Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from the Old Country! 

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and may your New Year be bright!
 I'll be back next week with a holiday recap. But, until then please enjoy this festive photo of Rasco from Christmas Eve.  (Notice my Oma's German tablecloth!)
And if you need to find any of my previous Christmas posts, just click here

Frohliche Weihnachten! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peppermint Margaritas & Christmas Movies

Peppermint Margaritas
Take the edge off this holiday season 

Ingredients (for two): 
2 tbs Grenadine
1/2 cup Tequila
1/4 cup Triple Sec
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Sugar
10 Peppermints or two Candy Canes, broken
1 tsp Peppermint Schnapps, or to taste
1 tbs lime juice, or to taste

Make simple syrup: Boil water and add sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add broken peppermint pieces and let simmer until flavor is absorbed. 
Pour tequila, grenadine and triple sec into pitcher and stir. Mix in half of the simple syrup, and use more to taste. Add lime juice and schnapps to taste.  Drop in just a pinch of salt. 
Make sure it is well mixed. Put in fridge to cool. 
Rim cup with peppermint sprinkles or finely mashed candy canes/mints and garnish with peppermint. Enjoy! 

Photo by Robert Giglio 

My TOP 3 Christmas Movies 
In no particular order ... 

3)  Christmas Vacation 

Like most American families, we stuff ourselves and then watch movies.  It's a Christmas Day Tradition.  After we watch Independence Day, we usually pop in this bad boy. And when we aren't watching it, we quote it.  This house is bigger than your old one Clark. 

2) The Muppet Christmas Carol

Ok, so at first this post was going to be a love letter to The Muppet Christmas Carol.  It will forever hold a special place in my heart because it is the very first movie I saw in a movie theater, way back in 1992.  I was a young three and my Dad took my sister and me to see it.  I fell asleep during the previews. But we still have the VHS that came out in 1993 and my family watches it every Christmas.  I adore Ms. Piggy's, aka Mrs. Cratchit, sass, the little bunny that sings Good King Wenceslas, the part where Rizzo can fit through the bars and my god do I love Michael Caine. Children's film be damned, he puts his all into being Scrooge, and it's awesome.  If you can watch the movie without crying when Old Scrooge regrets a lost love, you, quite frankly, have no soul.

1. Love Actually

Tonight, Robert and I are having a Christmas date. We are watching Love Actually and drinking my Peppermint Margaritas. I adore this movie and watched it so often that I had to make a rule for myself — I can only watch it once during Christmas.  In the nine years — yes it has been that long since the movie came out — that I have been watching this movie, my favorite couple has changed. Sometimes it's the couple that doesn't speak the same language, because A) Colin Firth and B) It reminds me of my German and Lebanese grandparents.  I also love the Prime Minister and his adorable Natalie.  But the "To Me, You are Perfect"scene will always be a favorite/guilty pleasure.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peppermint Bark and New Orleans Gift of the Magi

Peppermint Bark 
AKA Christmas Crack 

12 oz dark chocolate
12 oz white chocolate
6-8 candy canes
Peppermint Extract
Almond Extract, I used my secret ingredient arak instead.

Unwrap candy canes and place in a ziplock bag. Smash candy canes with a hammer. Set aside.

Melt dark chocolate.  Stir frequently and blend in a half teaspoon mint and half teaspoon peppermint extract. *Use just a sliver of butter if chocolate is congealing. I also mixed in some dust from the candy canes I smashed. Pour onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Set aside in refrigerator for 10 minutes.

While the chocolate is hardening in the refrigerator, melt the white chocolate.  Stir frequently and blend in a half tablespoon (or less) butter to keep it from hardening. Pour in 1 teaspoon peppermint extract with a half teaspoon almond or arak extract. Blend in peppermint chunks.

Pour white chocolate mixture over hardened dark chocolate. Cool for 45 minutes.

Break and Enjoy! 

Getting into the Christmas Spirit
Christmas is about giving, not getting ... 

I have been under a lot of work stress lately. And as I count down the days to deadline, I have been planning a spectacular day to get me in the Christmas Spirit after I turn in my big oral history project.

The plan goes something like this: Watch Love Actually while I wrap presents and have a spiked hot cocoa. Then try some Christmas nail art and read Holidays on Ice while I dry ...

This sounds like the best day ever, mostly due to the present wrapping. My favorite part of Christmas has always been the wrapping and the giving.

And, in the spirit of giving, I would like to share one of my most favorite New Orleans holiday traditions with you. Full disclosure, I cannot watch this video without sobbing.  Every year, WWL New Orleans anchor Phil Johnson told O. Henry's Gift of the Magi on Christmas Eve. When Phil Johnson retired, they rebroadcast his poignant editorial.  And, after his death, his thoughtful rendition still airs on Christmas Eve. Please take the two minutes to watch this lovely video and reflect on the loved ones you share Christmas with, not the things you buy them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Weinachten Advent Calendars & Hot Potato Salad

It's beginning to look a lot like Weinachten ... 
Christmas, in English 

So those of you who followed my new baby blog last Christmas, already know my family does traditional German Christmas on Christmas Eve and Louisiana Christmas on the 25th. There's Lebanese food there too. We've been into this whole fusion thing since before it was a thing. 

To kick off Weinachten, I'm going to give you our German Potato Salad recipe. A staple at each year's celebration. 

Oma's Hot German Potato Salad

The Recipe, typed up by Oma 

The Advent Calendar 
Teaching kinder self control for a couple hundred years ... 

This German tradition of a candy filled calendar made its way west in my childhood. The question is, were you the type of kid who ate all of your candies at once? Or did you patiently eat a chocolate a day. I was a patient kid, and my sister was an all at oncer. Who sometimes would move to my chocolate.  Life sure can be hard on the little things ... 

But before kids got chocolates and toys, the tradition originated with German Lutherans crossing off days on a calendar in the mid 19th Century.  The tradition grew to include a bible verse a day or an image.  Now, modern calendars hold a host of daily surprises.  

An instagram shot of this year's Advent calendar from Oma.

*Light on bliggity blog content today ... I am on deadline.  Wish me luck!  If you want to learn more about Weinachten — Bad Santa or Christkind — you're in the right place!  
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