Christmas Day 2012

Like I mentioned last week, this Christmas was one of the better Christmas’s I’ve celebrated in a while.  Tim and I celebrated Christmas Eve with his mom’s side of the family at his cousin Kelly’s house (his dad’s side celebrates earlier in the month, so we already had that under our belts), and we celebrated with my family on Christmas Day.  I was pretty worried this year about being able to see everyone, but somehow it all worked out which I was really happy about.

Last year was actually our first Christmas morning together, but this year was our first Christmas morning together in our own place.  Big difference!

We started the day by exchanging our stocking stuffers.  I seriously love filling stockings for people.  Can you guess whose pile is whose?

Christmas 2012:  Stockings

We then exchanged our gifts to each other.

Christmas 2012:  Christmas Morning

I didn’t get a picture of everything, but we somehow ended up with four gifts each for one another (unplanned).

For me:  A kindle, an immersion blender, new tips for my frosting gun, and the Peanuts holiday special DVD set (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas).

For Tim:  A new backpack, a water bottle, slippers, and two cookbooks.

Christmas 2012:  Gifts

After we exchanged our gifts, we continued the tradition we started last year of making a fun and different holiday breakfast.  Last year we made green apple cinnamon protein pancakes.  This year we made a mushroom spinach baked egg casserole with maple pepper bacon on the side.  Recipe coming soon!

Mushroom Spinach Baked Egg Casserole

We then ended up rushing a bit, but were only 20 minutes late to my parents’ house where we exchanged gifts with my immediate family (parents, brother, sister).  I got some more really fun stocking stuffers.  My mom Santa puts together a mean stocking.

Christmas Day:  Stocking Stuffers

My parents gave me some really nice things including a Keurig (woo!)…

Christmas Day:  Keurig

…a cover for my Kindle (took some collaboration with Tim), a new workout top, red pants, a new scarf, and a nice serving bowl for dip.  My sister got me some Bath & Body works things and my brother got me a set of 15 pound weights for my apartment since the weights I own (8’s and 10’s) are way too light.

After the present exchange, we helped my parents get the house ready.

Christmas Day 2012:  Festive

And do some prep work in the kitchen.

Christmas Day 2012:  Kitchen

Then my mom’s side of the family began to arrive.

Christmas Day 2012:  Family

We had dinner first, which consisted of avgolemono soup, a holiday ham (Tim cooked up the one my company gives us every year), pastitio, tiropita, salad, rice, bread, and souzakakia.  So good… and Greek!

Christmas 2012: Dinner

We opened some more presents after dinner, but by that I mean we watched my almost four-year old god-daughter tear through all of her gifts at record speed.  She’s the cutest thing, but phew, does my cousin have her hands full!

How cute is Layla?

Christmas Day:  Layla

She’s getting so big!

Christmas Day 2012:  Me & Layla

Here are some more pictures from the day!

Me and my dad:

Christmas Day 2012:  Me & Dad

Me, my dad, and brother:

Christmas Day 2012:  Dad, Tony, Me

Me, my mom, and brother:


Me & Tim:

Christmas Day 2012:  Me & Tim

Annual 5 cousins photo:

Christmas Day 2012:  Cousins

Christmas Day 2012:  Me, Lexa, Layla

Around 5:00, Tim and I packed up our stuff and drove down to see my dad’s side of the family.  My immediate family all took Wednesday off to see my grandfather, etc. but Tim and I did not have the day off from work so we wanted to make sure we could see everyone on Christmas Day itself.  I unfortunately didn’t take any people pictures on Christmas night while we were visiting them, just of the cookies I brought down.

White Chocolate Peppermint Drop Cookies

White Chocolate Peppermint Drop Cookies

We were very happy to get to visit with everyone, and had a great time catching up with everyone.

Twas a very Merry Christmas, but I can’t believe it’s all over!  The season always comes and goes so quickly, and then BOOM it’s over.  Don’t you think?

Leave a comment on this post telling me what the best part of your Christmas this year was!


