, once the kids and my mother-in-law arrived. So the night before, I put together this breakfast dish while I waited for Marissa’s plane to get in from San Francisco. It was scheduled for midnight, but delayed until 2:00 AM. I made good use of the extra two hours and wrote out all my Christmas cards as well… blurry-eyed, but I got it done!

IMG_5631

We all enjoyed breakfast and tree-trimming, with carols playing in the background and coffee and hot chocolate mugs in our hands.

IMG_5603

I made a few changes to  the recipe; using actual rum instead of rum extract and subbing cinnamon bread for the firm white or whole wheat that was suggested. Additionally, I’ve decreased the amount of eggs used in the mixture.

This eggnog French toast was a huge hit with the family and will likely become a new holiday tradition for us.

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December 23, 2013   4 Comments

Friday Funnies

friday

camping

Exactly!

target

A dream come true!

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December 20, 2013   1 Comment

the ultimate cupakes

As I’ve told you many times before, I am NOT a baker.

I don’t like to bake.
I don’t have the patience to bake.
I am not skilled at baking.

Toffee Crunch Mini Cupcakes

That being said – I baked these cupcakes… and they are The BOMB!

choc and toffee

Seriously! I gave Connor one to sample and his eyes rolled back in his head with delight! He made me promise him that I would make them for his birthday in May. That is a promise I intend to keep!

choc and toffee

The recipe came from HERE.

If every recipe on bakersroyale.com is as scrumptious as these cupcakes, and if YOU love to bake, you should be going to this site everyday from here on out!

mini cupcakes

All I did was change them from standard cupcakes to mini cupcakes. Otherwise, I followed the recipe almost as written and they were perfection! So much so, that I could eat the caramel frosting, with a huge spoon, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

OK, maybe not! The frosting alone has a pound of butter – but to be fair, there was quite a bit of frosting left over, even after all the cupcakes were made.

To prevent me from using a spoon to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I put it in the trash and then dumped the nasty contents of my Roomba on top of it!

I can’t have that sort of temptation around here!

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December 19, 2013   2 Comments

no chip “nachos”

I served this appetizer at the Christmas Craft Party and I’ll be bringing it to a family Christmas party next this weekend. (I think I may be in denial that Christmas is a week from Today!)

It is chicken nachos, minus the chips!

melty goodness

In the place of chips are those adorable mini bell peppers you can find in most grocery stores and always at Costco.

lazy chicken

I was in a super time-crunch for the craft party so I used a new product I found at Costco, rotisserie chicken breast meat. It came in a 2 1/2 pound package, I pulled out what I needed, and froze the rest.

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December 18, 2013   3 Comments

Christmas bunting

bunting on black fireplace

This, the simplest and the least expensive of the crafts, is my absolute favorite. So sweet and old-fashioned.

book page bunting

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December 16, 2013   6 Comments