A BBB Christmas – In pictures…

Wishing you many healthy and happy returns for Christmas! IMG_3780 The BBB household was a buzz of energy yesterday, filled with wonderful food, drinks and, most importantly, family 🙂 While I am working on a full recap, with family in town (ie. too many laughs to have to sit at a computer!) I have a photo sneak preview for you for now. Enjoy! IMG_3779  IMG_3771  IMG_3773  IMG_3816  IMG_3768  IMG_3785 IMG_3764  IMG_3782 IMG_3794  IMG_3804 IMG_3813 IMG_3735  IMG_3748 IMG_3828  IMG_3754  IMG_3761 IMG_3830 I hope your Christmas was filled with love, laughter and happiness. Oh and a tasty dessert, or three 😉 Happy Baking 🙂

BBB Christmas Countdown – Feelin’ saucy

Training: Run 5km The Christmas Countdown so far…

  1. How to plan a perfect Christmas Menu
  2. How to be a stress-free host
  3. It’s a wrap
  4. Getting Crafty
  5. Oh Christmas Tree

With 4 days left until Christmas Day, tonight was all about preparing the sauces! Cherry Port Sauce (for the roast turkey)… IMG_3494    and Caramel Sauce (to be served with the apple cake). IMG_3414 Cherry Port Sauce Mr BBB’s mum received a large box of cherries for Christmas, and it could not have come at a more perfect time. IMG_3421 I don’t own any fancy cherry pitting gadgets, so I wasn’t too sure how I would go pitting a whole bowlful of cherries! I was thinking that perhaps I could just slice the cherries, but then they would lose their wonderfully round shape. IMG_3423 Then…..Google to the rescue!  I came across this site  and my problem was solved. Who knew the humble chopstick could serve such a wonderful purpose 😉 IMG_3425 While the method was effective, it was rather messy… IMG_3426 Oops… But success ensued!   IMG_3432  Once all the cherries had been pitted, I heated 1/2 cup of port in a small saucepan and simmered for 1 minute. IMG_3436 Then added chicken stock, red currant jelly and the pitted cherries. IMG_3441 IMG_3473 Simmered until the cherries had softened and the mixture had thickened. IMG_3481 Sweet and spicy 🙂 IMG_3485 IMG_3491 Once cooled, I transferred the sauce to an airtight container, and placed it in the fridge ready for Christmas Day. Caramel Sauce The Caramel Sauce was equally as easy to make. But then again, with 3 ingredients (sugar, water and cream) how can you go wrong! IMG_3383 Into a heavy based saucepan went white sugar and water, simmered until the sugar had dissolved and the mixture had taken on a caramel colour. IMG_3384IMG_3387IMG_3390 Removed from the heat, then the creamed was whisked in. IMG_3392 The result? IMG_3395 A rich, luscious caramel sauce. IMG_3398IMG_3406 Like its cherry counterpart, once the caramel sauce had cooled I placed it in an airtight contained in the fridge. IMG_3411 I cant wait to try this on Christmas Day! IMG_3413  If it lasts that long that is 😉 What about you? What is your favourite sauce to make at home? Happy Baking 🙂

BBB Christmas Countdown – Oh Christmas Tree

Training: Run 5km After a week or so ‘rest’ after the Canberra Half Ironman, which was as much to rest my body as it was to rest my mind, Mr BBB and I laced up our sneakers and hit up our local running path. We followed our "usual" 5km course, which is an ‘out and back’ track from our house, and after 6 months of living away from our suburb, it was nice to be back on home turf. I arrived home hungry and immediately set about making dinner. After all, today’s Christmas ‘task’ was not going to be a time consuming one and I knew that it could be done after dinner. On the menu this evening, chilli chicken salad! I started by making a chilli dressing, using chilli sauce, fish sauce and lime juice. IMG_3318 IMG_3321 Combined with a finely chopped red chilli, chopped coriander and a splash of olive oil. IMG_3323 IMG_3326 To the dressing I added a couple small cooked chicken breasts, shredded. IMG_3327 And stirred until well combined. Meanwhile, I made a salad with all the trimmings.  IMG_3313 Cucumber, mushrooms, snow peas, cherry tomatoes and mesculin. IMG_3330 Divided into bowls. IMG_3331 And topped with the chicken mixture.  IMG_3332 Plus a sprinkle of chopped cashews.  IMG_3338 And an extra wedge of lime.  IMG_3334 IMG_3335 IMG_3336 A light and fragrant dinner – packed with heat! IMG_3333 But there was no time to rest after dinner, as it was time for the next Christmas task! The Christmas Countdown so far…

