Sweet AB Sandwich

in All Posts

We spent the evening dashing around like maniacs trying to get ready for Christmas.  I have this thing about cleaning the house prior to leaving so you return from a holiday feeling organized and relaxed. 


All the presents are wrapped and ready to be packed in the car!


In addition to finishing a chapter (wahoo!), I ran 4.0 miles.  It was actually a pretty bad run.  My troublesome IT band flared up again for the first time in weeks.  I injured it during the Spinx Marathon and have been nursing it ever since.


It was fine until Mile 3.0; I had to walk most of the rest of the way home.  And it was cold outside!  Stupid IT band.  I hope it’s just a fluke!


Post-run snack of pumpkin seeds:


And then I snacked on some toast while I surveyed the disaster that was my house (it’s much better now!).

IMG_7352 IMG_7353

In my defense, that all came out of the trunk of our car.  🙂


Dinner was a little mish-mash in an attempt to eat up the fridge. 


Leftover salad:


More roasted parsnips and potatoes:


And I had started with just a plain almond butter (AB) sandwich, but then I decided to top it with white chocolate chips and OMG – so much better.  They melted into the AB and it became a big, white chocolate AB mess.


It was like a Christmas miracle on my dinner plate.  Mmm!


Christmas-related question:  When you were a kid, what were the rules for opening presents?  I got to open one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning.  The Husband couldn’t open any until Christmas Day and then it was staggered by his parents to make the gift-opening last as long as possible.


Pssst – Don’t forget to enter the Operation Beautiful contest – you could win some pretty fun prizes!



  • Melanie December 23, 2010, 9:40 pm

    We got to open presents from “German Santa’ and presents from Germany on Christmas Eve (my mom’s from Germany). Then the rest were all on Christmas morning. 🙂

  • eatmovelove December 23, 2010, 9:40 pm

    Do you warm your AB in the microwave for the chips to melt? Oh God – I’m too full on food right now to be talking about food…

    So to answer your question, we were always allowed to open something small on Christmas Eve and the next day we went one by one around the family so everyone had a turn and we could see what everyone got. It got really tense and angry at times 😉 But that was the past – only but a dream now.

    Enjoy your Xmas -wherever you are going?! I missed that I gues…

    • Caitlin December 23, 2010, 9:46 pm

      well the toast made the AB hot, which melted the chips!

      we’re going to florida to see my in laws.

      • Jen December 23, 2010, 10:15 pm

        Oh God – DUH! I hardly ever toast my bread so of course didn’t think the blatant obvious 😉

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing December 23, 2010, 9:42 pm

    OMG that toast sounds amazing!!
    And we had the same tradition.. I opened one present on Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning.

  • Michelle (The Runner's Plate) December 23, 2010, 9:46 pm

    I *always* have to clean the house before we go on vacation. I hate coming back to a mess!!

    I’ve been snacking on my white chocolate chips with pretzels!!

  • Laura (Starloz) December 23, 2010, 9:47 pm

    i love melting things in the microwave!

  • VeggieGirl December 23, 2010, 9:54 pm

    Beautiful tree!!

    Rules for opening presents = wait until at least 7:00am before waking up the household 😉

  • Megan @ Sweet On December 23, 2010, 9:55 pm

    I also got/get one present Christmas Eve and the rest in the morning. Present opening goes FAST too!

    When I lived in Germany I celebrated with my friend’s family. There, Christmas Eve is the big holiday and that’s when they do presents. This family did a dice-rolling game to decide who got to open a present next. Six people doing one present at a time! It took eons!

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) December 23, 2010, 9:57 pm

    Rules for Christmas morning: everyone had to be awake before any presents could be opened. My sister and I would sit at the top of the stairs until my parents were up and had coffee, then we’d race downstairs.

  • Annette December 23, 2010, 9:59 pm

    We open Christmas presents one by one, youngest to oldest. I have 9 siblings, so this takes HOURS! and we LOVE it 🙂

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 23, 2010, 9:59 pm

    Rules for Christmas Eve were one present only – and my sister and I always had to wait until after church to open it. Then, on Christmas morning, both parents had to be up and that was not allowed to happen before 8am. It drove my sister and I crazy!! But in our teenage years, it was definitely THEM waiting for US to get up! 🙂

  • Heather December 23, 2010, 10:11 pm

    I could open one on Christmas Eve too, and then the rest Christmas morning. No rules on what time though, my parents knew I liked to sleep in as much as they did!

