Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Recital & A Simple Holiday Supper

Friday night we kicked off our holidays with one of my favorite events of the season: the girls' Christmas ballet recital. Our sweet friends Neil and Hailey Scott joined us for the show and dinner afterward. They have joined us several times, and this has become a tradition we all look forward to.

At 13, Carson has made the varsity wrestling team. We are really proud of his efforts! His first tournament was Friday and Saturday, so Joe went to the tournament and the rest of us went to the recital (and Christian's first basketball game of the season, a birthday party and the Christmas on the Coosa parade). Whew, we are in a busy but rewarding stage of  life!

With Joe and Carson out of pocket, the six of us who went to the recital gathered around our kitchen table for a simple dinner of soup and sandwiches after the show. We have always served Neil and Hailey in the dining room, but it was a nice change of pace to relax with a low-key celebration in the kitchen. There is something so comfortable about lingering at the table to peel oranges and visit with friends.

A Simple Holiday Supper

Mandarin Oranges
Ham & Cheese Sliders
Potato Soup
Heath Sundaes

I associate ham & cheese sliders with the holidays because a family friend served them every year at her Christmas Eve celebration. This year I perked up my traditional recipe with gourmet company HerbNZest's Caramelized Apple Champagne Mustard. Neil, Hailey and I all agreed we loved this adaptation. See yesterday's post for a holiday giveaway from HerbNZest.

Holiday Ham & Cheese Sliders
Use pans of smaller rolls for bite-size appetizers, or larger rolls to serve at mealtime.

24 white dinner rolls
1 pound honey ham
Swiss cheese slices to cover rolls
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons HerbNZest Caramelized Apple Champagne Mustard
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon minced onion

Cut the tops off the rolls and place the bottom halves in a jelly roll pan or casserole dish. Cover with ham and Swiss. Mix mayonnaise, poppy seeds, mustard, melted butter and onion. Slather about half of the mustard mixture over Swiss, and cover with the roll tops. Brush on the remaining mixture (or as much as desired). Cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate for a few hours. Near serving time, bake covered at 350 degrees for 13 minutes. Remove aluminum foil, and bake a few minutes more until tops are golden brown. 


Ham sandwiches and potato soup make such a comfy combination. I had second thoughts when planning this menu, thinking it might be a little too casual. But we all agreed that this humble meal hit the spot after a busy week.

Potato Soup

Enjoy this homey soup with favorite toppings on the side like shredded cheese, crumbled bacon and green onions. This version is adapted from my friend MaryAnn's recipe.

6-10 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cans evaporated milk
2 cans milk (using evaporated milk cans)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 tablespoon margarine
1 cup shredded carrots
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Cook potatoes until soft (about 30 minutes). Drain about half of the water from the pot. Add remaining ingredients and cook over low heat for several hours before serving.

I would recommend sitting in front of the tree this holiday season to enjoy a bowl of potato soup, ham & cheese sliders and mandarin oranges. And for dessert -- I will share an easy holiday recipe in my next post! For now, here are a few photos of Mary Ashley from the recital. Christian took pictures of her performance, but unfortunately my camera died before Emma's class took the stage.

Mary Ashley was so excited about the recital, she told me she had tears of joy thinking about it during the day at school.

Mary Ashley did a beautiful job dancing, but my favorite thing about watching her perform was observing the blissful expression on her face. She looked so happy and content moving across the stage.

Here is Mary Ashley's class after a lovely performance. This is such a sweet group of girls, and they work so well together. We are looking forward to seeing how far they progress in the coming months as the spring recital approaches.

Be sure to stop in for my next post, an easy but decadent dessert!

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