Wednesday, December 19, 2018

'Twas The Hodgepodge Before Christmas...

 Coffee Shop/Post Office in Burford, England

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Thank you so much, Terri, for compiling these questions!

1.  Wednesday, December 19, 2018, is National Hard Candy Day! So the first question today is to ask if you enjoy hard candy, especially the kind we usually see during this festive time of year?  What is your favorite?  Which hard candy brings up the best memories for you if any?
I do like hard candy, as I like all crunchy things. I tend not to let it melt in my mouth, but to crunch it. Any good dentist will tell you that is a bad habit. So I don't eat hard candy anymore. BUT, my favorite were always those little ones that look like raspberries and had something like raspberry jam filling. The one that brings up the best memories is the ribbon candy. We ALWAYS had ribbon candy in our treat bags that were handed out after the church Sunday School Christmas program (along with chocolate drops, another favorite), but my great aunts would buy extremely thin ribbon candy, the kind that was so sharp it would cut your mouth. But it was so exotic, and only they had it, so it was something special - and a fun memory. 
 Christmas Window in Burford (or possibly Fairford), UK

2.  Holiday shopping!  Are you finished? If you could spend an entire day in just one store, which one would it be and why?
I think I'm finished, but it wasn't easy. I did a lot online, then left for nearly 3 weeks in England to return to a lot of jet lag and wondering where I put my Christmas card list (cards which I sent out before we left, but don't remember who was sent a card!) and trying to catch up on last minute gift shopping and grocery shopping for the family who will all be here on Saturday! The store I'd most likely to spend an entire day in? Probably Barnes & Noble. Why? Because it is the only store I can think of that is more relaxing than hassle.
 The George, Southwark

3.  What holiday dessert describes you and why?
I'm not sure how to answer this, but I'd say my favorite would be mincemeat pie. Not mincemeat like you buy in a jar these days, but the mincemeat pie made with REAL beef and suet that my grandma made. It was absolutely delicious. I did look up a recipe and decided that I don't have enough time this year to make it, but maybe next year. What started me thinking about it was the little mince pie I ate in London. They obviously don't have my grandma's recipe. LOL

3" mince pie at Nero's - mostly crust, little mincemeat
I still regret not eating the walnut cake at St. Paul's.

4.  What is your least favorite holiday side dish?
I can't even think what the typical holiday side dishes are. But I will tell you that I bought a ham today that I will baste with homemade duck sauce, which I'd never heard of until a couple nights ago. And strangely enough, it's not made by squeezing a duck, thank goodness. It's a delicious blend of apricots, plums, apple juice, dry mustard, crushed red pepper, cranberry wine, and fresh ginger (This stuff is delicious!) I'm also going to serve a pan of BBQ chicken thighs, a bowl of glazed baby carrots, mashed potatoes, corn, one daughter is making her recipe of Brussels sprouts with bacon, others are bringing a green salad, a fruit salad, olives and pickles, our favorite bakery buns, and frozen custard. Everyone is supposed to  contribute Christmas goodies. I'm also making a cranberry pomegranate punch with ginger ale. So there you have it. And if you show up at 1 PM, we'll share it with you.

For those who wanted the recipe, I used dried fruit, and I think I used 8 oz. pitted plums (chopped), 6 oz. apricots (chopped), a cup of apple juice, a t. of dry mustard, a little crushed red pepper, 1/4 c. cranberry wine, and a t. of fresh ginger, brought it to a boil, then simmered for at least a half hour. Let it cool, run it through a blender or food processor until smooth. Cover and refrigerate. Will stay good for a couple weeks, they say.

Reindeer in Paternoster Square, London
I asked the Santa where his reindeer were from.
He answered, 'Lapland.'
'Yeah, just south of Oxford.' :-)

5.  Now be real!! There is one on almost every tree. What is the ugliest tree ornament you have ever seen?
I honestly can't think of an ugly tree ornament. I did bring back a few tree ornaments as souvenirs of our trip to the UK: a silver roundel with the Cross Keys from York Minster, a St. Nicholas coat of arms ornament from St. George's Chapel, a small Greek icon of the Virgin Mary and Jesus from Westminster Abbey, a beautiful small icon Cross from Southwark Cathedral, a felted Mouse King from Burford, and the cutest little pinecone hedgehog from Lacock. 
 Christmas Tree in Lacock Abbey

6.  Tell us something random about your week!!
This morning I was saying to Mr. C: "Can you believe that four days ago we were at Canterbury Cathedral???" We're both trying to get our body clocks back to Wisconsin time after a fabulous 2 1/2 weeks in England, and my body is refusing to cooperate. But I'm sure it will get there eventually. In the meantime, we've got family coming so food to prepare and beds to make up. We are nearly snowless right now, which is wonderful for me, although a disappointment for my snow-loving friends. I know that eventually we will still get months of snow, so every day without a snowfall is a blessing in my book.
I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas! It is truly mind boggling that God would stoop to take on human flesh and come into our sinful dysfunction to rescue us. I can't possibly wrap my mind around it, but I can kneel in worship and thank Him. 