  • Rebecca December 23, 2010, 10:13 pm

    My sister and I sleep in the living room, near the tree, on Christmas Eve. I think we’re going to continue it this year. It started as us sleeping in my room, and then we would build a fort out of card tables and sleep under it, and then it transitioned into just sleeping bags. But it’s always fun. 🙂
    We open presents on Christmas morning. Everybody has to be awake, which is usually by about 7 or 8, somehow. In the last few years, we’ve started making Mom and Dad open theirs first, and then my sister and I open ours. This year we have an extra family member, of course, so it might take a little longer. Which doesn’t bother me any. 🙂
    I remember one time, when I was maybe 9 or so, our grandparents sent us a gift that we got to open Christmas Eve—pajamas that we were instructed to wear Christmas Eve. It was neat. 🙂

    • Baking 'n' Books December 23, 2010, 10:14 pm

      That’s so neat!

      But wait – won’t Santa see you? 🙂

      • Rebecca December 23, 2010, 10:38 pm

        I suppose, but that was our point—from my bedroom, we could see down the hall. Although our gifts are already under the tree—Santa just puts stuff in our stockings. 🙂 We used to open the stockings first, but now we do them last.

        Our family Christmas party (with my mom’s side) is usually before Christmas, but this year we’re doing in on the 26th so that all of us can be there. Normally at least one family is missing because of in-laws and stuff, so this year it’ll be extra-special! 🙂

        • Baking 'n' Books December 23, 2010, 10:49 pm

          Sounds amazing! Have a wonderful Christmas 🙂

  • Lauren December 23, 2010, 10:16 pm

    That sandwich looks melty & yummy! We waited until Christmas morning. We could open our stockings, but we had to wait until my parents were up & had coffee for presents. Then, we would each take turns opening a present and posing with it for my mom to take pictures! She could make an awesome photo blog of the past 21 years with all the pictures she’s taken.

  • April December 23, 2010, 10:18 pm

    We always did the one present on Christmas eve and the rest on Christmas Day but I like the idea of dragging things out too!

    Also, I always, always clean my apartment before leaving on a vacation. It always feels so nice to come home to a wonderfully organized and clean place!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 23, 2010, 10:26 pm

    We never opened any on Christmas Eve. We always did them all on Christmas morning. We weren’t allowed downstairs until my parents were downstairs, decked out with their videocamera and camera!

  • Lana December 23, 2010, 10:29 pm

    We were never able to open presents on Christmas eve and I was always jealous of my friends that could, lol.

    I love knowing that I’m not the only one that creates random/awesome meals when cleaning our the fridge!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 23, 2010, 10:33 pm

    i started opening presents about a week before xmas. one per nite. Then tons on xmas eve. Then xmas morning was all the santa gifts. It was present overload…for a week.

    My daughter will be 4 in Feb. and my hubs and i do 3 to 5 presents for her,total. I grew up with retail overwhelmingness and we’re not doing that to her! 🙂

  • OrlandoPaula @ Eat, Watch, Run December 23, 2010, 10:34 pm

    We always opened all gifts on Christmas Eve when we got back from midnight mass. 🙂

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed December 23, 2010, 10:38 pm

    We opened all presents Christmas morning! Soooo much fun 🙂 I love hearing how others celebrate Christmas!
    Heidi xo

  • Lacey @ Lake Life December 23, 2010, 10:38 pm

    I always open one present on Christmas eve (always PJ’s) then do stockings and presents with my parents (I stuff stockings for them) early Christmas morning then my bro, sister and her hub & son come over in the afternoon to open more presents.

  • Jen December 23, 2010, 10:42 pm

    My brother and I were allowed to go through our stockings as soon as we woke up but we couldn’t touch anything under the tree until mom and dad got up. We always tried to wait as long as we could but we’d inevitably wake them by 7 a.m….I’m sure they appreciated that, lol. Now that I’m an old (32, lol) married DINK, hubby and I have to set our alarm on Xmas morning or we’ll sleep till noon! We usually don’t get to presents until at least 11:30, after we’ve had several cups of coffee and breakfast. We’re festive like that.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! (and safe travels!)

