This time of year we all gather round large tables full of amazing food and sing Christmas carols and forget all about the sibling rivalries, family feuds and all around negative feelings and vibes from the past year. It is a blissful couple of months full of heartwarming gift exchanges and meals. Hahahahaha!! Ok, I couldn’t even keep typing without laughing. What is the holiday season famous for really? Stressful family events, Black Friday, holiday meals attended by family members that barely speak the rest of the year. And joy. I love this time of year. Gifts are fine, but what really makes me feel full of holiday spirit is cooking for other people. This past weekend, Hubby and I drove over 6 hours to spend 4 days with our family that is not blood related. My best friend and her husband, and their 7 week old sweet baby boy. They weren’t going to be able to travel for the holiday so we decided to go visit and cook them a big fancy Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, dressing, sweet potato pie, mashed taters, green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry relish and I’m probably forgetting something. Hubby had never cooked a turkey day feast and neither had I, so we were jumping in with both feet and baby floaties. It was a resounding success though. Not to toot our own horns and all, but the girls left the new dad with the baby and my sweet hubby to figure out a meal by himself and we went to a movie. The Hubs needs to be under pressure like this more often. We ate until we were about to bust and all promptly fell asleep on the couches. I have mentioned we love to eat, I know I have.
One of the cool things about what we do is when we get to reap the reward of the year’s butt-busting work. For the green bean casserole, we popped a couple of jars of our green beans grown that year and the Hubby had the idea of using our homemade cream of mushroom soup base that I had canned. We will never go back to ploppy canned store bought mushroom soup again. Actually, eating our own produce has pretty much ruined us on eating grocery store food. Once we figured out how to make and can different kinds of soups, we dumped Campbell’s like an 80’s hairstyle. My bestie and her hubby have stopped buying canned green beans, they don’t like the way they taste as much. So if we triple the amount of green beans we grow next year, we will be canning a bunch for them too. This Thanksgiving we used some of our own food, and all the vegetables were either ours or from a farmer’s market. Next year we want to cook our own turkey and increase the amount of the vegetables on the table that came from our garden.
So while we are trying to manage the holiday stress, buying gifts, planning meals and schedules, the Hubs and I are also sitting down and planning next year’s garden. We are using the experiences of these holiday dinners and this winter to decide what we need to plant and how much. We will be at least tripling the size of the garden and expanding what kinds of vegetables and fruits we grow. We are going to try root veggies in huge pots and potatoes in laundry baskets. The stress of trying to schedule time to see everyone is peppered with plans of garden work next year. Until we can get back into the soil, we will be eating the spring and summer’s harvest and enjoying taking our food to different dinner tables to our friends and family.
Happy holidays (all of them are an excuse to eat!) and hoping your holiday season is full of laughter and joy!