Come To My Chaotic Christmas Preparation

One thing I need to set straight with you my friends.  No matter how organized I think I may be—or appear to be; no matter how many lists or timelines I create; no matter how ahead I think I may be.  I’m usually not.  OK?


Seriously.  I had Chateau Bonaparte decorated the day before Thanksgiving.  We got the crooked tree the first weekend in December.  I wrapped gifts as quickly as I could after purchasing them–well most of the gifts. Food shopping was completed yesterday with just a few odds and ends needed. And Bonaparte picked that stuff up today.

Come on in.  The cyber kettle is whistling and I’ll fix you a cup of tea and proceed to tell you about my  chaotic Christmas preparations of today.

So yesterday I got up really early.  I had a busy day ahead of me. Manicure. Pedicure. Hair. Then it was home to start on the meringue mushrooms for the Buche de Noel.


Presently, my nails are the prettiest part of me.  Like the color?  It’s “Opi Red”

No sooner did I leave the hair salon when it started to rain.  For once, I wasn’t thinking about my hair.  I had a hat and umbrella so my tresses were protected.  My thoughts ran more about the fact that meringue and damp, rainy weather do not make a good pair.

Anyway, when I got home I made the meringue mushrooms.   In order to protect them from the elements, I put the stems and the tops in a plastic Ziploc bag and sucked the air out of them. I’m still hoping that they last until Christmas day when I decorate.  If they don’t survive, I’ve got almond paste as a backup. I’ll make marzipan mushrooms instead—but I like meringue better.


Meringue Mushrooms in oven

My little meringue mushroom caps and stems in the oven. I’m soooo pissed  upset that they will be ruined because of the f lousy weather!

Next I decided to bake the rest of the cookie dough I froze. Corn cookies and Chocolate Chocolate cookies.  Then I started to obsess.  Would biscotti, sugar cookies, corn cookies and chocolate, chocolate cookies be enough? Would the candied nuts I made be enough? Should I make another brioche?

I decided to make truffles. Chocolate truffles and caramel truffles.   Then I made a sauce for the frozen Nougatine that I had in the freezer.  I opened the freezer door and a heavy brick of frozen dough fell on my foot.  At that point I realized it was late so I went to bed.   I figured I would just get up extra-early today and do more preparation.



I went a bit truffle crazy. Caramel truffles. Chocolate Truffles. Topped with Sea salt, chopped Butterfinger bars, chopped pistachios, cocoa and my favorite…..

Truffles. Chocolate with milk crumb

Chocolate truffles covered with Momofuku Milk Crumb. Y.U.M.!

I woke up early and ambitiously reached for the remote control.  Well, I did wake up early. And while enjoying a cup of coffee in bed, I started watching a movie.  Then I realized I was being a lazy sloth.  So I got dressed—and by dressed, I mean I went into the laundry basket, pulled out the same pair of plaid Old Navy pajama bottoms I’ve been wearing for a week and  my  stained Sriracha tee shirt that Chippy has happily been licking for the past few days.  He’s licking all the baking ingredients that have fallen on it. It’s an economical way of doing laundry!

My first chore task was to bake the genoise cake for the Buche de Noel.  Then I looked out the window. At the pouring rain.  Mother Nature just shit  all over me.  The rain affects my baking.

Buche de Noel

Two genoise cakes rolled up to cool in towels.  One fell apart. Thankfully, I made a backup!

I went back to the counter. Chippy was quite the sight as he tried to get the buttered parchment paper out of the sheet pan.  It. Was. Going. To. Be. A. Long. Day.  Not one, but two cakes were baked. Oh yes!  I baked a backup. Just in case—and it was a good thing I did. One of the cakes fell apart because the moisture in the air was just too much. Luckily the other cake was fine.

Chippy on counter

The nerve of this child rascal!  He tried, but failed! Well on THIS he failed..

Next task. Macaroni and cheese—or shall I say “Cheese and Macaroni”.  I know.  Mac & Cheese isn’t exactly refined for a nice Christmas dinner, but this dish became a tradition a couple of years ago because it was a safe bet for Bonaparte’s granddaughter.  Um…it was suggested I made the crap from the box.  No. If I’m serving this at Christmas dinner, the only thing coming from a box is the pasta.

Cheese and Macaroni

Cheese and macaroni,  seasoned with lots of pepper, I’ll top with more cheese and panko before baking on Christmas day!

