Tag Archives: Christmas

Monthly Review: December 2012

The last monthly review for 2012!  What photos did I capture on my iPhone this month?

Interested in what we did in the past months?  Check them out for 2012: May, June, July, August, and November.

December 1

I love walking and running in DC, views like this don’t let me forget how lucky I am to be in such a great city!

December 2

Our friend Brittany celebrated her 30th birthday with a brunch at Granville Moore’s.  It was the first time for Sam and me, and we really enjoyed it- hope to come back to try the mussels and Belgian beer!

December 3

My friend Carrie and I went to the screening of Honor Flight, at DAR Constitution Hall, it’s a documentary about a network that brings World War II veterans to see the memorial in D.C.  If you haven’t seen this, please do- what a great organization!

December 4

Holiday Parties, I’m pretty sure everyone had many this month.  This is my attempt at one of them to decorate my cookie.  I don’t think Christmas dessert decoration is my thing…maybe next year!  If you’re as decorationally-challenged as me, try making this Creamy Winter Veg Soup.

December 5

We’ve had a number of friends find new homes the past couple of months- congrats to all!  I just thought this card was really cute!

December 6

For those that follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I run with Back on My Feet in DC.  This is a great organization helping homeless attain various personal goals (school, homes, jobs, etc) while using running as a platform.  If you’d like more info about it, don’t hesitate to ask!

This was during our huddle right before the group ran the Jingle All the Way 8K!

December 7

During our last visit to the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market we got: spaghetti squash, cheeses, sausages and brussels sprouts.  The market will be back in March, until then we’ll try to stop by the Dupont Farmer’s Market on Sunday’s!

Recipe ideas for the foods above: Leafy Brussels Sprouts with Nuts & Rigatoni with Vegetables Figs and Blue Cheese.

December 8

There have been a couple cold nights in December, so we like to stay in and enjoy some cheese, crackers and pear slices!  And we got to usa a wedding gift- a new cheese board (thanks to Steph and Jack!).

Other appetizer ideas: Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey; Beet Chips with Pistachio Dip; Fig & Arugula Flatbread; Roasted Mushrooms with Parsley; Tomatoes with Mozzarella & Basil.

December 9

Although we have had delicious dinners at Zengo DC, we had yet to try it for the new brunch option.  When our friends Josie and Nathan wanted to hang out, we suggested this $35 bottomless brunch!  Wonderful food, good service and those churros at the end were delicious!

December 10

With Back on My Feet DC I got a chance to visit the White House when it was beautifully decorated for the holiday season.  Check out my post on this little adventure!

December 11

Great photo of the Mall on Christmas Day!  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

December 12

When I’m sick, the only thing I crave is pho.  Does anyone have any favorite places around DC/NOVA?  I’d love to hear where you all go!  This one was takeout from Pho DC.

December 13

DC recently opened up its first gin distillery.  Green Hat is open for tours, but we snagged this in our local liquor store.  Have you tried it yet?

Holiday White House Tour

Christmas is just around the corner!  And to get everyone into the Holiday spirit, I thought I’d share some photos from my visit to the White House last week!

About 3 mornings a week I run with Back on My Feet DC (BoMF), it a wonderful organization helping homeless in the city.  Anne Mahlum started BoMF in Philadelphia back in 2007, to help homeless individuals in creating their independence and self-sufficiency.  We focus on teamwork, respect, and running!*

BoMF DC had an opportunity to go visit the White House this December.  Everyone signed up, got a background check and off we went to visit the Obama’s (although they were not home).  I thought you’d all love to see some pictures to get you into the Holiday spirit!

If you’d like, a fellow DC blogger and BoMF runner, also did a post about the White House tour- check out Ericka’s blog and the post!

White House Christmas 1

We entered the White House through the East Wing, where it was decorated with trees and wreaths.

White House Christmas 3

This is the East Landing, filled with beautiful wreaths!  My favorite part of the tour was the wonderful smell of pines- perfect for the holidays!

White House Christmas 4

This was the first tree we got to see.  It pays tribute to the Armed Forces and their families- lots of red, white and blue, in addition to festive ornaments.

White House Christmas 6

This was in the East Garden Room, where the wreaths were made out of gingerbread and there is a replica of Bo, the First Family’s dog!  On one of the trees there are handmade “Boflakes”.

White House Christmas 7

Still in the East Garden Room was this beautiful tree- definitely my favorite!

White House Christmas 5

Through the windows, you could see the lit up trees on the lawn, and the Washington Monument in the background.  What a great view of the Mall from the White House!

White House Christmas 12

This is the State Dining Room, where the official dinners and diplomatic receptions take place.

White House Christmas 13

In the Entrance Hall they had kids from Northfield Mount Hermon School (Gill, MA) singing Christmas carols.