  1. How to plan a perfect Christmas Menu
  2. How to be a stress-free host
  3. It’s a wrap
  4. Getting Crafty

Although quite late in the month to be doing so, this evening we set up our Christmas tree! IMG_3304 IMG_3339  IMG_3372 We have an artificial tree, and although it is a little sparse… IMG_3285 IMG_3286  It is nothing that some sparkly tinsel and lights can’t fix. IMG_3346 IMG_3348 IMG_3369 There is just something so festive about having a Christmas tree in the living room! IMG_3371 It really is now beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Happy Baking 🙂

BBB Christmas Countdown – Getting Crafty

The Christmas Countdown so far…

  1. How to plan a perfect Christmas Menu
  2. How to be a stress-free host
  3. It’s  a wrap

What a weekend! It started and ended well, although there was a glitch in the middle. But I’ll get to that later… 7days Yesterday, with 7 days to go until Christmas, Mr BBB and  I hit the shops to purchase all the non-perishable food items. IMG_3219 We arrived around lunchtime, which turned out to be a perfect time to shop. The crowds had died down and there were no queues at the checkout. Gotta be happy about that! IMG_3220 IMG_3221 After unpacking all our Christmas goodies, I decided to finish setting up my favourite kitchen drawer. IMG_3225 My spice drawer! IMG_3223 Now complete with labels and….most importantly….spices!!! IMG_3227 I have no doubt this drawer will get quite a workout!   6days Unfortunately this morning my plans for a busy day were thwarted when I woke up feeling ill. And not just slightly ill, but “spend the morning throwing up and having cold sweats” ill 🙁 I don’t know whether I ate something that didn’t agree with me, or whether I picked up a nasty bug, but my morning was spent generally feeling sorry for myself lying on the bathroom floor.  After lunch I started to feel a bit better, and even managed to keep some lunch down. So, rather than waste the day, I decided to continue with our Christmas preparations. Particularly given that today’s task was a relaxing crafty one! In keeping with this year’s homemade theme, I wanted to make Christmas bon bons instead of purchasing them. Last week I made a trip to the craft store and picked up coloured paper, ribbon and bon bon snaps.  I chose green/pink/red striped paper – for something a little different to the traditional red/green/gold! IMG_3231 Then, yesterday during our grocery shop, I picked up chocolates to put inside the bon bons, and printed off some jokes. After all, a good bon bon must have a ‘groan-worthy’ joke 😉 IMG_3232 Today it was a matter of assembling the bon bons. I started by cutting a roll of cardboard ( from a finished Christmas paper roll) into smaller lengths… IMG_3236 Then threaded a snap through each roll, held in place with a little sticky tape. IMG_3241 Next, each roll was wrapped in a sheet of the coloured paper. IMG_3243 IMG_3252 One end was then fastened with ribbon… IMG_3244 The bon bons were filled… IMG_3245 And finished by fastening the other end with ribbon. IMG_3270 Repeated until you have a basketful of pretty bon bons. IMG_3253 IMG_3262IMG_3261 IMG_3271 I had some coloured paper leftover, so decided to also make some matching menus! IMG_3275 Compared with the bon bons, which were a little fiddly, the menus were super easy to make. I just printed off the menus, and stuck each one to a slightly larger piece of the coloured paper. IMG_3276 All together now. IMG_3277 IMG_3278 IMG_3279 What about you? Have you ever made your own bon bons? Happy Baking 🙂

BBB Christmas Countdown – Its a wrap!

8days The Christmas Countdown so far…

  1. How to plan a perfect Christmas Menu
  2. How to be a stress-free host

With 8 days left until Christmas day, this evening was all about wrapping presents! IMG_3184    I have been picking up gifts over the last few months with a view to avoiding the Christmas rush. In saying that, I had to go to the shops at lunchtime today and they were CRAZY!  And, sadly, I can only imagine that it is going to get worse as the week progresses. This year’s colours were…..gold and purple. IMG_3186 True story – when we were moving house I came across multiple un-opened rolls of this Christmas paper in our storage area. I must have picked them up in the sales last year – although I have ZERO memory of doing so….strange?! IMG_3189 Anyway, with the presents wrapped, it really is starting to feel (and look!) a lot like Christmas. Although we are still to put up our Christmas tree. Tomorrow perhaps? And, in other news, I can assure you that the BBB household has been well fed over the last few days – despite being busy with unpacking, racing and Christmas preparation. Here are a few of our dinner highlights so far…  IMG_3180 (GF lasagne)  IMG_3181 (Chicken stir-fry)  IMG_3208   (Roasted vegetable medley) What about you? Do you tend to buy presents in advance or do you leave your Christmas shopping until the last minute? Happy Baking 🙂