Last night was one of the most fun nights ever. I know I’ve said it before, but I love my group of grad school girlfriends here SO much!
They are seriously some of the sweetest, most down to earth and genuine girls I’ve ever met. I’ll be sad to leave them for a month over Christmas break!
Last night, all of us headed over to Elle’s place, now officially nicknamed “The Clubhouse” because we always invite ourselves over there. I mean, wouldn’t you? Look how cute and cozy her place is!
A few weeks ago, while hanging out at The Clubhouse, Elle mentioned that she was going to get a Christmas tree. Everyone’s eyes lit up. A frenzy of talking erupted, with each idea better than the last:
- Omg, can we help you decorate it?!
- We can listen to Christmas music!!!
- And make gingerbread man cookies!!!!!!
- And do a Secret Santa ornament exchange!!!!!!!!!!
And thus, the evening’s plans were born (I totally forgot about the pajama dress code and showed up wearing what I wore to school that day — fail! At least I had comfy leggings on!)
(Sidenote: totally set off the fire alarm when starting the fire in the fireplace. Apparently the smoke likes to come inside at first, even if the flue is open!)
Speaking of outfits, I have to note my friend Lauren’s AMAZING outfit from last night. She’s in the middle (obviously):
That would be a Santa hat, an incredibly tacky and amazing Christmas vest, and one of my fANNEtastic t-shirts: “Running is Cheaper than Therapy”! Hahaha. So amazing.
We also decided to turn the evening into a potluck dinner/wine party! Elle offered to make the main course, an epic pork tenderloin topped with spicy apple chutney.
Here’s a link to the recipe she used — it’s from Epicurious. She just used apple instead of rhubarb in the chutney. SO GOOD!!!
Mmm… check out the steam! I am definitely making this again at home. I loved the combination of sweet apples and savory cumin. Yum!
Sides included roasted Brussels sprouts (roasted at 375 in some olive oil, salt, and pepper):
Quinoa (courtesy of me — just cooked in chicken broth and topped with some cracked pepper — simple and very tasty!):
A spinach and cranberry salad:
And we also had some sweet potatoes! Here’s my plate:
YUM!! Awesome dinner.
After dinner, we had our Secret Santa ornament gift exchange! Heh!
I got this little Santa chef! Isn’t he cute?? I love the chef’s hat and his knife collection. We decided he was mixing icing for gingerbread men 😉
There were some great ornaments, we were cracking up! Especially awesome was that our friend Jillian (with me in the photo below) got an ornament that said “Jillian’s 1st Christmas” because she’s one of the the youngest in our group and we are always teasing her about it! We were dying. It even had a pacifier hanging from it!
I got my friend Stephanie for the Secret Santa, and gave her an ornament that was a bucket of champagne with a little sign that said “Pop the bubbly!” because she always brings champagne to our get togethers Hehe
After the gift exchange, it was time to get down to work! We had gingerbread men (and boys) to make and Christmas trees to decorate!
After some searching around, we decided to use the Paula Deen recipe for “Gingerbread Boys and Girls” cookies and icing. Only one stick of butter in the whole thing, shocker! 😉
The cookies came out great — not too sweet and ready for icing
We even used icing piping bags, which turned out to be messier than expected because our icing was a little runny 😉
Does anyone else love red hots like I do??
I brought these two home for Matt 😉 I know, sickeningly cute. I’m sorry.
While the cookies were baking and being frosted, we also got to work decorating the tree!
Yay. Just gets you in the spirit, doesn’t it?
Best night ever
Time to get down to some serious work — I have 3 final exams next week (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday) and one last biostats homework assignment to finish up, too. Better get crackin’!
Have a happy Friday!