MoranFest 2016 – Chapter 1 – Christmas

MoranFest 2016 – Chapter 1 – Christmas

One of the things I loved about Hubs, before I even loved him, was his family. The Morans (notice the proper LACK of apostrophe) are a close, fun-loving, do-stuff-together kind of group. Not just for holidays, but for random get-togethers just because. One thing we can always count on is lots of family togetherness during winter break. I call it MoranFest. This year, we’re a little light on activities because our matriarch has flown the coop to Hawaii with the Connecticut contingency of the family. But, we’re certainly not lacking in good times and adventures.

We started with Christmas Eve. Normally, we do this at my MIL’s house, but this year, we’re hosting. Yes, I realize the irony of a Jew hosting a dinner in honor of the birth of Christ. Fortuitously, it also happened to be the first night of Hanukkah, giving us Christmukkah. So, of course we included latkes in the appetizer lineup. We also had Brie Bites (or Puffs), which my BFF (Sia) makes instead of the whole Brie topped with apricot preserves and wrapped in puff pastry. Now, the baking time and temp has been up for debate. Sia bakes them at 400 and just watches them and pulls them out when they look done. I pulled out one batch after 20 minutes, and though the pastry was perfect, the cheese was a bit too melted. Next batch was pulled out at 17 minutes, and the cheese was perfect, but the pastry was too doughy. Next couple of rounds, I baked at 425 for 17 minutes and 450 for 13 minutes, and they came out not too different from the last batch. So, I’m going to recommend 400 for 20, and leave it alone – unless anyone else has other ideas.


  • Brie
  • Apricot Preserves (raspberry is good too)
  • Puff pastry sheets


  1. Thaw puff pastry sheet, unfold, and cut into 12 squares.
  2. Inside each square, place a dollop of preserves and a piece of Brie (Fig 1).
  3. Close up the square like a little purse (Fig 2).
  4. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
  6. Serve (Fig 3).
You may be seeing this sideways. I can’t, for the life of me figure out why. It’s right-side up on my side of the internet.

My SIL,Robbie, brought me these awesome cocktail napkins:

SIL Megan, our resident mixologist, made a delicious drink recipe she’d gotten from a friend:


When I say it went down too easily, I mean it led to this:

Hubs and his brother dressed in fur coats worn by my niece, K. and SIL, H. (names withheld to protect the furries).

After cocktails, apps and fashion show, we lit the menorah and then sat down to dinner.

Our Pinterest-y place cards. Thanks to our neighbor, Shari, for the cute ribbon for the wreaths. Note the plate – my great-grandmother’s Lenox. Coincidentally, the style is the same name as our subdivision. How bizarre.

Hubs made an amazing horseradish-mustard covered tenderloin on the grill rotisserie (if you follow me on Instagram, you saw photos of him measuring his meat the night before).

After dinner, we opened presents, and did something totally new for us. We went caroling! We only hit three of our close neighbors’ houses, and that was plenty. I mean, we didn’t want anyone calling the cops for us disturbing the peace. I had hoped to show you video of this adventure. Unfortunately, it was only captured (by my neighbors) in Snapchat, and it’s no longer available. I know you’re so disappointed that you don’t get to behold the wonder that is the Moran Family Singers. My heart aches for you.

On Christmas Day, we took a break from MoranFest to have a traditional Christmukkah Honey Baked ham dinner with my family and some friends.The ham, was of course accompanied by latkes, Szechuan green beans, my mother’s famous cheesecake, and more. Again, gifts were exchanged. I was super-psyched at my gift from my brother, Brian (he’s a personal trainer) – I’d only been hinting for a yelar or so that I wanted a foam roller. He got me a great one. As a bonus, The Girl found another use for it:

Stay tuned for MoranFest Chapter 2.


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