As I began my weekend on Friday night, I started to think that there was no way I was going to find time to put the tree up -- between laundry and other housework, multiple sets of plans with friends (yay!), church choir rehearsal, and our Advent concert on Sunday morning, I was feeling pretty booked! However, some things changed come Saturday afternoon, and I found myself with a free evening! Time for the Christmas tree!
It's kind of a lot of work to put up (AND take down,) but it's fun to enjoy!
I also managed to squeeze in some more baking and cooking over the weekend:
Cranberry Oatmeal Bars, for church choir rehearsal:
I followed the "Raspberry Oatmeal Bars" recipe from Joy of Vegan Baking, except I promptly de-veganized them by using butter instead of margarine, (what I had on hand, after all,) and used leftover cranberry chutney from Thanksgiving instead of raspberry jam. The chutney worked beautifully! The bars have a nice tart-sweet contrast to them, and I was happy to have the opportunity to find something to do with most of the leftover chutney. :) People gobbled them up at rehearsal, so they must have been good!
Sunday night dinner was a repeat that I had been waiting far too long to make:
"Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese," from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers, with a side of chile-garlic roasted broccoli. Thanks to lots of help from a now-expert onion chopper and caramelizer, this was on the table in no time. :) (Plus, it's always good to have help in taking down a pound of pasta! I still have lots of leftovers, but not an insane amount.)
And in my book, life is incomplete without dessert:
Homemade butterscotch pudding, recipe from The Betty Crocker Cookbook. Homemade pudding is so damn easy, (and so incredibly tasty,) I wonder why I don't make it more often?
Last, I leave you with a snapshot of the hike I took at Ft. Snelling State Park yesterday:
It was the perfect day for a winter hike, if you ask me -- not too cold, not too windy, not too much snow! Woo!