Christmas Break Desserts and Dinner

It is no surprise that being on vacation from work, during the holidays will lead to different eating patterns.  We slept in some days, others we got up a little earlier.  We did some work, but we also played.  It was nice having Ryan home for the week (this was between Christmas and New Years).  But of course, the schedule was not the usual routine.  It was more of a leisurely pace, with a laid back attitude, and countless hours on the internet either doing things of real value, or just plain abusing Google.  For me, I had more time to play on my iPad, and with that I decided to try out StumbleUpon

Within minutes I hooked and finding all kinds of things, but interesting, and not so much.  One thing I can say is that I found a lot of fun blogs with very fun recipes on them.  One night I was playing around and found a blog post (from 2009, I think) that had what claimed to be the best, and yet very simple, brownie recipe.  I realized I had all the ingredients, and could very easily make them.  Well, I waited.  I didn't need brownies that badly, and we had plenty of other good munchies around because it was the holiday break.  Well, 24 hours later, I was still eyeing those brownies, and then Ryan put in the request, and well, I think we all know what happened next.

Getting all the ingredients mixed together.

Nice and chocolatey.
But wait!  It needs more chocolate!
Phew!  Now we are good and ready to get in the oven.
Within minutes, we could smell them and they were ready to cool down.
The verdict? Excellent!  OK, not the best ever (could just be my baking skills, not the recipe's fault), but definitely up there.  I will definitely be making these again.  The tasted good, and they were so easy.
Well, you can see the brownie making set the tone for the rest of the week off from work.  When we went for sushi, we each tried one of these.  Normally we do not eat any of the desserts at the sushi place, but this looked like fun.  Yes, it actually looked like fun.  It is a pancake (don't let the word waffle fool you, this is a pancake!  Yeah, I know, in this picture you can't see the word waffle either, but trust me, it's there) filled with creme.  It was pretty good, but perhaps had been frozen at one point.  Not that it tasted like that, but the very middle actually seemed more like ice cream.
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Beer for dessert?  Sure!  While out and about we found some of the local brewery beers for sale, so I picked up a few to try.  Definitely good, and I will definitely get these again.  Actually, I hope to make it to the brewery soon.
More dessert?  Of course!  This time we stopped at a French bakery, and this was only because we tried to get Chinese for lunch on Christmas, but the place just closed for lunch and would reopen in 2.5 hours for dinner, and we were hungry.  Yes, it made the most sense to stop at the bakery across the street and then go on a mini-road trip until we could come back for dinner.
So what did we buy for Christmas mid-afternoon dessert?  Apple tart!  It was listed as a tart, but it is close to a pie.  Who cares about the technicalities of the dessert definition?!?!?!  It was an apple something-or-other and it had a little Santa on it.  How cute!
It was good!  It was really good!  I know I have said this before, but I love that the Japanese do not do super sweet.  The pie was so much better without the excess sugar.  Plus, the slice was not super huge.  That's another thing I like about the Japanese.
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What do we have here?  Macarons!  Really, there is no way Ryan and I could walk into a French bakery without getting some of these little goodies.  We actually wound up eating these on the road (not all of them of course!) and saved the pie for later.
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Since we only had 1 macaron each and no lunch, we also stopped off at a convenience store while we were out exploring.  While convenience stores here offer the typical convenience foods, I have found them to be much better than many US places.  This is because the portions are still smaller in general in Japan, and less sugar in the typical convenience products.  Plus, you can get some healthier pre-made items, including sushi.  We only really stopped so I could use the bathroom and we could get a drink to wash down the macaron, but we were hungry, so we thought we would give these a try.
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Did you figure out this is cheese?  Similar to Laughing cow, and actually pretty tasty.  These helped hold us over until we made it back to the Chinese place for dinner.
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Now you can see that even in Japan we were able to do Chinese for Christmas.  Yes, this is the typical Jewish thing to do, and Ryan was down with it, so we stuck with the tradition.  Of course, being in Japan, lots of things were open, so we really could have had our pick.  But Chinese, is, and always will be, a good Christmas meal (especially when it is just the two of us and I don't eat meat).

I had the shrimp:
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Ryan had the beef:
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Plus he got soup and a salad.
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Not bad at all!

Oh, and if you are wondering if all the desert and other eating resulted in packing on the pounds over the holidays (remember by post on this topic?), the answer is no.  Not even a pound.  Now, the nutritional quality, well that is a different story!  Calories in range, but perhaps could have used some more veggies and whole grains in there.  Of course, a few weeks into the new year with my diet back to normal, I think I probably suffered no real damage or long term consequences of malnutrition.

We also did some fun activities over the break, and I will have more on that coming up.

QUESTIONS:  What is your favorite kind of pie?  Do you have any unusual Christmas (or other holiday) traditions?  What's your favorite brownie recipe?


Unknown said...

mmm apple piiiiiie!
i like any and all brownies! i do not discriminate chocolate ;-)
an unusual Christmas tradition for me is actually celebrating it! lol! i guess that goes for you too ;-) we sing songs on Christmas Eve. sometimes we bake pumpkin pies or make ornaments.

Astra Libris said...

I totally agree - the pancake does look like fun! :-)

Thank you so much for your sweet comments on my 2011 post... :-) I'm SO happy you appreciate the veg versions of every recipe! It was my goal for recipes when I started the blog, since we always make a veg version at home if we're making a meat dish, so I'm glad you appreciate it too! :-)

Your post about Chinese for Christmas made me laugh - I'm so glad someone else understands! :-) Zach was so confused when I first told him about the tradition... :-)

Kristen (swanky dietitian) said...

I am on stumble upon but found it difficult to keep up with since already being on twitter and fb. Too many social media outlets, I tell ya!
Those brownies look heavenly. I love the extra chips. Mmm.

eatingRD said...

Yum lots of sweet treats! I like pumpkin pie, but it has to be super spicy. Those brownies look to die for!

Lori said...

Too many good things here! I would love a set of those macarons. And pancake or waffle, a cream would be a nice change from maple syrup. Not to mention it now looks like a finger food! :)

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