Contributor

Virginie

Belgian food lover and Mom of 3 living in sunny California and enjoying everything about it.

<br /> "I live in Los Angeles, California and moved here a few years ago from Brussels, Belgium. I get inspired by my beautiful family and try to cook the best possible dishes for my husband and 3 kids.<br /> I have decided to write this Christmas cookbook with my all time favorite holiday recipes because I wanted to share my heritage with the people I love, my friends and family. <br /> I feel that I am contributing in a tiny way to their holidays and maybe helping them building special moments on their own. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love everything about it: the traditions, the spirit, the carols, the joy. The Holidays are about family getting together sharing a magical moment; It just makes me happy. For me Christmas means snow, cold weather, hats and scarves, snowball fights and snowman building. Hot cocoa with whipped cream; cold feet and hands that we would warm up by the fireplace while roasting chestnuts.<br /> More importantly, Christmas is all about traditions. These have always been an important part of my life. I truly believe that they have shaped who I’ve become as a person, a wife and a mom. I feel that it is my role as a mother to pass them along to my kids, especially since we moved on the other side of the world in Los Angeles. I want them to embrace our new culture but I want them to remember where they come from and our family traditions are part of who they are today. I make a point on having our traditions every year, such as buying our christmas tree together and decorating it as a family while listening to Christmas carols. I love to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner and prep the table for Christmas. My kids’ favorite tradition is, coming December 1st, we start watching all kind of Christmas movies. They also enjoy making eggnog and drinking it by the fireplace, sharing stories about my husband’s childhood and mine, it creates memories!<br /> All the recipes presented in the cookbook are delicious, sophisticated and yet easy to prepare. Every dish reminds me of my childhood. Some might seem hearty but I have done my best to adapt them to healthy California cuisine without compromising them too much.<br /> Here are two recipes just to give you a glimpse of my journey. I selected these 2 to share with you because they represent specific memories of my childhood. The chestnut trees are very common trees in Belgium, we had a couple in our garden growing up. We had so many chestnuts that we had to use our imagination to find ways of cooking them. This featured recipe of the chestnut soup is one of them, it is so delicious and comforting and yet so easy to prepare. The second featured recipe, the carrot soufflé, tastes just like dessert to me and pairs perfectly well with turkey and gravy amongst other things. My parents have an amazing vegetable garden at their home in Belgium. When it rains 330 days per year, you can grow a lot of things! Carrots have always been one of my favorite veggie, it goes well with everything. Since I have moved here, I have been going to the farmers markets every week and there are always stacks of gorgeous carrots everywhere. I prepare carrots a lot of different ways, in purees, in juices, ‘ Vichy’ carrots and finally as a soufflé. I find it a sophisticated and refined dish and quite easy to prepare. <br /> I have tried to come up with a list of dishes for the cookbook that should make everyone in your family happy. I know it will be the case at my house. All the recipes are a European heritage with a local California twist. You can be assured that they will make all you guests happy without keeping you too long at the stove. I am not a professional, just an hedonist mom who loves to eat and cook and is happy to share it."

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