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Christmas Meets Whole Foods Fail Meets Delicious Dinner

There is something so magical about the holidays that just fills me up inside. Maybe it is the cool brisk breeze, oversized scarves, fluffy socks, Bing Crosby’s Christmas Pandora station, all of the beautiful lights, or maybe it is just the excuse to be cozied up on the couch with your loved one and furchild watching Home Alone while rocking your winter coat attributing it to “Oh, it’s the holidays, I can eat these cookies and milk.” But truly, I believe that the sweetest and most comforting part of the holiday season is family. There is nothing like spending time with the fambam over Mom’s prime rib roast, watching the kiddos rip open their gifts, and a good bourbon… Nothing screams Armstrong Christmas more than bourbon. I love and would do anything for those psychos.

However, during this season of giving, my spirit tends to dwindle knowing that I cannot give everyone what I wish I could. The month of December is especially a financial disaster for someone like me who celebrates an anniversary, boyfriend’s birthday, and Christmas all in the matter of a few weeks. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, they said. “You don’t have to buy me gifts”, they said. But I am no cheap skate like Kevin McCallister with tipping the Little Nero’s Pizza guy. I wanted to do a little something for everyone. I decided my budget could only fulfill spoiling my nephews this year. As for the adults, they have to deal with my pinterest fails… Just kidding. Luckily, my momma passed down the crafty gene to me. For my brothers, they are getting a 6-pack of their favorite beer that I am decorating as Santa’s Reindeer. By the way, did anyone else besides me not know that reindeer are REAL animals? During last night’s new episode of Fixer Upper, Chip brought reindeer to Jo and their kiddos and I burst in to tears when my boyfriend told me those were real. I always thought in movies they strapped antlers on to Bambi’s head and named it Rudolph. My whole life had been a lie. This just confirmed my lifelong Christmas wish that ol St. Nick must, too, be real. As, for my Mom and sisters I made bracelets and sugar scrubs which required me to brave a trip to Whole Foods yesterday.

I should have known the trip would have resulted as it did. I am not to be trusted within a five-mile radius of those wonderful dang forsaken stores.  On my way I found my old mint green iPod nano in the center consul and pressed play on a playlist which should have been titled “Proceed With Caution” or “Don’t You Even Do It, Sister”. There I was, sobbing to Alanis Morissette’s “That I Would Be Good” in the Whole Foods parking lot. I wiped away my tears, spent my life savings inside, and whipped out of the parking lot like the G that I am to Tupac’s “Do For Love” and pretended my #whitegirlproblems never happened. Up my stairs, with my bags was the walk of shame.. I came home to Thomas with bags of cookies, lotions, short ribs, a $35 bottle of wine (I don’t care what you rich people say, I have no business purchasing wine over ten bucks), some heinous  anxiety relief potion that tastes like perfumed soap, and I don’t even know what the heck else. His blank stares when I told him “the Whole Foods Gods captured me, held me hostage, and wouldn’t let me out unless I bought all of the cookies” told me he was not amused. Although, he was enticed by the short ribs because that meant dinner was going to be Below is my favorite mouth-watering short ribs recipe along with pictures (and by recipe I meant like when your grandma says recipe.. a pinch of this, a smidgen of that; there are no true measurements ever when I cook unless I am baking). Stay tuned for my next blog following Christmas for pictures of my DIY gifting endeavors.

As for now, if I could give you any last moment Christmas advice it would be- Do not let your last-minute Christmas shopping blues turn you in to the Grinch, do not utter the words Clinton or Trump at dinner, call those who you are not on good terms with and tell them you are sorry even if it is not your fault– be the bigger person (my dad is in for this awakening this year)–  hug your loved ones a little extra tighter and longer this year, pray harder, and lastly, but most importantly remember why we celebrate this day by thanking Our Lord and Savior for exceeding your expectations of His countless blessings. Have a magical week. Merry Christmas!

Here I have two bone in short ribs. I choose the thicker cut over the thin Korean Style short ribs because those are better for bbqing, while these are better for braising. You can also choose to get boneless. This is just what Whole Foods had. I season them liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon pepper, and ginger powder. Here you’ll see lemon zest over lemon powder because I was out of lemon pepper. Just gotta go with the flow! Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


I sear the ribs before braising them so that they better absorb the yummy spices we just covered them in. You can absolutely forego that extra step, but I am all about the flavor and little steps like that can make a good meal a great meal. You can also choose to sear them directly in the dutch oven stove top before you put them in the oven to cook. That is usually what I do however, I wanted an excuse to use my fancy grill pan.


Any basic braise, stock, or soup will require white onions, carrots, and celery. I ran out of celery, so I didn’t put it in and it turned out just as delicious. I just use whatever I can and had I had fennel, I could have absolutely replaced that with celery, also. Instead I just added extra herbs. I usually just pick some thyme and  bay leaf from my miniature herb garden, but I also added some rosemary too because it looked gorgeous! I drizzle some olive oil over the top.
Then I cover the top with beef stock, red wine, and water.
This time I only had beef broth, so I used that instead of stock and didn’t add any water.
After 5 hours of braising the short ribs at 350 degrees F, dinner was ready to serve. It does not take 5 hours to cook meat, but the lower and slower you do, obviously the more tasty it will be.
I did not make any greens to go along with my meal because let’s be real the fridge is empty (cookies are stocked up though… priorities, people!) so I just sautéed some extra balsamic glazed carrots, and oven roasted some potatoes with salt, pepper, rosemary, 21 seasoning, and olive oil. This meal is the hitter right here! So delicious, so tender, meat falls off the bone, and every bite is mouth-watering. Bon Apetit!



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