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“Christmas” Dinner 2008, Part 2: Dinner, Dessert and Games

Preparing a huge amount of food isn’t really difficult, and it is certainly made easier when you plan ahead, but everytime I feel completely calm, it seems like the last half hour before the food is to be served is when the shit really starts to hit the fan. I was flying around the kitchen pot-holders in hand and 4 pots on the stove and another 3 in the oven, while my mom started drinking some wine and remarked, “I’m surprised she doesn’t injure herself more.” My sister Sarah took most of the photographs, since I was otherwise occupied.

Up first, we have the turkey, made using Alton Brown’s Roast Turkey recipe and method. We did this same thing last Thanksgiving, and it received generally good reviews, so we thought it was worth repeating. The turkey was probably far larger than we actually needed, but there was a sale and coupon deal combined, so it cost us less than $9 and Brent can enjoy leftovers all week. Brent would like me to acknowledge his superior turkey carving skills that he has honed over the past few holidays, Even my mother, who loves to critique, praised his slicing skills. Sarah seems to really enjoy the slanted camera angle.


Along with dinner, we had a TON of side dishes: Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto, Creamed Spinach, Noodles, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Green Beans, and French Bread, made using the Artisan Bread recipe. There was also a little bit of gravy made from the pan juices for Brent. The creamed spinach was the only new recipe I tried out for the side dishes, but I think it’s something I’ll make again. I always struggle with cooked greens, but I know they provide such a boost to my iron levels. I tried to get my mom to eat more of them, and she just said “Vic, I know you’re trying to get me to eat this spinach, but I’m just not into it.” Can’t win ’em all I guess. The green beans are a favorite for Brent and I. I just drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and minced garlic and roast in the oven at 400 for about 18 minutes. So easy and delicious. I think everyone knows how to make mashed potatoes. I just make sure to add a lot of sauteed garlic to mine for Sarah and I. Here is everything all lined up and ready to be devoured, and that is me in the background, covered in something I spilled.


And a shot of the bread before slicing. I am loving this recipe. I really need to go buy myself the book.


Too bad I didn’t get a photo of my whole plate. It was a pretty colorful meal. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, but once again I over-prepared and we have so many leftovers! It doesn’t look like we’ll even need a grocery trip this week.

Once everyone had slightly digested, I made some coffee and took out a bunch of desserts. First up I made some Oatmeal and Apple Butter Bars, which were so easy and delicious, as well as a wonderful way to use up some of my apple butter. This recipe was recommended to me by my friend Tessa, and I would like to recommend it to all of you as well.


In addition to the bars, I used some leftover coconut and took inspiration from the Macaroons that I made in order to make Coconut Almond Pound Cake. I used to love pound cake, but I only ever remember eating the Sarah Lee frozen kind. I thought it might be even better home-made and I was right. It is extremely butter-packed and definitely belongs in the “Very Rare Super-Indulgent Splurge” category, which is unfortunate since it is very addicting and leftovers are sitting in my fridge as I type.



  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
  3. Add in sour cream and extracts, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Add in flour and baking soda and mix until incorporated.
  5. Fold in flaked coconut.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.
  7. Bake for approximately 75 minutes.
  8. Cool completely and serve.

My mom and I were completely in love with this cake. I cannot say enough good things about it. It’s really easy and a definite crowd-pleaser, assuming your crowd likes coconut. To round out the dessert table (we didn’t need any more, but oh well), my mother in law brought a pumpkin cream cheese roll/loaf thing that was a big hit at Thanksgiving last year, and I put out a plate of leftover Christmas cookies that I had frozen and thawed.

After dessert and some further digestion, and at the insistence of my brother Zack, we played a round of Cranium, which is hilarious. Some captions: the board, my parents scrutinizing a word problem, Brent’s brother Jonathan pretending to “bloom” and Brent’s dad sculpting a giraffe.




After cranium, Brent’s family had to get going, and the rest of us played a round of Trivial Pursuit: Pop Culture Edition, which disgusted my father. He wanted the “real” version. He was unable to answer any questions correctly, save for one question about the soundtrack of Flashdance, which I found so funny. My mother, however, knew that Mickey Rouke is a former boxer and Paul Newman loved race-car driving. She’s always full of surprises. We finally made it to bed late Saturday night, so that my parents could be on the road as soon as possible this morning in order to get home in time to see Da Bears!

I’m not sure what we’re doing for New Year’s, so it looks like the holiday season is pretty much wound-down here at the Monroe household, which is probably good for our sanity and wallet, but I always get a little sad because I really love all the traditions and family-time this time of year. Luckily Brent still has all of this coming week off work, so we’re just bumming around watching a ton of “watch instantly” movies on Netflix.


6 responses »

  1. Oh wow everything looks amazing!! Great job!
    I have not cooked my own turkey dinner yet, but now that I have all the tools (wedding gifts) I hope to in 2009!


  2. Yay for traditions! Cranium is sun a fun and hilarious game. Yeah that bread looks pretty amazing.

  3. Such great pics! And all the food really does look amazing!


  4. So much fun, food, company, and games!! Lovely 🙂

    Fabulous pound cake and bars!!

  5. Your holiday feast looks amazing. I didn’t have to lift a finger to prepare ours, but I’m a little sad about that.

  6. Pingback: Fresh Tomato Pasta « The Idle Loaf

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