Friday, December 23, 2011

Nearly ready

I'll save you the ubiquitous "wow, that went by fast," and "I can't believe Christmas is already here" comments so often seen at this point (though they are true). Instead, I'm going to focus on something that doesn't come naturally to me. Organization.  LOL  I'm not making a lot, but much of it needs to be done in the day or two immediately before Christmas.

I'm not hosting Christmas in any way this year. I never do. Our home is too small for more than maybe two extra people. Even at that, the kitchen table would be cramped. We were content to do Christmas here, with just the four of us. It's not how I grew up (we always went to a relatives, or hosted the whole big shebang), but it worked. Except the kids got a bit older and started getting restless spending the whole day at home, even with their new toys. Going to the inlaws for (an admittedly more low key than I'm used to) dinner breaks up the day and gives the kids a whole new (and much, much larger) space to play.

My mother in law likes to cook. We have different styles, mind you. To strike a balance, I've offered to bring a few things this year. I made some of Jamie Oliver's "get ahead gravy" earlier this week. Unfortunately the butcher gave us eight chicken wing pieces instead of eight whole wings. That has a dramatic effect on the end product, I can assure you. I hope the turkey produces lots of flavourful drippings. In the new year I'll make the recipe again, with the proper amount of chicken parts. It would be nice to have some gravy in the freezer for quick meals.

I've broken down the rest of what I need to do into blocks of time.  Last night I made the chocolate crust for the Candy Cane Cheesecake.  This morning I made the base for the sausage stuffing. Bulk sausage, browned with a melange of diced vegetables (onion, garlic, peppers, celery), seasoned with some traditional herbs (sage and thyme) and some which are less so (oregano and basil, in a nod to my Italian roots).  My mother often adds mushrooms to hers, and rosemary, but I'm a fan of neither.  I've added eggplant in past years to bulk things up even more, but I couldn't find any that weren't either huge or past their prime this week.  I've contemplated adding roasted chestnuts.  I still may.  Tomorrow I'll mix it all up with bread cubes and stock and pack it into a pan to cook alongside the bird on Sunday.

Later today I'll make up the cheesecake, using this recipe from Taste of Home.  I'll add extra crushed candy cane to ramp up the Christmas quotient, so I'll need to get those crushed soon.  It seems to be a tradition in our family to finish our holiday meal with a mint dessert.  I think I've done candy cane ice cream the past two years.  The mint is a very refreshing way to end a large meal.  Somehow it makes me feel less over-stuffed and a little more comfortable as I leave the table. LOL

I want to make a couple of gift foods as well, but I'll share about those later, as the recipients might actually read this before I see them.

Then there's the bacon to pre-cook for Christmas brunch and the chocolate chip muffins to bake to nibble between the stockings and the gifts.  I *think* that's everything.  Oh, and I have Christmas cards to finish making, gifts to organize and all of those last minute details (like showering and making sure the children are clean) to attend to.  Glad I wrapped hubby's gifts yesterday.

Since I will not be blogging again between now and Christmas, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.  Thanks for reading my little blog.  May the year ahead bring blessings of peace, hope and joy to you and those you love!

~Mama B~

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