Merry Christmas from all of us!

Week 4 of the Dark Days Challenge came during the week of Christmas. All week long, I kept reminiscing about the food I grew up eating for Christmas and how important traditions are. Each time I thought about the food, I immediately thought about the people I ate with and who made it.

I am very fortunate to have had both my grandmothers growing up (and both still living). Each grandmother has different memories tied to them. With my dad’s mom, I think of how each Christmas with her, I politely ate Lutefisk for her. I never really enjoyed it, but I did it because I knew it was important to her. I fondly remember the potato sausage, rice pudding, swedish meatballs and lefse we ate along with it. Outside of the Christmas season, I can’t eat a cherry without thinking of my Grandma P.

We had to travel 14 hours to see my mom’s mom each year. My memories of her food is mostly tied to the variety of food. She made sure to make everyone’s favorite. I think it was her way of showing her love for us. She made “Steve’s Casserole” and “Brett’s cookies” and bought a separate cereal for each of us. My all-time favorite was a chicken and broccoli casserole with curry. The smell of curry reminds me of my Grandma J.

This year, I realized that my kids are already developing their own food memories. They couldn’t wait to go to Grandma P’s house for brunch on Christmas Eve for bacon and sausage. They gorged on Grandma R’s Chex Mix and spritz cookies. They call one Grandma the “cake Grandma” and the other one is the “cookie Grandma”. Many years to come, they will remember this food and the love that came with it.

We started our own tradition two years ago, by accident. A lot of people do egg bakes or cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, but I decided that crepes sounded good. My mom and cousin and I went to Paris en route to Africa in 1996, and we had crepes with Nutella and bananas while on a walk from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe (which is another story). They were easier to make than I thought, and we’ve done them every year since. Since I only make them once a year, they’ve become our Christmas Crepes. Son #1 tells me I make the best crepes in the world. I love the compliment, but his experience is pretty limited. On Christmas morning, we let the kids open Santa gifts, take a break to make and eat the crepes, and then go back to open family gifts. This year, Son #2 helped me make the whipped cream and the older boys cut the bananas for the inside of the crepes.

This year's crepes with the addition of raspberries and blackberries.

For our local meal, I used leftovers from Week 3. What I love about roasting a whole chicken is how many meals I can get out of one chicken. I heated up the creamed chicken and corn, added a bit of milk to thin it a bit, and added some Sno Pac frozen peas. The corn meal mix made a perfect crust to make a chicken pot pie, so I buttered a casserole dish, poured in the chicken mixture and put the corn meal mix on top.

Chicken Pot Pie made from leftovers

The previous night I had made stock from the carcass of the roasted chicken. I had a couple of carrots left from our CSA to use that were very large and perfect for stock. There were some herbs already in the carcass and I just added some peppercorns, salt a couple of bay leaves, some garlic, a halved onion (with skin) and added water. After bringing it to a boil, it simmered a couple of hours. After cooling, I strained it and froze about 8 cups of chicken stock that I’ll be able to use in future local meals.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] they’ve got a lot of game around there.)  I’ll be right over. WooHoo Tofu was making leftovers and memories, including a luscious-looking chicken pot pie, something I’ve been wanting to try since I […]

  2. 2

    Lynda said,

    Chicken Pot Pie…yum…a family favorite here…at a couple times a month. I raise the chickens, wheat, and veggies myself…even the lard in the crust comes from the ranch (my grandson raises 4-H hogs.).

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