  • Kristina @ spabettie December 23, 2010, 10:51 pm

    same here – my brother and I were able to open one present Christmas Eve, then we’d get up SUPER early and open our stockings… then we had to wait for everyone to get up to do the rest, and we’d kinda take turns 😀

  • Cindy December 23, 2010, 10:52 pm

    We usually got to open one small present on Christmas Eve. We had Christmas dinner at my grandparent’s house on Christmas Day and had to be there by noonish, so the rule was we could only open presents after we were dressed and pretty much ready to go. This made my parent’s Christmas morning so much easier, because we were obviously motivated to get dressed so we could open presents.

  • Natalia@TheHealthScript December 23, 2010, 10:53 pm

    I also ran 4 miles today and it sucked! I was slipping and sliding on the ice in my neighborhood all run long 🙁

    I’m Polish and one tradition we have is opening presents on Christmas Eve after we have a big dinner with our family. I’m a lucky girl, I don’t have to wait until Christmas 🙂

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Graduate December 23, 2010, 10:58 pm

    Growing up, we always opened gifts on Christmas morning. 🙂
    This year however we aren’t having our actual immediate family Christmas until the beginning of January in order to spend more time with my extended family. 🙂

  • the veg meg December 23, 2010, 11:10 pm

    We’d open one each on Christmas Eve night, then we had to wait for my parents to get up on Christmas morning for the rest – and they would sleep until 9. It was the longest morning ever :]

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss December 23, 2010, 11:13 pm

    Sorry for the bad run, hopefully your next one will be better!

    When I was younger, I’d begggg to open up a gift Christmas Eve- the excitement was too much to handle!

  • Erika @ FoodFitnessFun December 23, 2010, 11:13 pm

    When I was little my brother and I would be able to open the gifts in our stockings (usually stuff to keep us busy) and then we’d wait to open the rest when Mom and Dad woke up. 🙂

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) December 23, 2010, 11:19 pm

    Awww sorry to hear about the IT bands. They are so stubborn. Hope it was just a weird think today and that it doesnt happen again!

    I love Pb and white chocolate chips! Almond butter sounds great too!

    Safe travels!

  • Coco December 23, 2010, 11:27 pm

    i’m exactly like you–one on christmas eve, the rest christmas day! the christmas eve one is usually one we can use right away–like my mom let me unwrap a new coat so i could wear it to church on christmas eve. or pajamas to sleep in that night, etc.

  • Katie December 23, 2010, 11:32 pm

    I hate dark chocolate but LOVE white chocolate.

    We did the same as you, opened one on Christmas Eve and then the rest on Christmas morning.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday December 23, 2010, 11:44 pm

    We usually opened them all on Christmas morning, although i do recall a few Christmases when we opened them all on Christmas Eve instead because we couldn’t do it in the morning for one reason or another.

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete December 23, 2010, 11:46 pm

    We usually opened them Christmas Eve night, right after church. Then we had all day on Christmas to play with our new stuff!

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef December 23, 2010, 11:48 pm

    we opened them all Christmas morning. someone is “santa” and hands out presents to each person, then we rotate who opens presents so everyone can watch and ooh and ahh. the exception was identical gifts from relatives, but those are pretty obvious gifts anyway (gift cards). my sister and i always slept in my bed and got up early- but not as early as mom and dad, who get up around 5 about every day. now i’m married so bed arrangements are a bit different but it’s still a fun morning! oh and we always have the same breakfast each year easy cheese souffle, a coffee cake, fruit, OJ/coffee/tea, and bacon/sausage. yum!!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) December 23, 2010, 11:50 pm

    We opened all of our gifts on Christmas day, and we took turns to make it last longer.

  • Maddie December 24, 2010, 12:01 am

    We open presents Christmas Eve after church and dinner. We CANNOT open them before, but when we were little we’d get ornaments every year, so sometimes we could open those before evening.
    SOMETIMES Santa would accidentally leave his gunnysack on the front porch (a tradition from my dad’s family, so those were little gifts he would buy us – special since he is NOT a shopper!) and then also come the next morning – if we were extra good! Haha.
    Our gift opening is staggered too. I think since my mom wraps everything she wants it to last extra long! We do girls, mom, dad, and repeat.
    Isn’t it funny what a “science” Christmas can be!?

