It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas – Friday

Ooohhhhh, what a fun and productive day we had yesterday!

My friend Holly, who has a Costco membership, was gracious enough to accompany me and my Mom, Mimi, there so that we could buy some things for our Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.

The day began at my house at 9:00 am……my mom met me there for a quick bowl of savory oatmeal and a cup-a-joe.  Next we met Holly at her house at 10:00 and the day was officially under way.

Holly got to do some of her Christmas shopping…..sssshhhhhhhh….I cannot tell what she bought here – you never know who might be reading!  We spent quite a while at Costco and  not only bought most of what we needed for the feast, but also an extra item or two.  The we got to meet “Fred.”  Stay tuned to find out who “Fred” is…….

By now it was about 1:00 and we were hungry for lunch.  The logical choice based upon our location was The Hershey Pantry……a favorite!!!  We were lucky enough to be seated at the counter….not usually the best seat in a restaurant….but we got to sit right in front of the dessert case AND we got to see every order leaving the kitchen!

Holly and Mimi both ordered Scallop and Bacon Chowder and The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  I thought I had decided on my order, then one of the wait staff walked past us with an incredible-looking salad – so I changed my mind…..

I love having a meal with people who like to share when they have something really good.  I was lucky enough to get a taste of the soup.  It was warm and creamy and a little smoky with a terrific light seafood flavor. Mmm mmm mmm.  And my salad was terrific….I ordered the Coconut Shrimp Salad which is breaded coconut shrimp on a bed of mixed greens, topped with pineapple mango salsa (which included blueberries….yum), sprinkled with toasted coconut; served with honey lime dressing.  I would DEFINITELY recommend this salad!!  It was big enough that I had leftovers and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it came with a choice of either cranberry bread or lemon poppy-seed bread.  Since I don’t think I have an upcoming drug test, I chose the lemon poppy-seed!  It was an individual sized loaf that had a crunchy exterior and a tender and flavorful interior.  Mmm mmm mmm!!!!

The service was very attentive, the company was exceptional, the food was great and the atmosphere is warm and homey.  I’d say it was a successful meal at The Hershey Pantry.

Rewind a bit to Tuesday evening – I was driving home from a class at The Kitchen Shoppe and thinking to myself that I should have volunteered to do gift wrapping somewhere.  You see, we do a Secret Santa exchange with my family so we each only buy for one person and Jeff and I have decided not to exchange gifts this year and we’re only buying gifts for our nephews on Jeff’s side so I have very few gifts to wrap.  And I LOVE wrapping gifts!  So I was delighted when I was on the phone with Holly on Wednesday making plans for Costco and she asked if I would help her wrap Christmas gifts for her girls!!!!

So after lunch the three of us raced to Holly’s to wrap gifts.  Holy smokes, her kids are going to have a great Christmas.  We wrapped for quite a while, talking and laughing and got everything finished and hidden about 15 minutes before the school bus dropped the girls off!

I drove Mimi home and then did the last (hopefully) of my grocery shopping for the weekend.  When I got home I made a wonderful dinner for Jeff and I.  Unfortunately, Jeff is quite sick and stayed home from work so he really needed a wholesome, home cooked meal.  I was so caught up in making it and planning what I had to do after dinner that I forgot to photograph it – ugh!  I made bamboo rice risotto, arugula and carrot salad with Asian peanut dressing and seared filet mignon. Mmm mmm mmmm! Even thought the steaks were just slightly overcooked (bummer) they were still moist and delicious!!!!

After dinner, I made a Tiramisu for Christmas Eve – I know it seems early, but we have found over the years that the longer it sits, the better it tastes!  So now all the flavors have a chance to meld and hopefully it will be a scrumptious treat after the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

I also cleaned two pounds of beautiful shrimp for shrimp cocktail and prepped it to freeze until Sunday and I made Caramel Budino for dessert on Sunday – when we celebrate Christmas with Jeff’s family.  Caramel Budino is a dessert we fell in love with at Barbuzzo in Philadelphia. Click here to view photos of the process of making this gooey, satisfying, layered dessert.

Another productive day after which I fell into bed for a much-needed rest.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am after a day like today.  I got to spend it with some of my favorite people. It IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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