Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmasy things

Do you know what I haven't done in forever? Given you beautiful people something new to look at. So, I'm here to remedy that situation.
What I have been up to is getting into the holiday spirit via decorating, cooking, and attending Christmas-y parties. Well, actually just one party. You know how I'm not particularly into being social. But I did wear a pretty dress! And bring two of my dearest friends from college along with me!

Photographic evidence of the aforementioned activities:
 I've made peppermint bark every year for the holidays since I was in middle school. I'd wrap it up in little bags and give it out to my friends on the last day of class before winter break. It's super easy and people LOVE it. Always a hit, I promise.
To make, you just need:
  • a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • a bag of white chocolate chips
  • three candy canes
  • some wax paper
  • two bowls
  • casserole dish or baking sheet
  • a plastic bag, a towel, and a hammer or heavy knife (for breaking the candy canes)
So it's simple: You melt the semi-sweet chips in the microwave (if you want to be fancy, you could do it in a double boiler. But I'm pretty domestically lazy.) and smooth it out on the wax paper in the dish or baking sheet. Pop it in the fridge for half an hour.
While that's setting, go to work on crushing up the candy canes. It takes some muscle and can kind of be a pain if you don't have the right tools. Just keep at it -- you don't want someone to bite down on a huge piece of candy cane and break a tooth. That would be a liability issue. I usually put the candy canes in a plastic bag and wrap the bag in a towel -- the jagged edges from the candy start ripping the bag so if you don't wrap it in something, you're going to have pieces in your eye. Watch it, ok? I wail at it with a big knife, but use whatever you have. Or employ some able-bodied male to do it for you.
When the chocolate is set, melt the white chips down the same way. Spread them over the semi-sweet ones, being careful not to press down too much and mucking up the first layer. Once that looks all nice, QUICKLY -- before the white chocolate starts to set -- sprinkle the candy cane bits over the top. Definitely don't mix them into the white chocolate before you spread it over the semisweet chocolate because it won't look right. I tried it one year and it turned out terrible. Learn from my mistakes.
Press the candy canes in and then pop it in the fridge until everything's hardened. Give it an hour if you can. Depending on how big your pan was, it might be too thick to break into pieces by hand. So set the whole slab onto a cutting board and start piercing it with a hefty knife. It should start cracking on it's own pretty nicely.
So that's that.

 It's become my responsibility over the years to decorate the garland we hang in the den of the house, so I try to do something creative. This year, I went with a game theme and stuck cards and ribbon-wrapped dominoes into the greens. Then I spelled out 'Merry Christmas' with Scrabble letters and hung them from the top. I'll have to get a picture of the finished product for you later.
So then my friends and family got all dressed up and went to a Christmas ball last weekend. I spent forever trying to find an appropriate dress and could find nothing I liked that didn't cost a million dollars, so I ended up getting this one at Jessica McClintock. I know, I know -- how very high school prom of me. But it's actually pretty cute, yeah? And classic enough to be worn again. I simply cannot stand the concept of buying something to wear it only once.
Had a few too many of those lime-filled beverages...
My brother apparently doesn't like my mom and me very much...
One for the Christmas card.