  • Ann @ Day by Day December 24, 2010, 12:22 am

    We go to our aunt and uncle’s house for chili dinner on Christmas Eve then the 11 pm candlelight service at our church. We go to bed right when we get home and sleep as late as we can until maybe around 9 then we do all our presents for an hour or so! My brother, sister and I are all early 20s so we still come home for Christmas and we still do these same traditions! I guess pretty soon we may make the transition to “adults” and start doing things differently, going different places, etc. Sad!

  • Ashley December 24, 2010, 12:39 am

    My mom had a set under the tree that we opened Christmas Eve, then after we went to bed Santa left presents that were unwrapped and stacked neatly. At my dads house we picked out and wrapped our presents ourselves but we couldn’t open them until Christmas morning.

  • Caroline December 24, 2010, 1:04 am

    I do my best cleaning before leaving on vacation! There is just something about coming back home and not needing to do anything. I even put fresh sheets on the bed before heading out.

    We were a Christmas morning family. My brother and I would alternate, that way Mom and Grandma wouldn’t miss any photo ops! We even developed a routine for what to open: extended family gifts that had been mailed, gifts from Mom, “Santa’s” gift, and then stockings.

  • carlee December 24, 2010, 1:45 am

    Yum! White chocolates can make anything better I swear!!!!!!

  • Kjo_82 December 24, 2010, 2:08 am

    We open gifts on Christmas Eve and with our full extended family of 15+ it’s quite a production. Now that the youngest is a teenager we open gifts after dinner and church.

    My dad (oldest boy of 4) plays elf (he has since he was a kid), he hands out a gift to each person in age order (youngest to oldest), before you can rip the paper you *must* guess what the gift is, you then open it, thank the giver and when this is done we move onto the next oldest. This continues until the gifts are gone.

    It’s so special because I think my grandpa is so happy on the years that my immediate family makes it to Christmas that he just sits and smiles while watching everything.

    I love our tradition so much so that I call the Christmas we went on a ski vacation with family friends and opened presents on Christmas day ‘the worst Christmas ever’ (yes, I was 26).

  • Leila December 24, 2010, 2:13 am

    We’ve always opened one on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning. My mom or dad would write down everyone’s gifts and we would open them one by one. However, one year my brother couldn’t wait for Christmas (I think he was 3), and he opened a McDonald’s make your own french fry machine (gross). He entertained himself for a few hours pushing white wonder bread through the “machine” and dusting it with cinnamon. After that my parents got a “kid tree” that Santa would put our stockings and a few cheap presents under. We could open those until our parents woke up 🙂

  • Marika December 24, 2010, 4:23 am

    My family celebrates on Christmas Eve, so we were always allowed to open one gift before sitting down to Christmas dinner, then after dinner we’d all open our gifts. I like being the “Santa” who distributes the gifts from under the tree, because when I’m done everyone else has already opened their gifts and then they have to watch me open mine :-). And then after gifts came dessert!

  • Lauren December 24, 2010, 6:40 am

    Have a wonderful trip! And I’ll be praying that the IT Band thing really is just a fluke. I’m sure it is 🙂 Merry Christmas Caitlin!

  • Jen December 24, 2010, 7:10 am

    We got to open one gift on christmas eve and it was always a pair of matching pj’s. Christmas morning we would see what Santa brought us, opened our stockings, took a little *intermission* for breakfast and then opened the gifts under the tree.

    Merry Christmas 🙂


  • faith@gracefulfitness December 24, 2010, 7:45 am

    We always opened our presents X-mas eve! All of the presents were from my maternal grandparents and that was their tradition. When I was a kid I actually thought that Christmas eve was THE holiday

  • Little Bookworm December 24, 2010, 7:49 am

    Hope you and your family have a fantastic day tomorrow Caitlin! 🙂

  • amanda (life in bloom) December 24, 2010, 8:07 am

    We got to open one present on Christmas Eve night, but I thought that was just because we bugged my parents so much about it. We’ve been trying to figure out what to do with opening presents since our oldest kiddo is finally old enough to know what’s going on with the Santa thing!

  • Tracy December 24, 2010, 8:08 am

    I love your placemats! Where did you get those? Merry Christmas!

    • Caitlin December 24, 2010, 9:52 am

      West Elm!

