We were burning up the road Christmas weekend! Lots of good times, good company and good food!
On Friday, Uncle Jeff and Mema came to Thomson to visit. It was great to have them there! The boys were about to go hunting. Neither Brad nor Levi had any luck all weekend. :(
Dad has been doing conservation easement appraisal work since retiring and he decided that this would make his job so much easier. Plus, he can use it on the land in Thomson for hunting, hauling firewood, etc. Brad was drooling for sure! This is on our list once we get our land. (Fingers still crossed!)
We had some drinks and got to visit with the Heaths Friday night. They are new parents to precious Henry!
On Saturday, I hosted brunch for the Shinglers. This is Cooking Light's ciabatta french toast stuffed with gruyere and topped with a warm apple maple syrup. Every bit as good as it sounds!
The ever-popular ham and swiss sandwiches with a poppy seed and mustard dressing. Mmmmm. I do mine a little bit differently than most. I do not use any mayo or miracle whip - ick. So, I just layer ham and swiss on King's Hawaiian rolls. Then I mix only the butter, poppy seeds, mustard and worchestershire together (no onions). I slather this on the inside of the rolls, not on top. These are Brad's favorite!
My favorite baked grits recipe. A ton of flavor. Fat too but, hey, it's Christmas! Thank you, Paula Deen!
To lighten things up a little, I put together some fruit parfaits. I mixed some plain yogurt with vanilla extract (you could use vanilla yogurt but I didn't have any on-hand). I layered the yogurt with fresh, cut strawberries and kiwi for a festive look. I also added granola and drizzled it with honey. Yummy!
I don't have a picture but, to start, I made portobello pizzas. I just cleaned out the caps, drizzled the insides with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with oregano and thyme. I baked these, covered with foil, until tender. I added a sliced tomato and mozzeralla cheese to each and returned to the oven to melt. They were a hit too!
As per tradition, we decorated sugar cookies together. Brad got gruesome and painted red on the neck of a gingerbread lady that 'lost' her head. Don't you love his football player?
We headed back to Thomson on Friday for more fun. We exchanged gag gifts on Christmas Eve. Brad got a mini UTV like Dad's. Mom bought this before they even thought about Dad getting one. Levi got Brad a UF koozie. That thing is going in the fire soon!
Warning: whole animal being cooked ahead...
Instead of doing the traditional Christmas dinner (Brad and I were going to have two in one day), we smoked a whole hog! Levi borrowed Walker's smoker and they got started at 4:30 am on the coals. They did a great job!
We only ate a portion of his shoulder. This guy was only 65 lbs but he produced a lot of meat.
Levi pulling the meat off. It was so tender and juicy. They brined it in salt and brown sugar the night before.
Ok, this is gnarly but reminds me of one of my favorite movies - the Princess Bride. Remember the ROUS - rodents of unusual size? Those teeth!
At the Shingler house for our second Christmas celebration. Debbie did a great job getting dinner ready despite the ovens going on the fritz!
After our Shingler dinner, we went to the Revell house to hang out with Hunt and John and Lauren.
I was going to take a nice photo of John and Lauren by the fire and then Hunt and Adi jumped in the picture with random objects. Good times!
Brad and I had a great time visiting with friends and family during this most-special season. So much to be thankful for in 2011!