  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, 
and we have seen his glory, 
glory as of the only Son from the Father, 
full of grace and truth. - John 1:14

Have a blessed Christmas, everyone!

P.S. The last photo was taken in St. Paul's Cathedral, with permission, although given grudgingly.
P.P.S. All of our England photos were posted daily on Instagram, so if you're interested and have an IG account, it's @cranberrymorning. 



Joyce said...

I so enjoyed your pics along the way of many of my favorite places across the pond. Enjoy your family-the sauce sounds wonderful! Merry Christmas to you and a happy new year too!

Sandi said...

Wonderful window displays!

And a reindeer! How cool is that? It even looks like his fur is the color of fur and snow.

Does his nose glow?

MadSnapper said...

Loved all the photos from your trip and waiting to see more. the reindeer is of course my favorite since critters are my thing. so glad you are home safe and sound and that you came home to not buried in snow. yet. as a child I did not like hard candy, as an adult I liked it and did the crunch thing also. as a thinner person I can't eat candy now. but I would if I could. my favorite is butter rum.. the hard kind. still laughing at sauce made my squeezing a duck. laughed out loud. can't think of an ugly ornament but I have seen a few that I did not like but can't remember. I am not fond of home made ornaments

Stacy said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures! We share a love of those raspberry candies. The only thing wrong with them was, as I recall, that they dissolved too fast. Would you be willing to share the recipe for duck sauce? We love the stuff around here, but a homemade version sounds even better.
It truly is an amazing gift we've been given, one we can't ever be thankful enough to have received. Have a blessed and merry Christmas!

Michelle said...

I have enjoyed your photos on instagram. Looks like you had a wonderful time. If I lived close by I would love to stop in for a bite. I will admit to really disliking green bean casserole.

Robin said...

Your Christmas meal sounds so yummy!! Love all your pictures!! Where was the last one from? Happy Christmas as they say in England.

Chatty Crone said...

I loved all your photos - that goes without saying. The Christmas window was wonderful. I bet it was hard doing all your shopping and being on a trip out of the country. I think there really isn't an ugly thing about Christmas unless it is ugly people. I have never ever had mincemeat pie - is it sweet - is there meat on it? I am glad and knew you would have a wonderful trip to England.

Lynne said...

Welcome Home!
Raspberry hard candy with the soft centered “yum” . . . my favorite and youngest grandsons too.
Can’t find them this year???
Merry Christmas Judy!

Lori said...

I like the ribbon candy too.
I agree with you about Jesus coming in the flesh. He is so amazing! Loved your answers! Have a great week.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I've been wondering if you were back home, Judy! It's wonderful to hear about all the lovely spots you visited and hopefully you will be sharing more photos. It must have been magical to be there over the Christmas time. Enjoy your family time and have a Happy Christmas! ♥

Terri D said...

Welcome home and thanks for joining in on the Medley!! I am not offended at all to be compared to Joyce's Hodgepodge. I can only try to live up to hers!! LOL I enjoyed your answers and envy your big family celebration this weekend!! Merry Christmas!!

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year! Homemade duck sauce sounds delicious! Love the icon photo! xoxo Su

Nonnie said...

Amen! I kneel with you in awe that God would do such a thing for us!
At least in Barnes and Noble you can find a good book and sit for a while. Oh, did somebody say we were supposed to be shopping?
How wonderful that you got to go to England for such a long visit! My friend was there ten days and her tour guide son-in-law didn't really get them to see the wonderful places or shop anywhere. I wouldn't mind having a copy of your mince recipe. Is it like a beef pie or is it sweet? Everything sounds good at your house for Christmas dinner. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

This N That said...

Welcome back and Merry Christmas to you and your family..Wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing...Happy 2019

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Wonderful shots from your visit, CM; I'm guessing all went well... Enjoyed the narrative too - as usual. Our festive preparations are typically chaotic. Why? I don't know - they just ARE. I estimate people will receive Christmas cards sometime in March. Meanwhile - a VERY Merry Christmas to you, Mr Cranberry and all the other Cranberries...and may 2019 bring you nothing but happiness.

J_on_tour said...

A very interesting read, pleased you enjoyed your visit, Hope you have a great Christmas.

Carla from The River said...

Merry Christmas Judy!
xx oo

Jean | said...

Judy, I can't wait to read about your trip and see photos here (I'm not on Instagram). I hate hard candy--well, I really don't eat any kind of candy--but especially the ones you described as your favorite. Uh uh. Glad you're back safe and sound!

Preppy Empty Nester said...

I enjoyed seeing your pics, Judy. I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas and happy, healthy new year!!

Wendy said...

I shall have to check you out on Instagram. Sounds like you had a good time here. I'm glad. Loved reading this post. Merry Christmas!

Buttercup said...

I smiled when you said you regretted not getting the walnut cake. I treated myself to St. Clement's Cake in Oxford and thought I was being overindulgent. But of all the treats I had in England this summer, this is one of the few that I can remember. Wishes for a bright and blessed new year!


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