  • Kiran December 24, 2010, 8:21 am

    Yummy! I need to try the chocolate chip trick on my toast 🙂

  • Caroline December 24, 2010, 8:45 am

    Strangely enough we didn’t begin the open-one-present-on-Christmas-Eve tradition until about 7 years ago when my brothers and I were all teenagers. I’d always try to hold off on Christmas morning and let the boys open theirs first, as the oldest I wanted to seem cool and not over-eager. 🙂

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous December 24, 2010, 8:58 am

    As a kid, we were allowed to open ONE present Christmas Eve…from my great aunt. And that’s only because we knew it was pajamas every year!!!

  • Camille December 24, 2010, 9:19 am

    Good for you for knowing you needed to walk. I have IT band issues too but it is really hard for me to admit I need to walk home!

  • Ella December 24, 2010, 9:42 am

    On christmas eve we go to my mom’s side of the family and i open all the presents from them, tomorrow I do presents from my parents and Santa (I’m going to be 21 in 2 months, my brother will be 18 in June and my mom still marks everything as ‘Santa’..)

  • Courtney (Pancakes and Postcards) December 24, 2010, 9:52 am

    same here! one small thing usually, on christmas eve, and then stocking first and then present on christmas morning. so much fun.

  • Lauren @ Lauren Runs December 24, 2010, 10:08 am

    We open presents on Christmas morning. Before my parents wake up, my sisters and I would open our stockings adn enjoy. Then we’d do turns of opening presents (one at a time, all around). Then some brunch :).

  • Amber K December 24, 2010, 12:45 pm

    Christmas Eve was spent with my mom’s dad’s family. So we opened presents with them first. Then Christmas morning was just my immediate family. Then we’d be off to my mom’s mom’s family for lunch. And finally my dad’s family for dinner.

    Now it’s still my mom’s dad’s family for tonight. Then tomorrow morning with my best friend’s family. Then we hit my dad’s family around lunchtime and then my husband’s family for dinner. Busy, busy!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 24, 2010, 12:50 pm

    We could only ever open our presents on Christmas morning. I kind of liked being in suspense all night though. 😀

  • Karen December 24, 2010, 1:37 pm

    Sorry to hear your leg is acting up again. I hope it goes away fast! I’m so impressed that you’re running and keeping up with everything else! I have totally slacked on exercising the last 2 weeks and my back is killing me. I can’t wait to do a nice long yoga session:)

    We always got a pair of Christmas PJs and an ornament to open Christmas Eve. The rest waited until Christmas morning. When we got older, we would empty our stockings while my parents still slept. Oh, and we would do one at a time opening too. But I liked it; I got to see what my brothers got and it just made the excitement and anticipation last that much longer:))

    • Caitlin December 24, 2010, 6:23 pm

      I’m sorry your back is hurting.

  • Amy G December 24, 2010, 1:49 pm

    Growing up, absolutely nothing was under the tree until Christmas morning, so we opened everything around 6-8 a.m., depending on when my mom and stepdad would wake up. We were allowed to open stockings while we waited for them.

    Then on January 6(?), we would celebrate Little Christmas at my grandma’s house, which were all little gifts for us to open (socks, small toys, cassette tapes, anything little).

  • Jessica December 24, 2010, 1:58 pm

    What a beautiful tree! We also got to open one present Christmas Eve, and the rest were opened Christmas morning.

  • Laura December 24, 2010, 2:11 pm

    Present opening in my house growing up sounds pretty much exactly like your husbands. I can’t imagine opening presents before Christmas or two people opening presents at the same time!!

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks December 24, 2010, 3:28 pm

    Presents on Christmas Eve (after informal dinner, usually fresh, locally made Lucca Ravioli and garlic bread) are opened with the family. Then your Christmas stocking (from Santa!) opened first thing on Christmas morning.

    Fact: My sister is 40 and I am 28….our mom still gives us Christmas stockings…it’s our favorite part!

  • Mary Nell December 24, 2010, 6:05 pm

    We open presents from my grandparents on Christmas Eve at their house. Santa came “unwrapped” at my house and that tradition continues with my children so they really don’t have any wrapped gifts under the tree other than one that is from “mommy and daddy.” We still do that now…Christmas Eve morning with my family, Christmas Eve night with my husband’s, and then Christmas morning at home and I serve brunch for anyone who wants to come.

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point