To say that things got a little hectic here over the holidays would be an understatement. I baked, decorated, frosted and sprinkled until I didn't have any feeling left in my right arm. 🎂😅 I'm so grateful for all of the clients that ordered holiday desserts from me and I wouldn't want to spend my December any other way.
I was so consumed with holiday baking that I feel like there were lots of general tasks that got neglected. Overall cleaning of the house and the responsibility of preparing meals and grocery shopping got transferred to the two super helpful people with whom I share this house. It turns out that hunger is great motivation to get them to do the shopping. 🤷🏻♀️
Since his recent exposure into the world of grocery shopping, I will say that my husband now has a better understanding of why shopping for food can bring even the most seasoned shopper to tears. 🤣 Sending him out on Christmas Eve gave him a glimpse into what it's like to deal with overcrowded stores with empty shelves and less than helpful employees. 😬Fifty mile roundtrip journey - five stores later - still no calamari. 🦑 Ironically, after all that running around, my quick thinking husband went across the street to the Italian restaurant and picked up an amazing calamari appetizer - already cooked and ready to serve. #pamendiesforthewin
Meals in our house last month had to fit into 3 categories. They had to be quick, easy to make and most importantly - not take a lot of counter space to prepare. (Christmas cookies take priority in the kitchen.) This Spiced Citrus Chicken fit the bill perfectly. AND it was delicious. That's really the most important criteria of all.
Spiced Citrus Chicken
1/4 cup oil
3 Tablespoons shallot
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup flour
4 boneless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Sprinkle with cilantro.
Looking forward to a very healthy new year.
Christmas Eve dinner is an unusually small affair at the Davis house this year. There might only be three of us but that certainly won't stop us from enjoying our feast of the Seven Fishes tonight. 🐟
My goal was to try and simplify our Christmas Even meal so that we weren't stuck eating the leftovers for a solid week. 😅It's actually more challenging than I thought to plan a meal incorporating seven different types of fish for only three people. Anyone ever try and purchase 6 clams, 6 scallops, 6 mussels, 6 shrimp, 1 salmon filet, 1 tuna steak, 2 squid tubes and 1 lobster tail from the grocery store? More importantly, anyone know how to cook all of that in under 4 hours? 🤷🏻♀️
As you can probably deduce from the pictures, I went with the first option. I put 6 different types of seafood into one amazing pasta dish. It was so hearty and delicious AND it didn't take all afternoon to prepare. I had it ready to serve in under an hour. As for the final fish - we had clam chowder for an appetizer.
Drain the pasta, top with a scoop of the tomato sauce and toss well.
Sprinkle some gremolata on each dish.
Serve with grated cheese.
It's hard to plan a holiday feast without some kind of potatoes. 🥔They're the ultimate comfort food. What would Thanksgiving be without a giant bowl of mashed potatoes? How do you serve an Easter ham without a cheesy, scalloped potato dish to accompany it? And I can't even want to imagine a 4th of July cookout without cool and creamy potato salad.
Potatoes - they're the perfect compliment to almost any meal and Christmas is no exception. These hasselback potatoes are the perfect side for a prime rib or a beef tenderloin but they're also fancy enough to make even my most ordinary dinner seem festive. Somehow, meatloaf on a Tuesday night just seems extra special when I serve it with elegant hasselback potatoes.
Don't be intimidated by these potatoes sliced in uber thin layers. I'll let you in on my secrets to cutting these little beauties. Start in the middle of each potato and use a sharp knife to cut thin slices to one end. When one half is sliced, start in the middle again and slice the other half.
The key to hasselback potatoes is to not cut completely through the potato so that the bottom remains intact. Otherwise - you'll end up with a pile of potato chips. 😂 The easiest way to do this is to lay a wooden spoon on the cutting board next to the potato. With each cut, slice straight down just until you reach the spoon. If you take your time and cut slowly - you'll have no trouble making beautifully sliced hasselback potatoes.
3 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
Roll potatoes in oil and place, cut side up on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast 30 minutes at 450.
Use tongs to gently squeeze potato and open up folds. Roast another 30 minutes.
Merry Christmas friends!
After a solid six days of Christmas baking, I feel like this afternoon, I was finally able to emerge from the snowglobe-like cloud of powdered sugar that has engulfed my kitchen all week. Don't get me wrong. As much as I enjoy being surrounded by ridiculous amounts of sugar and butter all day, even I felt the need to give my sweet tooth a bit of a break today.
I know what you're thinking. "What does a Christmas baker do when she finally manages to escape from her kitchen for a few hours?" She heads to the busiest town around to finish up her Christmas shopping, of course. 🤦🏻♀️ I'm not sure that fighting the gridlocked traffic at the mall was the relaxing baking break that I needed. 🚘 On a positive note - I did manage to find the last few gifts that were on my list. 🎁
The Christmas baking is not finished for the year - not by a long shot. I've still got cookies to decorate, cakes to frost and pies to bake. Spreading Christmas cheer in the form of sugary goodness. That's how I roll. 🍰 (No pun intended. 😂)
I know first hand how difficult it can be to incorporate dietary restrictions into a holiday menu. I've had requests for Christmas desserts that were appropriate for customers with gluten sensitivities, nut allergies and dairy intolerance. I've even made desserts for customers with all 3 of those.
If you know someone who would appreciate a special holiday cupcake without dairy - this is the recipe for you. There are no crazy ingredients. (Probably things that you already have in your pantry and refrigerator.) They're so good that my cupcake crazy family gobbled them up without ever questioning their lack of butter. 🧁
Dairy Free Vanilla Cupcakes
Frost cooled cupcakes with buttercream.
Happy holiday baking!
I regret to admit that my plan to do all of my Christmas shopping safely online this year got sidelined. Like, really quickly. 💁🏻♀️ I tried - I really did. Honest. 🖥
The biggest obstacle to my online gift buying plan was shipping fees. (Am I the only person too cheap to pay for shipping?) 💸 I just can't seem to justify paying more to ship a basketball than it costs to buy one.🏀 I would rather drive to the store to pick up my purchases than pay extra to have gifts delivered to my house. 🚗
All this running around to pick up online purchases was NOT part of my plan for this Christmas. But if I'm being honest - my Christmas shopping never goes as planned. 😅 I was naive to believe that I'd be able to get my entire list of Christmas gifts delivered to my home without any extra cost. 🤷🏻♀️
It should come as no surprise that December is the busiest month of the year for a self employed baker who specialized in cookies. 👩🏻🍳 My December baking schedule has to operate with military precision in order for all of my orders to go out on time. And my schedule is extra tight this year which means that there's not a lot of extra time for Target pick up runs.
When time is short - dinner is the first thing to get pushed to the back burner. We could eat broken sugar cookies for dinner and nobody would complain but I prefer to eat something healthier as fuel for this hectic holiday season. Fussy, time consuming dinners are NOT an option this month soooo quick and easy meals are the name of the game. The operative word is ... QUICK. Mediterranean Braised Chicken is the perfect meal for busy nights. It's quick - it's easy - it's healthy and it's DELICIOUS!
Mediterranean Braised Chicken
4 bone in chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1 pound small red potatoes
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup kalamata olives
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Spoon sauce over chicken and serve with vegetables.
One final tip: Don't skip the wine in this recipe. 🍷 Even though it's only a quarter cup, it's an important ingredient to add richness to the sauce. A small amount goes into the recipe and the rest of the bottle is left for you to enjoy. Merry Christmas friends.
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