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Christmas for Two

For the last month or so I have been back and forth with my family about Christmas. I looked at flights to Florida and then my mom and grandmother talked briefly about flying up to Charlotte. Before we knew it, flight prices had quickly risen and were out of the budget. My dad and I agreed that it was a weird Christmas and we’d all just catch up in January.

Since my fiance’s family celebrated the week before Christmas, this meant a super quiet Christmas for two (well, five if you count all the pups…and warning…lots of puppy pictures to come!).

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Christmas Eve was the normal craziness of last minute shopping, stocking stuffers, three trips to the grocery and wrapping. I got Sullie girl bathed and looking all fluffy for a photo in front of the tree. Zoey won’t sit still for such activities. Ha.

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It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating Sullie’s first Christmas. Look at that baby!

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My family always did a “fancier” dinner on Christmas Eve (usually prime rib and popovers) so I wanted to carry on the tradition. I poured through recipes on Epicurious for hours before settling on these Lamb Loin Chops with Cherry Port Sauce. I served them over goat cheese polenta with roasted asparagus. This dinner turned out so well. I shared on Instagram that it probably makes the list of top 10 things I’ve ever cooked. I immediately called my dad after to tell him all about it. (He consulted with me while I was choosing recipes and encouraged me to try the lamb.)

We opened a 2012 Failla Pinot Noir to go along with and it was delicious.

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After dinner we watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation which is always a fun holiday activity.

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On Christmas morning we slept in until around 9 and then gave the girls their presents. We totally went shopping for their Christmas presents together at PetsMart on Christmas Eve.

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Funny story…my fiance bought Zoey bows for her hair but she was having NONE of it. Sullie, on the other hand, loved them and wore them all day long.

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I whipped up brunch with what we had on hand. I used leftover polenta from the night before to make polenta cakes and then topped them with a slice of capicola that I heated in the skillet, sauteed spinach, a poached egg and a faux avocado hollandaise sauce that I made by blending avocado, salt, lemon juice, water and cayenne pepper. It was really good! Raspberries and pumpkin bread on the side.

I spent the rest of the morning/early afternoon prepping lasagnas for Christmas dinner before heading out to the studio to practice and teach. We always have a couple of classes on Christmas and Thanksgiving (teaching them is totally on a volunteer basis) and our students love getting out of the house to move and sweat. My fiance taught the 1:30 and I taught at 3. I had 50 yogis in class!

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I came home and got the table all set for dinner. We hosted some of our friends who were also having a low-key and quiet Christmas for dinner. Our table is small but I was determined to fit all seven of us around one table.

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I made two lasagnas, kale salad and green beans and served it all with a fresh, warm baguette. The first lasagna was artichoke and mushroom and from Epicurious. It was pretty rich with layers of mozzarella cheese and a homemade bechamel sauce but oh so delicious. The second lasagna was a spicy turkey sausage lasagna with spinach ricotta and was really awesome. I made the spicy tomato sauce from scratch and it made all the difference here. This recipe was also from Epicurious. While I love Pinterest, Epicurious is my go-to when I’m looking for recipes for special occasions like holidays. I can count on the recipes to have been professionally developed and tested and the online reviews are always super helpful. All three of the Epicurious recipes I made were super delicious this weekend.

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All plated up…and let’s talk about the kale salad. SO GOOD! It was massaged tuscan kale with pine nuts, shredded parmesan and dried cranberries. Here’s the recipe. I highly suggest trying it! It was a hit.

The lasagnas were definitely a labor of love (and pretty pricey to make…I think I spent over $30 on cheese alone!) but totally worth it. They fed a crowd and we have tons of leftovers that are even better heated over!

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Dessert was this incredible cranberry marscapone tart with chocolate wafer crust (also from Epicurious…we didn’t plan that!) that my friend brought over. It was light but delicious and the perfect festive end to our holiday dinner.

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Saturday morning had me feeling like coffee and green juice. This mug was a stocking stuffer from my fiance. The juice mix was kale, celery, grapefruit, orange, mint, ginger and carrot. I also had another slice of pumpkin bread because I couldn’t help myself!