Time for a well-needed rest.  I sat in the sun room and cursed the rain while enjoying a cup of tea.  Then I realized Oona was flying from Arkansas to LaGuardia later in the day.  Now I was really in my gutter-mouth frame of mind.  Mutha Nature is a bitch on wheels.  I messaged Oona asking her to give me ALL of her flight information.  She sent me a photo of her boarding pass. THIS meant she did not wish to speak to me because I make her stressed out when I’m in my present frame of mind.  My daughter is one very smart young woman.

Procrastinating in the sunrooom

Some view.  I would much rather see snow than rain!

I wish I drank during the day. I could use a cocktail right now—but it’s only 11:00AM!

Craisins. The only healthy thing I've eaten in three days.

I settled for Craisins instead. It’s the healthiest thing I’ve eaten in a week!

More preparation to be done!  Potatoes are next.  Bonaparte wants his crispy potatoes in duck fat.   I know there are others at the table who will not want their potatoes in duck fat.  I decided to make Duchess Potatoes:  The Endless Meal. Duchess Potatoes.    I prepared the potatoes and put them in the pastry bag. On Christmas Day, I’ll just pipe and cook.  To me, this is a great way to do potatoes ahead. And, they will look very fancy!

Duchess potatoes in pastry bag

The Duchess potatoes are in this pastry bag. I wrapped cling over the tip so it wouldn’t leak!

Time for another break. Chippy needs to go outside and “make”!  Let me tell you, this little rascal will “make” a huge mountain from all the garbage he’s stolen today.  Macaroni, paper towels, a stick of butter—unwrapped no less.  As I write this, he had the nerve to try to eat the wrapping paper that Bonaparte left in the office.  Chippy has a “thing” about paper.

Chippy Twist

That look either means I want more crumbs or I need to go out to “make”.  NOW!

Time to get the buttercream out of the fridge to soften so I can apply the filling to the buche.

Chocolate Buttercream and Chocolate ganache for the buche de noel

Buttercream filling is behind the ganache that’ll be the top frosting for the Buche!

Time for a TV break. Oh. It’s Nigella Lawson. She’s making a dressing for smoked salmon. Hey. I have salmon in the fridge.  I also have the ingredients that Nigella is using. Back to the kitchen to make Nigella’s dressing for the smoked salmon that is in the fridge. I make the dressing then realize that I forgot about the pate I made the other day.

Now my brain is in high gear.  Bonaparte invited one of his tennis buddies and his “lady” friend over for an aperitif tomorrow evening—which is nice. The kids are having dinner with their dad in New York and will be arriving here later tomorrow night.  I can put out a nice spread of the pate, salmon and cheese. Oh…and the Alain Ducasse’s Gougeres I made in advance.

Gougeres cooling off

Gougeres.  Little puffs of chou pastry with cheese. They are the perfect appetizer. I baked, froze. And when I need them, I just reheat!

More prep.  Now for the Sprouts of Brussels.  Everyone except Bonaparte loves Brussels Sprouts.  I will be serving them with shallot, dried cranberries, and bacon.  Topped with a reduction of balsamic vinegar.  I cut the sprouts, blanched them, and put them in a bag.  Also in the bag are smaller bags of the shallots, craisins and chopped bacon.  Nice and easy.

Blanching the Sprouts of Brussels

I blanched these little cuties to bring out their color!

I cleaned the kitchen mess I made to the best of my ability.  Bonaparte recleaned the kitchen after dinner.

Time to get the gifts from downstairs and embellish them.  I decided to do this in the living room so I could get my lazy on and watch cooking shows.  Ina “Barefoot Contessa” Garten, my delusional BFF, is having some fabulous holiday offerings.  I love Ina so much. She is the Waspyish Jewish woman I don’t personally know.  I love her recipes, her home, her voice and all her gay men friends. She’s just so great at all things Christmas!


Do you think Ina ever lazes around the house in the same Old Navy PJ bottoms for days on end?  I wonder if she will ever invite ME over for Christmas dinner?

Ribbons, bows, strings, hot glue gun, scissors.  Burns from the glue. It’s all good!

I wrap for Bonaparte

Like my festive wrapping?  The things I do for Bonaparte!!!

Bonaparte calls me from upstairs.  He wants to know where a few gifts he got for Jake, Roman and Oona are.  I tell him I wrapped them.  He tells me in his thick French accent.  “Non. I deed not geev zem to ou”.  “Whut deed ou wop?”

