Happy Boxing Day, everyone!

We had my family (My mom, dad, and brother) over to our house for dinner on Christmas Eve. I decided that I wanted the evening to be more than a simple dinner and a movie, so I tried to find what I thought might be the most interactive and fun meal. Fondue!

I went to Harmons around noon on Christmas Eve, which was basically as soon as a realized that the snow was starting to stick ans wasn’t letting up any time soon. I wasn’t sure what kind of crowd there would be at the store. Large, but generally genial. The employees in the produce section seemed grumpy, as seems to be traditional there, but the people at the butcher counter, the deli, the bakery, and the cheese counter all seemed to be having a good time. There were Christmas carols playing and I heard lots of people saying Merry Christmas to each other. Even with a shortage running on quite a few products no one seemed to too stressed or rude. That shopping trip was actually one of my favorite holiday things I’ve done this year.

The first course was the cheese fondue, served alongside the salad, because the rest of my family is mentally American and doesn’t get that salad should be a course in and of itself. The salad was a strawberry and feta salad with a blush wine vinaigrette.

The fondue was the XXX recipe from the Melting Pot Cookbook. Since I am pretty sensitive to alcohol (and I mean that not the sense that I am a lightweight, though probably true, but the sense that I can feel it burning in my throat when it hasn’t been properly cooked off) I defied the recipe and mixed the cherry liqueur and wine together and cooked them for a few minutes to make sure the alcohol was well and truly gone. This didn’t seem to have any deleterious effect on the final product.

I added a little butterkäse to the cheese mixture for it’s smooth texture and mild flavor. The other cheeses were a blend of emmenthal (or, as the cheesemonger kept calling it emmentaler), and gruyere. I heart both of those Swiss cheeses. Please, if I may? You can buy any old cheese you want for everyday use. But for the holidays, and doubly for holiday fondue, I implore you. Buy good cheese. Go someplace with a cheesemonger, spend the extra few bucks, and buy the stuff that they cut off of a wheel. Shrinkwrapped cheese is not a holiday food.*

I might have gotten a little over enthusiastic when it comes to the dippables, but I figured each and every one would make a good leftover. In no particular order…. pretzel sticks, green apples, red apples, Lil’ Smokies, salami (Musica by Creminelli, try it if you get the chance,) ham cubes, green grapes, bread cubes, and potato chunks (steamed).

After the fondue we were all a bit stuffed, so we decided to watch a movie and then have dessert. Did you know that it’s the 20th anniversary of Muppets Christmas Carol? It’s probably my favorite Christmas movie ever.

When I mentioned to my next door neighbor, Brittany, that I was doing fondue for diner she offered her chocolate fountain. I’d never used a chocolate fountain before. Well, that’s not true. There’s a buffet in Wendover that has one. But I’d never run one. It’s pretty fun. The machine’s manual indicated that I needed to use a minimum of 8 cups of chocolate, so I mixed two bags of milk chocolate chips with one bag of semi-sweet and one bag of “bittersweet” (60%). The dippables were: strawberries, apples, grapes, pretzel sticks (yes, I carried a few things over from the cheese), Oreos, Butter Wafers, and marshmallows (vanilla, made at Harmons, incredible.) it was a lot of fun. It turns out that if your table isn’t 100% level the chocolate will sometimes not sheet totally evenly, but there was still plenty of chocolate flowing.

In the end the meal was declared fun by all, and that was about the nicest thing I could have heard.




*More on the value of qualified food merchants to come in my first blog post about our trip to Europe. Yay!


Mike used to rock climb a fair amount, but then life caught up, and then he met this amazing girl, and, to make a long story short (too late!) it’s been a while. Tuesday night he decided he was going for the second time this year, and unlike the first time, I couldn’t think of any good reason not to go. I pulled back my hair, put on my best yoga capris, and packed three pairs of shoes… because what do I know about rock climbing and which shoes work for it? Turns out you rent climbing shoes with your harness. Who knew?

I am not so much known for my physical prowess, a least since I stopped dancing when I was 12. But everyone (Mike and the internet) kept telling me that climbing is more a matter of legs than arms. I figure that my legs generally support my weight, and even sometimes agree to let me do things like running and yoga, so I figured I’d give them a shot. My arms would come along for… I don’t know. People (the internet) were so fixated on the legs I didn’t know what to do with my arms, but I figured they’d pretty much automatically get in on the not-falling thing.

I won’t burden you with the details of my technique, as I’m not sure I have one, but I can tell you that I did the easiest run three times. The first time I got up about halfway, the next time 2/3, and then 4 holds from the top. I would very much have liked to do those last four holds, but my left hand wouldn’t hold on to things anymore. Apparently the technical term for this condition is “stupid hands.”




FridayFun! – TreatWatch – La Bonne Vie Macarons

May 13, 2011

Back in the day I had a blog feature (which sounds more organized that it was) called FridayFun. It was all about fun things to do over the weekend. Today I was looking through some photos and I realized that I had photos for just such a thing, and for a feature I wanted to […]

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Two thoughts on the Royal Wedding

April 29, 2011

Two things: Some people are being a nasty about the wedding. Can I just point out to some of the people of my acquaintance that some of you actively preach the importance and holiness of marriage? For those of you, you certainly don’t have to watch, but try appreciating that this couple, one of the […]

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More about my birthday, because I like birthdays that much

November 24, 2010

I haven’t taken good pictures of my birthday presents, for the most part, because some of them are not yet in use, but I don’t mind mentioning what they are all the same, because I really like them. So… the yarn. But first, a bit of background. A few months ago my mom and I […]

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My Birthday… but not really (in which we celebrate)

November 23, 2010

After getting home from taking photographs and uploading them, we had about an hour before we needed to leave again for dinner. My dinner choice was the fault of my once-a-month knitting group (as opposed to my weekly knitting group). A while ago we all met at Katie’s and someone (Haley? Heidi?) brought some leftover […]

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My birthday, though not literally (The part where we worked)

November 22, 2010

While my birthday is the 22nd of November, who wants to try to be birthday-ish on a Monday? Especially a Monday that is a work day. Blech. So I, as is often my custom, declared the weekend before My Birthday Weekend. My Birthday Weekend is designed to feature heave spoiling of myself, sometimes even by […]

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Early July adventure, part 7. Probably the last.

July 13, 2010

We returned to our room and had a nice night’s sleep. Our innkeeper was in the “Fourth” of July parade (actual date: third of July) in Mt. Pleasant, so we had very nice breakfast buffet. We didn’t have anywhere to be until 8:30 that night, so we decided to take our time and mosey on […]

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Early July adventure, part 6

July 12, 2010

Wow, this is part 6, and it’s not even the last. I could have made it one long post, but then, if you’re anything like me, you’d have not made it far. So I hope it was a good decision. Our location that night was a pottery shop called Horseshoe Mountain Pottery. It’s a fascinating […]

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Early July adventure, part 5

July 11, 2010

We drove north through Mount Pleasant and found ourselves in Fairview. When we had talked to our innkeeper, Carly, she told us that Fairview had “a surprisingly good art museum.” I always like things that are surprisingly good, so we decided to check it out. I know that a lot of small towns in that area have a […]

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