Hanging Out At…My Apartment, Christmas Village, La Viola, and the Kimmel Center

nacho-libreIf we were playing What Do You Meme (got this for my brother for Christmas, so fun, you must play) that would be my caption.

I really enjoyed myself this season! The festivities began when I hosted my Dad and Barb for our annual celebration the weekend before Christmas. I love finding the perfect gift, making sure the house smells good, that there’s enough to drink, the music is playing at the right volume in the background, and thinking of the perfect menu for everyone’s dietary needs. My challenge: Something satisfying that was gluten free and didn’t have red meat or bacon. Here was my invitation and menu:2016-christmas-invite-blogThe Farmer’s Casserole recipe was from the Better Homes and Garden’s cookbook I got a few years ago as a Christmas gift 🙂 It was perfect, because the “crust” was made from crispy hash brown potatoes, and I eliminated the bacon! The chicken apple sausage from Applegate Farms is always so juicy and flavorful, Barb made the roasted vegetables (a crowd favorite). img_1797

The Gingerbread yogurt parfait was a much simpler version of Bobby’s Flay’s creation. Regular plain yogurt (I’ll use Greek in the future), mixed with maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, sliced bananas, topped with whipped cream and a gluten free gingerbread soft-baked cookie! It was really warm that day, so the whipped cream didn’t last too long 🙂img_1802

And then my favorite cold-weather drink…Caramel Apple Sangria. I’ve been making this for about 3 years and it never gets old 🙂 I posted about it before here. The original recipe is from The Wholesome Dish, but see my version below!

Caramel Apple Sangria

2 apples (I like Honeycrisp)

6 cups apple cider ( I like Red Jacket brand)

1 bottle white wine (I like Barefoot Moscato)

1 cup caramel vodka

1/4 cup caramel sauce

Mix and drink…liberally

And then, no Ferenz family gathering would have been complete without the props and selfies…
img_1806 img_1816img_1809My apartment is small, but I really do love to entertain. I’m thinking it should be a goal of mine in 2017.

I took a day off mid-week to stroll around the city and take in all of the Winter Wonders. The first stop was the Christmas Village in Dilworth Plaza. They have lots of local vendors that set up tents, and there’s a carousel, and food, and drinks, an ice skating rink, and lots of happy children!img_1848 img_1846img_1842They had a really cute photo spot with Christmas trees and a winter scene, but my arms were only long enough to capture the happiness that the whole season brings!

Afterwards, I treated myself Lobster Ravioli at one of favorite Italian restaurants, La Viola Bistro (East).img_1853And, obviously, I topped that carb-laden pasta off with some Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake.img_1854 I may be back in Philadelphia, but my Charleston appetite is here to stay!

And then off to the Kimmel Center, where I may have found myself a new annual tradition…my girl, Elise, at work told me that she was going to the Kimmel Center to watch Home Alone projected onto a big screen, while the Philadelphia Orchestra played the entire musical score. Ummm, yes please! After she told me this, I spent the next 2 days thinking about it, and then woke up on my day off, bought myself a ticket and enjoyed it, like no other! It was JUST like watching the regular movie, except that at the music parts, the orchestra would play. Heaven.img_1859 img_1861The music is already amazing, but being in this beautiful theater, knowing that Christmas was only 4 days away, it was about as close to a child-like Christmas magic I’ve felt in a long time 🙂

Then on Christmas Eve, I met my bestie, Sue, for a lovely brunch, where we talked, ate, and “aired our grievances“. img_1883

And then Iron Man and I jetted up to his hometown to spend time with his wonderful, loving, generous family ❤ img_1884After a late night of gift-giving, drinking, talking, and laughter, we got up early and made our way back so I could celebrate with my mom’s side!img_1904 img_1909img_1891Isn’t Caroline the cutest?! Her brother was supposed to be in the photos, but between the 32 people and 2 dogs in attendance, that photo ended up looking more like this:img_1900#truelife

And for the final Christmas Celebration of 2016, I got to spend some time with this little hunnie last night. Emmie in her feather boa. So cute!img_1942Hope ya’ll had as wonderful of a Christmas as me and my families!

I have a special post for tomorrow about my Word of the Year and an overview of last year’s word!