A Christmas Blog Post

Merry Christmas, you beautiful, amazing people!

Okay. I know it’s not actually Christmas. It’s only December 22nd–but this will be the last time that we “talk” here before Christmas Day. Thus, this is the official Chase Connor Books Christmas Blog Post.

Christmas holds a special place in my heart (even if Halloween is still number one) because of family memories, snow, lights, food, friends, and love. I love the cold, snowy weather–even if I am always complaining–I love holiday meals and decorated cookies and shiny gifts wrapped up in bows and Santa and reindeer and lights and the look of joy and wonder on everyone’s faces.

Mostly, I love that it’s a time of year when everyone wants to spend time together. Or, at least, they feel obligated to spend time together?

This year, things being what they are in 2020, spending time with loved ones isn’t a reality for many of us. Safety and keeping everyone healthy is more important, right?

Because of the situation we find ourselves in this year, it will probably just be my husband and me for the holidays. Not that I mind–I love any bit of time I have him all to myself. However, we will miss seeing all of our friends and family and being able to give them hugs and sit down to a meal together.

Regardless, because it will be the two of us, we still want to do things that make us feel festive. Things that bring out the holiday spirit. Things that bring us joy.

Get your minds out of the gutter.

What we will be doing is cooking lots of delicious, hearty meals together. Baking cookies. Watching Christmas movies. Being snuggly in front of the fire. Dropping tins of cookies off on loved ones’ porches. Watching silly Christmas movies with popcorn and treats. That kind of thing.

Now, I’m writing this post on December 6th. By the time you’re all reading this, we will have already done a lot of these things. It’s now December 22nd and there are only a few days left until Christmas. It’s almost getting too late to plan anymore Christmas activities.

Or is it….?

Today, I thought I’d include a few of my favorite Christmas activities/goods that you can participate in/make with only a few days to go. They don’t require a ton of planning–maybe a quick trip to the store–and will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, some of these things are still so much fun during the winter holidays!

Without further ado:

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate bits (use chocolate chips–who’s gonna check you, boo?)

4 cups milk (use milk that works for you and your digestive needs)

2 cups evaporated milk

1/2 cup cocoa powder (sweetened or unsweetened, totally up to you)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint pieces

Stir all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat until thoroughly combined.

Serve in Christmas-y mugs with whipped cream, mini marshmallows, peppermint sticks, sprinkles–whatever your heart desires.

This can easily be made in a crock pot (and doubled or tripled) and kept warm for sipping all day long!

Chocolate Truffles

SAM loves when I make these.

16 oz semi sweet chocolate bars, chopped (for goodness sake, use a good brand)

1 1/3 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract or paste

4 tbsp rum, whiskey, or bourbon (optional)

crushed nuts, chocolate (or rainbow) sprinkles, crushed pretzels, cocoa powder

Chop the chocolate into tiny chunks and place in a heatproof bowl.

Heat the cream over medium-low into it is simmering.

Pour cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2-3 minutes.

Add the vanilla and stir until everything is combined and chocolate is melted.

Let cool until you can cover with plastic wrap (the wrap should touch the surface of the chocolate).

Sit in the fridge for 1 hour to overnight.

Remove from fridge and scoop by 1 tablespoon portions and roll into balls with wet hands to keep from sticking.

Roll chocolate balls in nuts, sprinkles, crushed pretzels, cocoa powder (or whatever your imagination conjures), and refrigerate until ready to eat!

Christmas Morning Breakfast Casserole

2 lbs ground pork sausage

2 large leeks, sliced and rinsed free of sand (or 1 cup of sliced scallions, whichever you can find easily)

1 large loaf of crusty, rustic white bread, chopped into bite-size cubes (about 8 cups)

6 large eggs

3/4 cup heavy cream

16 oz Camembert cut into cubes (or shredded cheddar–who’s going to stop you?)

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 tsp fennel seed

salt and pepper

olive oil

Butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a large skillet, sautee your leeks, adding salt, pepper, cayenne, and fennel seed. raise heat to medium-high and add sausage, cooking until done.

Liberally butter a 9×13 casserole dish with tall sides and layer the bottom with bread cubes.

Spread the sausage and leeks mixture over the bread, then sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.

Mix your eggs and heavy cream together thoroughly, then pour over the casserole.

Either cover the casserole with foil and put in the fridge overnight, or bake right away at 375 for 45 minutes.

This is best if you prepare it Christmas Eve and bake it Christmas morning, but making and baking on the same day is fine, too!

Favorites Christmas Movies

Okay. You don’t all really need help here. However, these are my absolutely favorite movies that SAM and I have to watch every Christmas season! MAKE SURE TO HAVE YOUR POPCORN READY!

A Christmas Story

The Ref

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (cartoon version)

Scrooged

Die Hard (I know, I know)

Love, Actually

The Holiday

L’apprenti Père Noël et le Flocon Magique (The Magic Snowflake is the English version)

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Joyeux Noël

La Bûche

L’Apprenti du Père Noël (Santa’s Apprentice)

Little Women (1994)

When I wrote this blog post, all of these were available on one streaming service or another, so they should be easy to find and watch. Most of these are very common Christmas movies, too!

Lastly, if you’re interested in Christmas songs that put me in the holiday spirit, here’s a Spotify playlist for all of you!

So, these things, other than Réveillon (which is usually an appetizer, soup or stew, roast of some kind, roasted vegetables, breads, cheeses, nuts, desserts, fruits–it’s the most elaborate meal we have all year) these are some of the things I love most at Christmas.

From me, SAM, and our fur-baby, I wish you all the merriest of days. I hope your life is full of light, love, happiness, and health.

Joyeux Noël!

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase