Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas with the Kiddos, part 2

So we spent most of the 23rd and 24th cooking, dicing, gathering, and slicing, in preparation for our Christmas feast. It was somewhat of a challenge this year, being new vegetarians.  The main issue was whether to have our traditional Buffalo Wings or not.  We've had Dad's recipe of Buffalo Wings for as long as I can remember, and while we're okay with chicken every once in a while, we wanted to see if we could come up with a substitute.  So we cooked up some Buffalo Fries instead!  We mixed up the sauce for the wings, then cooked some oven fries (potato wedges), basting with the sauce halfway through, and using the extra sauce for dipping. It was so delicious! We made some wings too, but it was the general opinion of those gathered that the fries were better, and there was no real desire for the wings. In fact, for the first time in HISTORY, we had to make Rhydon eat the leftover wings (except the few I saved for Matt, who could not be with us).  Usually there is a fight for them! That's how it was with the fries this year. I even had to make a new batch for Christmas Day.

Also, we watch a lot of the Travel Channel's show, Man V. Food, with Adam Richman. He's always taking on a new challenge of eating someone's spiciest wings, so Dad decided we'd have our own hot wing challenge and made a new spicy hot sauce for 3 of the wings.  Now, my taste buds must really have changed while I've been here, because the original recipe wings were not spicy, and the challenge wings were not as spicy as I could handle. So in the battle of Man V. Food, Men (and Woman) won! (The sauce was quite delicious though.)

The rest of our feast was a lovely selection of culinary temptations from around the world. Baba ganouj, hummus, dolmas, indian yogurt, Thai curry (my own recipe, and very tasty!), Mediterranean eggplant dip, salsa, Greek yogurt (delicious with fries and wings, and dolmas too!), Moroccan lentils. And there were the requisite crackers, chips and dips (onion and taco).  Of course we had the perennial Christmas shortbread, a tradition from Dad's childhood, that my children now love. We also had our Orange Blossom punch, though we experimented with tweaking the recipe to make it healthier. Our main concern was corn syrup (high fructose or otherwise).  We used fresh orange juice (because we could, thanks to Bountiful Baskets food co-op), sparkling water instead of ginger ale, less sugar, and on the second batch we substituted maraschino juice with pomegranate juice.  It was different, but pleasant, and certainly worth repeating.  But both Rhydon and I agreed afterward, that it still was not as wonderful as plain cold water! My, how we've changed!!!

(I would like to note at this point that Matt was able to join us via webcam for much of the day, enjoying his own food, lusting after ours, and watching and even opening presents we'd sent him previously. Then he left us to go out for sushi. Why didn't we think of sushi?)

After we'd gorged ourselves on our first plates of deliciousness, we could no longer hold off the kids from opening presents, and so it began.  I will attempt to list gifts received (and who from) in order from youngest to oldest:

Tristan: Snow boots (Elizabeth), Blocks (Grandpa), superhero cape (Uncle Rhydon), little-manly books (Kael),

Nope. Changed my mind. Too many gifts. I will just make mention of the most notable.

All three kids got winter boots. This is the first time ANY of my kids have gotten winter boots.
All three kids got Lego Duplo blocks from Grandpa.  All exactly the same, except for different symbols on each individual block to help determine ownership without limiting said ownership to one child (they can be passed on to the next child someday).
All three kids got superhero capes from Uncle Rhydon.  Yay! (Thanks, Mom, for making them.)
Mom and I made 1 pair of jammies for Elizabeth, and 2 pair for Kael (pictured).  I've had to make several repairs to Kael's, because I'm the one who sewed them, and I'm still learning. Sorry! At least I'm learning, right?
The theme of Mom and Dad's gifts was camping/preparedness, and the gifts were received with great joy and enthusiasm. (Pictured)
I got a book, Work and the Glory #3 (already have 1 and 2), and two skirts from the kids.  Much to my delight, I was also given a preparedness gift or two: I got a 72 hour kit and water purifiers to put therein. This is a recently developed interest, and I was so happy to receive these things. Rhydon received some of the same things, and some more.
Mom and I got 2 pairs of matching pajamas from Dad, by Victoria's Secret. Long-sleeved, pants, one silk, one flannel.  It's been years since we last had matching jammies, and I badly needed new ones, so it was a great gift!
Oh, and Mom worked hard and made a new outfit for Elizabeth's baby doll, Marie. Apparently, Marie is an oddly shaped baby, and it was difficult finding clothes patterns that fit her, but Mom pulled it off, and Elizabeth was so happy!
We sent Matt a new shirt and pair of pants that he'd better be wearing when we see him this weekend *squeal!* or there could be dire consequences. ;)

Then we watched The Christmas Carol, starring George C. Scott (our favorite version), and put the kids to bed only a little past their bedtime.  They slept in until almost 9a the next day, so Santa gift-receiving was much delayed, but happily enjoyed.

Here are the best pictures.  We had a great time!

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