The holiday season makes everyone feel like a kid again. Christmas growing up meant a real Christmas tree, usually from our land, loads of homemade decorations accumulated over the years, and of course delicious food.
This is my first Christmas as a homeowner and also my first married Christmas. So the pressure has really been on to impress myself with my holiday decorating skills. Here’s what the Sparkle household looks like:
I had to do a close-up of the mantle. The flowers are from my wedding. My mom dried them while we were on our honeymoon and I think they’re just beautiful.
And of course some ornaments in a trifle dish and more candies. Husband is not thrilled at the chocolate spread throughout the house (I’m not wild about chocolate, but he sure is):
And don’t think that the dogs got away without some Christmas magic. They’re all going to need years of therapy. Mops and Ketch were both very cranky with me.
The picture of my grumpy dog is one of my new favorites. It truly captures her joy.
Ketch couldn’t be bothered to get up when I tried to share some Christmas cheer with him:
Poor foster dog Sammy was the only one who would play along. She’s such a people pleaser. She gave me this bizarre cringe-smile and tried all of her tricks in rapid succession (sit! shake! shake other paw! down! up! sit! here’s my tummy!) to try to charm me into taking her Christmas outfit off, which I did, but not until I got this weirdly adorable picture:
All this Christmas nostalgia has me craving my mom’s cooking. I grew up thinking that salads were the best part of the meal. My mother’s salads are amazing, interesting, and integral to our family dinners. They’re so good that she is always tasked with bringing a big bowl of her garden-fresh goodness to parties – they’re that much better than indulgent dips, desserts or standard party food. Eating a massive, flavorful salad doesn’t feel like a concession to healthiness when the salad is done properly.
This post is not so much a recipe as an inspiration for your next big bowl of salad.
Here’s what I did for this beautiful dinner:
- For the greens, I used half arugula and half baby greens mix
- Grilled zucchini and baby bell peppers with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and a light dusting of Cajun spice blend.
- Leftover rotisserie chicken
- Roasted pumpkin
- Slice a pumpkin length-wise and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes, or until soft. I use a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, a tiny bit of cayenne pepper, and minced fresh garlic to roast mine.
- Feta cheese
- Sliced tomatoes
- I was out of fresh avocados, but you should make sure that this never happens to you so you can include them in this salad.
- Instead of a salad dressing, I used just a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar