Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Eve Fun

Since the weather people were calling for an undetermined amount of snow, possibly significant, over the weekend we decided to head to Whole Foods first thing in the morning. We couldn’t run out of kale you know, LOL. Even though we got there at 8:20 in the morning it was a zoo. I tried to take a few interior shots with my phone but they came out fuzzy.

After we braved Whole Foods on Christmas Eve we headed home for breakfast. No surprise we started our morning with one of our usual green smoothies made with kale, frozen banana, cinnamon, ginger, ground flaxseed and a pinch of stevia. Dan and I had the same thing this morning. ;-)

Since we knew we were going out for dinner we had a big salad for lunch of: shredded romaine, salsa, white beans, artichoke hearts, yellow bell pepper, cucumber, and grape tomatoes.

Next we stopped at the restaurant between the lunch and dinner rush to give Ian and Corey (the manager) their holiday presents. Ian seemed to enjoy his copy of “The Artful Vegan”. I think he was surprised that the food was so intricate and beautifully presented. We also bought him two “chefy” T-shirts and a bottle of our favorite balsamic vinegar. Corey got a big bottle of grapefruit cello since he used to always enjoy it when I made that in the past.  I will say I felt  huge twinge of guilt because it is alcohol and sugar and I know how bad they are for health.  I convinced myself that he will drink it sparingly. *rolls eyes*  Hey Corey, if you are reading this let me believe that okay? Hugs!

After that we had some time to kill so we did a little shopping. We went to Hunt Valley Mall to see if the flamingo ornament was back in stock but it wasn’t, darn it. We picked up a full length coat for me which Dan gave me as one of my Christmas presents. The jacket I bought last month wasn’t going to be warm enough if the temperatures stayed as cold as they have been.

I love Christmas lights so we did a little ride through the neighborhood to look at lights to kill a little time before dinner. The next few photos you see will give you a better idea of our neighborhood. The houses are very eclectic and different from each other in both size and style.

The huge snowflake ornaments on this house are adorable. If anyone knows who sells them I would love to know.

This is a beautifully decorated house back in the neighborhood. The picture doesn’t do the decorations justice. The house is stunning in person.

I love how simply this house was decorated and thought the tree on the porch was adorable.

We had dinner reservations at 7pm and even though Ian was making a special Christmas Eve menu (the feast of the 7 fishes ... it is an Italian thing) he said he was happy to make something vegan for us. Ian is so sweet!

When we got to dinner there were no tables so we sat at the bar for a little while and chatted. Alan (one of the owners) insisted that we have some Brunello. Did we say no? Of course not and he knew we wouldn’t since it has always been our favorite wine. Dan thought since it was a special occasion and little wine wouldn’t be much of a problem. Alan joked with us an hour later than he had never seen a small glass of wine last us an hour and it that this was as much a miracle as the oil lasting for 8 days. Dan and I both thought Allan's comment was a riot and very true indeed LOL.

Not long after we were seated Jane Allen showed up and joined us for dinner. We had only run into her a few times since we stopped going to wine tasting. In years past we would see her every Thursday at wine tasting. We had a great evening catching up. It was a very pleasant surprise to run into her at the restaurant. I keep telling you this is the neighborhood spot. I wish all of you had a restaurant like this that was close to you too.

Our appetizer was mixed wild mushrooms that were lightly flavored with garlic, onion and herbs. They were succulent and delicious. I love eating mushrooms not only because they taste good but because they boost your immune system and who wouldn’t like that?

Next Ian made us dish on the menu above only he left out the anchovies and cheese. It was lovely and you know we love anything with kale, LOL.  This was Dan's favorite dish probably because his mean Italian wife never makes him homemade pasta anymore. ;-)

We were still hungry since we only had salad for lunch so we asked for a third dish, which we don’t normally do. Ian made us schezuan veggeis because he knows we love that sauce. As weird as this sounds I love going out to dinner and having food show up that is a complete surprise. It helps that we have such faith in the chef but I enjoy the mysterious aspect. ;-)

After dinner we decided to stop by the “Miracle on 34th Street” which is huge contrast to the prior Christmas lights I showed you and they are less than 2 miles apart which I find wild. For those of you that aren’t from Baltimore it is one small block in Hampden that goes completely overboard decorating and has done so for as long as I can remember. I took a couple pictures to share the craziness of it with you.

Happy Thoughts:

The holiday season has been very nice so far. Dan went completely overboard as always but it was very sweet even though I feel terribly guilty. I will share some of the items with you tomorrow. Here are my happy thoughts today:

• Dan and I had a lovely Friday together which is I loved. We don’t get many weekdays together. Considering that we ate out I think we had a very healthy food day Friday. I love it that we have that option even when out.

