let’s eat: on the menu

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There was very little dinner action on our counter this week. I think we reached an all time high for dinners eaten out this week, but every horizontal surface, each burner – all were claimed by other projects.

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In between winter programs and errands and work and school responsibilities, dinners were grabbed whenever we could squeeze a few minutes in. I don’t think I ate a single meal this week without doing at least one other task at the same time.
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I made six batches of ice cream, three each of Dark Chocolate made with Kakao’s bittersweet discs, and Lemon Cream Ice Cream. I was looking for two flavors that would go well with the gingerbread men I made, and both of these seemed to fit the bill. The six batches filled thirty ice cream cups – most of those were tied up with string and wooden spoons this morning and sent on their merry ways.

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Time for a few last holiday things in the kitchen, and then a return to a slightly more regular (and healthy) dinner menu again in the new year! Any good holiday baking going on in your kitchens these days?

mitten cookies

Mitten Cookies 1

Every year, I donate two dozen custom cookies to the Soiree fundraiser at the girls’ elementary school. This year, the winner contacted me in late October about a December 19th delivery date. I hesitated at the date at first, but she was giving me so much advanced notice that I figured I could just plan for it in my overall holiday bonanza. Of course, none of those early preparation plans came to fruition, so it’s been a little nutsville around here this week.

Sleep deprivation aside, it’s been a pretty fun week in the kitchen. I love how these mittens turned out – no two are alike. I think these are going on the top of some holiday baskets for special donors – I was asked to personalize each one with the first names of the recipients. There are also a few extra blank ones in the mix.

Mitten Cookies 3

I used a rolled fondant for the base coat, adding scoring and texture with a wheel. Then I piped on the details with royal icing, and added some tiny sugar accents – holly leaves, snowflakes, gingerbread men and candy canes. On some of them I added a fluffy border with icing dipped in tiny white balls.

Mitten Cookies 2

The girls are a little sad that these are leaving the house this morning. I had just enough dough in the two batches I made to roll out forty oversized mittens (and one extra for luck). I think these will be a repeat though. Maybe next December, during the busiest week of the year!

thanksgiving, in pictures

Farm
If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you probably know that each year our family makes the (long) road trip south to my grandmother’s farm for Thanksgiving. It’s the one time a year that we get to meet up with my father’s side of the family, and the visit is always worth the hours and hours in the car.

My grandmother passed away in August, just a few months shy of her 100th birthday. Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday of the year because the whole family would show up – and when I say whole family, I mean dozens and dozens of people – some years the numbers would approach or even top seventy over the course of the long weekend. That’s a lot of people to have over for dinner, which meant there was always a lot of food around to share. This holiday will be different for us now, without my grandmother in the center of the festivities. We felt it was important for us to take the girls back to the farm this year, and we took the opportunity to do a few other things along the way.

I’m going to keep the talking down on this post because there are cookies to ice and presents to wrap. I’ll let the pictures do the talking for a change.

Jenis
Meeting up with my parents in Atlanta on Wednesday – at Jeni’s, of course.

Civil RIghts

Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. M flew down to Atlanta earlier in the fall for a meeting with the architect on this building, and so we wanted to make time for a visit on our trip. A must see if you are in the Atlanta area.

Civil RIghts Lobby
Thomasville
After turkey* day on Thursday, we hit up our favorite small shops in downtown Thomasville, Georgia. I don’t do Black Friday – no crowds, no lines, no frantic online shopping mania. I tune it all out, and enjoy the leisurely browsing in some of the best shops I’ve ever been to. *We never eat turkey, we eat bbq ribs!

Bookstore

Friday afternoon, back to Atlanta. Flip Burger in Buckhead for dinner. F flipped her name for the occasion.

Flip Burger

Saturday was our other big Atlanta adventure – the Georgia Aquarium. Another friend of ours was on the design team, and was a project manager during the construction several years back. This was the first opportunity we had to spend a day there. We stayed at the aquarium themed Hilton next door, and walked over right when it opened. It was a fantastic day – enormous whale sharks and manta rays, hilarious beluga whales, a stunning coral reef exhibit and jelly fish.

Jelly FIsh Beluga Starfish Whale Shark Sea dragons Ella Fish
We joined up with more family on Sunday, had breakfast with my grandfather, and some general cousin silliness. It was really a wonderful trip, but a busy one. Looking forward to a more relaxing holiday schedule ahead. (After the elfing is done, or course!)


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