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Get Festive

Did December sneak up on anyone else? I thought last year was the fastest of my life, but I think this one takes the cake. In just the blink of an eye so many things change, and we with them. Even the weather, which was in the 60s last week, has finally turned frigid. Brr!!! But you should breathe frost on December 12th, just as, fingers crossed, white flakes should fall from the sky on December 25th.

More than anything, though, what I love most about December is the feeling of warmth and goodwill that seeps from friends and strangers alike, regardless of their religious background. It’s the end of the year, and a time to reflect on what truly makes us happy. There’s been a lot going on in my personal life these past few weeks, and some big decisions have been made. As with most changes, it’s a little scary, but I look forward to sharing them with you soon.
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As expected, the weekend was filled with friends and late nights; the latter left me craving hearty breakfast fare upon my (late) awakening. I met a couple people for brunch at Community Food and Juice. Somehow this was my first visit even though the restaurant has been open for four years… the menu sang to me.   

I ordered the Farmer’s Plate: soft scrambled eggs, farmhouse cheddar, roasted tomatoes, fresh herbs, baguette. This was so good. The serving side is a little deceptive… there must have been six eggs on the plate! The baguette was grilled and served with homemade raspberry jam, and each bite gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

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On another side of the brunch spectrum, Anna invited us over to her (very adult) apartment for an intimate meal with Danielle and Leslie.

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Anna set a cozy, candlelit table with her spinach-ricotta fritatta, arugula salad with goat cheese and cranberries, fresh bread and a chocolate chip brioche from Silver Moon.

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She even sent us off with gift bags of homemade peppermint bark, a treat I never before thought much about but I’ve already done quite a number on. Nom nom nom.

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Inspired to make something of my own, a friend came over to listen to country music and bake bread. Once it had risen and emerged from the oven smelling sweet and yeasty, we shared thick slices spread with butter, honey, and homemade strawberry preserves. Is there anything more comforting than hot bread?
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The return of our Christmas tree comes pretty darn close. My dad and I went to pick it out and carry it home on Saturday morning. We always go to the same merchants, a Quebecois family we’ve known for over a decade. I took the front and my dad took the back, and we schlepped it home… two days later, my arms are still sore! Someone needs to hit the weights…

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Speaking of arm workouts, I’ve recently discovered Words With Friends, a two-player Scrabble game for iPhones. I’m not very good- yes, yes, I have a BA in English and have never before played Scrabble- but I’m addicted. Find me! My username is the title of this blog :-) .

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Almost there!

Goal for 2011 update: Cook One New Recipe A Week

Week 1: Lemony Spaghetti with Bitter Greens & Chickpeas

Week 2: Lentil Chili

Week 3: Chickpeas in Star Anise & Date Masala

Week 4: Thai-Style Black Beans w/ Mango & Cilantro

Week 5: Ten Minute Tasty Asparagus & Brown Rice, Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cheddar and Toasted Almonds, Warm Red Lentil Salad, Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad.

Week 6: Beets, Spiced Quinoa & Yogurt, Sesame-Cooked Eggs Over Rice

Week 7: Curried Parsnip Fries

Week 8: Curried Lentils & Sweet Potatoes

Week 9: Rutabagas with Buckwheat, Black Beans & Kale, Garlicky Mushroom Greens

Week 10: Tamarind Lentils, The Double-Shift Scramble

Week 11: Spicy Chickpea Salad, Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze, Spicy Red Lentil, Peanut & Pumpkin Soup

Week 12: Sunday Night Supper Salad, Peanut Butter Banana-Berry French Toast Sandwich

Week 13: Grilled Cheddar-Mushroom Sandwich

Week 14: Black Bean Soup, Sweet Pumpkin Pudding

Week 15: Green Rice

Week 16: Matzoh Buttercrunch Candy,  Quinoa with Moroccan Winter Squash and Carrot Stew

Week 17: Truffled Turnip Soup, Nutty Lemon Brussels Sprouts, Cookie Dough Smoothie

