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December 25

1st Day of the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

The Nativity of the Lord or Christmas

Nativity means birth

"The first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...."

The partridge in the pear tree represents Christ



The Church primarily celebrates Christmas from Christmas Day until the Solemnity of the Epiphany, which commemorates the manifestation of Christ as the Savior of the whole world. The Church has also traditionally celebrated Christmas for 40 days, culminating on the Feast of the Presentation. 

During this time, the birth of Christ is celebrated as one continuous festival.

Christmas trees & decorations stay up until the Epiphany (some call this day Old Christmas Day) and the Nativity stays up until Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of the Lord, which isn’t until February 2nd. 

This marked the end of a joyful 40-day “Christmastide” that corresponded to the 40 days of solemn Lent.









O little town of Bethlehem...




Grotto of the Nativity, The Church of the Nativity, also known as Basilica of the Nativity



The spot where Christ was born




Songs of the season:


Today starts the first day of Christmas or Christmastide


The 12 Days of Christmas
Secret Code? Yes!


The 12 days of Christmas carol is a poem written during a time when Catholics could not be open about their faith. This time is also known as Twelvetide which celebrates the Birth of Jesus. The Council of Tours proclaimed the twelve days as a sacred and festive season. Catholics found this season of hope as a time of rededication and renewal. It was also a period when small, simple, and symbolic gifts were given out.

The 12 Days of Christmas


  1. The "True Love" one hears in the song is not a smitten boy or girlfriend but Jesus Christ, because truly Love was born on Christmas Day. The partridge in the pear tree also represents Christ because that bird is willing to sacrifice its life if necessary to protect its young by feigning injury to draw away predators.

  2. The two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments

  3. The three French hens stood for faith, hope, and love.

  4. The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

  5. The five golden rings represented the first five books of the Old Testament, which describe man's fall into sin and the great love of God in sending a Savior.

  6. The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

  7. Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit-----Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

  8. The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

  9. Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit-----Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience [Forbearance], Goodness [Kindness], Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty, Continency [Chastity].

  10. The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.

  11. The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful Apostles.

  12. The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in The Apostles' Creed.

~12 Days of Christmas Explained~

12 Days of Christmas!

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Joy to the World!





My Italian/Polish/Southern American Christmas....yes it is something to behold!
Merry Christmas & Buon Natale!


 Items that will fill our table will be
Salad, Antipasto Platter
Lasagna, Gnocchi, Ravioli, Chicken Marsala &  Meatballs!
Tiramisu, Cannolis, Cookies like Ricotta cookies and Pizzelles....

ohhhhh there are so many cookies!!,
Breads, & Wine!

Polish Pierogis & Kielbasa with Red horseradish
Poppy seed cake

Southern Style would be Iced Tea, Seafood Gumbo & Ham too...



Cookie Recipe:


  • 6 large eggs

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup oil

  • 1/4 cup whiskey 

  • 3/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

  • zest of an orange


  1. Mix all Ingredients until smooth.

  2. Heat your pizzelle iron. Grease it as directed in the manufacturer's instructions. 

  3. Cook the pizzelle according to the instructions that came with your iron. In general, they'll take between 45 seconds and 2 1/2 minutes to brown.

  4. Remove the pizzelle from the iron, and cool on a rack. If desired, use a pair of scissors to trim any ragged edges.

  5. Dust cooled pizzelle with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Apple and bird wine.jpg
pasta 3.jpeg
pasta 5_edited.jpg





Blood Orange Mimosas
My mother in-law always brings out the champagne on this very special morning!



  • 12 sugar cubes

  • ½ teaspoon blood orange bitters
    or Angostura bitters

  • 7 ½ cups sparkling wine, chilled

  • 3 cups fresh blood orange juice
    (about 6 oranges)

  • Blood orange rind curls (optional)



  1. Place 1 sugar cube in each of
    12 Champagne flutes or slender glasses;

  2. add 1 drop bitters to each flute.

  3. Combine wine and juice. Divide wine mixture
    evenly among flutes.

  4. Garnish with rind, if desired.

  5. If a simple recipe is desired just
    top the wine with orange juice! Enjoy!





Milk Gravy and Biscuits

Milk Gravy

  • ¼ cup butter salted

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine butter and flour.

  2. Heat over medium heat until butter melts.

  3. Once butter and flour is cooked, pour in milk.

  4. Continue to pour in milk and whisk to make sure there are no lumps.

  5. Allow the gravy to simmer for about 3-5 minutes or until thick.

  6. If it is too thick, add more milk. You may need up to another cup of milk.

  7. If it is to thin, allow it to simmer longer.

  8. Taste and add more salt if needed.

  9. Serve immediately.
    Note: My mother, would make her gravy with canned evaporated milk and water instead of regular milk. This is a depression method that she learned from her mother. The milk has a stronger taste. I love it this way because this is what I was raised on. Plus, she would cook crumbled pork sausage and fold into the gravy, and topped with lots of black pepper.  *Regular milk is the traditional way of cooking milk gravy.




