a culinary christmas!

The Christmas season involves a lot of food. There are a lot of get-togethers & parties, which require even more food. Over the past few weeks, I have done a lot of cooking! Most of these endeavors have been successes, but there have been some interesting moments along the way as well.

- Our 3rd?4th? annual C.S. Lewis Party (a.k.a. college buddy reunion) was at the beginning of December. I made my mom's cocktail meatballs (amazing), chicken bites with honey-mustard sauce, and of course, chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes.
Here's a pic of the gang - minus Heather! We missed you!
- Our staff Christmas party was the next evening, and as I wrote about before, I made "Ford Cupcakes" for the "Michigan-Made" theme (click the link for a picture, too).

- Some people at our church got together to wrap gifts for our food pantry, and we decided we needed some desserts for that gathering as well. So, I made MY FIRST CHEESECAKE! And I didn't even document it with a photograph! I know, what the heck was I thinking? Anyway, I made Annie's Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake and it was pretty much awesome. I did not use any pecans, because I wanted my husband to be able to enjoy it, but I can only imagine how wonderful they would be with this. Doug said it was one of his favorite desserts that I've ever made... and friends, I make a lot of desserts.

- For the same gathering, I made Oreo Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies (also by Annie). Didn't take a pic of these either. Um, they tasted great. But... I did not cook them long enough. So only the edges were able to be served... and the rest could have been eaten with a spoon. Whoops.

- Monday we had a snow day! That has nothing to do with cooking, but needs to be documented.

- Monday evening was my junior girls' small group Christmas party. We usually get pizza, but we decided to do a potluck meal this year. I made Giada's chicken parmesan and it turned out really well. For dessert, I made Snickers Cupcakes with Chocolate Mousse Filling - with a couple of modifications. First of all, I didn't have chocolate cake mix, so I used vanilla. But I didn't have any instant vanilla pudding, so I used butterscotch, which was a fun flavor twist. They were really good! But sweet mercy, they were so rich. I can only imagine what the chocolate cake/chocolate pudding addition would have done to intensify that decadence! Yikes.

- Last night we had some of Doug's friends from high school over for dinner. I made Apricot-Ginger Pork, which I haven't made since Christmas 20o8. I have no idea where the recipe came from, so I'll just give all the credit to my dear friend Sara (if you click that link, give her a hard time because she hasn't updated her blog in a ridiculously long time). I LOVE this recipe. Thankfully there is a lot of leftover sauce, so I'll be making it again before 2 years go by.

- For dessert last night, I made Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake (Annie's!). SWEET BLISS. Doug may like the pumpkin cheesecake, but this confectionary delight is right up my alley. Annie's recipe calls for instant espresso powder - I used a little of Starbucks' VIA (caramel & vanilla) mixed with some finely ground instant coffee and it was awesome.

- Tomorrow night is our small group Christmas Cookie Bake-a-thon. I am going to make Annie's Candy Cake Biscotti.

- We are hosting Christmas for the Partons here this year, so I need to start planning that menu too! Hooray for holiday foods!


  1. I want those cupcakes. Who are we kidding? I want all cupcakes. But most specifically, and for right now, I want those.

  2. You are SO dang amazing! And I have no idea how you say so tiny, too!!!

    I made those biscotti every day & have enjoyed at least 2 for breakfast every day this week. I've definitely become a biscotti fan!

  3. I gained 20 pounds just reading this. And what will you be serving for Rachel/Jeanette Reunion tour Y2K10? Just kidding.

    (no, I'm not)

  4. you can make me a cheesecake...since my mother won't. :)

  5. I am seriously impressed with ALL of it! Looks AWESOME!!! Way to go "suzy homemaker" :)

  6. I am seriously impressed with ALL of it! Looks AWESOME!!! Way to go "suzy homemaker" :)

  7. Hey Rachel! Your blog is the best! You inspired me to make Annie's Candy Cane Biscotti. We had a snow day today, so it was a perfect time to try. They are yummy! Thanks for the idea and the inspiration! Merry Christmas!

  8. I wish that you could box up just a tiny sample of each of those Christmas goodies and send it to me in the mail, could ya, huh?

  9. annie should sponsor you...
    [i've never made a cheesecake. but then again, i have no real need to. i have mand...] ;)