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I headed over to the studio at 11 to teach my 11:15 a.m. class and was shocked to find a line 20-deep out the door waiting to get into the studio and 40 already signed in. I guess everyone was feeling the need to get moving after Christmas because I ended up with 95 people in class. It was the first time we have been 100% at capacity since opening the new expanded studio. It was a magical morning and the energy was killer. I am so grateful that my friend Rodney assists my Saturday class every week so I have help in the room. He made it around the entire room TWO TIMES giving out over 200 assists in one hour. He’s like the yoga assist ninja. It’s such a gift to teach and to have the opportunity to help others practice and feel good.

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My fiance sent me this TimeHop from Christmas at my grandmother’s house last year. It was definitely a different Christmas this year but a good one. I’m happy we were able to celebrate with each other and with our friends and I look forward to seeing my family in just a few weeks!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

How did you spend Christmas?

Did you cook or bake anything for Christmas Eve or Christmas Dinner?

Do you buy your pets Christmas gifts? (I know I’m not the only crazy dog momma out there!)

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Linda December 28, 2015, 12:10 pm

    Looks like you had a fabulous Christmas! Dinners look great! Always love Epicurious recipes. Jeff and I went to Asheville and stayed at this fabulous boutique hotel, The Windsor. About 500 square feet with a kitchen. Jen, you would love it!! We ate out at Cucina 24 on Christmas Eve…first time there and fabulous. We cooked on Christmas which was just what we wanted!

    • 2
      Linda December 28, 2015, 12:12 pm

      Ha…love Covetour! Oh yeah, we had a great massaged kale salad at Posana! I’ll post photos on Instagram!

    • 3
      Jen DeCurtins December 28, 2015, 12:45 pm

      That sounds amazing! Can’t wait to see the photos!

  • 4
    Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona December 28, 2015, 12:35 pm

    All the food looks delicious! My dad always makes a lasagna for Christmas Eve. It’s always amazing!

  • 5
    Shoshana December 28, 2015, 12:44 pm

    I absolutely buy my dog a.k.a my child, stocking stuffers every year…plus a special treat for Christmas day

    • 6
      Jen DeCurtins December 28, 2015, 12:46 pm

      Hahah! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one!

  • 7
    Julie December 28, 2015, 3:09 pm

    Merry Christmas! You food always looks delicious! Is there anything you don’t like?? It seems like you eat such a variety of food (slightly picky eater here 🙂 )

    What is your finance’s name? Not that it matters but he is always referred to as your fiance, just wondering 🙂 I

  • 8
    Amelia@i_heart_kale December 28, 2015, 3:29 pm

    Absolutely, you must include the pups!! Lily was our second pup before our daughter Caroline came along, so we most certainly treat her like our baby. She got a new bed this year (which Caroline 1 year old, wanted to lay in. So funny). Plus she had special dinner all weekend long. I think she is feeling the aftermath too. ?
    Everything looks delicious, as always. You have me wanting to make a homemade batch of marinara and a kale salad. Delish!
    So warm and humid here in Charleston for Christmas. We actually ventured out and strolled around downtown. I think we were the only locals out!

    • 9
      Jen DeCurtins December 30, 2015, 3:09 pm

      We’ve had such weird weather the past week! So funny about the dog bed!

  • 10
    Hilary December 29, 2015, 7:01 am

    I got the pleasure of making everyone dinner and dessert this year! I think for my first year hosting it turned out great!

    • 11
      Jen DeCurtins December 30, 2015, 3:09 pm

      So glad it went well! I always love cooking for people!

  • 12
    She Rocks Fitness December 29, 2015, 7:58 am

    Those BOWS are so adorable! We spoil our dogs rotten…My Mom always sends me home with gourmet dog biscuits that smell so good I would eat them myself. Looks like you had a beautiful Christmas…XOXO

    • 13
      Jen DeCurtins December 30, 2015, 3:11 pm

      Haha! I love it! I hope you had a great Christmas!

  • 14
    Hillary January 8, 2016, 9:03 pm

    Wow! What a spread! I also had a low key christmas with my roommate and it’s always fun to do a special dinner like that 🙂 I wish we had that salad though! Quick question about the recipe link.. it says a cup of kale?? And then all that dressing? Am I missing something here? Thanks!!

    • 15
      Jen DeCurtins January 8, 2016, 9:27 pm

      What I surmised from that was that the dressing was a separate recipe for a full batch and to use what you needed on the salad and save the rest.

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