Buttermilk Biscuit


·1 stick salted butter, frozen, grated

·1/2 cup cold shortening, grated

·5 cups self-rising flour

·1/2 teaspoon salt

·2 cup chilled buttermilk

·Parchment paper

·2 tablespoon butter, melted
(to brush on top after the biscuits have baked)



1.Preheat oven to 475°F. Grate frozen butter using large holes of a box grater. Toss together grated butter, shortening, salt and flour in a medium bowl. Chill 10 minutes in the freezer. The freezing is a crucial step, don’t leave it out.

2.Make a well in center of mixture. Add chilled buttermilk, and stir until well blended (about 15 times). Don't stir more than 20 times or you'll have tough biscuits. The dough will be sticky.

3.Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly sprinkle flour over top of dough. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches).

4.Fold dough in half so short ends meet. Repeat rolling and folding process 4 more times, a total of 5 times.

5.Roll dough with a floured rolling pin to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch floured, round cutter, reshaping scraps and flouring surface as needed.

6.Place dough rounds, side by side, in a parchment paper-lined jelly-roll pan. (Dough rounds should touch.) Bake at 475°F for 15 minutes or lightly browned. Remove from oven; brush with melted butter. Serve immediately. Makes 12 to 14 biscuits.

**Self-rising flour is all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt added.
To make your own, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.


Note: When baking from the biscuits you've frozen (if you froze some of them) I found they baked better and rose higher at 450°F. For the same amount of time. I put my frozen biscuits on the baking sheet and let them stay at room temperature until my oven reaches 450°F and then place them in the oven.


The 12 Days of Christmas

Cranberry Poached Pears and Partridge Crisps



  • 6 cups cranberry juice cocktail

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large navel orange

  • 2 small cinnamon sticks

  • 2 whole star anise

  • 1 vanilla bean

  • 8 medium Bosc pears

  • Whipped cream

  • Partridge Crisps (see recipe below)


Partridge Crisps

  • 1 refrigerated rolled pie crust

  • 1 egg

  • granulated sugar

  • Black sprinkles


  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together the cranberry juice and sugar. Add the orange, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and vanilla.

  2. Peel the pears, add them to the saucepan and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, turning the pears occasionally, until they are easily pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a platter.

  3. Remove and discard the orange and spices from the saucepan. Return the pan to heat and simmer until the liquid is syrupy and reduced to 1 cup, about 45 minutes.

  4. Spoon the reduced sauce over the pears and serve with whipped cream and partridge cookies (recipe below), if desired.

  5. To make the partridge crisps: Unroll refrigerated rolled pie crust on a lightly floured surface. Using a floured mini bird/partridge cutter or template, cut out dough and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place black sprinkles on the heads for eyes and bake at 375 degrees F until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.






Meat Sauce

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 2 carrots, finely diced

  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped

  • 6 cloves garlic cloves, minced

  • 24 ounces ground beef mince

  • 10 oz ground pork mince, or beef

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • red wine, deglaze

  • 24 oz tomato purée

  • 14 oz crushed tomatoes

  • 2 beef or vegetable bouillon cubes, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, garlic
    and basil

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, (if desired)

  • Salt and pepper, season to your tastes


White Sauce (Béchamel)

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup AP flour

  • 4 cups milk

  • 1 cup fresh shredded parmesan

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 onion pique for flavor


  • 13 oz fresh lasagna sheets* 

  • 17 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley


Meat Sauce

1.Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add in the onion, carrots and celery and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until softened. Add in the fresh garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.

2.Add beef and pork (if using) and cook while breaking it up with the end of your spoon, until browned.

3.Add in the tomato paste and cook for about 5 minutes. Don't let it burn but do have it brown a bit. Deglaze with wine.

4.Add the tomato purée, crushed tomatoes, crushed bouillon and dried herbs. Mix well to combine and bring to a gentle simmer. Season with desired amount of salt and pepper (I use about 3/4 teaspoon each) and sugar if needed. Cover and cook for about 20-30 minutes, occasionally mixing, until the sauce has thickened slightly and meat is tender.

4.Adjust salt, pepper and dried herbs to your taste.

Parmesan White Sauce

1.In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from hot plate; add the flour and whisk for about 30 seconds, or until well blended.

2.Place pot back onto stove, reduce heat down to low and slowly whisk in 1 cup of the milk until well combined. Once well blended, add the remaining milk in 1 cup increments, mixing well after each addition, until all the milk is used and sauce is free from lumps. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk until it turns into a nice and creamy consistency. Add the onion pique for extra flavor and let the sauce simmer as long as needed. (10 minutes)

3.Increase heat to medium and continue cooking sauce while stirring occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes) and coats the back of your wooden spoon.

4.Add in the parmesan cheese and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper and mix until the cheese is melted through.

To Assemble

1.Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.Spoon about 1 cup of meat sauce on the base of a 9x13-inch baking dish, then cover with lasagna sheets. (Trim sheets to fit over the meat if needed.) Layer with 2 cups of meat sauce (or enough to cover pasta), 1 cup of white sauce and half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers (leaving the remaining cheese for the top).

3.Pour the remaining meat sauce and white sauce over the last layer of lasagna sheets and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

4.Let the pasta rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Slices best the next day.

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