Monday, December 30, 2019

Christmas menu; save for future please

We always wish we had more down time with our three children; there never seems to be enough and often times when everyone was younger we didn't always cherish the time because we were together more often. Now at best we are a family of five maybe twice a year and that seems not enough. Everyone has work schedules and time lines of their own and we haven't even added more family into the mix. The blessing is that when we do get together everyone gets along!  I'm happy they've turned into adults who care about each other. There is something very special about siblings because you have all this shared history; some good, some bad, some awesome experiences that all can relate to in shared conversation. We always have some moments of shared stories, "remember that time..." and it's good to be able to laugh about even the bad times, the tough times we came through as a family.

That's what Christmas has become to me. Add some fantastic food and a couple of gifts and I'm quite merry!  The past three years my son and his girlfriend have been eating vegan and each year I'm a little more successful for creating a diverse menu that everyone will like. I don't like a table where sides need to be separated; vegan/non-vegan. So to break it down we have one no-red meat eater, one mostly only chicken eater, one who eats everything but is allergic to garlic and shellfish, the two vegans, and myself, a flexitarian/vegetarian. We make it work.

This year I had three Alaskan sustainable-fished salmon filets, and three Beyond Burgers for our main course. And then my two friends helped with  the sides: Jaime Oliver's smashed potatoes and his make-ahead vegan gravy, and Giada's Mediterranean couscous with apples and cranberry was a huge hit. Jaime Oliver says something like we all need to get used to a little more plant-based cooking because at everyone's table there is probably a veg-head or  two and a vegan, throw in a gluten-free cousin and you've got an amazing adventure in menu-planning. Everyone loved the smashed potatoes as an alternative to mashed; we loved how crispy the edges were and next time I think I'd leave them in even a little longer. Several of us loved the couscous and I would make this again especially for book club. Enjoy the above sexy food video for gravy recipe. When I heated our gravy back up the next day I added a bit more flour to get it to the right consistency. It was amazing. Jaime has about 40 vegan recipes on YouTube so if this is a food choice you are interested in take a look.

{my brother and sister-in-law
I hope everyone else found merriment over the holiday. After a fantastic and relaxing two-day trip to Minnetonka to visit my brother and his family it is time to put the house back in order and get ready for our Iowa caucus.

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