Sunday, December 12, 2021

Celebrations and Preparations

 


Five years ago, I baked a cake for my husband's birthday - a 5 layer Sampler Cake. It was massive and I never thought I'd ever bake another one. However, a then 6-year-old granddaughter took notice, and for her 11th family birthday celebration, asked Nana to make one. I changed up the layers and flavours and it all turned out well. There are two layers of chocolate and three of vanilla - one with crushed candy canes, one with sprinkles, and one with cherries. The icing is a family recipe using milk and flour cooked together, then beaten with sugar and butter until fluffy. I added chocolate. The marshmallows on top are from a Martha Stewart recipe. The birthday girl was very pleased with her cake. 

I personally don't want to make another cake for a very long time. It's just Too.Much.Cake. 


We had a lovely time together celebrating. The dining room light fixture is adorned with a pearl bead garland, metal stars, and one hand blown glass bauble. Little one-year-old Cora makes a "ffff" sound when she sees it for she is convinced it should whirl around like ceiling fans. 


Joy was definitely present, not only in this cushion cover I made a few years ago, but also in the conversations and interactions. Red velveteen covers other cushions and the living room is looking cozy and festive. 


In the china hutch red and white dishes play nicely with white and a few touches of greenery. 

For dinner tonight I made a roast chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, a vegetable medley of peppers and zucchini from last summer's garden tucked away into the freezer, and a salad of grated cabbage, carrots, diced celery, red pepper, apple, and a sprinkling of blue cheese. Simple, warming food. Winter food. 

Nigel Slater writes in The Christmas Chronicles "This is the winter food I love. Patient food, recipes that wait for us, untroubled by the ticking of the clock or a gardener wanting to do "just one more job." Dishes that are done when they're done and refuse to be hurried. Benign, good-natured recipes whose smells calm us like an extra blanket on a stone-cold night, and warm us slowly, thawing out our frozen souls." 

After dinner I deboned the chicken and put all the scraps into the slow cooker along with onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns, and herbs. It's in the fridge now and tomorrow I'll set the ceramic container into the heating container and fill it up with water to slowly, over the course of the day, fill the house with the fragrance of chicken broth. I've found that making my broth in the slow cooker results in a clearer broth as the liquid never bubbles and boils. After straining it, I'll freeze it for soup. 

Less than two weeks now until Christmas. A few things need to be done, but I'm feeling comfortable about my progress. How about you? Are you able to take time to read or walk, and admire the beauty of this season? 

24 comments:

Catherine said...

I love your cake and Xmas decorations. I am still preparing everything for Six people in the house by the end of the week. I am a bit stressed to have to cook veggie meals for my son’s wife, I found a recipe book as a help.
I appreciated the break yesterday at the castle, but this week will be very busy!
I wish you a nice week.

Coastal Ripples said...

That is some cake, delicious indeed . I can just imagine all the fun you had. I’ve been reading The Christmas Chronicles too. A lovely book. Must give slow cooker chicken broth a go. I don’t use my slow cooker enough. Have a good week. B x

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Gorgeous cake! Happy Birthday to Cora!
Thank you for the tip about broth. Homemade is always better than store bought.

Patricia said...

Your chicken dinner sounds absolutely delicious, as well as very healthy. We have had a few celebrations here, and rather too much cake, which soon puts the pounds on. We are back in diet mode until Christmas :) Red and white is a winning combination and the hutch looks splendid and festive. Well done with the layer cake, which I would never attempt! It looks terrific, and the layers sound very appealing for the young ones. Happy Birthday to your granddaughter.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

That cake looks so good! A labor of love for sure. I never thought of making chicken stock in the slow cooker! What a great idea.

Marie Smith said...

The cake looks delicious! Family get togethers this time of year are pretty special. Adding birthdays on top of the regular festivities…priceless. We have two to celebrate on the 20th and 21st.

Mary said...

I see many of these tall cakes around lately - yours looks awesome Lorrie. Wish you had shared a photo of a slice - wish I had a taste of that slice lol! Your family icing sounds very good, and making your own marshmallows, wow!
Decor looking lovely - like you, I have have added a touches of red this year, does make the Christmas seem warm and cheery on these now cold nights.
Have a great week - I'm off to make almond cookies this morning - and hope to finish decorating the mantel with the fresh greens purchased and added to from the garden. Shopping is completed other than last minute food items, no big parties this year, just quiet times hoped for!
Hugs - Mary

Deanna Rabe said...

