A new year calls for new tips in simplicity, especially in the kitchen.
Sometimes I’m a short-cut kinda gal, which makes for some interesting cooking challenges.
Because who wants to feel overwhelmed and overwrought at the mere thought of inviting friends over to enjoy some cheer in the new year? I say, bring the friends! But cut the complexity out of the cooking and let’s make an easy take on a classic fave.
Let’s pave the way for more merry making and party partaking.
When I received an S.O.S. comment on Facebook from one of my favorite readers, Maribel, I put on my thinking cap and went straight into action.
With Christmas Eve approaching in just a wink of an eye, Maribel commented that she was in need of a recipe that had enough style to impress at the holiday dinner table.
But there was one condition. The main dish had to be cooked in a slow cooker.
See Maribel doesn’t have an oven. No, I don’t know why—I’m fantasizing it’s because she’s either in the midst of an amazing kitchen remodel or lives in a teepee fashioned with an es long extension chord to a chugging generator or possibly just doesn’t believe in the clutter an oven adds to her kitchen?
Well, we’re here. The final countdown to Santa’s sleigh skidding to a stop on slippery, snow covered rooftops far and wide is mere days away. How did the arrival of Christmas and the jolly old elf happen so fast?
Am I ready? That depends on your idea of ready. Is the house all tidied up? All the presents purchased? Wrapped and under the tree? Ha! No, not yet, but I’m okay with that because this year it’s been about ‘time’. Time with my husband, time with my daughter, time to be together as our little nucleus that more often than not gets pushed to the side when deadlines loom and obligations prey.
Last weekend we scrapped our obligations and shot off to San Francisco to celebrate our wedding anniversary. With Smudge in tow. Word of wisdom: No matter how much you love Christmas, don’t get married at Christmas unless you want the holiday to completely overshadow the yearly celebration.
Earlier this week I asked my friends on Facebook which holiday recipes they wanted to see (you’re following FoodieCrush right?!!?.) It came to a tie between Meyer Lemon Bars and a slow-cooker Christmas Eve dinner. So I made you both. We’re starting with dessert first, as every meal really should. That slow-cooker dinner? Look for it on Sunday, a little bonus holiday post.
I took on a gardening adventure this year. See, I live in the mountains at the edge of a desert. Some wouldn’t think of Utah as a desert, but it is. The summers are so hot the chickens lay hard boiled eggs and the winters are colder than a witch’s kiss. (You can thank my mother in law for that vision.)
So when I decided to attempt to grow my favorite Meyer lemon tree in this non-Florida/Southern California landscape, I was pretty much tempting fate.
My two little trees/shrubs/bushes did produce about 6 lemons. Which makes each lemon worth about $34. Which makes for some rather expensive Meyer Lemon Bars. But totally worth it going from MY farm to MY table. And of course, you can find them a lot cheaper in the grocery store.
Now, thanks to snow on the ground and that darn witch and her kiss, I’ve moved these babies indoors and I must say, they are happy, happy, happy. I even have a new greenie on the stem just hoping to one day meet it’s destiny with a vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred thank you very much.
Winter brings with it a lot of amazing things. Snowflakes and holiday parties with sparkly shoes are some of the best. Puffy coats that make me feel like Randy in A Christmas Story thanks to ridiculously cold sub-zero temps, not so much. Those freezing temps? They can go find somewhere else to invade while I go shopping for something basic to go with my gold flecked shoes. Or maybe I’ll just wear this Beet, Carrot and Pomegranate Salad. I mean, it’s prettier and more jeweled up than anything I have in my closet.
While I’m snacking a nibble or 83 of cookies, fudge and a waffle here and there, I’m still craving salads in this frigid cold to bring me out of my sugar coma. I crave lettuce-ed leafed salads all summer long but when winter nips the freshness off the local lettuce buds, veggies with girth are what I look for now.
At a recent foray to our winter farmer’s market, I saw these beet beauties carats of carrots and scooped them straight up. Candy striped beets, carrots of red, yellow and purple’d pinks. These things needed a stage, and I knew exactly what to do with them.