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.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Hello Winter Break!


I've taken quite a break from blogging without meaning to but grief works in strange ways for everybody and I just took a step back from certain parts of my own life.  I've still helped with the Mayor Pete campaign although I missed a few events and I've obviously headed to work every day which truly brings me such great joy. I love seeing the faces of all my students even the tough ones.  School is good and now I'm on winter break which is fantastic. The holiday season is in full swing.

My shopping is almost done and I just have some local things to shop for + groceries to purchase. As my kids get older we really focus on the JOY of spending time together over ripping into tons of gifts. Last year we spent time reading all our favorite Christmas picture books to each other. Something about reading Corduroy's Christmas or Dream Snow by Eric Carle that ushers in a warm and cozy feeling. We also love to watch Christmas movies together-Love, Actually is one of our favorites and this year we plan to watch Klaus together. We generally go see the new Star Wars movie as a family after Christmas. I'm looking forward to all of it.

Last weekend I went to a soup exchange hosted by a friend.  I made this delicious sweet potato curry soup I found on my NYT cooking app. They each made a soup and we came together and shared.  I brought home at least 4 jars of homemade soup; a tomato tortellini and an au pistou (a French soup) and both were delicious.  And we had a drink I was unfamiliar with (shocking!) - it was We are hosting a Christmas party game night for friends on Sunday night and I'm going to make the tomato tortellini soup for them b/c it looks so festive. Enjoy this weekend, this holiday, hug all those that surround you with love and even the awkward folk who don't love a hug but treasure your smile. Just spend time with your people.  Namaste.