Now I think I have dementia.  I run back downstairs to the closet where more “wopped geefs” are.  I grab the wrapped gifts and run two flights of stairs back to Bonaparte.  I do some explaining and Bonaparte realized that I “deed”, in fact “wop” the gifts.

Run back downstairs and finish the embellishments.

Bowed box

One of many embellished gifts!  I finished up the rest today!

Holy Mother of God (I’m not cursing—it’s Christmas time) it is now 6:30 PM.   I need to start dinner AND check on Oona’s flight status.  Flight is delayed more than an hour—but I don’t dare call her.  She will say I am stressing her out. ME????? Stress someone out????????

I get dinner ready.   I also realize that I need to iron clothing.

But you know what?  I’ll get up extra-early tomorrow to iron.  And to take the brioche that I baked last week out of the freezer.  And take the cinnamon buns I prepared out to rise.


This also freezes well.  I’m so happy I made this in advance–the weather would kill this if I made it today!

And I’ll actually take a nice and relaxing bath and shave my legs and put make up on and dress in something other than my Old Navy PJ bottoms and a tee shirt and I’ll look pretty and I’ll have a nice relaxing Christmas Eve.

Isn’t it funny—I mean, the way that we think we are all prepared and all “I’ve got everything under control” when we kind of aren’t.  But that’s the fun part.  We all vow (at least I do) that next year will be different, but it never is—and that’s what so great about Christmas Chaos.

I am thankful for my siracha shirt

Bonaparte is looking forward to me being dressed in something other than this. Tomorrow I will make his wish come true!

Christmas chaos can be fun—stressful but fun stress. So do whatever it is you have to do tomorrow as the countdown to Christmas continues—but have a GREAT TIME doing it!


Today’s Christmas song is an oldie but greatie.  Remember the group “Yes”?  Remember Jon Anderson, the one-time lead singer of Yes?  He had a Christmas Album “3 Ships” and it is incredibly hard to find. I had the vinyl and this song “The Holly and the Ivy” was my favorite. Enjoy!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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18 Responses to Come To My Chaotic Christmas Preparation

  1. calensariel says:

    OML! I need a cup of coffee now to go with all those sweets! I could never keep up with you! I love that version of “The Holly and the Ivy” AND the two scenes from “A Christmas Story.” That looks just like the house I grew up in in Ohio. Always loved that movie.

    • Catherine says:

      Oh God. I almost threw up from all the sugar I ate. Instead of sugar plums, I’ll be dreaming of carrots and spinach tonight! Isn’t that version GREAT???????? Jon Anderson has a lovely, lovely voice that matches those songs so well!

  2. Jackie says:

    Wow, Catherine! You go all out! Simply beautiful. I had thought I would try a Buche de Noel years ago after seeing one in acookbook, but I got over it! Lol! Have a blessed Christmas!

  3. Miss Bougie says:

    Fatiguée juste en lisant ton blog! Tired just by reading your blog! Oh dear, how do you do it all?? I need a cuppa right now to recover. 😉
    Joyeux Noël au Chateau Bonaparte.xx

  4. hipchick66 says:

    It’s 5:53 a.m., and I want to go back to bed after reading that because now I am exhausted! Lol. Best of holidays to you and yours, and hope you get some time to relax and enjoy them!

    • Catherine says:

      Good morning Lori. I hope you are going back to sleep if not just for a few moments! Happy Holidays to you and your family–I’m going to relax in a few. My favorite Shirley Temple movie “The Little Princess” is on at 9:30. I’m gathering up my ironing and tissues and will head downstairs to multi-task. Iron and watch Shirley Temple! X”OXOXOXO

      • hipchick66 says:

        Nope, no going back to sleep. Had to run to the food store early! Enjoy watching all of those shows. I was watching Bing and Frank last night 🙂

  5. Holy Moly GF….Stop! I need to take a breath!!! And then I want what your taking to keep moving like you do, cause GF you’ve worn me out!!! Merry Merry Christmas Catherine, to you and your family…Chippy too! ❤️💚🎄

  6. Leslie Preston says:

    Merry Christmas to the Energizer Bunny! Do you go on a vacation after the first just to unwind? All kidding aside, I admire your enthusiasm. Enjoy!

  7. Too much over the top excess. I love Ina too.

  8. BunKaryudo says:

    Chippy got pretty close there. He’s a crafty little rascal 🙂

  9. mariaholm says:

    You have really done a big job for Christmas. I am impressed 🎄

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