Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A perfect Christmas Eve...featuring about 12 hours of Lord of the Rings!

Because the only family Steve and I have here in South Carolina is mine, and we were spending Christmas Day with them, we had Christmas Eve to ourselves :) Therefore, a couple of weeks before the holiday we decided "What better way to spend Christmas Eve than hanging out at home and doing a movie marathon?!"

After some discussion, we figured that it had been nearly three years since our last Lord of the Rings marathon...which of course meant that the time was ripe :) Usually when we have movie marathons we just eat junk food and drink beer, but this time I wanted to do something a little different. So, being the cook that I am, I planned a menu. Thanks to the internet I found some LOTR themed recipes, and we made up a schedule.

First, the usual get out of bed and shower and dress...comfy clothes, of course, but I also donned my Evenstar necklace ;)

Sadly, I used to also have Galadriel's ring...but at some point it was lost. Probably during one of my moves, but it's possible the ring was stolen as well :-/ I suppose I'll never know.

Then, it was time for elevenses - Hobbit's Porridge - and Fellowship of the Ring!

Hobbit's Porridge didn't really require a recipe. We used real Quaker Oats cooked per the can's directions (*not* the instant kind) and chose our toppings from the cabinets. Maple Bourbon pecans, dried cranberries, brown sugar and some extra half and half for Steve (on the left) and brown sugar, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and milk chocolate chips for me (on the right)!

As a note, we don't skimp on our movie marathons - I have the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, whose running times are all nearly 4 hours. Once Fellowship was over we had a hearty snack...

Ten Cup Ranger Cookies
(for Rangers in the field with only one measuring cup, of course!)

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup oats (Quaker oats)
1 cup coconut
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup raisins or craisins**
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup self-rising flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

-Preheat oven to 350. 
-Cream together butter and sugars, add peanut butter and eggs, beat until well combined. Add oatmeal, coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, and nuts, stirring after each. Stir in flour. 
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; drop cookie dough onto it using a large spoon and bake for 15-17 minutes.

As a note, I don't really care for most nuts and I really don't like fruit in cookies. Therefore, as the original recipe said that you could mix and match the chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, oats, and coconut - so long as the total was 5 cups - I actually used 1 cup coconut, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup milk chocolate chips, and 2 cups oats.)

Partway through our viewing of The Two Towers, we decided that it was finally *that* time.

"It comes in PINTS?!" - Pippin

Of course, ale and cookies couldn't sustain us all day, so we did end up pausing the second movie about two-thirds of the way through to feast on Balin's Spiced Beef with Roasted Taters & Onions!

Balin's Spiced Beef
4-5 lb bottom round roast or similar cut of beef
Dry red wine
Apple juice (I used Simply Apple)
One or two sliced white onions
1/2 a bay leaf
1 tsp. each of cinnamon and allspice
1/2 t. cloves
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. pepper

-Place the beef in a large covered glass roasting dish. Coat with the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper and surround with the sliced onions. Fill the dish with half red wine and half apple juice and add the bay leaf.
-Cover and let marinate in the fridge 12 hrs. or more. When you're ready to cook it, preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place the covered dish in the oven and simmer for 3-4 hours (my roast was actually 3.83 pounds and 3 hours was the perfect amount of time).

Roasted Taters-n-Onions

 6 – 8 Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
2 white onions, cut into chunks
⅓ cup olive oil
¼ cup butter, melted
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt

-Preheat oven to 450. 
-Combine all ingredients in large roasting pan. Toss well. Bake until potatoes are crisp and golden brown, stirring occasionally, for about 60 minutes.

To be honest I was a bit concerned about the beef - many of those spices seemed kind of strange to be mixing with beef (not to mention the apple juice...) But in the end all of these recipes were delicious! I won't hesitate to make any of them again...LOTR marathon or not ;)

Sadly, between dinner and walking the dogs and some friends stopping over to hang out for a bit, we didn't really get into Return of the King until well after 9 PM. In the end we didn't finish our marathon until nearly 2 AM! Many pints of ale were consumed and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I have to say, if you've never seen the extended editions of these movies you're definitely missing out. And with that, I'll leave you with one of my favorite added scenes...this one from the extended edition of Return of the King. Every time I see it I get totally psyched by Aragorn's badassery.

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1 comment:

  1. I love that you planned the themed menu. It makes me want to plan more theme dinners!