Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a blessed day yesterday. It was s a beautiful white Christmas here in Michigan, we couldn't have asked for better. It truly felt like the story book Christmas. While I unfortunately had to work all day at the hospital yesterday, I am thankful that I am working at the hospital, and not admitted to the hospital myself. With Christmas music playing in the workroom, and the snow falling gently outside, it really wasn't too bad! I made the rest of the team breakfast for Christmas morning. Broccoli cheddar quiche, and coffee break muffins. Lara brought in a baked oatmeal and we all enjoyed a festive and delicious breakfast before getting to work!

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Thankfully, I was able to do a lot of baking and cooking for the holidays this year. First, Lara and I made Christmas cookies to give away to friends and co-workers. We decided on a trio of delicate snowflake Linzer cookies, thick and fruity stollen bars, and our yearly extra chewy molasses cookies (<-- these things are amazing! They may not look super exciting, but they are the best molasses cookies I have ever had!). We bagged those up a few weeks ago to get into the holiday spirit.

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Next, the annual decorated sugar cookies. We decided on cute little owls, snowy Christmas trees, and simple holiday words. They turned out super cute! Lara did most of the actual decorating as usual, and of course did a wonderful job! These were snacked on all weekend long by family, friends and coworkers. 

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We celebrated Christmas with the whole extended family in Holland on the water this year on the 23rd. It was a great turn out. Most of the family could make it from all areas of the country! We had a wonderful time eating and talking and just enjoying the day all together. 

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Grandpa and grandma got into the Christmas spirit! Looking good!

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And finally - Christmas day, at the hospital. Merry Christmas from the whole family medicine team!

If I had to work the holiday, at least it was with this great group of people!

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Thanksgiving 2017

I love Thanksgiving. The food, getting together with family, cooking and baking, eating and talking, even the football watching. It's all so festive and lovely. My favorite part is probably the weeks leading up to the big Thursday, thinking of a menu, trying to come up with the right blend of tradition and innovation. My family and I don't see eye to eye on this so it can be challenging to come up with food to please everyone, but I do feel like this year was a pretty decent success. 
 

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Here's the menu: 

Balsamic Glazed and Lacquered Turkey
(adapted from Bon Appetit, year 3 for this baby and still a winner! This time
replaced the sherry vinegar with balsamic and [accidentally] doubled
the sugar, a happy mistake!)

Pan roasted brussel sprouts with cracked wheat berries and tahini dressing
(adapted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolehghi - replaced the green
beans for something more seasonal)

Spicy greens salad with roasted golden cauliflower, fresh mozzarella and candied lemon peel
(also adapted from Plenty More, this time replaced the artichoke
hearts with the cauliflower)

Marbled pumpkin and chocolate bundt cake with chocolate glaze and hazelnuts
(From The Pastry Affair)

Fresh cranberry sauce with orange zest
 

There were a few additional dishes from other family members (Thanks everyone) to round out the meal. These included sourdough and brown sugar stuffed pumpkins, jello salad, and great grandma's fudge. All in all a fantastic meal!

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Leftovers! Such a wonderful thing! Fresh salads with Turkey and miso noodle soup garnished with fresh cilantro. 

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On the final day of the Thanksgiving weekend, Lara and I drove up north to Cedar Springs where I finally got to cut down my very own Christmas tree - something I've always wanted to do! Lara had met a new couple through church friends a few weeks earlier, and they started talking about her parent's Christmas Tree Farm so of course we had to go check it out. Red Flannel Tree Farm is the cutest, most picturesque place to cut down a Christmas tree that you can imagine. They have horse drawn wagons (or sleighs [!] if it's snowing, I was jealous!) to take you out to the trees. They had a wonderful variety of pines and firs of all sizes and shapes. They then have a barn full of old farm paraphernalia, some of which is for sale, and free hot chocolate to warm up with after cutting down your tree. They also have tree stands and some wreaths and other decor for sale. I had an absolute blast and want to go back and do it all over again! They're only open 3 weekends and said the trees were going extra fast this year so I'm glad I headed up to finally get the experience I've been wanting for a long time. 

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With a tiny apartment, you only need a tiny tree!!

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Start sawing...

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...keep going...

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The perfect tree for me, a concolor fir

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Success!!

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Lara got one too!

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New friends, Chevy and Ford

 
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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!