Tag Archives: Christmas

More Turkey?

29 Dec

Blog Post #250

Are you tired of eating turkey leftovers? I am!

Tonight, I wanted a comfort food casserole that would use up the rest of our small bird but was free of pasta or rice. Something simple but delicious.

So, of course, I headed to the world wide web to find the perfect recipe and came across one for Chicken Divan. This dish called for chicken breasts, but I was sure leftover roast turkey would work just as well. With broccoli on hand, some white wine and most of the other ingredients, I got to work and adapted the online recipe, and voila! Christmas Turkey Divan was on the menu!

The dish was a bit labour intensive — requiring quite a bit of chopping (the turkey, the broccoli, the onion and garlic) but it was totally worth it! It was delicious and a big hit with the family.

dinner-plate

Christmas Turkey Divan

Ingredients:

Cooked turkey cut into bite-sized chunks — (I ended up with about 3 cups of meat, but you could probably use more or less depending on what you have on hand)

Broccoli chopped into bite-sized pieces — (I had approx. 3 cups but, again, you could throw in more or less — or if you don’t like broccoli, be adventurous and sub in your favourite veggie)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter or margarine

4 tbsp flour

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of milk — (I used skim milk because that was in my fridge, but you could use regular milk or omit it and increase the amount of chicken broth)

1 cup of chicken broth

A splash of white wine — (you could omit this but it did add a nice flavour to the sauce)

1 cup shredded cheese — (use your favourite, I used Italian 3-cheese blend)

½ cup grated parmesan — (if you don’t have any on hand, you could omit it or sub in some shredded cheese)

1.5 cup of dry breadcrumbs — (I used dry bread cubes that I didn’t use in my stuffing)

Salt and pepper

Italian seasoning — (or your favourite seasoning)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°

Using a bit of olive oil, prepare a casserole dish by oiling the bottom and sides.

Cut up the cooked turkey into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Chop the broccoli into pieces (bite-size or a bit larger). Steam the pieces until bright green and easily pierced with a fork, but not mushy. Remove from heat and run cold water over the broccoli to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

In a pot, heat up the olive oil and butter. Add in the onion and garlic, sauté until soft. Add seasoning, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until a roux is formed.

Slowly add in the liquids, whisking continually and cook until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add in the shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

Put the cooled broccoli pieces in a layer in the prepared casserole dish. Pour half of the sauce over the veggies. Add the turkey in a layer on top of the broccoli and pour the remaining sauce on top.

In a small bowl, add the bread crumbs and parmesan. Mix until combined and spread on top of the casserole. (I added a little bit of chicken broth to the dry bread cubes that I used, so they would be a little soft and the cheese would cling to them better.)

Bake in the oven until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with a green salad. Bon Appetit!

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Joyous Haiku

27 Dec

Blog Post #248

Christmas 2016 has come and gone. I hope that your holiday was peaceful, joyous and filled with wonder. May your New Year be the same!

holly-berries photos

Hymns sung, silent night
Joyful tidings sent all round
Spreading peace and love

TBT — Christmas Past

22 Dec

Blog Post #243

I found this photo the other day when I was sorting through a box of old pictures. Taken about 23 years ago at a local shopping centre, it shows my two adorable munchkins in the traditional Christmas photo with Santa.

photo-with-santa

Looking wistfully at this memento of those innocent days of their childhood — when Christmas was a magical time of wonder. Oh, my girls still get excited for the holiday and they both love this time of year — gift giving (and getting!), baking, holiday parties, wrapping presents, decorating and watching all the traditional Christmas movies — I love that about them. But I sometimes miss the days of childish delight as we trimmed our tree, sang carols and celebrated the season. I can still hear the squeals of joy on Christmas morning as they eagerly tore open the Christmas packages, Santa, once again, getting them exactly what they wanted and their shining faces as they gave us the gifts they had lovingly chosen (or handmade) just for us.

Yes, Christmas has changed, now that my girls have grown into adulthood. It’s different, but when I think about it — I realize that the sense of wonder is still within them. They may not believe in Santa anymore but they do believe in the magic and love of the Christmas Spirit.

