Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Morning + Recipes for a Harvest Braid & Cherry and Brie Braid

Instead of doing our usual routine on Christmas morning, we packed everything up and had it all at Grandpa Don's house since Larr and Ethan were there. I wanted to preserve as much of Christmas as possible since I was not sure where we would all be next year and at that point I did not know how much longer Don would need such intensive care. I also know that Don would have wanted us to have our Christmas.

Kohlton spent Christmas with us since his mother was in Alaska with her brother. He has also been providing comfort for both Ellie and Ethan during our difficult journey with Don. It just made sense to include him in our holiday.

Normally, the kid's come down stairs to fine the stockings that Santa had filled while I begin breakfast. This time, I made the special breakfast at Grandpa Don's house. I set the table with my Christmas dishes and special candles. We had a harvest breakfast braid, a cherry and brie braid, scrambled eggs, sausage and orange juice.

Then we did stockings. They were a hit.

Even Remmie and the cats got stockings. Remmie had a bit of fun getting his bone out of the stocking.

Santa had personalized the stocking stuffers, of course. But, some of the stuff was also the same.



We also opened our gifts. The gifts I made for my family were not done, but everyone understood. (I will write more about them later.)

For Ethan I made a tiny, waterproof cook book and a drawing of some of the gear that Ethan carries with him. He had mentioned that he would like something personal that did not include his face. I am pleased with how this turned out. I will add more detail to the pouch.


I did two scrathboard drawings for Ellie. She had asked for a drawing of Remmie. I don't think she actually knew that I was doing some artwork for her. Her reaction was really wonderful and gratifying for me. It is the kind of response an artist always hopes for.


I also made her a drawing of feathers.

I knit a hat for Larr and Ellie gave him a special, weird bottle opener.

The family gave me a new, shiny and larger food processor. The one I have been using was a gift from Don and Eleanor about 20 years ago. I use it several times a week. It exciting to have a new one.

That joy was short, but lovely. We soon went back to being by Don's bedside. I am thankful that Doug and other family members were in the living room with Grandpa Don. This allowed us a short bit of time together as a family to celebrate Christmas.

That afternoon Ellie and Kohlton went up to his grandmother's house for Christmas lunch and gifts. They spent the evening and part of the next day up in Nederland at Mark's and Martine's house celebrating Christmas, supporting Ellie through the death of her grandfather and some cookie decorating that took place the next morning. Ellie struggled with whether she should go up to Nederland, or stay at Grandpa's house. She did not want Grandpa to think that she did not love him and she feared that he would die alone. We assured her that he knew how much she loves him and that he would be surrounded with love even after his end. His last words were a Christmas greeting to her. There is no doubt that he knew how much he was loved.


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Harvest Breakfast Braid
modified from the one found on KevinandAmanda.com

1 Sheet of Puff Pastry ( or 1 can Pillsbury™ refrigerated Classic Pizza Crust)
2/3 cup orange marmalade
1 small Granny Smith apple, cored, sliced 1/8-inch thick
6 slices Havarti cheese, cut in 1/4-inch slices
1 lb sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 15×10-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Unroll dough in pan. Spread 1/3 cup of marmalade down center of dough. Top with apple slices, half of the cheese, the sausage, the remaining cheese, half the pecans, and half the cranberries.

3. Make cuts 1 inch apart on long sides of dough to within 1/2 inch of filling. Fold strips of dough diagonally over filling, alternating from side to side, stretching dough as needed. Bake 15 minutes.

4. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup marmalade over the top and sides of the partially baked braid. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes longer until golden brown. Serve warm.

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Cherry and Brie Braid

1 sheet of Puff Pastry
Brie, with the rind removed and cut into thinish slices
Spiced Cherry Jam (the recipe can be found in a previous post)
(Chopped Pecans - I forgot these, but they would have been nice to include in the recipe.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 15×10-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Unroll dough in pan. Spread 1/3 cup of cherry jam down center of dough. Top with cheese slices. Spread 1/3 cup of cherry jam on top of the cheese. Add the chopped pecans, if using.

3. Make cuts 1 inch apart on long sides of dough to within 1/2 inch of filling. Fold strips of dough diagonally over filling, alternating from side to side, stretching dough as needed. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

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