Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are able to spend time with family and friends, relaxing and playing. My husband and I have been in Upstate South Carolina and at my parents lake house near Charlotte, NC for the past few days, are now in town to celebrate Christas just us, and then are traveling a bit more in the Carolinas to see the rest of our family tomorrow.
We relaxed yesterday, David watched a Panthers game in the afternoon, and in the morning we went to our church’s Christmas pageant. It was so adorable. It brought back memories of when I did the Christmas pageant growing up. And then last night we had a few friends over for Christmas Eve dinner of fettuccini alfredo (like in The Holiday, recipe below). We watched Charlie Brown Christmas, read The Night Before Christmas, and attended the 11pm Christmas Eve service, which was beautiful.
This morning I made him red velvet pancakes (recipe below) which were so good with our maple syrup from Woodstock, Vermont. And then we opened our gifts. This year we kind of went all out with each other, but we are planning to really buckle down and start saving for a house and future kids in 2018, so this was one last splurge.
Anyway, when we were at my parents lake house for Thanksgiving, we went and did our Christmas photos with our favorite photographer, Jason Ayers. He’s local to Greenville, SC, and we met him through our party planner friend when we still lived in Greenville, but plan to continue to use him even though we now live in Charleston. We did Easter photos our first Easter together, then our engagement photos right before Thanksgiving 2016 and our Christmas photos at the same time. Then he and his videography and photography team came down to Charleston and did our wedding in June, and we brought them up to Helms Christmas Tree Farm in Vale, NC near Lincolnton, NC to do our Christmas photos for this year.
Our Christmas photos turned out so well. I decided to do a navy and burgundy color scheme, and then our Christmas cards were navy. I ordered a little wooden Merry Christmas sign and a plaid blanket that matched our outfits. We met up around 4pm, and we were able to take photos during the sun set. But it was so cold! In Charleston it rarely gets below freezing, and so we were not accustomed nor prepared for such a cold evening. But we got some great photos of David trying to warm up my hands.
I hope you enjoy some more of our Christmas photos!
Photo credit for all photos: Jason Ayers Photography
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 9 ounces fresh fettuccine (use Barilla)
- 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese grated (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (or 1/12 teaspoons ground nutmeg, or just a pinch)
- Bring 4 1/2 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in large stockpot or Dutch oven. Using ladle or heatproof measuring cup, fill each individual serving bowl with about 1/2 cup boiling water; set bowls aside to warm.
- While water comes to boil, bring 1 cup heavy cream and butter to simmer in 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer gently until mixture reduces to 2/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
- Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water; cook pasta until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta. Meanwhile, return cream mixture to simmer over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low and add pasta, Parmesan, and nutmeg to cream mixture. Cook over low heat, tossing pasta with tongs to combine, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is just al dente and cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in reserved pasta cooking water; sauce may look rather thin but will gradually thicken as pasta is served and eaten. Working quickly, empty serving bowls of water; divide pasta among bowls, tossing pasta to coat well with sauce. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of: Cooks Illustrated
Red Velvet Pancakes
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Prepare the mascarpone glaze by whisking together the mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup creme fraiche, 2 tablespoons white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and lemon zest in a bowl until smooth, set aside.
- Prepare pancake batter by whisking the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 3 tablespoons sugar, and coca powder together in a bowl; set aside. Beat the egg in a separate bowl with the buttermilk, 1/4 cup creme fraiche, red food coloring, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth, Stir in the flour mixture until moistened, then add the melted butter, and continue stirring until only small lumps of the flour remain. If batter appears a little thick, add more buttermilk.
- Heat a lightly oiled riddled over medium-high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry. Flip, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter. Drizzle pancakes with the mascarpone glaze to serve.
Recipe courtesy of: Allrecipes