Halloween to Christmas: Holidays 2014

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The holiday season is almost over.  And I realized I hadn't even posted about Pumpkin Carving. So here's a busy (lazy) mom's overview of our celebrations since October, mostly so I can remember them next year. Especially if there's any debate over who had the best pumpkin.

Oh, and our little Viggo is three month's old today. Three! How did this happen? I go to work next week, and am terribly sad about it. I did not expect to be this sad. So wish me luck for an easy transition, where I don't cry at my desk (more than once a day).
For the first-time ever, the husband won the carving contest with his Lincoln. And no, I did not select him as winner because he gave me a baby, as some suggested. I think everyone else just dropped the ball.
Viggo is already learning about the judging process. It's not easy to pick a winner, little guy.
Pumpkin carving would not be complete without chili.
This year, the husband organized our friends to put on a second Koncert for Karine. It was actually called Kristmas 4 Karine and Baby Viggo, and featured holidays carols and tunes. Although I laughed at this premise, just like the first time around, it was a sweet and cozy way to kick-off the holidays with our friends. We're lucky to have a group of talented musicians, singers and poets among us, and enough folks willing to listen and cheer them on. Viggo and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
And of course, our favorite get-together of the season is Xmas Eve Eve. This year, we made fresh pasta and wild boar ragu. We drank lots of rum punch and wine. And Viggo was showered with love (and many gifts!) by our family of friends. He's still getting the hang of posing for photos, but I'm sure by next year, he'll be a pro. 
Hope you had a memorable holiday season as well. Next year, we're planning a little trip north, where Viggo will get to experience a white Christmas. Here's to 2015!


Lemon Love: Lemon Lavender Gelato and Preserving Our First Crop

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This gelato recipe is from way back, when I was still very pregnant and not into blogging. Now, even though I'm no longer pregnant, I've still been not into blogging. Mostly because the few quiet moments I get, I utilize by Googling "how to get spit up smell out of clothes". So yeah, gelato.

I made this for a dinner party. It was delicious. We used lemons from my husband's co-workers tree. This week, our own lemons were ready, and I was reminded of this delicious recipe while I spent an afternoon in the kitchen making preserved lemons with my little guy. He indulged me by posing for a few photos.
Finally, lemons from our mini tree. A decent first-year crop. You can find a recipe for preserved lemons here. And feel free to add whatever spices you like. Below I used anise.
Lemon Lavender Gelato
Serves 8

4 Tablespoons Dried Lavender
4 Large Lemons
1/3 Cup Honey
5 Egg Yolks
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Heavy Cream

2 Cups Whole Milk

1) Peel lemons.

2) In medium saucepan, combine milk, lavender, lemon peel, and honey.  Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for 15 minutes, then strain mixture reserving the milk and discarding the lavender and lemon peel.

3) Beat egg yolks and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 5 minutes.

4) Return milk to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Take one cup of the warm milk and mix it into the egg mixture.  Next add the egg mixture into the pot with the milk whisking everything together.

5) Continue to cook over low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat and stir in cream. Strain mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until cold.

6) Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker.