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A Christmas in July Celebration

This week, my family has gone a little overboard in celebrating Christmas in July, though I must admit, it has been quite fun. We got out the Christmas lights to string all through the house. Mom found some holiday printouts to tack on the kitchen message board. I re-decorated our small Christmas tree. Confession: we keep the tree out year-round.

We tend to celebrate most occasions (birthdays, Thanksgiving, Easter, PBS Masterpiece season premieres... yes, Poldark is an occasion!) with dinner and a show. For Christmas in July, we made a lovely dinner of heartwarming foods and followed it up with the classic movie, The Bishop's Wife.

So, here are the details of our festivities. Hope they will bring you some inspiration for the upcoming holiday season!

The Table

For the tablescape, I decided on a wintry theme to distract from the hot, muggy temperature outside. At least inside the house we can pretend it actually is Christmas! In this slideshow, I've included daytime and evening pictures, so you can see the candles all aglow. Nearly every tablescape I put together includes candles, as they make it look so very special.

The Menu

First Course

Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Main Course

Baked Potato with Chevron of Sliced Ham

and Pepper Jack Cheese


Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding

with White Chocolate Ganache

Regarding the recipes for these wonderful wintry foods... the Ginger Butternut Squash Soup is from Epicurious. It's by far the best squash soup I've ever had. So creamy and slightly sweet because of the ginger and cinnamon.

The baked potatoes don't really need a recipe, as it's more of a decorating technique. Bake potatoes as you normally would. Halve them lengthwise and scrape out a little bit of the potato to allow space for the toppings. Arrange sliced ham and small pieces of cheese to create a chevron pattern, or you could get artistic here and create whatever design you please. Have fun!

Lastly, I modified a Microwave Bread Pudding recipe from Genius Kitchen to include orange, cranberry, cinnamon and clove. (Reminiscent of orange pomanders.) The dessert was served in a pool of White Chocolate Ganache. I used this Cake Boss recipe and added a spoon of brandy at the end, rather than an extract. For my first attempt at making ganache, I was very pleased with the result - perfect consistency and it had a lovely shine, as Mary Berry would say. Next time, however, I believe I may use a dark chocolate sauce with this bread pudding, as the white chocolate was a tad cloying.

The Movie

This was the first time I had seen The Bishop's Wife, and it has instantly become a favorite. After years of watching the same holiday movies over and over (i.e. The Christmas Story, White Christmas), I think this one will add some variety to the list. Grant, Young, and Niven give a terrific performance that is both comical and heartwarming.

We watched the black and white version, which is available on This website is a great resource for old movies, by the way. Be sure to check it out!

'Til next time,



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