It has been a great four days off work. I’m a little sad I have to go back tomorrow, but grateful that I’ll have another long weekend for new year’s.
We had our quietest Christmas in many years. On Christmas Eve we went over to J’s brother and his wife’s house to spend the night. We took a lot of gear with us: gifts, food, and overnight clothes. We probably looked ridiculous riding the train.
For me, Christmas is all about the special food. I bought some delicious toffee that I’ve had my eye on for several months. It’s $8.50 for a small box so it’s not something I would normally buy, but the holidays are a time for splurging. I also picked up some hot-chocolate flavoured nougat at the farmers’ market that had pieces of roasted almonds, marshmallows, and cinnamon. Very seasonal, I highly recommend it (it’s from The Newget Company for those in Edmonton).
We also brought over eggnog, homemade gluten-free gingersnaps, aged cheddar and bacon for Christmas morning breakfast, and ingredients to make a cocktail I had just read about online. It has a rosemary simple syrup, grapefruit juice, and sparkling water.
The cocktail was delicious, even without the gin. Refreshing and only slightly sweet. Again, very seasonal, but in a different way – piney and citrusy.
We spent most of Christmas eve preparing food and eating. We ate a full turkey dinner, and J and I made an amazing cauliflower-bacon gratin from his new cookbook, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. I bought it for him as a surprise and so far this book is knocking it out of the park. It’s beautiful, fun to read, and full of recipes we really want to make. J also said, “this book really makes me want to live in Paris again!” J lived there for a year after high school, studying music. Dorie Greenspan is American but lives part of the year in Paris and writes about it with great enthusiasm.
We opened most of our presents on Christmas eve (it’s an Acadian tradition). (Up above you can see a few of the baby books my Mom gave us, some gingerbread hearts from J’s stocking and David’s tea.) Then we collapsed at about 9:30. I think the incredibly rich Danish rice pudding might have had something to do with it.
Christmas morning was low-key too. It started off with a delicious breakfast of hash browns, scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. For the first time in many months I ate one of my favourite food combinations: toast with peanut butter, cheddar cheese, and bacon. I know it sounds weird but you really have to try it …
Christmas night it was just the two of us. Our first and last (at least for a long time) Christmas by ourselves. It was lots of fun. We relaxed, watched youtube videos, and ate a slow, relaxed meal. We bought a few treats for ourselves to enjoy, and started off with thick juicy slices of buffalo mozzarella and dressed greens on slices of fried bread with roasted walnuts, topped with salt and pepper and a drizzle of basil oil. J put this together and the combo was perfect. The cheese (which we got at the Italian Centre) was amazing – soft and oozing. It made me think of all the delicious mozzarella we were eating in Italy at this time last year.
Then we enjoyed duck confit on crackers. We were so full after all that, we took a long break before our main course of this turkey casserole to use up some leftovers.
The rest of our time off proceeded in leisurely fashion. We didn’t do much the past few days but more cooking and baking. Tonight we made a Vietnamese soup to use up the rest of the turkey. This was the second recipe from Around My French Table, and again, absolutely fantastic. Incredibly easy and packed with flavour.
(you can see the leftover cauliflower-bacon gratin in the right of this photo)
I’ve been feeling a lot better now that I’m well into my second trimester, and working much more comfortable hours at work. We’re looking forward to enjoying the next few months of pregnancy before things really get turned upside down.
Hope you all had very happy and food-filled holidays, wherever you are!