Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Meals Plans

This is the first Christmas since my daughter was born five years ago that we are not visiting or hosting my family or Mike's family for the holiday. I'm a bit sad in some ways, but glad of it in others. The holiday lead-up has been a slower one, with less external pressure to conform to expectations about when to have decorations up or go visit Santa (missed that one entirely this year thanks to the snow) or getting things done before traveling somewhere. Before December, I was feeling good about not over-scheduling us with holiday activities, though the first two weekends of the month still wound up jam-packed with back-to-back and even overlapping events. A few snuck up on me, like Annabel's dance performance at ScanFair and the German Saturday School's holiday party.

One aspect of our nuclear-family Christmas that I'm especially glad about is having complete freedom to decide on our holiday meals, without interference from or consideration of my parents or in-laws. Because it's just the four of us, I don't feel the need to go overboard with an abundant variety of side dishes and desserts or use conveniences in the name of expediency. Rather, I'm keeping things simple, wholesome, and mostly local, and incorporating my little family's favorites. Here's the plan:

Christmas Eve Dinner
Celery Root Soup
Fennel, Arugula, and Orange salad
Dungeness Crabs
Cookies of Near Infinite Variety

Since the kids will probably not like the salad (well, maybe Luc will, but Annabel won't), I'm going to serve them orange and apple slices in a bed of purple cabbage leaves. I think I'll make the grown-up salad with oranges instead of apples as suggested in the recipe. As tempted as I am to make a dessert, we have so many cookies from neighbors and that we have baked ourselves that dessert seems a little overboard.

It's just now light enough to see outside and it is snowing! again!

Christmas Morning Brunch
Biscuits and Gravy with Apple Sausage
Scrambled Eggs

I have been sneaking off with the kids lately to visit the Clinton Corner Cafe (formerly The Habit, Portland's first internet cafe, where I washed dishes and made grocery runs in exchange for free internet access when I first moved here) and order their biscuits and gravy. They make it with a pork-apple sausage that I'm going to attempt to replicate as a gift to myself for Christmas morning. Hopefully we'll get eggs from our chickens for our scramble, though we may have to thaw them first.

Christmas Mid-Day Snack
Gingerbread House Candy

We made our gingerbread house with this recipe from Diane, a fellow member of the whole grain baking email list, and it was fantastic--construction grade gingerbread suitable for snacking. I like making the house on Christmas day and then having it to munch on in the week or so afterward, instead of half-eaten by Christmas morning. I'm glad I pre-ordered candy from the Natural Candy Store...we would have nothing for the gingerbread house otherwise, with the weather keeping me from shopping this last week and a half.

The snow is really! coming down! I cannot believe it's been snowing almost everyday since December 15th. Crazy. I will have to get some more pictures today and put them up in my spare time. (We haven't wrapped a single gift--and we have to wrap presents that have arrived from the grandparents as well as those from us!)

Christmas Dinner
Roasted beet, Sunflower Seed & Gorgonzola Salad
Baked Potatoes with Butter, Bacon, and Yogurt
Roast Brussels Sprouts
Roast Leeks
Roast Beef
Gingerbread House
More Cookies of Near Infinite Variety
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (that New Seasons gave us for having to make substitutions to our online order) topped with Crushed Candy Canes

No recipes as these are all simple family favorites I do by rote. Again, I'll serve the kids purple cabbage with apples and oranges and raw Brussels sprouts. I cannot get my kids to eat cooked cruciferous vegetables, but they'll eat any of them raw.

Humungous flakes are falling rapidly and in quick succession from the sky! This would be picture-perfect Christmas Eve were in not the tenth day of snow here.

Seriously, I don't really mind it much, and would mind it even less if our mailman would only please please please deliver our Netflix movies. I'm beginning to forget the plot of Battlestar Galactica and while White Christmas (1954), Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (1964) and The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974...notice a pattern here?) were all shipped days ago, we haven't gotten any mail since Saturday! Whatever happened to
We are mothers and fathers. And sons and daughters. Who every day go about our lives with duty, honor and pride. And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Ever. [Unless you happen to live in East Portland in the early 21st century. Your Christmas packages and sanity-saving DVDs will wait. Forever.]
Don't worry, Mr. Mailman, you'll still get your Candy Cane Cocoa mix. But ya gotta get here before we drink it all!


Magpie Ima said...

Everything sounds delicious!

And--there's hope--we did get mail yesterday. Now if only my winter boots from Lands End would arrive.....

Have a lovely holiday!

Hello, I'm Sally. said...

I'm coming to your house for dinner! Sounds so delish.

You give your mail carrier a Christmas present? I feel so lame now!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Chris said...

Melisa--We did get mail on Wednesday, with our Netflix and a couple Christmas presents. Hope your boots arrive soon!

Sally--I've been wanting to try the crab/fennel/orange combination for so long. It was amazing! Fennel and crab are wonderful together. I wish we could afford to get crab more often.

Anonymous said...

These meals look fantastic--each one better than the next! Celery root soup sounds perfect. I'm a huge fan of celery root but wasn't able to find any locally this year.