Just the Two of Us


Get the recipe for Gluten-free Gingerbread House HERE

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I think I’m still running on a sugar high from all of the candies I treated myself to over the last two days. But I know it’s not the sugar talking when I say that Kevin and I had a fabulous Christmas together.

We decided to celebrate a German Christmas by opening our gifts on the 24th instead of 25th, my favorite of the German traditions. Who wants to wait until Christmas morning to open presents? Not I!

I chose to open the largest present first because uh, who wouldn’t? Then proceeded to cry a bit at the sight of the unwrapped box that lay before me.

*insert singing Christmas angels here*

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Santa had me FOOLED!

And he really blew our Christmas budget of $200.

But how can you be mad at a Santa for blowing the budget when he gets you the kitchen appliance you’ve dreamed of using since you were a little girl?

You don’t get mad, you make cookies.

At 10pm on Christmas eve.


And after the cookies are in the oven and all prep-work for your gluten-free gingerbread house is complete, you make muffins.

Then you go back to opening up the rest of your presents.

And pass out around 2am.


Needless to say, it was a slow start on Christmas morning.

I made us a batch of gingerbread protein pancakes and we headed out to Mount Royal for a walk around the park.


Wait, did I mention that it was a 5 minute walk around the park?

Ya, it was freezing on Christmas Day. I felt like my insides were going to crystallize at any moment and Pebbles didn’t look all that pleased at the weather conditions either.


So we all jumped back in the car and headed home to construct our gingerbread house!

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I’ve made a bunch of royal icing in my day, but never with a handy dandy stand mixer. Wow, did it ever make a difference. I formed peaks in my egg whites like peaks I’ve never seen before! Mwahahaha.


Our original plan for the house was to make it 100% out of gingerbread bricks, but we realized a bit too late in the day that we didn’t have enough dough and; with all the stores being closed, couldn’t run out to grab more ingredients. So, we made a pretty brick wall at the front and constructed the house of out sheets of gingerbread.

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The house took us about 3 hours to put together. By the time we cleaned up the mess of icing and candies everywhere, it was time to start on dinner.

On the menu was a 13 pound turkey (stuffed with wedges of onion, apple and fresh thyme to keep moist), cranberry flax stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, steamed broccoli and homemade gravy.

We got the bird in the oven at 3pm, cuddled up on the couch to watch White Christmas, and were enjoying the fruits of our turkey-stuffin’ labor by 7pm.


Our Christmas was quiet, relaxing and intimate – a huge step away from serving dinner to 30+ family members, Christmas tunes blaring and dirty dishes coming out of our ears. While we’ve missed our family like crazy over these last couple of days, it was nice to spend some time; just the two of us, being thankful for each other, reflecting on the changes we’ve experienced this year, and creating new traditions and memories that will be with us forever and always.

I’d love to know, how have you celebrated the holidays?

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  1. I just giggle and smile reading your posts! My hubby and I had our first Christmas alone (after 16 years) and it was wonderful! I think this will be a new tradition! I did miss my family a little bit, but the no stress, no mess, no “have to’s” was something I will remember. Love your story about the mixer! You are so talented and I am so glad to have found your site! Warm wishes in 2013!!

    • Yes, there is something very magical about keep Christmas quiet, isn’t there? I felt so relaxed (and full from all the cookies lol). I’m happy that you found me too! Happy New Year!

    • Thanks Sylvie! We do have a bunch of fun together, that’s for sure :) Happy New Year!

  2. Merry Christmas!!! Wow, I’m so impressed with your gingerbread house!.. You are so good at baking!!!
    The way you describe your Christmas it’s impressive.. You have the gift of writing and cooking…!
    Loved to see the picture where you are taking a picture of the mixer!…You look soooo happy! Great gift! I’m sure you are going to make good use of it and hubby is going to enjoy it too!!!
    My wishes of a great year 2013 and the best to you and hubby!!!

    • Thanks Rosanna! Funny enough, I caught Kevin using the mixer yesterday to re-whip his potatoes. This is absolutely unheard of. I can’t even get him to make a meal for himself on the stove! Maybe I’ll get him to make me a batch of cookies? Happy New Year!

  3. Happy Christmas, Leanne! Although my husband and I have spent the past few Christmases alone at our home in Tahoe (with furry friends) far from our families in New England, this year we were going home (to New England) because a new niece was on the way. Fate had other plans in mind, however, and our plane never arrived due to mechanical problems and we spent Christmas with our house/dog/cat sitters (dear friends) and 5 feet of fresh snow. The skiing has been phenomenal, we’ve had lots of laughs and adventures with friends and we’ll see our families in the spring, when my next school break is. Everything happens for a reason! Congratulations on your mixer. My mom in law gave us one several years ago because of her firmly held belief that you can’t be a real baker/cook without one despite the fact that we (husband and I) had cooked breakfasts and dinners from scratch for 60 in backcountry lodges! They (mixers) are so fun and really do help eggs peak and coconut cream whip and cookie batter mix. Happy happy holidays to you!

    • Wow Sara, so good of you to see the beauty in an unplanned Christmas. What a fun adventure! 5 feet of snow, I bet the skiing was absolutely ridiculously awesome! We received over 2 feet in places here in Montreal and I’m chomping at the bit to hit the hills!

  4. I love that you had a quiet Christmas with just the two of you. Our family celebrations get smaller and smaller each year since all of we children are growing up and starting our own lives, and I actually prefer an intimate family gathering with just my parents, grandmother, sister, and I.

    On another note, I am already signed up for your email updates– am I still eligible for the e-cookbook?

    • That is what my family in Calgary is experiencing as well. It was a tough year for my parents, their girls are going out into the world to create their own lives which means smaller Christmas celebrations and more time for my parents to be on their own. Major transition for them, I’m sure!

      Yes you can download it for sure. There is a link to it in each of the email updates now, on the right hand side. Click the link in the email update and you’ll be directed right to the cookbook. There are a bunch of recipes in there that aren’t on the blog, too!