Week 18: Raw Chocolate Fudge Cake, Spring Pasta

Week 19: Chopped Kale w/ Hot Pepper Vinegar

Week 20: Ultimate Veggie Burgers, Mmm Sauce

Week 21: Ribbed Asparagus Salad with Lemon, Spinach & Chickpeas, Chocolate-Chip Blondies, Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Pancakes, Leek Zucchini Pasta Salad

Week 22: Sesame Ginger Kale Salad, Hoisin Ginger Tofu with Smoky Tahini Slaw  

Week 23: Pan-Seared Asparagus Salad with Frisée and Fried Egg, Baked Ziti, Brown Butter Banana Strawberry Bread, Green Bowl   

Week 24: Quinoa Cookies, Chocolate Mousse

Week 26: Sweet Potato Stuffed with Caramelized Tempeh and Sautéed Kale, Shaved Fennel Salad, Summer Pesto

Week 27: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Week 28: Choco-holic Pancakes

Week 29: Green Israeli Couscous Salad

Week 30: Swiss Chard with Currants and Pine Nuts

Week 31: Babaganoush Soup, Freekeh Risotto, Brown Butter (Plum) Cake or Cobbler

Week 32: (Modified) Tomato Salad on a Roll

Week 33: None :-(

Week 34: None :-(

Week 35: Pappardelle with Spiced Butter

Week 36: Cucumber Peanut Salad, Grilled Peach and Avocado Salad

Week 37: Nut-Butter Crusted Fries

Week 38: Harvest Bread, Red Lentil Soup, Halibut with North African Spices, Warm Shrimp Salad with Red Chili, Kamut and Tarragon

Week 39: Roasted Garbanzo Beans and Garlic with Swiss Chard, White Bean and Parmesan Baked Orzo, Rustic Plum Crostata with Lemon Thyme

Week 40: Chocolate Cherry Pumpkin Bread

Week 41: Pumpkin Boatmeal for One

Week 42: Hot Apple Pie Pancakes, Lentil Stew with Pumpkin, Tamari Roasted Chickpeas

Week 43: Pear-Apple Compote, Four Easy Pizzas

Week 44: Pumpkin Softies, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie for One

Week 45: Rice + Beans for One, Rosemary Kale Chips

Week 46: One-Minute Chocolate Cake

Week 47: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans and Avocado

Week 48: German Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts in Brown Butter Sauce, Spaghetti with Walnuts and Anchovies

Week 49: Reecooked Refried Beans, Coconut Cookie Dough Oatmeal

Week 50: Maple-Mashed Parsnips

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What do you like about December? Does it feel fun and festive?

9 comments to Get Festive

  • Wow! That is quite an accomplishment to cook that many different dishes. Go you!

  • bread'n'withit

    I love New York in the winter. The stores and lighted apartment windows are beautiful and cozy, a warm meal is perfect, and to me Christmas and New Year’s are bookends to the most romantic week of the year.

  • Sounds like you had a pretty amazing weekend! Those roasted tomatoes look SO good! Ah! What a fabulous addition to a brunch plate. And I agree, fresh baked bread smells ridiculous good.

  • So happy you guys came! Glad you liked the peppermint bark. And I agree- December is so warm and special. My favorite month.

  • aj

    What I wouldn’t give for some chocolate chip brioche! Every time you write about that, I want to hop on a plane to NY just to try it!

    And with some personal news, I can’t wait to hear what is going on! I’m sure it is very exciting, as you seem to always make decisions with a perfect mix of your head and your heart.

  • dude. i hear you on the stay calm mantra. oyyy. and i’d like some leftover peppermint bark. anna? ;)

  • I love the festive feeling but I feel like December sometimes come with so much work! I sometimes wish it would slow down a bit more so I can enjoy it! P.s. I think I might steal your 2011 goal as mine for 2012…would you mind?

  • Loving this post, you’ve just made me feel extra festive! I love this time of year too, as you say I think irrelevant of religious back ground everyone seems a bit more jolly :-) I have an intense craving for peppermint bark and home made bread now!

  • i love real trees! the lights and sounds of the season get me really sentimental and reflective. i just can’t help it. i get wrapped up in traditions and tinsel. new years eve always is so bittersweet to wrap up another year!

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