Summer Travel Map

Sunday, January 18, 2015

December 20-January 18: Chilling out for the holidays

We made it through the holidays! Yea!!

Just before Christmas, we had a nice dinner with our friends Ana & Larry celebrating shared birthdays around mid-December (Ana and me). We had a nice selection of wines from the Wine Box, and some good eats: I made a fresh pasta appetizer and then Chateaubriand. 

I had recently posted a graphic on Facebook that I’d seen floating around the Internet, and don’t you know Larry tracked down the real thing!

We finished off with some excellent desserts from AJ’s, a local upscale grocery.

Who knew we'd need heated seats in AZ?
Starting around the 13th of December and lasting well past New Year’s Day, we had “winter”. It was pretty chilly, although by Phoenix standards. We had a week or so where we covered outside pipes to prevent freezing. We don’t have any plants to cover up, but were wondering how some of the neighbors were sleeping at night since it seemed that all their sheets were out covering vegetation. I put the furnace on low in the motorhome to prevent anything bad from happening there. But, it all passed by January 5th and temperatures have been at or above normal since then.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve were quiet for us as usual. I made a “traditional” Christmas Eve like I remember as a kid, with Swedish Meatballs, Ham, and Scalloped Potatoes (no pickled herring!). Christmas Day, we made a Beef Roast with Butternut Squash (my new favorite winter vegetable), plus an appetizer of King Crab Legs that was divine.

We tried something different on New Year’s Eve. We had our Shrimp Cocktail, but rather than the traditional Steamed Lobsters, I made a Rack of Pork. I think Geri was a little disappointed that I didn’t form it into a Crown Roast, but the recipe called for roasting the pork on a bed of red cabbage and other veggies, soaked in half a bottle of sparkling wine. That was a keeper!

On New Year’s Day, we did a simple dinner of more Shrimp and more King Crab. Oh, and Bloodies in the morning…

After the holidays, we tended to relax for a week or so, with the most strenuous activity being taking down the Christmas decorations. We had a few nice sunrises and sunsets (i’m not usually up at sunrise but it’s easier at this time of year). I tried out a few new recipes, including English Muffins a la Model Bakery in Napa Valley. We got to our cell phone two-year contract anniversary, so we upgraded, in a big way, our iPhones (get it, “big” phones?).

We have continued to try out new recipes. Geri made a good Sourdough Boule and we collaborated on Cannelloni stuffed with Sausage, Ricotta, and Spinach (I made the pasta and Geri made the filling). Another keeper!

I spent several days working on the coach, fixing the drain line for the kitchen sink permanently (I made temporary repairs while we were on the road last fall) and adjusting the kitchen slide so it rolls more easily. I also put in a “chip” that’s supposed to help the engine run better by “fooling” some of the circuits. We’ll test that out when we hit the road for a few weeks in March.

With the return of nicer weather, Geri has started using her bike again to get some exercise around the neighborhood. She packs the pups in their little trailer and off they go. And, we’ve been enjoying the patio more in the afternoon and evening!