Christmas Dinner

When we started looking at the holidays this year, we were not certain what we would do for Christmas Day itself, or if we would go somewhere. Since we had not made plans, and Mom and Dad were not going anywhere either, I decided to cook.

With Mom and Dad coming over, I decided to make something with meat. I don’t cook (or eat) meat much any more, but I haven’t gone full vegetarian yet. I looked around Whole Foods for what looked good and settled on chicken. I picked up a whole chicken and decided a roasted chicken would be good for the holiday.

When trying to figure out how to cook the bird, I fell back on tried and true methods. I butterflied the chicken so the breast and thighs would cook evenly and not result in under done or dried out meat. I made a rub/marinade/seasoning of rosemary, garlic, salt, orange and olive oil. I mixed those together well and spread the mix under the skin of the chicken and over the whole bird. I let this sit in the fridge this morning then rosted the bird at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. I will say, it was a pretty bird, and it actually tasted pretty good. 

To go with the chicken, I made some old favorites – sweet potato wedges, Brussels sprouts and a kale/quinoa salad that I love. I didn’t do anything fancy, but I think it all came together well. (especially the salad – I think that was my favorite part of dinner.)

Mom made dessert … Mom always makes good desserts and her (with the exception of pies) are generally a bit fancier than mine. For today, Mom made a trifel – a strawberry and lemon dessert that not only looked beautiful, it tasted great.

 Rosemary Orange Chicken

  • 1 ~3 lbs chicken
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, chopped fine
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Chop the rosemary and garlic. Mix together with the zest of the orange, salt, juice of 1/2 orange and thenolive oil. Mix well. Butterfly the chicken then detach the skin from the breast meat. Rub the orange rosemary mix over the chicken, under the skin, and stretch the skin back over the chicken. Rub the chicken with the remaining mix. Cover (I use a large zip lock bag) and refridgerate until ready to cook. 

Set out while the oven heats to 400. Spread the chicken on a roasting pan on rack so the breast is plumped a little and the legs splayed a little. Roast for about 40 minutes or until the juices run clear. Let rest for five mintutes before carving.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Enjoy the full moon tonight.

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas Eve! It has been a very busy month, but the holidays are here and I get to slow down, just for a bit. I worked a pretty ridiculous amount of hours between Thanksgiving and the start of Winter Break and spent the last few days just recovering. Poor Bob has had to fend for himself for dinner on more than one occasion, but I’m hoping to have an experiment or two in the kitchen before heading back in January.

I did manage to try my hand at ricotta gnocchi this week. I was searching for something light and quick, and decided to try it since I had ricotta in the fridge. I will say – fairly easy, and not bad. Much, much easier than regular gnocchi, and still good. 

We managed to get up to Orlando this week for dinner with John. We had a great time just hanging out and catching up. The boys geeked out on Star Wars talk and enjoyed the wine.

I do have one bit of news. I have probably lost my mind, but I’m going back to school for another masters. No, I’m not quitting my job, I still like my job, but when I think about the next twenty to twenty five years, I don’t see myself in a classroom the whole time. My options, with my current degrees, are a bit limited if I want to stay in Florida, so I decided  to look at my options. I’m going for my administrative certificate since a lot of jobs I’m interested in require it. I talked to my job, and I can get a little flexibility with professional days and such as needed and I might be able to do the internships there. (That would be ideal, but I am also going to talk to the local district as a back up plan.) Two years. Two years of being a little obsessive compulsive and probably driving Bob nuts. We did talk about this and he is prepared for the student version of myself to be around. I’ll do my best to limit the crazy and maintain a balance of school-work-personal time, but I know it will get tough. Already I’ve stressed and obsessed about the application, getting everything in, clearing the internships with the school, making sure my boss is on board and, now that I’m accepted, getting all the new student stuff done, acquiring books and just making sure I’m ready for this. I know I can do it, and it will be worth it and I have to admit, I’m just a little excited about being a student again. 

Here is hoping everyone has a wonderful holiday. (Even if Google and NORAD can’t agree where Santa is, which does weird me out, just a little bit.) 

 Merry Christmas! 

DC Christmas

Everyone (almost, I think) has a favorite holiday and probably a favorite holiday tradition. Christmas is, by far, my favorite holiday. Everything is decorated, people are happy and we think about others during this time. DC is also one of my favorite cities and I began to love the holidays in DC when I lived there. Now we’ve started making going to DC around Christmas an annual event and I think I’m convincing Bob of the joys of the city.

Like last year (and pretty much every year that I’ve gone to DC around the holiday) there were a few stops we had to make – the Botanic Gardens, The Congressional tree, the National tree and all the state trees. We also tried, and failed yet again this year, to get a White House tour, but it’s incentive to plan next year’s trip early. 

The Gardens were crowded this year, much more so than in years past. The displays were beautiful, as usual, and really started the holiday off right for me.

The National tree was fine, but the state trees were much, much better this year. After the programmed lights last year (that all looked exactly the same) they went back to actual ornaments from each state this year. Much better. I can’t tell you what Florida’s ornaments looked like because we could not see Florida’s tree – it was outside the path to walk through. It was also very crowded; I suppose this is the price we pay for really georgous weather in December in DC.

We also decided to do a few things we had never done, or that we had not done in a very long time. The last time I toured the Capitol we walked up the front steps, went through metal detectors and wandered on our own. A few rooms were off limits, but for the most part, we went where we wanted and ran into (in my case quite literally) a senator or two. Not any more. Through the visitors center, through screening, with pre determined passes obtained from a senator, on a guided tour to just a few areas of the Capitol. It was different, but I would highly recommend it. There is some great history, wonderful trivia and just a lot to be gained from going through with someone who knows all about the building. 

We also walked down to the Jefferson Memorial because Bob had never seen it. After the Korean War Memoria, Jefferson is my favorite. It was a long walk from the Capitol, but worth it. 

The last time I was in DC and viewing the monuments the King Memorial was not open. We managed to walk from the Jefferson to the King Memorial and I was very glad I did. It was beautiful, and very, very well done. It fit the space and the feel of the National Mall. 

From there we decided to find something none of us have ever sought out before – the memorial to Albert Einstein. The statue has been there for decades, but it isn’t something any of us saw before. I loved it not just because it’s science in the mist of history, but because Einstein fit. He fit the idea of thinking big, but understanding that even ideals impact people. Theory is great, but what does that theory look like to the people who live every day? 

Needless to say, we walked a lot, we ate a lot and we laughed a lot. The trip to DC was exactly what we needed it to be – a break from reality and getting back in touch with good friends, and ourselves. 

And Erin, next year, White House. Or we try again until we get there.