Merry Crail Christmas

Christmas at the Crail home was a lively celebration… full of delicous food, wonderful wine, and the most amazing people IN THE WORLD.  Oh yeah, and Brittany and Nana overbuy.

Look at all them presents!!  Don’t you think that giving presents and watching people’s excitement while opening them is the best feeling in the world?? I do!!

Nana Santa stuffing our stockings!

Dear Hello Kitty– all I wanted for Christmas was you!! Why didn’t you come over?!

But before we get into all the good presents… let’s get into the goodies!  Christmas Eve I baked one of my famous apply pies, but this time instead of leaves, I used a snowflake press.

What do you think of them apples?

I also baked some cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning.  But these weren’t any cinnamon rolls, they were apple cinnamon… with CARAMEL. Wow, eating them certainly brought my heartrate up… talk about a sugar rush.  You can find them here.

Yeah, that just happened…

We at the pie Christmas Eve and the cinnamon rolls Christmas morning.  So the best part about Christnas (besides the awesome amount of family time and the best meal ever) was that Alison and I wore our matching onesies…  AWESOME.

Look at Alison rockin’ all her swag… I got her that hat, it’s a little smushed.

So not that Christmas is all about gifts, but I figured I’d give the rundown.  I got 2 cookbooks, one that my mom made on tastebook.com that I absolutely love.  It is filled with our family recipes and all of mama’s tips and tricks to make our meals delicious.  The best part is that we can add to it!!  The other cookbook is from my celebrity chef crush, Michael Chiarello.  Its his Bottega cookbook.  Get ready for some amazing food upcoming on the blog!!  I also got a couple sweaters, some fun jewelry, 2 pairs of Vibrams (yes, I know I’m spoiled!) and some other odds and ends.  Oh yeah, and my grandpa bought me the prettiest necklace (Hi Pop Pop, I love you and thank you!!).  Overall it was a very successful and practical Christmas, as I got things that I know I’ll use the crap out of!

Now here’s the main finale– Christmas Dinner!!

The first course was lobster bisque.  My mom makes this every year, and she spoils us with the amount of lobster she gives us- 4 tails for 9 people!

So delicious!! It was served with an amazing champage, and thats saying something because I’m not really a champagne person.  Then for our second course, we had prime rib, served with potatoes and green beans and Janet’s famous butterscotch rolls.  Pretty simple, but the prime rib is the star!

The dinner was accompanied by two magnums (2 bottles in one) of Silver Oak

What a great meal.  For dessert we had Nana’s creme brulee, but I was too lazy and it was too delicious for me to get off the couch to take a picture.

It was such a great day.  Every holiday, my family marvels at how blessed we are to be able to spend time with each other and enjoy each other’s company.  And isn’t that what the holidays are all about??

And with that I’ll leave you with Wine Santa!!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!

Thanksgiving Day 2011

Still on my recaps, but maybe I’ll finish one day?!  I’m currently sitting on the couch, drinking wine, blogging, while a James Taylor concert is on tv… Why isn’t this my life all the time?

First off, I want to start by saying my dog is adorable:

Anyway, Thanksgiving morning I woke up relatively early, considering I was on vacation, and woke up to watch my mom wrestle with our turkey, which my Mom, Cathi, Ali and I all agreed was named Thor (I’ll get to him later, he was DELICIOUS! Kind of like the guy that plays Thor in the movie is…). I also made a delcious smooth cranberry sauce by combining 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, boiling, adding 12 oz fresh cranberries, and then smooshing all that goodness through a collander.  Then you put it in a pretty serving dish and everyone thinks you’re a genius (myself included!)

After everyone was awake, Mom, Dad, Cathi, Puneet, Ali and I headed out for a nice, brisk 4 mile walk/hike.  At one point in the walk we reach a sign that basically says Absolutely No Tresspassing or We Might Shoot You…(Nick and I almost did get shot over Memorial Day weekend on this walk).  Anyway, the people must have hired guard horses, because this fine gent didn’t want to let us pass.  He literally said “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!” like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings.  Okay, no, he didn’t, but I did.  Showing you my extreme nerdiness, I hope you can appreciate that.  Anyway, this is him:

And along the walk we saw the typical beautiful sights of Lake Nacimiento (read: my personal paradise)

Again, Scout is adorable and stole the show:

I love these colorful trees! Check out how this tree still has green on its edges…

I spent the rest of the day crafting my most fabulous pies to date (yeah, Future Brittany, that’s me challenging you to make something more awesome).

First off, my new pie bag is a freaking life saver. I don’t care if you only make one pie a year or if you make 50, you need this gadget.  It basically saved me from having a mental pie breakdown like last year when the pie crust on my apple pie got a little bit too brown.

I then used pie crust presses that Nana picked up from Williams and Sonoma to make a bajillion leaves.  Thankfully my new favorite person in the world, Cathi, helped me with acorns.

Then, right before dinner I had a mad scramble to assemble my apple pie before dinner.

Yeah, thats butter on top.

If you’re curious, I used my great-grandmother’s pie crust recipe (if you’d like it, email me and if I really like you, you can maybe have it 😉 and the Joy of Cooking Apple Pie recipe. Anyway I tossed that in the oven when this came out:

He looks like a Thor, doesn’t he?? Happy Thorsgiving!  Well once that beast of a delicious bird came out. I was ready to eat.

We both look a bit impatient….  But my dad the carving master was working on Thor, and soon he was reduced to this.

And we ate him.

Then, after dinner, I took my marvelous apple pie out of the oven.

I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it turned out.  And then I put my pumpkin pie in the oven.

While the pie was baking, we watched Thor.  Could have guessed that one right?? And then my wonderful pumpkin pie came out of the oven, and I sighed a great breath of relief.

Yes, that is a pumpkin at the bottom and a turkey at the top, surrounded by a round of acorns.  For this pie I use a recipe my mom has had forever, except I used fresh roasted pumpkin, which really adds to the fluffiness and depth of flavor to the pie filling.

What a great day. By the way, at dinner, my dad gave a speech about how I’m his best friend and everyone was crying.  It was kind of like I was Hank Mardukis from one of my favorites, I Love You, Man.

Thanksgiving is the freaking best.  Less than a year until the next one!!