And, so do I!

Christmas Wishes & A Haiku

20 Dec

Blog Post #241

Can you believe that Christmas in almost here? This is the time we gather with our families and friends from near and far. We share our treasured traditions and customs of the season — the food, the music, the ornaments and baubles — bring us together in merry celebrations. Peace, love and joy are all around us.

I’m getting excited, are you?

xmas-tree

Adorned the tree shines
Lights twinkle and choirs sing
Five more sleeps to wait

Deck the Halls

16 Dec

Blog Post #237

It’s almost Christmas — only 9 more days! I think I’m ready — the presents are all bought (and wrapped), maybe I need to get a couple of stocking stuffers, but for the most part the shopping is all done! The tree is up and decorated and the wreath is hanging on the front door. Our place looks quite festive — and in the next few days, I’ll be preparing for the Christmas feast. Maybe, I’ll even do a little holiday baking …

Our tree looks great, decorated with our best ornaments (we are grateful that most of our most treasured decorations were still in their boxes after the theft). Every year, we give a special tree ornament to each member of our family. They are always special and unique festive baubles — a tradition that we look forward to every year.

Last year, Bruce gave me a whimsical one-of-a-kind treasure for our tree. I adore it — it is one of the three kings sitting atop a camel. Quirky and adorable. I can’t wait to see what this year’s adornment will be!

Christmas ornament

 

Christmas Cheer

2 Dec

Blog Post #223

I’m starting to dream up my Christmas menu — and the first thing I thought of making was Christmas Sangria!

I love sangria and usually prefer one made with red wine and luscious fruits such as peaches, oranges, apples and cherries. Generally, served in lovely, tall glasses over cracked ice and sipped while gathered with friends on an outdoor patio.

christmas bauble photo

But for my Christmas feast, I think a white sangria will better suit the occasion. This is how I plan to put it together.

Ingredients

1 Granny Smith apple (or your favourite crisp, tart apple)
1 Honeycrisp apple (or other sweet apple — Pink Lady, Braeburn, Ambrosia)
1 heaping cup fresh cranberries
1 large Sprig rosemary with extra sprigs for garnish
2 bottles Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or your favourite dry white wine
½ cup sparkling apple cider or white grape juice
¼ cup sugar

Directions:

Chop the apples and cut ¼ cup of the cranberries in half. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir together with a large wooden spoon to help the sugar dissolve. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve chilled or over ice. Garnish with extra rosemary sprigs.

Note:  If you fancy lemons, limes, oranges or clementines — feel free to add them to your sangria instead of the apples and cranberries or along with them. Your holiday beverage will be delicious, pretty and uniquely you!

Cheers!

Counting Down to Christmas

1 Dec

Blog Post #222

It’s December 1st!

Time to drag out all the Christmas boxes — set up the tree, put on some Christmas music, start wrapping all those gifts.

kris-kringle

One of our favourite traditions is hanging up the advent calendar to begin the countdown to the big day. The sad thing is — we had a break-in a few weeks ago. Thieves broke into our storage room and ransacked everyone’s lockers. We didn’t think much was missing — Bruce’s old guitar was gone for sure and every taped up box was searched. Of course, we don’t store anything of real value in there (except for the guitar!) You know, we had the usual stuff packed in our little space — knick knacks, framed pictures, books, and yes, Christmas decorations.

After searching through all the Christmas boxes, I was dismayed to find that our advent calendar seemed to be missing (along with some of our nicest ornaments!) We’ve had that calendar for at least 20 years! (Who would steal something like that?) It was made of red felt and had 25 little pockets that held a little yellow, wooden star that we moved from day to day until the 25th. The girls enjoyed taking turns moving the star every morning and I LOVED it because there were no little chocolates to fight over!!

Now, even though my daughters are grown, we still put up the advent calendar — and I move the star along every day. This year, I decided that since the calendar was gone, we would forego the tradition and look for something to replace it after Boxing Day when Christmas is on sale.