• I hadn’t seen the mall decorated at night and that was very pretty. I become a little kid at Christmas I love lights and shiny things. ;-)

• I have also been enjoying looking at Christmas lights. There is that little kid coming out again. ;-)

• I am very thankful to have another holiday season to spend with my best friend and husband. Every day I think I love him just a little bit more even though it doesn’t seem possible.

Signing out:

Christmas Day was a bit of a mad rush with a few things not going according to plan. Nothing major went wrong just the annoyances of everyday life. It is funny that a few years ago what happened was something that would have ruined my day and now I can just laugh and keep going. Mortality does have a way of changing your perspective on things. I will you fill in on everything in my next post. Overall the day was very good and I got some nice loot, LOL.

On the entertaining front we are supposed to get snow Sunday but it is very unclear how much. Apparently the storm is running up the coast which means we may get a lot or a little snow tomorrow. At least we don’t have anywhere to be tomorrow since we ran out to the library Saturday evening to drop off the books that were due the day after Christmas.

I also finished reading “Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes”. The plan is to have that review written in the next couple of days. At the moment I have a winter Moroccan chickpea stew simmering away for Sunday lunch. Moroccan food always fills the house with such nice aromas. :-)

I will talk to you all again tomorrow if not sooner. I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday with people they love.


  1. Looks like a fun (and delicious) holiday celebration! It was nice of you to gift people who take such good care of you!

  2. Alicia,
    I would to get your take on the "Reversing Diabetes" book. I am doing the best I can to kick the nasty disease myself.

    Enjoyed your post, as usual!

    Peace :)

  3. JL,

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, ours has been very hectic like usual I suppose. We adore everyone at the restaurant and you are right they take very good care of us particularly Ian and Corey. ;-) It only seems right to take them presents. Ian said he will be using the book to get ideas for meals for us. Woo hoo!

    Enjoy the remainder of your weekend,

  4. Chandra,

    I enjoyed the book and it reinforced things I had read elsewhere. I would recommend that you see if your library has it though you may end up buying it. I will try to get the review up in the next two days. The diet he suggests mirrors McDougal, Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell it is a very low fat vegan diet. The studies he cited made the approach seem like a good one to try. If I had diabetes I would give it a go.

    Glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you had a wonderful holiday. :-)


  5. I love seeing all the holiday lights, too. I was driving home late last night and the twinkle lights and the snow looked glittery and magical, it was wonderful. It's good to see you enjoying them on some homes, too.

    The dinner sounds wonderful, how great to have a vegan "7 fishes" and even get Dan some homemade pasta! I should practice lingering over a glass of wine for so long.

  6. Well, as always, I'm jealous of your fantastic dinner out! So glad you did indulge in the glass of wine. I'm sure it was savored and enjoyed far more than the way most people enjoy their wine. Hugs my friend.

  7. Jessica,

    I have always loved Christmas decorations particularly the lights. I could drive around every evening and look at them. ;-)

    Lingering over wine is very difficult since we both love it so much, particularly Brunello. Since we recognize how bad it is for us we like to enjoy our infrequent indulgences for as long as possible. It is amazing how much pleasure you can get out of only smelling wine. I guess they are right about a lot of taste being in the aroma.

    I hope you had a wonderful holiday,

  8. Heather,

    Thanks I wish I could clone Ian and send him your way. :-(

    The wine was wonderful and thoroughly enjoyed. I think that is the first Brunello we have had in over a year and half. In the bad old days we drank at least one bottle of Brunello a week. We both seriously missed it. I will admit it did go down far to easy. ;-)

    I hope you had a wonderful holiday,

  9. I loved getting a peek at the neighborhood's Christmas decorations. And your dinner at the restaurant looks lovely--so lucky to have a chef who's willing to make dinner to order! :)

  10. Ricki,

    I love Christmas decorations and always have. I assumed I wasn't the only one. Thanks for letting me know you like them too. :-)

    Ian really is too kind to us. He always goes out of his way for us and we appreciate it very much. I am looking forward to seeing how "The Artful Vegan" inspires him. He seemed impressed by the presentation and intricacy so it should be interesting.

    I hope you are enjoying your holiday,

  11. I DO wish we had a neighborhood restaurant like that!

  12. Oh my, those mushrooms look incredible! Seeing that menu made me miss wine. Prosecco is my favorite.

  13. Brigid,

    Ian always does a great job with mushrooms. I wish I could make them taste the way he does. I need to try to find out his secret. ;-)

    I love all Italian wine personally, LOL. Prosecco, Brunello, Amarone, Pinto Grigio, Barolo, Super Tuscan, Chianti Riserva, Nero D'Avola, etc. Think we used to drink much wine? ;-)


  14. Jenny,

    I wish you had a neighborhood restaurant like this too. We have been very spoiled by having Ian so close the last 4 years.



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