That's an incredible cake! Your granddaughter will always remember it.

It's looking cozy and happy in your home. I love all the cooking and baking at this time of year. I like what Nigel Slater said. Not hurried or rushed.

Rosemary said...

The cake looks absolutely delicious Lorrie but I can well appreciate that it involved a lot of hard work on your part. Nigel Slater is one of my favourite cooks, and I love it when he has a new series on the TV.

Beside a babbling brook... said...

Ohhhh that cake...

Decor is lovely...

Must read that book...

Thank you.

"Miss B.B."
🎄⛄🌟🔥🎄🎅🔥🌟⛄🎄

Marilyn Miller said...

What a special grandma to make that special cake. It is beautiful and sounds amazing.
I am reading The Christmas Chronicles with my morning tea during December. He has such a beautiful way with words. Sometimes I have to re-read a page because I enjoyed it so much. I have yet to get through the full book, but every December it comes out and I enjoy it.

Granny Marigold said...

The cake is amazing and I don't imagine the pieces fit onto dessert plates. Dinner plates maybe.
The hutch with red and white dishes is lovely. And I'm another one who wants to read the Christmas Chronicles. I can't believe I've never heard of it.
Tomorrow is DH's birthday so we had a mini celebration yesterday and tomorrow will be a bigger one. Then a brief respite before Christmas. Busy days but fun too.

Margie said...

The 5-layer cake looks amazing! I'm particularly intrigued by the candy cane layer.

I'm also admiring your pretty holiday decor, especially the red and white dishes.

I've been enjoying the Hallmark Christmas movies...

Powell River Books said...

Your cake reminds me of things I'm seeing on the Great British Baking Show. I started watching the Great Canadian Baking Show but it isn't included on Netflix in the States. I'll have to wait to continue watching when we get home from our Arizona adventures. - Margy

Anneliese said...

I love the look of that cake and I'm inspired by your white and red dishes displayed so beautifully. Doesn't it make you feel good to know your granddaughter took note of a certain cake? She's likely to be the one who notices how you make your home a welcome place to be.

Sara - Villa Emilia (My Woodland Garden) said...

Hello Lorrie, so many beautiful new posts! Now I have been admiring the wonderful photos... of a cutie-pie with her cupcake, a selection of Christmas magazines, the healthy green leaves of a holly tree, a lovely photo of you, your husband and the giant wreath, the graceful Christmas decorations in your home, the cheerful red and white china... and finally the gorgeous cake!
It's impressive that a little girl remembered a certain cake for so many years. The cake looks and sounds delicious. And there are some really pretty Christmas cards in the background.
Stay well!

riitta k said...

hi Lorrie,

You baked a real festive cake for your granddaughter’s birthday and great that you could celebrate together. I don’t stress about Christmas. In southern Finland the weather is not christmassy at all: no snow and plain rain, but I’ll cope reading Cristmas stories. Started t9 listen audiobooks in English as well.

kathy b said...

The hutch with red china is just great

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Hello, Lorrie. I know the 'birthday girl' had to be happy with her cake. I am impressed. What a cake! You have it so even and the icing is beautiful. Goodness, you could open a bake shop. Cora is a smart little one. I agree, I think it should whirl around also. Your dinner sounds like it was wonderful and your red and white dishes are so pretty.

Wishing you a wonderful week, enjoy all you are doing.

ellen b. said...

Such a great looking cake. Thanks for that tip on making chicken broth in the slow cooker! All that is left to do here is wrapping the gifts and cooking on Christmas day.

ellen b. said...

Hit publish too soon. I really like your China hutch display!

Vee said...

That cake is amazing! Very impressive. No one asks me to bake a cake anymore. They know better.

Your china hutch looks lovely. The simple touches of greenery make it so Christmasy.

Not doing as well as you are. Hopefully, I am coming in for a landing.

Cheryl said...

Your home looks beautifully festive! I love the red and white in your hutch! That cake is a stunner! Happy birthday to your dear granddaughter!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

So lovely all of it! But I really must say that the roast chicken and all the "fixins" make my mouth water more than the beautiful cake -- I think I've outgrown those (and it sounds like you might be getting close!) but your granddaughter's eyes when you presented it at her party I am sure made up for all the hard work. I really love the quote and your words about "slow food" .... and honestly that is my favorite way to cook even in our non-winter winter here in Florida. Beautiful post!!

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