A Greek Recipe Favorite: Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono Soup is one of my favorite traditional Greek recipes.  Otherwise known as egg-lemon soup, it becomes wonderfully creamy after frothy, beaten eggs are swirled into the broth.  My mom made this soup often when I was a child, and my Yiayia (grandmother) used to make it for dinner every Christmas Eve.  It used to be one of my favorite Christmas traditions, and I was so happy when Uncle Jimmy decided to bring the tradition back this year!  Avgolemono soup is the perfect winter meal, as it’s very comforting and hits the spot on a chilly day.

Fun fact:  If you are Armenian, you might know this soup as lemonov soup instead!  My roommate Katrina’s family is Armenian, and their family cookbooks have pretty much the same recipe.  I remember laughing so hard in our kitchen as we compared our family cookbooks a few years ago.  Greek and Armenian foods have many similarities!

Anyways, I’ve wanted to make Avgolemono soup on my own for a while now.  A few weeks ago, whole chickens were on sale at Stop & Shop, and I decided I would finally give it a whirl.  I knew Tim would be down for making this recipe with me, especially since I wanted to try making it with a whole chicken and its broth as opposed to buying a rotisserie and using canned chicken broth.  Remember when we saw a cooking demonstration of a whole chicken being cut up at the Boston Local Food Festival and then Tim was super excited to try it on his own?  I was right, he agreed right away.  🙂

A Greek Recipe Favorite:  Avgolemono Soup

Serves 6


  • 8 cups of chicken broth – this can be canned broth or the broth from a whole chicken.
  • Whole Chicken – the chicken is optional, but I love the pieces in the soup!
  • 1 Cup Rice or Orzo – I used brown rice to make healthier.  My Auntie Tina says that if you do want to use a white rice, Carolina rice is the way to go because it’s a short grain rice.
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Juice of 2 lemons – You can use regular lemon juice if you want
  • Salt
  • Ground Pepper


  1. If you want the chicken pieces in your soup, boil a whole chicken, cut up, in 9 cups of water for one hour.  This will be your broth.
  2. After the chicken pieces have boiled for an hour, take the chicken out of the pot and let cool.
  3. Bring the remaining broth to a boil, salt to taste, add the cup of rice, and simmer covered for 20 minutes.  When done, remove from heat.
  4. In the meantime, part A:  Remove the chicken from the bones, tear into small pieces.  Set aside.
  5. In the meantime, part B:  Slice up the lemons and put the juice in a bowl.  Set aside.
  6. In the meantime, part C:  Beat the egg whites until stiff in a bowl.  Set aside.
  7. When the broth is done simmering, measure out 2 cups of the bot chicken broth and set aside.  Helpful hint – place the chicken broth, lemon juice bowl, and egg yolks near each other because you need to work quickly during the next steps.
  8. Begin beating the egg whites again and simultaneously add the yolks and beat well.  Keep beating and slowly add the lemon juice to the eggs.  You are still beating continuously.  Then add 2 cups of the hot chicken broth (slowly!) to the mixture.  Do not stop beating!  This constant beating is the secret to prevent the egg from curdling.  You don’t want scrambled eggs in your soup!
  9. When the eggs and the broth are well mixed, pour this mixture back into the remaining broth and rice that are still on the stove.  Stir well, but do NOT allow to boil.  The soup will curdle if boiled.
  10. Add the small chicken pieces, stir well one last time.
  11. Serve at once in bowls, adding ground pepper if you wish.

Helpful Hint:  I find it easier to work with someone else on steps 8 & 9.  This way one person can make sure to constantly beat while the other does the pouring.

Some pictures for your viewing pleasure!

Tim in his chicken glory:

Me getting sour:

The rest of the experience:

The yummy end product:

Anyone else think soup is hard to photograph?  It just looks so boring.  I promise it’s not!

I enjoyed the soup for a leftover dinner last night and will probably have some more tonight.  I don’t think there is such thing as too much of it – I really could have it every day!

What’s your favorite kind of soup to make?  How about your favorite meal for a cold, chilly day?  Any family favorites of your own you’d like to share?

Excited (and a little nervous) for Two A Day Tuesday tonight!  Hope the new space works out!