Last weekend I hosted a holiday dinner for some friends of ours, which was super exciting because it was the first time I got to use my new china :)

Keeping with my “woodland” wintery theme throughout the house (and tree), I wanted to set a neutral and uncomplicated table featuring natural elements. I’m one of those people that hates to peek over the top of tall centerpieces, so when I have a sit down dinner I like to keep the view across the table unobstructed.  Maybe I’m a minority on that topic, but it’s just a personal preference.

Neutrally goodness started with a drop cloth over my leaf-in table, followed by a “runner” made of cuttings from my Leland Cypress trees out front (they needed a good trim anyways). I added some snowy twigs that I had leftover from last year’s winter decorations and some jingle bells I found in my craft stash.

I decided against placemats and just went with my ORB chargers underneath the china. I rolled a linen napkin inside my twine napkin rings with a sprig of cypress on top.

On top of the runner, I put a single paperwhite (which bloomed just in time…I totally planned that…not…), a pretty bird vase with some thyme from the garden, and some votives.

You can see at the end of the table, there’s a braid-shaped loaf of bread. I made Challah, which started the Southern/Jewish infusion of food into the meal. I borrowed some recipes from other Jewish holidays also, just for fun. While I was hacking up my poor evergreens, I decided to make a quickie wreath as well. Let me tell you, wreath making is no joke…it took a lot of floral tape and patience to get something resembling a circle.

I served Southern style brisket (from Southern Living December), roasted green beans, and sweet potato spoon bread. All of the recipes were new to me, but turned out great. I guess that’s why they were all in magazines. But probably the most exciting recipe I made was dessert-also in Southern Living this month. The first time I laid eyes on the peppermint beauty, I knew I needed to make it.

I mean how many times a year can you justify making a 5 layer peppermint cheesecake/sour cream cake with white chocolate mousse frosting? Well for me, it’s one time. And considering I’ve never made cheesecake before, this was really ambitious. Actually I kinda suck at baking things that don’t contain yeast. I’m notorious for forgetting ingredients, not mixing entirely, and making ridiculous substitutions to “healthify” the situation, and non of these scenarios tend to end well. But, I was determined to make this masterpiece- right down to the peppermint plate it was sitting on.

{Southern Living}

I followed the directions exactly, with the exception of using low fat cream cheese and sour cream. What can I say? Old habits die hard. I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought about recreating it with the fat free varieties.

I decided that buying a bar of chocolate to shave over the top was a bit much, so I just put some peppermints on my version and called it a day. What do you think?

Every single person at the table said it was the best cake they had ever eaten. Even the best cheesecake. You have got to try this recipe next time you need a cake (or better yet, drop it like a bomb at some poor soul’s potluck). Seriously.

And because no event at my house is complete until things get weird, here’s a little holiday greeting from our family to yours.

My friend Amy got us all these crazy onesies so we put them on and posed for this Sears portrait studio shot gone horribly wrong. Oh and the spelling of Christmas is intentional (being country folk).

In real life, we are not all related. Four of us share a last name out of coincidence, but the odd couple out IS actually related to other Evanses. Weird, huh? Does that remind you of one of those elementary school math problems where Timmy has 7 sisters and 4 brothers but which one of them has green eyes?

Now that you’re all officially creeped out, I’ll sign off. Don’t forget to link up your holiday inspired project tomorrow!

8 Responses

  1. Renee Cook

    Where do I start…EVERYTHING is Beautiful !! What type of fabric is the tablecloth? it looks snowy like… I love it !! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. Amy Evans

    It was a lovely evening, Rachael. And although the pictures are stunning, they still don’t do it justice. That cake was unbelievable! You are no longer allowed to ever say you cannot bake—I know when I have been out baked, my friend, and I bow down.

    Love the Forever Lazy photo—Best.Ever.

    So glad to have you (and all of our Evans family weirdness) in my life <3

  3. Julie

    Everything is beautiful! Right down to your awkward family photo style Christmas card- the teeth are so white!


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