Christmas 2013

Happy New Year! And Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I've been taking a hiatus from everything except eating and drinking, so I apologize for my absence.  

We spent our Christmas in the arctic with my family, in northern Wisconsin. It was so beautiful and snowy and cold and it looked like Christmas should look, a luxury we do not have in Texas.  My mom did the cutest job decorating our cabin, you sort of felt like you were in Santa's chalet.  

See how wintery we look?
In addition to the incredible time we had with my family, we did a lot of eating. And I feel absolutely sick about this, but I HAVE NO PICTURES of all the amazing things we made. I have no explanation for it other than that I was busy helping my mom, and my sisters don't believe in documenting momentous occasions in their lives. 

So, I'm going to have to give you verbal descriptions. Which is easy for me, because I can still feel the meatballs sinking into my teeth, the ribs falling off the bone, the mashed potatoes and gravy dripping off the spoon, and the lefse all sugary and warm in between my fingers. 

That was weird, I'm sorry. 

The menu:

Swedish Meatballs - a family tradition for Christmas Eve, a tradition that I despised as a young kid and absolutely love as an adult. Every year my meatball intake increases by one to two.  They are made with ground sirloin, half as much ground pork, a little milk and one egg, slice of bread, and pinch of ginger. Then a delicious creamy gravy is made with the fat/browned bits.

Ribs - Also a Christmas Eve tradition, though I don't know why. I guess because meatballs aren't enough to keep you warm in Wisconsin. Roasted in the oven with S&P, and a little crispy on the outside.

Mashed potatoes - no secret here. Lots o' cream and butter. We used fingerling potatoes and left the skin on.

Popovers - the Hartwigs never serve a meal without bread.

Roasted winter vegetables - another family staple.  

Bacon wrapped dates with balsamic glaze (and stuffed with cream cheese).

And this creamy almond rum martini(s).
Then for Christmas morning, we had an egg casserole with a hashbrown crust, and egg nog pancakes (recipes to follow).
And I can't forget the lefse. My mom makes the beeeeeeeest lefse, which I ate nonstop for the last two days I was home.   If you don't know what lefse is, it is a Norwegian food that kind of resembles a potato-based tortilla. You eat it warm, rolled up with butter and sugar.

Everyone was home this year (all 11 of us including 4 spouses and 1 tiny baby), so it made for a loud and fun and funny Christmas - the best kind.