A Lyles Family Christmas

This Christmas season was quite the festivity at the Lyles household. On Christmas Eve, John's sister (who is 9 months pregnant! Woo hoo!), her husband Jason and John's parents came to our place for Christmas Eve day lunch. I was a little nervous at first about how we would fit everyone into our small home, but somehow we managed to fit 6 adults+1 baby-to-be around our dining room table. It was a Christmas miracle!

That night, John and I headed towards Pelham to spend Christmas Eve with my dad, his girlfriend and her family. It's a tradition at their home to have snow crab for Christmas Eve dinner, which is a delicious tradition if you ask me! My dad was dressed to impress with his brand new Versace red lounge pants (goodness me).

After we had sufficiently stuffed ourselves with crab, butter, and cheesecake we headed back to our place. A few months ago while I was browsing Pinterest, I came across a fun Christmas Eve tradition that John and I decided to start this year. We both got a box and filled it with a pajama set, a Christmas book and hot cocoa. I picked out the original 1823 version of the printing of  Twas' the Night Before Christmas to give him and he gave me a fancy box of cocoa from Penzey's complete with bay leaves, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks.

The next day we spent Christmas relaxing at home. Since we've been on the road so much in the past few weeks, we decided to stay in all day. After we opened our gifts to one another and helped Henry open his Santa gifts, we ate brunch, played Scrabble and listened to our Christmas vinyl (DMB Live Trax Vol 3: Meadows Music Theatre and Lana Del Rey's Born to Die). It was wonderful.

Late that afternoon we went to the movies to see Saving Mr. Banks. It was so good and the perfect Christmas day film. Once we got back home we invited our neighbors, Chris and Laura, over for dinner. Laura is a nurse here in town and had to spend the whole day at work. So, when we found that out, we decided that the least we could do is cook them both a home cooked meal after she had such a long day. I decided to take on a Southern classic, Chicken and Dumplins for the first time. Since I was pretty short on time, I took a short cut and used Bisquick rather than from scratch biscuits and it turned out great.

Easy Chicken and Dumplins 

1 lb chicken tenders, diced
1/2 onion, diced
32 oz container chicken broth
1 cup water
1 pckg chicken gravy mix
1 cup milk
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cups warm water
dried parsely to taste

Place diced chicken, diced onion, chicken broth and water in a large pot on the stove. Cook until chicken is cooked through and onions are tender. In a small bowl, mix milk and gravy mix and then add it to the pot. Add frozen peas and carrots. Whisk together Bisquick and warm water in a medium bowl (this is your dumplin' dough). Drop tablespoon sized pieces of dough into the pot (spacing them out evenly). Cover pot with lid and steam dumplins on medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt, pepper, and dried parsley to taste.
On the 27th, my side of the family came over for a belated Christmas brunch. My brother, his wife and two kids came all the way from Atlanta and my mom drove in from Oneonta. I made breakfast casserole and a cream cheese and cherry danish (which I made into the shape of a candy cane). We spent the afternoon playing with the little ones and catching up. It was so good to see everyone and host family at our place once again.

Cream Cheese and Cherry Danish

8 oz pckgs of crescent rolls
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
21 oz can cherry pie filling

*This will make 2 candy canes*
Preheat oven to 350. Spray two large cookie sheets. It takes one roll of crescent rolls to piece together a candy cane shape. So, open two of the crescent rolls and make two candy canes, placing each on their own cookie sheet. Combine cream cheese, egg, almond extract and powdered sugar and spread mixture over candy canes. Then top them with pie filling. Open remaining can of crescent rolls and cut in half. Use halves to tear out the candy cane stripes. Place strips of dough on candy canes accordingly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Optional Topping- Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar w/ 2-3 teaspoons milk to make a glaze.

That night, we celebrated our final Christmas week festivity by attending our dear friend Lauren's couples shower! It was so fun to see her and her husband to be, Madison- especially since they currently live in Seattle!

 It was another busy week, but one full of Christmas spirit and love.  Yay for celebrating another wonderful Christmas as a Lyles. 


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