Christmas Is Love Come To Earth

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Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin Dinner 

beautiful table ready for Christmas dining

Christmas Dinner At My House

Every year, and it is my hope to continue, it is our tradition to have a big family meal together on Christmas Eve.

We keep certain foods on our menu because they are something that say "Christmas" to us in a special way, but we also change around the menu occasionally to include new dishes for excitement.

I would love to share some of the foods we love, and some of the menus we have enjoyed as a family.


One of the most treasured ways we have celebrated Christmas is the Christmas meal together.

Toys break, sweaters get stretched out and worn, games are forgotten in a drawer, but memories of enjoying a special meal with foods that create a part of a celebration together stay woven within our hearts.

Dream Of An Old Time Christmas? - Memorable Recipes


What's On the Menu

The Christmas Menu

my dinner tableBeginning with the menu we have used for the most recent years, I would like to make a little press for Beef tenderloin. I know it is expensive, but if you remember that it is boneless, easy to fix ( hard to mess up), and everyone loves it... you might want to consider it as your Christmas dinner menu centerpiece.

I usually make a cranberry relish for Christmas, but sometimes skip it , depending on the rest of the menu.

We always have a fruit and a green salad. A side dish of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or noodles is usual. and we always always have the Cardamom rolls that I make only for Christmas Eve.

So what's on the menu of this year?


  • Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin
  • German style fingerling potatoes
  • Pear and Pomegranate Salad
  • For Dessert: purchased cream puffs and warm fudge sauce
  • Cardamom Rolls

The Cardamom roll recipe is long, and it takes some time to make, but it is worth it. I've had it online with other Christmas recipes I make....

follow the link.

Or learn more about the spice, All About Cardamom.

Tender loin is very easy to cook

tenderloin beefAn expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year!

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

This has become our family's all-time favorite, and the entrée I now make for Christmas dinner. One of the things I like about it is the ease and relatively short cooking time involved.

Make Ahead Tips

The roast can be seasoned and refrigerated up to 4 hours before roasting.

Crème Fraiche

1 ½ cups whipping cream

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) buttermilk

Combine cream and buttermilk in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well for 2 or 3 minutes. Let stand at warm room temperature for at least 24 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Not just for beef:

Use this as a dessert topping, too. Very good added to vinegar and oil dressings. Delicious over fresh fruit and berries.


  • 1 Tbs. Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fennel seed, ground
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 2 -1/2 to 3-lb. beef tenderloin roast, with excess fat trimmed
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice


    How to make...
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Stir to make a paste.
  3. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and rub the paste all over the surface of the meat. If necessary, tie the roast at 1-1/2-inch intervals.
  4. Put the roast on a rack on a small, rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 120 °F for rare, 125 ° to 130 °F for medium rare,or 135 °F for medium, 40 to 50 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, mustard, and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt to taste.
  6. Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes before carving it into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve the beef, passing the mustard sauce at the table.
  7. --------------
  8. I found it difficult to locate the ground fennel, and ended up using a spice grinder to grind up the fennel seeds; since I was able to find containers of Devon cream in the store I used that to replace the crème fraîche.

The original recipe was from Fine Cooking magazine.

How To Cook A Beef Tenderloin


German-style Fingerling Potatoes

This is an easy recipe to make, for something a bit more involved, but extremely tasty, try Fiine cookingsGlazed Fingerling Potato Salad with Pancetta and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette. that is the original recipe I used, and if you have the time it is excellent with the beef.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutesfingerling potatoes

Total Time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 6 (6 cups)


  • 2 lb. halved fingerling potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp.olive oil
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • a little chopped parsley
  • bacon can be substituted for the prosciutto


  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium high heat until almost tender, 5 to 8 minutes, drain.
  2. Sauté  prosciutto in oil in a large sauté  pan over medium high heat until crisp, 5 minutes -or the bacon cut into pieces . Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Return pan back to burner, add vinegar and sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add potatoes, simmer 4 to 5 minutes, then stir in prosciutto (bacon bits), add parsley, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions.

pear salad with pomegranate


Pear and Pomegranate Salad - Refreshing, Colorful, and Easy

This is one of my all time favorites. It is fancy looking with its creamy white pears, ruby red pomegranate seeds, and deep pink syrup sauce, yet quite simple.


  • 3 pears thinly sliced - two red pears and one Asian
  • 1 pomegranate seeded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • dark green lettuce leaves


  1. Place the sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl.
  2. Toss with lemon juice to coat.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix into the fruit.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors.
  5. Serve in individual dishes on a bed of lettuce greens, and garnish with a sprinkling of sliced almonds with a sprig of mint


Recommended Christmas Holiday Cookbook

Great holiday ideas for food and decorating

Williams Sonoma idea book Christmas Entertaining (Williams-Sonoma)Christmas Entertaining (Williams-Sonoma)

This is a book of inspirations for all types of holiday meals and party fare. It includes the menus plus the decorating ideas and everything needed to make it a time to remember.

How to decorate the table festively and work plans to make everything happen without a hitch.


Whole Green Beans - Simply delicious

fresh green beans

  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 20 min



  • 3/4 lb whole green beans
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard


  1. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  2. Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water just until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to ice water. Drain well in a colander and pat dry.
  3. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté beans with mustard and salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes.
  4. Recipe from Epicurious which is closest to how I make these simple green beans.

Holiday Settings - Festive Table Trimmings


Pioneer Woman Talks about Holiday Foods

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Some of my best holiday recipes and serving ideas have come from special holiday cookbooks. They are inspirational and come in a wide variety of cuisines to cater to every tradition and taste.

Once I found a set of menus that my family really enjoyed we rotated them through the years. We always seem to have a few things that we can't do without for our holiday repast... usually the sweet potatoes and Waldorf salad (and of course, my Cardamom rolls).

holiday table setting

holiday dinnerware

Pretty dishes that are perfect for holiday dinners make the table part of the annual tradition. I always loved to see certain cups and dishes that were reserved for special family times on my grandmother's table.





 Eating Christmas Dinner

Victorian Christmas Dinner




Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Set a festive table with this fine dinnerware perfect for the Christmas season. Made by one of the best names in fine pottery. It has the look of a real old fashioned Christmas, with its full fir tree, and many baubles decorating the tree. Adding to the cheer of the season, but in noway upstaging the wonderful food it serves.

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4  




Not Christmas Yet?

Not there yet.... ?

When first writing this, it was far from Christmas time. For Christmas aficionados I know no apologies are necessary. Some people (like me!) are only too delighted for an excuse to plan the upcoming Christmas celebration.