Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Highlights

Christmas is about family and being together. For almost 30 years, we have spent a weekend just before Christmas enjoying the festivities and decorations at a mountain resort. We all live in different states now. This was a wonderful place to meet. Here are a few highlights from our 27th visit.

Little Sister got to sing with the pianist in the Great Hall.

And Little Sister and her Aunt Jessica took a turn 
on the dance floor one evening.

Unusually warm weather let us sit out on the porch one night
and watch visitors come and go.

This fireplace is big enough to walk in to.

The proud and happy grandparents.

After the weekend, we all headed home to enjoy Christmas together at the farm. Santa Claus visited Little Sister and Big Sister here this year. It's amazing that he always knows where the children are.

Little Sister was excited to get just what she had asked Santa for.

Yes—all she had asked Santa for was "cornbread and cracked walnuts in a blue box."
Santa listened and delivered.

Aunt Jessica had a little shadow most of the week. She helped Jessica cook.

She sat right beside her and "knitted."

The temperatures got colder but not enough to keep everyone indoors.

Little Sister liked checking on the cows, even if they were smelly.

We had such fun having this bright face here for a few days. 
We enjoyed the rest of the family, too.

A tradition that started last year—baking cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve.
One corner had extra cinnamon!

A longer tradition has been the cooking a rib roast on Christmas evening. Jessica and Daddy-O cook and let me sit down. They had tried a different recipe every year—until last year. They found the one they liked.


1 (8 to 9 pound) beef rib roast
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup molasses
2 tablespoons course ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed
1/4 cup all-pourpose flour

Preheat oven to 325. Sprinkle meat with salt and place in a roasting pan. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into the center of the roast. The thermometer should not touch the bone. Roast, uncovered, for 2 hours or until desired temperature.

In a small bowl, combine the molasses, pepper and thyme. Brush roast with some glaze. Add 2 cups of water to the pan and return to the oven. Roast for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 135 for medium rare. Brush roast once with remaining glaze and transfer roast to a carving board. Cover roast with foil; let stand for at least 15 minutes. Temperature of meat should be 145.

Meanwhile, pour pan drippings into a large measuring cup. Skim and reserve the fat from the drippings. Pour 1/4 cup of the fat into a medium saucepan (discard remaining fat). Stir in flour. Add enough water to the remaining drippings in the measuring cup to equal 2 cups. Add drippings all at once to the flour mixture in the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt. Slice meat and serve with gravy. 

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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