These are a few of my favorite things…
Me and Mom (Liz) in the kitchen!
For me, the holidays means just being with family and enjoying each other’s company. And the traditions! Every year, we make our family gingerbread cookies recipe and we serve gravlaks (Norwegian spelling) – a spiced raw salmon dish – as an appetizer. They are both so delish! (See below for recipes!)
My mom’s family is Norwegian and in Norway, Christmas Eve is very important – it’s actually the main focus of the holidays and when gifts are typically exchanged. We’ve adapted our own holidays to partially include this tradition, so the adults in my family actually open their gifts the night before Christmas. The kids then open their gifts on Christmas morning, and we also save the stockings until then as well. I shop all year long for my stocking gifts because they’re that important to me. One of the perks about my job is that I am always traveling and going into gift stores, so I pick up fun items along the way. I love watching my family open these – it’s really one of my favorite gifts of Christmas time. I really treasure these traditions – I think it makes the holidays that much more special!
Brantley and I are still working on what our holiday traditions will be when Burch is aware of what is going on. I guess that time will be here before we know it!! For now, we are just driving around like crazy, fitting all family in!
Christmas LP Style
Flip-Flop Tinsel :)
Living in Florida means we don’t exactly get a white Christmas. But we do get a bright Christmas, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We get to play outside without coats on…my kind of happiness. And I can’t forget about my flip flop tinsel – my tree just isn’t complete without it ;)
The Ultimate Holiday Story is….
The movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – our favorite! We just laugh the entire time…
Liz working her magic in the kitchen…
The secret to amazing Gingerbread Cookies…..
Real butter and the perfect baking time. You want them crisp, not soft.
On my holiday list…
If anything, more help with the baby…LOL!
Tips for a successful holiday gathering…
Everyone has their own way of throwing a party – some gatherings are elegant and formal, others are relaxed and buffet style. There’s really no “right” way to do it, as long as you’re enjoying every moment! Cook ahead of time so you can enjoy your guests. Play carols in the kitchen when you are cooking to keep things festive. Don’t try to play Superwoman and do everything – let people help you – it’s part of what the holidays are all about. Remember to have “good” around at all times! Tis the season for memories, not perfection –focus on sharing happiness and spreading mirth!
What do you think…is it big enough? ;)
Taking a Post-Christmas Recovery…
I go in hiding from the 26th to the 1st of the year because show time starts in January, and I am on the road for 6 weeks straight! So during that “down” week, I try to escape from my everyday crazy schedule, which can be hard. I plan on spending as much time with Burcham as I can and picking up a book instead of looking at my computer. I’ll go for walks and brainstorm about designing…shutting down helps foster creativity.
What are some of your favorite traditions? I want to hear! Feel free to comment below. Happy Holidays to you all!!!! xoxo LP
2 1/2-3 lbs salmon fillets, skin on, all bones removed
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (add more if needed)
2 1/4 teaspoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons AQUAVIT (add more if needed)
1 cup dill sprigs, packed
1. Trim the salmon fillet, cutting away any thin uneven edges and the thin end of the tail (which can be reserved for something else).
2. Make sure all the pinbones are removed–run your fingers up the fillet; if you feel any bones, remove them with a tweezer or a needle-nosed plier.
3. Cut the fillet in half crosswise so that you have two pieces of the same length and roughly the same width.
4. Mix the salt and sugar together.
5. Sprinkle half the mixture over each fillet and rub it in with your fingers.
6.Place one fillet in a glass (or other non-reactive) baking dish big enough to hold it.
7. Drizzle about two tablespoons of aquvait over each half, rubbing it in with your fingers.
8. Spread the dill over the salmon half in the baking dish.
9. Lay the other half fillet on top (skin side up).
10. Align the two halves.
11. Cover closely with a sheet of plastic wrap.
12. Place a board or pan on top of the fillets.
13. Make sure it is resting on the fish and not on the sides of the baking dish.
14. Weight the top with something heavy (multiple books).
15. Place in refrigerator.
16. After one day of curing, remove weights and board and turn fillets over(so the top fillet is now on the bottom) and baste with the liquid that has accumulated in the dish.
17. Replace weights and board and return to frig.
18. On the second day, turn and baste again and slice off a tiny piece to taste.
19. If it doesn’t taste like it’s getting there, add a little more salt and/or aquavit on the fish.
20. Return to the frig.
21. Cure for a third day, turn and baste again.
22. On the fourth day, you can serve the gravlaks.
23. To serve, clean the dill away and wipe the fish dry with paper towels.
24. Use a long thin-bladed slicing knife (sharpened) and start slicing a few inches from the narrow end of the fillet.
25. Cut with a back and forth sawing motion toward the narrow end to remove a thin slice of fish.
26. Start each succeeding slice a bit farther in from the narrow end; always cut at a flat angle to keep the slices as long and thin as possible.
*Adapted from Julia Child’s Traditional Gravlaks.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 deg. Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended.
4. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest and continue to mix until well blended.
5. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.
6. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. (Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but in this case it should be refrigerated. Return to room temp before using.) 7. Preheat oven to 375°.
8. Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
9. Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface.
10. Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin.
11. Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick.
12. Use additional flour to avoid sticking.
13. Cut out cookies with desired cutter– the ginger bread man is our favorite of course.
14. Space cookies 1 1/2-inches apart.
15. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (the lower time will give you softer cookies– very good!).
16. Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow the cookies to stand until the cookies are firm enough to move to a wire rack.
17. After cookies are cool you may decorate them any way you like.
18. Brush them with a powdered sugar glaze, or if you have more time, with Royal icing.
Recipe from Food.Com. Photo: t_and_cake(Flickr)