WH 14

This was my favorite ornament in the White House.  It was on the tree which is decorated with iconic ornaments that best represent the holiday legacies of the former First Ladies.

White House Christmas 10

The Presidential Seal and American flag right before you exit out of the White House!

White House Christmas 15

Hope you all enjoyed the White House Holiday Tour!

*I’d love to share my BoMF experience with anyone who is interested.  Feel free to email me and I can answer any questions, or get you in touch with someone from the organization!

Creamy Winter Veg Soup

It’s the week before Christmas, and in light of what happened this past Friday in Connecticut I think everyone is slowing down and enjoying time with their loved ones.  I don’t really talk about politics on this blog, but I will mention that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the grieving families who have lost a loved one.

Whenever I feel melancholy or overwhelmed, I do like a warm bowl of soup.  It’s comforting, and a perfect way to end a cold winter day.  This one is extremely easy, and does not take too much time, or many ingredients to make.  As each of you hurry to get all of your Christmas shopping done, plan your holiday meals, and decorate your homes- also take the time to make some warm soup (such as this one!) and enjoy it with your family and friends.

Also, a note on the new bowls.  We received these as a wedding present (all different colors) from our friends- Ben & Brittany- from Anthropologie, a colorful bowl for a gloomy evening!

Winter Veg Soup

Creamy Winter Veg Soup
Fifth Floor Kitchen Original

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 leeks, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 bulb fennel, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
4-5 turnips, peeled & chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 large potatoes, cooked OR 3 cups mashed potatoes
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.  Then add in the onion, sauté them until they are translucent, for about 5 minutes.  Then add in the leeks, bulb fennel, turnips, salt and pepper.  Cook while stirring for about 10 minutes, or until the fennel is soft.  Then add in the potatoes, broth and water, cook for another 15 minutes.

Puree the soup using a blender.  Pour back into the large pot, cook for another 10 minutes, feel free to add more salt or pepper.

Ladle soup into bowl, sprinkle with parsley & enjoy with a slice of fresh bread!

How to Roast Chestnuts for Christmas

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.
And so I’m offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
A very Merry Christmas to you!
–Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
(first recorded by The Nat King Cole Trio)

I actually only know the first and last verse of this song!

But this definitely puts me in the Holiday spirit!  I hope all of you are spending a wonderful weekend with your family and friends this Christmas- beginning with Christmas Eve!

So chestnuts- I promised to give you some tips on how to roast them.  (Check out the Fifth Floor Kitchen Facebook page to get article links, updates, etc.)

How to Roast Chestnuts

1/2 – 1 lb fresh chestnuts*

Preheat the oven to 475°F.  Spread out the chestnuts in a baking dish (this way they don’t slip out).  Find a flat side of each chestnut, and with a sharp paring knife cut a large “X”.  You want it to cut through the chestnut skin.

I really like how they all look!

Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes.  The edges will start to peel.

The skin is a little furry.

Let them cool a bit (to not burn your fingers).  Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the chestnuts.  Don’t let them cool completely, they will be very difficult to peel.

Enjoy this delicious little treat!

*The amount of the chestnuts does not matter.  I tend to buy 2 bags at the store (I know Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s carries them).

Christmas Cookies: Pecan Snowballs

As I promised…Christmas cookies!!!

Sam and I are excited to spend our Christmas on a little vacation- we’ll show you some photos after we come back- not make you too jealous!  But we spent tonight (Friday) with some of Sam’s family.

It’s always enjoyable to spend time with friends and family, especially at this time of the year.  We are very grateful to be surrounded by many wonderful people on both sides of our families, and enjoy seeing each and every one of them.

Last night we tried to make some cookies for tonight, unfortunately they didn’t turn out well (but we’ll be trying them again soon, I’m not discouraged!).  Since we ran out of eggs and I still wanted to make some holiday cookies, I was trying to find some recipes that did not require eggs.  We ended up trying out two of them, I think both were a hit tonight.

Below is the first one- a little snowball.  This is a great quick recipe which can be eaten at any time of the year, not just during the Christmas.  But they definitely look very festive on beautiful red plates!

Pecan Snowballs
Adapted from: The Kitchn

1 cup of butter, room temperature
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp water
2 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans (can be chopped in a food processor)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes) with a stand/electric mixer.  Then add the vanilla and water, keep mixing the mixture.

In a small bowl, blend together flour, pecans and salt.  While the butter/sugar mixture is being blended, slowly add the flour/pecan mixture.  Once the dough is well incorporated, roll pieces of dough into marble-sized balls.

Place each of the balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 20 minutes, or once the bottoms of each ball are slightly brown.  When the cookies are baked, allow them to cool for about 5-10 minutes.

In a shallow dish distribute powdered sugar at the bottom.  Take each ball and roll it around the powdered sugar, it should be sticking to the pecan ball.  Take a bite and enjoy with some hot chocolate or egg nog!