Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Menus

Well, what do you know? Another post comes again!

When I typed out my title above, the first thought that came to mind is a verse from Proverbs which I have been reviewing with the kids since they were toddlers:

"Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife."
Prov. 17:1

Feasting is a blessing to be sure, but delicious food loses all its delight in the absence of peace. Jesus came to bring peace (but the full manifestation of that peace is yet to come), not good food! 

Today was a lovely day. Rain from yesterday subsided, but coolness of air and overcast skies gave us an excuse to create warmth inside with a fire and cooperative work in the kitchen. My first goal for the day was to run my errands... I know from the past that stores sell out of basics (like potatoes and that particular cheese I want for a recipe), and people get grumpier and ruder in crowded parking lots as the day goes by.  

Once home, the kids and I all had a task:

Olivia made her raspberry sauce for Christmas morning
Michael made an artichoke dip (all it needs now is baking + broiling with Pecorino Romano)
I chopped veggies, planned, helped, and cleaned; decided on THIS as part of tonight's dinner
Jacob and Andrew made mango lemonade (because we have an abundance of Meyer lemons and a couple rip mangos.) (Follow you fav lemonade recipe with Meyer lemons, but use less sugar in the simple syrup, and blend together with chunks of ripe mango.)

Raspberry sauce and lime curd... I added the paper doilies just for a little something special when we reach for them on the 25th!

After dinner tonight, Jon and Michael joined me in prepping our Christmas Eve dinner.

Our holiday menu is not always the same year by year, but we do have some favorites. I've decided that a simpler, make-ahead dinner is best for our Christmas Eve dinner. Since we are typically one of the last to leave our Christmas Eve service, I don't want to be irritated on the inside thinking about still having to make a holiday dinner! I look for ideas that are not your average fare, and are best made a day in advance. This year will be a repeat from the last. After dinner, we are going to watch family videos.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Corn and Lobster Chowder
Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Crusty bread with butter
Sparkling cider or mineral water

Chocolates and cookies for dessert

For Christmas, I've been making bread pudding for several years now. It's a combination of a Bon Appétit recipe and Ina Garten's Challah French Toast. Besides the fact the the kids love it, I like that it can be prepared a day in advance. Since it bakes for over an hour, I can pop it in the oven while we open our gifts.

Christmas Breakfast

French toast bread pudding
(with maple syrup and Olivia's raspberry sauce)
Sausage or Bacon
Fresh fruit
Coffee or hot apple cider

We typically don't have turkey again at Christmas (as I think most Canadians do) because it we just had that a few weeks ago. I have make turkey roulade, which was good, but generally I pick some sort of roast. Last year we picked ham, and we chose to do a repeat again this year (it was so good, and the leftovers were so nice). I'm using the lime curd I recently made for our dessert, even though it doesn't seem Christmas-y to me.

Christmas Dinner

Mashed Potatoes 
Green beans with shallots
Salad (variation of THIS
Homemade dinner rolls
Honey butter
Sparkling cranberry cider or mineral water

Lime tart topped with fresh blueberries
Coffee ice cream with gingerbread cookies

I never like to think about lunch when there's so much else going on (plus breakfast is heavy and on the later side). I'll set out some veggies, crackers and cheese, and the hot artichoke dip with crusty bread.

Satsuma oranges for snacking

By January, we will drastically limit the sugar and white flour, and load up on greens, but indulging for a while is quite fine! ;) 

We rounded out our day with some football at the school with some neighborhood kids and some pictures in town for Michael's birthday month. We wrapped the last of the gifts. Oh, and Olivia is nearly finished reading "Les Misérables" (all 1400+ pages). And laundry! Holiday or not, there is always laundry to do!

I have these "kissing balls" hung on the banister and set on the widow sills in the stair case. I've got to remember to kiss more!!

May you be blessed with abiding peace this Christmas season!


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