But then, as I was catching up with my friends on Facebook, I saw one of them had posted a link to a “Kindness Advent Calendar” from the website: Make Today Happy!

kindness-advent-calendar

Think about it — 25 random acts of kindness to count down the days to Christmas. I LOVE it! I’m definitely going to put this up — without a doubt, this will put me in the Christmas spirit. I see some possible tweaks that I could make to this for next year — like make it out of felt, with 25 pockets for the RAKs so that it will be reusable.

Kindness Advent Calendar. Share it with your friends.

Peace on Earth

25 Dec

MP900341552It is early Christmas morning, December 25th, 2012. I’m still up…

I have finished wrapping presents, filling stockings, and preparing a breakfast dish to bake while the paper is flying around the tree later this morning.

As I sit here in the quiet, I am reflecting on this past year, on how fortunate I am, how blessed my life is. I have a loving family, beautiful daughters,  food on my table, a roof over my head, clothes on my back. I live in a place of serenity, surrounded by those I love. I have so much, my life is joyful and good. I am happy.

Today, I am grateful for loved ones gathered together.

Today, I wish for Peace on Earth!

O, Christmas Tree!

7 Dec

Our TreeAll the boxes of Christmas decorations had been carted into the house from the storage room — they were stacked around the living room (and dining room!) waiting to be unpacked. Bruce put the tree up and wound the lights around it, wrapped the garland through the branches. That was it — for almost a week!

I’m not sure what happened. It’s not as if we don’t like Christmas and we aren’t grinches by any stretch, I guess we just got busy with other stuff, made excuses and well, the boxes just sat there, waiting to be opened…

Then our oldest daughter came over for a visit.

Now, you have to know our daughter… we call her the Queen of Christmas — she LOVES the holiday — she gets into the Yuletide Spirit at the end of November. She starts the countdown to December 25 on September 1st— “It’s 116 days until Christmas!” She sings Christmas carols and songs, “aloud so all hear”, beginning the day after Halloween. Well, you get the picture…

She walked in the door, and immediately began chastising us for leaving the tree standing naked for a week. Before we knew it, she and her sister had us all exclaiming over the ornaments, laughing and singing while we hung each bauble carefully on the tree’s branches. We oohed and awed as each ornament was unwrapped as we recalled the stories behind each one. In no time at all, the tree was adorned with all our shiny, whimsical and beautiful decorations. Bailey handed Bruce the Christmas star and he placed on the topmost branch. We all stood back and enjoyed our handiwork.

O, Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches!

(18 sleeps until Dec. 25th!)

Countdown to Christmas

26 Nov

It’s a month until Christmas and I am thinking about pulling out the boxes of ornaments, garland, elves, Santas and reindeer out of the cardboard boxes stacked up in the storage room. In a few days it will be December 1st and we will bring out the Advent Calendar and the Christmas candles and begin to decorate our house for the holidays.

I love the idea of beautifully bedecked rooms glittering with coordinated ornaments and a living room showcasing a gloriously sparkling tree with shiny wrapped gifts waiting to be opened, looking like a scene right out of a Martha Stewart magazine.

However, my efforts usually aren’t that grandiose, still, I manage to pull together a warm and pretty Christmas theme that emanates a Yuletide feeling.

This year, I’m thinking a reindeer and Santa theme with a few happy elves merrily perched in nooks and crannies.

I am hoping to have a Christmas cookie-baking and hot chocolate day with my two daughters and I am really looking forward to getting together with them to decorate our tree while singing carols, reading our favourite Christmas stories and hanging our stockings up under the mantle.

I am looking forward to getting together with family and friends to celebrate and enjoy the joys of the season. Steaming mugs of mulled wine, gingerbread houses, twinkling lights, children sitting on Santa’s knee for the traditional Christmas photo — all these little things that brighten our days and bring smiles to our faces and hearts reminding us of all that we have to celebrate and be grateful for.

I guess I am getting a little excited for the holidays to begin!

Only 30 more sleeps!!

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