Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Dinner 2012

Ten Course Christmas Dinner for 2012

Every year I do a ten course dinner for the family. Some years it turns out better than others. This year I was missing two of my children: Rob couldn't come home from Washington State because he had duty on his Naval Ship; Renee was unable to come because she got married and moved to East Tennessee, which was too far for just a day's travel.

Every year Christmas dinner is formal, ladies wear formal dress and gentlemen wear suits. This year, to accommodate my brother's non-alcoholic tendencies, we had no wines. Usually we have a wine with each course (except for Dean and Sidney who have different drinks). This year, I supplied different flavored waters, Sprite, and a white and red sparkling grape juice.  Some of the pictures did not turn out, but you can at least glean what I made!

After the dinner, I ask everyone what their favorite is (looking for praise, of course!), and what their least favorite is (so that I won't make it again).

The first course, or what my eldest daughter Renee calls the "prior-tizer" was not photographed because I forgot! It was very simple: Baby shrimp and cocktail sauce poured over cream cheese with a pretty knife and fancy crackers. I never get to eat any of this course because I am still cooking.

We sit down at the dining room table to begin, and we start with the appetizer. This year it was home-maid bruschetta.


As you can see, I do serve with all of the plates stacked, because it just me doing EVERYTHING at Christmas. So, they just have to put up with tall dishes as we work our way down.

The next course was the soup, which was not what I have maid every other year. My eldest daughter, Renee has always wanted home made potatoe soup, and this year since she married and moved to the other side of the state, the youngest wanted something different. So, my mom chose butternut squash. Strangely, all the ladies loved it, and all the gentlemen did not! And, also strangely, the picture turned out to be a big black blank. So, I can't show you that at all. Boo!

The next is my salad. This picture doesn't show how pretty it really was. The greens don't look green, but they really were! I make a home-made vinaigrette dressing for the salad every year. It took me about three years to figure out what to do, and then one year I made the two best and had everyone choose which they would prefer in future. It turns out to be the red-whine vinaigrette. Yes, "whine" because they all whine until they get to the salad course because all of the courses are small! :)

The next was sea food. Notice how my brother scooted his stuffed clam as close to his mouth as possible! This was his favorite dish of the night.
Then came the pasta dish. This year we had cheese ravioli with, absolutely from scratch, tomato sauce. This, everyone loved. The picture didn't turn out for this one. :(
The next dish was my favorite! Which, was why there is no photo. I got carried away with eating! I made the most delicious turkey EVER! I stuffed butter inside deep cuts, then made a rub of parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. I then made the most fabulous glazed carrots with orange juice and brown sugar. 
Next came the meat, which was a thick steak marinated in molasses and soy sauce! This is always the most tricky for me because it gets well done. However, it did turn out really yummy and was my mom's favorite dish. I cook the green beans in butter and salt. OMG, love these beans!
The next course begins the desserts. So, each year everyone takes either a bathroom break, or a smoke break. I don't smoke, so I take this time to load the dishwasher from the previous course! This year, however, our NEW dishwasher leaves a residue, and since this is my good china, I chose to hand wash everything. So, I washed a little.
Now that everyone has made a little more room, here is what is usually my eldest son, Rob's favorite. I make a mousse from scratch. Every year it is chocolate with a flavor. However, due to health issues I am no longer able to eat chocolate due to its caffeine content. This year I did a little experiment and came up with a white chocolate mousse. This year's flavor was raspberry. I also made a flavored whipped cream to top it off. This was my boyfriend, John's favorite. He ate something like four of them!

After that came Sidney's favorite dish of the night. The fruit course this year was raspberries mixed with sugar and topped with a cream cheese whipped topping. I mixed it like my grandmother "Mawmaw", who was a Southern Lady that taught me much of my cooking skills. (Yes, for those that know me, I DO know HOW to cook, I just don't like it except for Christmas and Easter!)

And the very last course of the night every year is the sherbet. To keep the theme, it was a raspberry sherbet served in a 1960's vintage champagne glass. MMMMmmmmmmmm.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Letter Written to the H.M.S. Acasta

In response to the Creative Writing

H.M.S. Acasta


Tennessee, America


December 30,


Gentlemen of the H.M. S. Acasta


Dear Sirs:


            It has come to my attention that you are in great need of society. While, I am unable to bring my person to the great sea directly, I thought it prudent that you receive this missive immediately. Please do not think it forward of me writing to you, as none of us have been properly introduced. My mother, the Dowager Countess, assures me that it is certainly acceptable to write to our men at sea as long as we have a direct acquaintance. I must say, that I am informally acquainted with Mrs. Glidden, who introduced me lightly to Mr. Roberts, and thus here I am being recommended you!

            You may think it strange for a Noblewoman to be writing directly to you, much less from the wilds of America, I am sure. The company I keep here is limited, yet the people are friendly and less wild than you may imagine. I have met several of the savages that frequent these parts, and was most impressed with their own sort of nobility, although, they were scandalously dressed! Pray, do not be afraid for any of our safety as these wild men do all appear well behaved. And, I have learned to fire a musket. That is truly an American sort of adventure, is not it?

            Please write me directly, do. If melancholia sets in for any reason, make sure to think of your countrywomen in the American frontier and send her a communication, as I can assure you that both Mrs. G and myself will both welcome any news from the brave fighting men on the seas and the excitement they create.



Countess T.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Images Of Castles and Pagodas On New Chinaware

British Castles & Chinese Cottages Chinaware,

and Biltmore Kitchenware

I WENT SHOPPING and look what I found at Belks Department Store.
How could I not share these with you.
I think that I am in love with this first set. The second set, my mom loves. Now, the third is not china, but a set of kitchen ware that is being promoted by Biltmore Estate. Could these have been designed by a Vanderbuilt, or just being promoted by them? I did not take pictures of the ware, but just of the boxes that they are in. They seem to be nice, just not my personal taste.

Prices for the Old Britain Castles appear to be:


Prices for this grouping appear to be:


Monday, December 24, 2012

A Plethera of Christmas House Pictures

Some were taken by me

Others from other sites

Merry Christmas from me, The Sassy Countess,

to You and Your Family!

(To see credits from these other locations, see the Sassy Countess Facebook Page here





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