Christmas 2012

Hello from Pittsburgh!

Matt and I are here spending Christmas with his family – it was also our first Christmas together as a married couple! :)



It’s been a fun full house – both of Matt’s brothers are home, plus my sister-in-law, Jess, and Matt’s aunt, Nancy. Chris and Jess also brought their adorable dog, Maggie, with them!


Maggie = cutest dog EVER. We want to keep her.


On Christmas Day, Matt’s family hosted an awesome Christmas dinner for all of us plus their family friends the Hays (whose kids are our good friends, too).



Preparations for the feast began in the early afternoon. Check out this menu!


We all served as prep cooks – my job was to clean out the acorn squash and put some spiced butter and brown sugar inside before roasting. Yum!



I totally forgot to get pictures of the appetizers because we were all busy chatting and enjoying wine, but before we knew it, it was time for the main event!



First up – charbroiled oysters, inspired by a trip to New Orleans that Matt and his dad took last year! These were amazing – grilled with butter and garlic.



Plus, a salad that was waiting on the table. Baby greens, pear, walnuts, bleu cheese, and pear vinaigrette!


Palate cleanser! Obvi. :) Fresh orange granita!


After the starters, we headed to the kitchen to load up our plates with the main courses.

Grilled acorn squash with maple butter:


Rosemary garlic roasted beef tenderloin – so juicy and flavorful.


Green beans and cherry tomatoes:


My plate! There was also some ham with cranberry sauce and on the left of my plate you’ll see a leek and gruyere cheese bread pudding. Amazing.


After dinner, out came the Peppermint Pig! Have you guys heard of this tradition? You put the pig in a bag and pass it around the table. When you get the pig, you share something good that happened to you this year with the group, then give the pig a little smack to break up the peppermint. When everyone has gone, you all open the bag and share little bites of the peppermint! My good thing was of course getting married to Matt in October! :)


Finally – time for dessert. Matt’s dad made this amazing chocolate cake – named La Bete Noir (“The Black Beast”) – it was SO rich and delicious.


Plus a mixed berry tart:


Assorted Christmas cookies:


And a coconut cake made by Matt’s mom! It was really moist – yum.


Matt and I are sticking around Pittsburgh until tomorrow, so we’re off to continue to enjoy our break. It snowed yesterday and we had a blast playing in the snow, sledding, and making a gingerbread house – more on that later! :)

Hope you’re all having a merry week!



  1. 1

    Hope you did okay in the snowstorm here yesterday! :)

  2. 2
    Pat Elsberry says:

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Matt’s parents are obviously fabulous cooks and quite the host/hostess!! Yummy!

  3. 3
    Healthy Eater says:

    Wow! What a feast! Well done to the chef and his assistants!

  4. 4

    WOW. What an amazing meal. Makes my ham and mashed potatos look pretty weak :-)

  5. 5

    Oh my goodness! This all looks AMAZING!

  6. 6

    Your eats look so gourmet! YUM! Happy Holidays!!

  7. 7

    What a wonderful Christmas! I love the table setting, and the menu! How adorable, what a great idea!

  8. 8

    Matt’s younger (I think?) brother (he looks like the youngest, second from the right in the back row) is SO CUTE!

  9. 9

    Oh my goodness thats the most amazing Christmas meal I’ve ever seen! I want the coconut cake and the chocolate one and of course the acorn squash! Love how diverse the menu was, you guys should all be chefs!!!

  10. 10

    Looks delicious! And boy do the genes run strong in Matt’s family!

  11. 11

    Wow! Looks like you guys had a GREAT christmas with lots of tasty eats. Mmm!

  12. 12

    Wow! What an amazing Christmas feast! I am so jealous of all your delicious eats. Yum!

  13. 13

    Looks fabulous! :)

  14. 14

    Looks soooo good, Anne. So glad you shared with us.I fixed two spicy roast beef rubbed with peppercorn and cooked slowly outside in the Webber. We have roast beef every Christmas and these were the most tender ever. I think because I cooked two small roast instead of the usual big roast. Anne, I have never mixed green beans with tomatoes. I will def. try them. OMG, the oysters look wonderful.

  15. 15

    You definitely married into a foodie family! That meal looked incredible.

  16. 16

    I did the peppermint pig for the first time this year! My happy thing was getting engaged!

    • 17
      Virginia D. Klein says:

      The peppermint pig is totally new to me. Is a special family tradition of your in-laws? Is it part of their ethnic heritage? What a meaningful ritual!

      Your blog is informative,well-written,fun to read. Best wishes for your continued success in all that you do.

      • 18

        I think they found the Peppermint Pig in Saratoga Springs, NY — apparently that’s where it started?

        Thank you for the kind words about the blog!

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