No Christmas dinner at our house.  By 2:00 Noah and I were feverish and back in bed.  I think we’re finally on the mend today after some inhalers, cough syrup, antibiotics, and about 300 boxes of Kleenex.  I finally ordered a camera cord (the husband bought the wrong one) so we should have some photos again soon.

I hope everyone is staying warm and safe and well.


Have a Very Happy Christmas

We’re all sick, but we’re also looking forward to the holiday.  We have a beautiful ham from Gartner’s Meat Market, what an amazing place, for tomorrow’s family dinner.  We’re throwing in Stacy’s potatoes, green beans and some lovely rolls from Delphina’s bakery for a great feast.  Hopefully Santa will bring me a new camera download cord so that I can upload some photos.

Right now we are tucked in by the fire.  Actually, Darwin’s staring at the fireplace waiting for Joe to get it going again.  Noah’s tucked in upstairs with his Mucinex, Robitussin and a box of tissues.  Caleb is reading for his Honor’s English book report – due 1/3. started two weeks late on 12/21. I’m lying on the couch with Mullein Garlic ear oil trying to unclog my right ear.  Joe is going up to his mom’s to try the “plague medicine” – vodka, onion, horseradish and garlic – to try to stay healthy.

The Homestead in Norway

My husband’s grandparents come from Norway.  The photo below shows a photograph taken of the family farm in the mountains.  A farm that has been around since the 1600’s and still has to be hiked into.  The mail and groceries come up by some type of tram, but people need to hike over a mile up the mountain to access it.  Joe’s grandpa Ivar said all you could hear up there were the cuckoo birds and the creek.

This photo shows the place in the winter……


Here it is in the warmer weather……I love the satellite dish.



Bread Pudding with Dried Fruit and Sour Lemon Sauce

Kris Kringle Bread Pudding

(adapted from: Martha Stewart December 2005) click here for gift tag link


  • 1 1/3 cups Brandy
  • 12 ounces assorted dried fruits, such as peaches, apricots, and pears, cranberries, raisins
  • 5 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup vanilla or granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 2 large loaves day-old brioche, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes (18 cups)
  • Unsalted butter, room temperature, for parchment paper

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine Brandy and dried fruits. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. The fruit should absorb all of the Brandy. Remove from heat. Coarsely chop; set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream, half-and-half, sugar, cinnamon sticks, vanilla pod and seed scrapings, and orange zest. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. While whisking constantly, gradually ladle half the hot cream mixture into the yolks. Return to saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, and scraping the sides and edges of the pan until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain through a large sieve into large bowl, discarding the cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, and orange zest.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place brioche cubes in a large bowl. Add dried fruit, reserving 1/2 cup. Pour custard over brioche cubes; toss to combine. Divide brioche cubes evenly between two 2-quart ovenproof bowls; the cubes will mound on top. Sprinkle reserved fruit over the top of each pudding. Sprinkle tops of puddings with sugar. Let stand until bread is saturated, about 20 minutes.

5. Brush two 12-by-12-inch pieces of parchment paper with butter. Place parchment paper, butter side down, over bread. Cover parchment with aluminum foil to seal. Place puddings in a large, deep roasting pan. Place in oven, and add enough boiling water to roasting pan to come 3 inches up sides of bowls. Bake for 1 hour. Uncover, and bake until set, 30 to 45 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature. Will keep refrigerated 3 days.

6. To reheat; preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place puddings in a deep roasting pan. Place in oven, and add enough water to roasting pan to come 3 inches up sides of bowls. Reheat until warm through, about 20 minutes.

Sour Lemon Sauce


Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest


  1. In the top of a double boiler, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add 2 1/2 cups hot water, and cook, stirring, until thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest. Continue to cook until smooth. Remove from heat, and bring to room temperature. May be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Candied Nuts

Candied Walnuts:
4 oz Pecans
4 oz Walnuts
1/2 {scant} cup White Granulated Sugar
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Egg Whites from one Egg
Preheat oven to 250 degrees and butter a small baking sheet.
Combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl whisk egg white with a splash of water until frothy.
Add the nuts and toss until evenly coated.
Next add the nuts to the cinnamon and sugar mixture and toss again until coated.
Spread sugared nuts onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Let cool.
Spicy Smoked Almonds:
Use the recipe above but add:
1/8 teaspoon cardamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne papper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
increase cinnamon to 1/4 teaspoon

Peanut Butter Balls

*Leona’s *
Makes 30
Printable Recipe

A holiday tradition in my home for the past 30 years! Where I come from you won’t find too many houses without a plate of these on offer at Christmas time! Easy and quick to make, and delicious too!!

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup icing sugar
½ cup chopped nuts (I prefer walnuts)
½ cup rice crispies cereal
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate
1 TBS butter

Cream together the peanut butter and icing sugar. Stir in the nuts and cereal. Shape into small balls and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Melt together the chocolate and butter, mixing until smooth. Dip the chilled balls into the chocolate and set aside on a parchment paper lined plate. Set in the fridge to harden. These also freeze really well so they are an excellent make ahead!!