It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
We had a very exciting Christmas-filled weekend, starting on Friday in Nashville. Dave Barnes, one of my absolute favorite artists of all time, performed his “Very Merry Christmas” show at the James K. Polk Theatre. If you aren’t already a fan of Dave (do people like that still exist?), please go give him a listen. He’s spectacular. He’s also a hoot, and I have a hard time not smiling the entire time he’s onstage. Goodness, Eric and I were cracking up the whole time.
The concert also included some special guests, with Gabe Dixon on the keyboard (a seriously talented and spectacular pianist and singer), Matt Wertz, Ben Rector, Jason Eskridge, and Mallary Hope. It made for a hilarious and delightful night of entertainment. Way to go, Dave. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the actual concert because it was against the rules. And I am a rule follower. Sorry.
We stayed with my parents in Tennessee after the concert and spent Saturday baking Christmas cookies. The Smith women have a tradition of baking millions (only a slight exaggeration) of sugar cookies for Christmas festivities. This year, Eric pitched in with the decorating, making some awesome gnomes for our “I’ll be gnome for Christmas” themed celebration. I feel like I’ve grown up a bit in my cookie creating, as I used to just eat the frosting while my mom and sister did most of the decorating.
We also visited Clarksville’s river walk to see some Christmas lights before heading back to Lexington to have our own Christmas morning on Sunday. In the spirit of creating our own Christmas traditions, we enjoyed mimosas and a delicious ham, egg, and spinach casserole (recipe below) after opening our gifts. We spent the rest of the morning watching Hallmark Christmas movies, which may or may not have made me tear up.
Christmas Morning Breakfast Casserole (make this up the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning)
recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 thick slices honey-baked ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 package baby spinach
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups honey whole-wheat bread, ripped into pieces
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
Butter a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add ham, onion, and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft. Add spinach a little at a time, stirring occasionally, until just wilted.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
Scatter half of the bread in the dish and top with half the spinach mixture and half the cheese. Top with remaining bread, spinach mixture, and cheese. Pour the egg mixture into the dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Uncover the dish and bake 45 to 50 minutes. You can cover the casserole with foil if the top browns before the eggs are cooked.
We have many more Christmas festivities ahead of us! Hope you are enjoying this wonderful season of celebration!