A very Merry Christmas!

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Cold (32) in the AM, warming beautifully to a sunny 70 in the PM

STEPS:  I’m not even going to talk about exercise today (or lack thereof!!!)

Santa must have arrived during the night, as we had some nice packages awaiting us.  Due to the possible overnight freeze, we had brought in the pots of basil and pansies, which added to the festive look.

Yesterday, George biked over to the state park across the street, and cut a branch from a tree to create our Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  I’m sure that was not legal!  He decorated it with a branch of red bouganvillea snipped from the neighbor’s bush.

AND…..he found this bag of oranges on the street, so brought them home.  We had a neighborhood Secret Santa who dropped off gift bags at people’s houses.  We think this bag must have fallen off Santa’s golf cart as he drove around the neighborhood!

I opened several gifts from George.  Mmmmm….most are suspicious items that George has been wanting…..a fire pit, a portable table for the grill to use while camping, and a hand vac!  (George loves to vacuum)

Santa brought us a case of wine from Naked Wines, the wine club to which we belong.

And Santa gave George a bottle of single malt whiskey.  I might even taste it too, on a cold evening, dreaming about Scotland!

Some friends came over for Christmas brunch, bearing Bloody Mary fixings and fruit.  I served my world-famous egg bake, which I had made yesterday.  So nice and easy to pop in the oven before the guests arrive.  With the egg bake, we sipped on mimosas.  So decadent! 

We had a lovely time. 

Later in the day, I donned my new necklace and earrings that a resident here custom-made for me, to wear to the Christmas dinner party. 

Loaded down with champagne, wine, gyoza, and stuffed mushrooms, we went to our friends’ house for Christmas dinner..  This is the first time in many, many  years that we have had a Christmas dinner with friends.  It was really special.  There were just 3 couples, and all of us have shared a safe bubble for the last month or so.  We enjoyed my appetizers with champagne and with kir royale. 

The host made beautiful, and delicious Beef Wellington.

The hostess served lots of yummy steamed vegetables to accompany the meat. 

We didn’t stick around for dessert as we were stuffed, and wanted to get home to watch a special “Call the Midwife” on PBS.

A reader asked me about the size of my egg bake pan.  I used a glass Pyrex 8 X 11 pan.  I ended up with extra egg bake, so cooked the extras in separate ramekins.

The reader (whoever you are – thanks for following me!)….asked me for my recipe for gyoza. As I said yesterday, I experimented by baking rather than frying them, to help cut down on the calories and grease.  They turned out well.

1# ground pork
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 tsp ginger, minced
1 T soy sauce
2 carrots, finely diced
5 green onions, finely diced
8 oz can water chestnuts, finely diced (could substitute celery)
1 tsp sesame oil
salt
pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)
Wonton wrappers

I cooked the pork first and drained it.  (My recipe wasn’t clear whether to cook the pork ahead of time, or not, but I wanted to make sure it was well-cooked, and wanted to drain the excess fat).  To the cooked pork, I added all the other ingredients.  Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the wonton..  Brush eggwhite on the sides of the wonton, and seal to make a crescent.  Spritz with oil.  Place on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 for 7 minutes, or until brown. 

Dipping sauce….

I made up my own — soy sauce, a touch of wasabi, sake, and a pinch of sugar. 

This recipe makes about 50 wontons.  Needless to say, I have a LOT of leftover filling!  I froze the rest of the wonton wrappers for the future. 

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