I shouldn't be so unkind. 2013 had its moments. The learning to ride a bike moment was a good one. The Nativity pageant was a good one. The Boy Getting Out of the Hospital was a good one. The swim team success was a good one. The trips to Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, the mountains. There were lots of good ones. But my heart just breaks thinking about the losses, so I am trying not to.
Monday: I'm working (I was going to say "boo," but I like my job, and I like that I had off from the Friday before Christmas until Jan. 2 so it's hard to get too wound up), so this will probably be the day we go in town to see the Christmas light shows as a family and then go to dinner. I hope.
Tuesday: My parents always had lobster tail on December 31. I don't think I'll bother. Tacos. Why not?
Wednesday: Still in flux. This was my father-in-law's birthday and we traditionally hosted a party here. This year, generous cousins (with a bigger house) stepped in and I am grateful. We like hosting but it turns our house upside down to have that many at once. Regardless: crock pot pork roast, and whatever else people bring.
Thursday: Back to work, sort of. My husband is taking off so we can move our son in to the bigger bedroom. Wednesday spaghetti today.
So, some of my holiday quests went well. I did a solid job emptying my cabinets. Things are not falling out, and everything is up to date, which is a nice change.
Christmas Eve, I went with my ersatz fishes. I tried this recipe for the salmon, and adored it. I didn't make the sauce (we bought my favorite sauce with the fish) but I will try it next time. This was so easy and delicious.
Christmas morning, we were wiped out. I napped on the couch while the boys played Epic Mickey, and my husband made waffles (with my mom's recipe--so good) and smoothies. It was a joy.
For Christmas, I made:
-pizza dip. Hey, it's red.
-six layer bars (I didn't want to open another bag of white chocolate chips for one half-cup; also I went a little heavy on walnuts and chocolate chips to finish those bags; you know what? still delicious)
-chocolate chip bars. Someone brought these to the 2nd grade party and I was smitten. Run, do not walk, to make these. "Cookie Cake!" my son cried in glee. It was fabulous and much easier than cookies. I'm so happy about this discovery it's embarrassing. They were delicious and almost gone by the end of Christmas night--tragic, almost considering the plethora of Italian cookies made by an aunt. I ate those, though, so in that way, the plan worked brilliantly--distract the kids with the chocolate chip bars and save the thumbprint cookies for me. Yay! (also: in that bar recipe? just butter the pan and the cookies come out. I am the queen of foil because I am very lazy but these don't need it.) Next year I will try to adapt for the cranberry-white chocolate cookies too.
-mini apple-cranberry pies. I used filo dough cups from the freezer section and Trader Joe's pie filling. (I did mention the cleaning off the shelves part, right?) These did not get the love they deserved. I thought they were great.
-Smitten Kitchen gingerbread cake. The 23rd of December was warm but pouring rain. We stayed in pajamas and in the house instead of any of the other ideas we had and I baked. Clearly. It was awesome. Alas, this culminated in a massive flip fail but you know what? That just means you slice it before you go. I am unperturbed. This also did not get the love it deserved. Leftovers work for me.
For the Nth Day of Christmas, I made beef tenderloin with pink peppercorns. It's enough. Oh--and more pizza dip, since all the ingredients come with enough for two (except the cream cheese, but that was on mega-sale).
Finishing off the bake fest (and effort at cabinet emptying), I made the add-in cookies. Difference this time: I refrigerated the dough like I did with the last cookies that went well (before the bars). Big oops: I thought, it's only an hour, and didn't cover it. "An hour" turned in to "four days" so the dough was pretty desiccated and crumbly after four days in the fridge. I baked it off anyway.
So here we are, ending the year and beginning another. The kids got tablets for Christmas, so currently Dad and one boy are watching The Incredibles, another is playing Stack the States, and I am finishing these notes. So here we are, staring in to our individual screens. Tonight, it's cozy, but I am a little uneasy about what it foretells. Here's hoping I'm at least somewhat wrong.
Wishing you a 2014 with all you dream of. Thank you for reading. It's fun to have you visit. See you in the new year!