The Holidays have officially started, which means from here on out, things are going to be crazy, busy and hectic. Even though the Holidays are crazy, busy and hectic, I love them (for the most part). Yes, I too get very stressed because I tend to take on to much and want things to be special and perfect for my friends and family. But for the most part, the stressful parts have already been done.
Thanksgiving has already come and gone. Our Thanksgiving was for 10. It was just my “sister” and her family and Larry and I. It was a fairly simple meal since Jaala and her kids are all vegan. We had a lot of simple vegetables and vegan side dishes, but I still made a big huge turkey, stuffing and a cranberry chutney. I was looking for a small turkey to buy, since I knew it would only be Larry and I eating it, but no such luck. I ended up with a big 20 lb bird, which means lots of leftovers. It’s a good thing we love turkey. Jaala brought the tofurkeys and some other delicious vegan dishes to make our meal complete. It’s not what is on the menu but who you share the meal with that’s really important.
The Queen has already paid me a few visits and has given me her advice on how to re-create from the Thanksgiving leftovers. I made turkey pot pies with some of the turkey, and there will be plenty of other turkey dishes in the near future as well. The recipe is basically the same as for my chicken pot pies, only I used turkey and some of the gravy as my binding agent instead. Chicken Pot Pie
Getting the Christmas cards ready to go out before Thanksgiving was a HUGE relief. The day after Thanksgiving, they were out in the mail, going in all different directions. And because Thanksgiving was so late this year, and our annual party was so early, we got the house decorated before Thanksgiving, was was also a HUGE help. It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas
Our Christmas party has also come and gone. We had a houseful of people. There was a ton of food and good cheer, and everyone had a great time. We always have an ornament exchange party. This year we had some really beautiful and fun ornaments that were up for the grabs and for “stealing”. I always encourage a lot of stealing, since it is a fun game to help ring in the holidays. There was a lot of stealing this year too. We make it as a potluck so others can share their family recipes as well, although I usually prepare quiet a bit of food too. Surprise, surprise, right?! My menu was pretty simple this year, but everything was delicious and all the food disappeared quickly.
One of the things I did was use my cranberry relish from Thanksgiving to top some brie. Usually I make my cranberry relish with pears, but since we had the 2nd snowmegeddon, The 2nd Snowmegeddon I did not want to venture out to the stores if I did not need to. I did not have pears this time around, but I did have pineapple instead. Both versions are very good, although I have a slight preference to the pear version.
4 cups cranberries – I used the dried Craisins, but you can use fresh cranberries too
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 apples, peeled and diced small
2 pears, peeled and diced small, or about 2 cups of pineapple, diced small
1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced small
1 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, diced very small or about 1 TBSP of dried ginger
splash of a sweet liqueur of your choice – I usually use hazelnut or ginger liqueur
6 whole cloves or about 1-2 tsp of dried crushed cloves
2 cinnamon sticks or about 3 tsp of dried cinnamon powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
Put everything together in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Stir frequently and make sure all the sugar dissolves. This is best when served at room temperature. The chutney can last in the refrigerator for about 3 months. You can also add some jalapenos, lime or lemon juice and green onions to make a cranberry salsa, which is also very tasty. It was a big hit on top of brie too.
Charcuterie trays are always a big holiday hit. So there was a sausage and goat cheese platter, with 3 different kinds of sausages and 3 different varieties of goat cheese, and crackers that was also part of this year’s menu. I also made some chorizo stuffed mushrooms and some artichoke and olive bruschetta, which will both be featured in later posts.
Don’t be to stressed and let the fun and festivities of the holiday season begin. Bring in the good cheer of the season. Whatever holidays you and your family celebrate, Happy Holidays to you from my house to yours.