Christmas 2013

After my big lotto win ($1), it was time to hang out with friends from Texas who came back to California for the holidays. We started at P.F. Chang's and then headed to Bayside's Christmas Service before I headed to Chevy's with another friend for nachos and a burrito. I then went on a Christmas baking binge ... Reese's cupcakes with a peanut butter filling and ganache topping, Ghirardelli brownies with peanut butter ganache, peanut butter cookies with Hershey's Kisses (caramel and dark chocolate) ... notice a theme? Beyond the sweets I tried the new Bacon, Bacon, Bacon pizza from Papa Murphy's and celebrated a friend's 60th birthday at Claim Jumper's with a Meritage Steak (how could I pass up a steak when it has the name of my favorite resort?) and a triple chocolate cake.

On Monday I met up with the Executive Chef from The Meritage Resort and Spa at KCRA in Sacramento as he demonstrated how to take a couple store-bought gingerbread house kits and some items from Michael's and transform them into something truly spectacular. Off-air he also explained how to make icing icicles, which were very cool and really added to the winter-wonderland feel.

My parents and I then spent the week in Lodi with my grandma to celebrate Christmas. Although we didn't exchange gifts, we did enjoy awesome, home-cooked food (thanks gram and mom) ... shrimp pasta, Eggs Benedict, prime rib and crab. I contributed lots of wine including a couple of bottles from Grgich Hills and Bogle Vineyards. On Christmas Day we saw Saving Mr. Banks, it was great to learn a little bit more of the back story that made Mary Poppins come to life (I'm glad I re-watched Mary Poppins the week before too). The day after Christmas we took a drive to Berghold Winery, just outside of Lodi to wine taste, buy more wine (we had been to Costco earlier in the day as well to restock) and take a look at their massive selection of wine gifts. They also had a very cool wine decanter that was fun to watch (if it wasn't nearly $70 we may have purchased it). On Friday we headed to the Bradley Lodge to check on it after a set of renters had been there for Christmas and before another set came for New Year's. Happy to say it was still in one piece, but was glad we went to make sure everything was perfect for the next renters to enjoy a special time of year with their family and friends at a place that my family considers so special too.

On Saturday we headed to my cousin's house in Roseville to enjoy another fabulous meal of homemade noodles and had some wine (although my cousin is pregnant, so I brought her some pink sparkling juice so she wouldn't feel too left out). It was also great to have my parents and grandma come to my house before dinner to play a few hands of pinochle.
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