Holiday Recap + A Visit To Shake Shack

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year! The holidays were crazy for me this year and then I got sick and I’m still fighting off a bit of cold. But I’m still around! I just haven’t been going out to eat as much these days. I’ve been trying to eat more food that I make myself, and sometimes my food is boring and not worthy of sharing. It’s been in part to save money and to improve my diet and eating habits but I hope to do better with sharing recipes and posts this year.

Let’s recap the holidays, shall we?

Let’s start with cookies!


For my work’s Christmas Party, I made some cookies! I made these cute little gingerbread trees. I used a technique I saw in some online video somewhere to create a pretty marbled effect with the icing.It worked great for the first one or two batches and then… it didn’t work so great anymore. I guess it wasn’t meant to do large batches of cookies but at least I got a few pretty ones. 

My dessert trays featuring my gingerbread cookies, some Thumbprint Jam cookies I made (one row as raspberry, one has mango, and one has homemade guava jam). The brownies are store bought. They were leftover from another Funko potluck so I just reused them for this party!

Some of the food we had at our Christmas Party. I took the photo too early though cause there was more than this!

Honeybaked Ham. Mmmm.

And Honeybaked Turkey! The turkey was really good. That crust came off as one whole piece though, like a sugar hat.

The cute dessert table. We had a Nightmare Before Christmas theme going on leftover from Halloween. I figured it was good for both holidays. Less decorating costs.


We also had an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest! Here I am wearing my “lovely” handmade sweater. 

Here’s the sweater laid out.

And then lit up.

And yes, I won first place with my creation. Muhahaha!


Look who came to visit us for Christmas! It’s T! We took him to one of his favorite pizza places – Rosaria’s Pizza in Mission Beach.

The boys can never get enough pizza. I think I had most of one slice, two chicken wings, and a few breadsticks. Luckily the boys are around to finish that food. I can’t eat as much food these days thanks to my new diet and new drugs! 

We also took T to Lolita’s. 

He’s really been missing good Mexican food since he’s been stationed on the East Coast. We gladly helped him fulfil the Mexican food craving by getting him a 2-in-1 Burrito. Have you tried those burritos? I think the idea of rolled tacos inside of a burrito is neat, but I don’t like it because the rolled tacos get soggy inside. Ugh.


It was Christmas Eve, just before 11AM, and Jake and I needed some lunch. We were in Mission Valley so… I figured we would try and go to Shake Shack. The location has only been open a few days so I hoped for the best.

We parked right in front and magically…. this was the line. AKA – NO LINE! I was worried there would be a mass of people or something but it worked out for us in the end. Maybe it was because it was Christmas Eve. Maybe it was because people were still doing Christmas things. Maybe people didn’t know this location had opened yet. But whatever the case, I was quite happy to not stand in line to try this food again.

We both got ShackBurgers [$5.69]. When you order a burger, you have to tell them what you want on it since it comes plain. I really really really love their potato buns. And I like that their sauce doesn’t have stupid relish or pickles in it. The crinkle cut fries [$2.99] are also a favorite of mine, though on this day the fries tasted a little underdone. Also I was ridiculous and ordered two fries and I could not even finish my fry. Jake’s been batting clean up for me a lot lately. Next time I’ll order just one fry for us to share.

I also ordered a local menu item – the Pie Oh My [$4.89]. It’s a vanilla concrete with a slice of seasonal pie from Betty’s Pie Whole in Encinitas. It was a slice of smooshed pumpkin pie and it was FABULOUSLY DELICIOUS. The pie was so flavorful and tasted wonderful mixed with the super creamy vanilla concrete. I would order this again in a heartbeat. 


After Shake Shack, we went to my house so I could make my annual Christmas cheesecake and a pan of my homemade macaroni and cheese, as requested by T. My dad smoked up a platter of ribs and made his own delicious BBQ sauce to go on top. 

Jake’s mom made some other side dishes – mashed potatoes and stuffing – to go along with our meal.

It was all so delicious!

It was great having T with us for a special Christmas Eve meal.


This year we stayed at Jake’s for Christmas since T was leaving us to go back to New York that evening. We went down to Mission Beach for a lovely Christmas Day walk.

We found this lineup of sand dollars in front of someone’s house. How pretty!

It was such a beautiful day. No White Christmas for us again, but I think we are all okay with that.

Christmas dinner involved refried beans, tamale pie, rolled tacos, and tamales. Yum yum!

Plus my cheesecake, of course. 

T went to a local shop and got this cool shirt made for his dad for Christmas. How sweet!


Jake and I are not partiers or anything. We’re also both getting over colds and coughing up tiny storms so we just chilled at home on New Year’s Eve.

I made up some deviled eggs as an appetizer.

Followed by a dinner of rib eye steaks.

Twice baked potatoes and some carrots + parsnips on the side.

I tried to make it look restaurant-ish like. How’d I do?

For dessert we had meyer lemon pound cake with lemon curd topped with raspberries + blackberries and fresh whipped cream. 

I cheated and used a box mix for the lemon pound cake and bough the lemon curd from Trader Joe’s. But I made the whipped cream myself! It was a refreshing and lovely little dessert to end the evening.

Yup, we hung out with doggies for New Year’s eve.

This is as festive as I got.

We still did our annual Year-In-Review sheets and did a video call with T who vocally told us his answers (apparently it did not occur to him to type and email the answers to me so I could save them. sigh). 

I hope you all had a lovely holiday break! I’m not ready to go back to work tomorrow! Ahhhhh! 

6 thoughts on “Holiday Recap + A Visit To Shake Shack

  1. Happy New Year to you, Jake and your families! Great recap of the holidays. Loved seeing the photos of the food (ribs, ribeye steaks, Shake Shack, plus the desserts – your doctored lemon cake looked lovely). That’s great that there wasn’t a line at the Shake Shack. I need to try that place before I get back to work next week. We tried it in NYC years ago and in Glendale last year. This location is closer than UTC at least but in a busy area though. Looking forward to another year of awesome posts from you my friend! Whether it’s your travels, recipes, or restaurant visits, it’s all good.

    1. Thank you, CC! It was too much to do separate posts so I figured one big post would suffice. Thanks for reading as always and thanks for your friendship!

  2. HNY, Mary! Everyone is always getting sick this time of year. I remember being sick with the worst flu ever last year. I feel like I am due for a cold or flu, but haven’t gotten it yet. Others around me have been sick so I feel like it’s only a matter of time. But fingers crossed. Hope you’re back to feeling well soon. Never tried shake shack before. I don’t love burgers that much but I get seldom cravings and gotta have some once every few months, or less.

    1. Thank you and happy new year, Miss Kim! I think I had the flu last year, too, (I can’t remember now) but I know a lot of people have been sick. Thankfully my cold never got too horrible and it’s almost completely gone now – yay! Shake Shack is pretty yummy – not sure if waiting in a long line would be worth it, but I do enjoy it!

  3. I like the marbling icing on the Christmas tree cookies! I passed by Shake Shack a few times during the week or two before Christmas and there wasn’t a line either. I’m so glad! Also I didn’t realize the rolled tacos get soggy in the burrito–boo. It’s always looked so good to me but I’ve never had it and now I don’t want to because soggy tacos is definitely a no. Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks Kirbie! I’ve been meaning to go to the Shake Shack in UTC but I’m afraid of parking/lines there. Yeah… the rolled tacos get too soggy too fast for my liking so I don’t see the point. Maybe if you eat it right away the texture stays in tact but after awhile they will get soggy. It’s a fun idea at least! Happy new year!

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