Counting our Blessings

This time of year I feel like we’re never still for more than a moment. Their are presents to buy and make, gifts to wrap, cookies to bake, food to deliver, packages to mail, and all of that on top of just our general busyness – work, school and life.

We finally start to still on Christmas in the late afternoon – all the work is done, gifts are gifted, Christmas dinner is eaten, and there’s nothing left but to sit back and breathe. It’s that moment around 5 pm Christmas day when there’s nothing left to be done that I finally sit and relax. And for us, the day after Christmas is a continuation of the nothing – leftovers, a fire in the wood stove, everyone gets to enjoy their presents and relax.

But as I sit and write, we’re still a couple of days from that. The Christmas turkey is thawing, I’ve got batches of cookies to bake tonight, and gifts to wrap, and the refrigerator is filled with delicious things, so full it’s hard to squeak it all in.

Still, for all the craziness, it’s been joyful as well. I managed to sneak away for a weekend in Montreal with the oldest, just the two of us, and it was a delight. Cold, but marvelous 1-1 time visiting the Christmas Markets, Biodome, A Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit, and a dress-up dinner, plus exploration of bakeries, the underground city, and Chinatown. 13 is honestly a delight – interested in food and experiences, willing to try new things, funny and opinionated. While we did that Eli took my son into Boston for a night for pool time and holiday shopping.

January is our pantry challenge month, and so far I have meals planned to the end of the first week. We have a lot of things to use up right now, so our meals are being built around what we have in most cases. But first we had to have all the things for our Christmas meal, so our final grocery delivery came today. We also have a few things we don’t usually cook from our last winter CSA, like celeriac and rutabaga, so I need to get creative to use those up.

I have some days off after the holiday, and some of that time will be spent prepping freezer items, such as homemade pizza dough, so we can just grab it and thaw it. 2022 was full of travel and adventure. The coming year will be much more centered around home, and that’s just fine. Adoption, the garden, and some home maintenance in advance of full renovation – taking trees down, the end of the driveway needs repaving, and just generally getting ready. In order to be fully ready, and because interest rates and construction costs are so high, we postponed a year, but we’re reaching the point where we can’t wait.

So it’s time. But first, it’s time to gather and celebrate, and be profoundly grateful for our life, just as it is.

Meal plan for Christmastime:

Friday December 23rd
: Taco Pizza, guacamole, salsa and chips
Saturday December 24th: Dinner with Family – their house
Sunday December 25th: Cheese board, turkey, stuffing with sausage, sage and onion, 4 cheese mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and onions, and cranberry-raspberry sauce. Eli will make pizzelles, and our guests will bring green bean casserole and pie.
Monday December 26: Leftovers. Mom definitely doesn’t cook
Tuesday December 27th: Turkey pot pie, broccoli cheese soup
Wednesday December 28th: Play-it-by-ear day, maybe leftovers, maybe something else, definitely the day to turn the turkey into soup stock. I do have to cook for some friends who have a child fighting cancer, so we may end up having the same thing they are
Thursday December 29th: Time to detox from Christmas food so Salmon with horseradish and mustard crust and a squash salad
Friday December 30th: Date night – some nice person at an Italian restaurant is cooking
Saturday December 31st: Homemade and ordered Chinese food
Sunday January 1st: Montreal Steaks with Green Goddess salad
Monday January 2nd: Chicken Parmesan, popovers, pasta and broccoli

From my home to yours, Happy Holidays. May they be filled with warmth, light and food.

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