Friday, December 30, 2011

Feast Days

December is drawing to a close, a new year is upon us.  Christmas this year for me and my family was very joyous--we had the opportunity to spend time together and eat, of course.  I am a fortunate girl, I have my whole family and good friends (who are like family) around me--everyone is healthy and doing well in their lives, we are a blessed bunch.  I have a beautiful niece, a loving husband, and parents who I adore, even when they drive me completely bananas.  I am also so grateful for my two brothers.  When you're young, your siblings can be the bane of your very existence.  If you're lucky, as you get older those relationships develop into something very special.  Your siblings are the only people who truly understand the special dysfunction of your family--and even though you are different people, they share a vantage point with you that no one else does.  My brothers are so special to me and each for different reasons. 

In my way I page homage to the season by baking and cooking my ass off.  The phrase would imply that I have no ass left, when actually the opposite is true--it's still here, big as ever. :) 

Here are a smattering of some of the yumminess that came out of my kitchen this December:



Amaretto Tiramisu

Homemade Irish Cream (Just like Bailey's, only SO much better!)




 
My true Christmas miracle--cookies, cookies and more cookies! My favorite this year were the gingerbread with satsuma glaze...OMG, so amazingly good...even if I do say so myself.




Ok, yes, these are fruit cakes..but people actually LIKE to get these! I leave out all the citrusy stuff that makes fruit cakes bitter and put in extra nuts.


My original Peanut Butter cup cookies. Amber's favorite!


  


Hasselback Potatoes...


Egg Nog Pound Cake Cupcakes with Mascarpone cream frosting..I had some mascarpone cream left over from the Tiramisu..couldn't let it go to waste!





Carmelized Onion Dip...a riff on the old California Dip standby, just 1000% better.









Matzo Ball soup---not too shabby for a Catholic girl (although truth be told, I think I was supposed to be born to a nice Jewish couple from the Upper East Side.)

  


SHRIMP.....started out as shrimp cocktail on Christmas Eve and by the 26th it was the most delightful shrimp salad ever.


 So what do all these pictures tell us?  First and foremost, we all ate well and often this year.  But the bigger message here, for me, is that when I stop to take stock in the abundance in my life I stop fretting over what I don't have, what I haven't done, and all of the "if only's" that can punctuate any given day.  It isn't as easy as it sounds, though.  We all want to keep our eyes on the positive, don't we?  Why can be it be so difficult when blessings are surrounding us daily?  I blame some on the "do more, do it faster, have more, get more" aspect of our culture.  But I also think that some of it is that humans are amazingly adaptive creatures, this adaptivity is great, but also it results in us not seeing what is right in front of us until it's threatened or even gone.  We are like the fish that don't see the water they swim in--our blessings, our abundances become so secondary to us that we become blind to them. 

Yesterday I watched a video created by an 18-year old Ben Breedlove.  A young man who had struggled his whole life with heart defect.  His video, on YouTube, showed the kind of courage and beauty that you see with people who deal with a daily threat to their lives.  It's like they know something we don't: they know that everything we have no matter how big or small, is precious, but nothing is as valuable and fleeting as time.  It's something to which we pay lip-service, but we really aren't able to internalize it--if we were fish, time would be our water. 

I have no actual answers to this, except to say that my New Year's resolution is to be more present in my daily life and to try to stay aware of the 'water' that surrounds me.  Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year to all of you!

1 comment:

  1. Namaste. Please marry me.
    XOXOXOXO Bonnie L

    ReplyDelete