Well it’s that time of year again … The Holidays … so many holidays around the world for everyone to celebrate. A celebration of tradition, family, love …. And so much more! This year will be difficult for many with the Covid19 Virus lockdowns in many countries. So much stress! What to do?
In years past this time of year was so very busy for me … child’s birthday, Christmas and Family (everyone always came to me) and a business party all in the same week! I was chief cook and bottle washer. I quickly learned to plan! Always planning with the spirit of the holidays in my heart. Joyous giving to all.
This year the plans have been scaled down considerably! Many are short on cash, are living alone, or have a very small household to celebrate with. Treat yourself and those in your household to something different! No need for a big turkey or all the fixings. After all … this whole year has been … DIFFERENT … to say the least!
Plan ahead and make ahead. Dinner may be small this holiday but cookies and cakes can still be made ahead and distributed to friends, neighbours and family. Planning involves deciding what is best for you and yours to do on your holiday. Pick a scenario that suits, make a list of foods/items necessary, clean out the fridge (amazing what you can find in there sometimes!), shop, bake, store items with their use in mind (where you can see them!). Helps to organize!
Many veggies can be chopped up a couple of days before and stored in air tight containers. Broths can be made days before and refrigerated. If, like me, you live in Canada, or any place where it is cold, and the temperature in your area is between 3 and minus 10 degrees celsius, store food items in a cooler on your balcony. Saves space!
We can all still celebrate, even if it is on a smaller scale (maybe that is a blessing – a rest this year!). Whatever your celebration is, food is always a part of it. Here are some suggestions for a happy, relaxing celebration …
If you love turkey and enjoy the leftovers (as I do), cook it on another day … doesn’t have to be on Christmas Day. Stuff the bird or not. Your choice! If you don’t want to use conventional stuffing, try cutting up some oranges, lemons, onions and garlic, add fresh herbs and peppercorns. Fill the cavity with these – gives moisture and flavour to the bird! Much easier than regular stuffing and offers the same benefits!
If you’re alone this holiday, make a special meal for yourself. Buy a nice bottle of wine. Something you have always wanted to try but weren’t able to serve for a group. Go where your tastebuds have dreamed of going!
For real magic … take a leap of faith! Try something completely different! A “Grazing day”! Gives time for Zoom calls with family and friends. Time for games and enjoying the company of those in your household with nothing else to do but have fun! Eat, drink and be merry!
Suggestions for Grazing foods:
Charcouterie Board filled with cold cuts, cheeses, fruits, jams/spreads, crackers, pickled veggies, olives.
Pizza – have small baking pans, pizza crusts (can be frozen crusts, soft tortilla shells or make ahead and freeze), and tomato sauce ready with a variety of toppings available for everyone to make their own.
Chips and dips – homemade, veggie and fruit trays (any leftovers can be used for stir fry or smoothies).
Devilled eggs, fish (smoked salmon, canned herring/sardines/tuna/salmon), pickled veggies (beets, carrots, red peppers, capers).
Meatballs, sausages (can be vegan too!), roasted veggies, pickled veggies, olives, cheeses, bread.
Salads – Greens, Potato salad, Tuna, Tomato & Olives, Lentil, Thai (with vermicelli), add chicken/cheese/eggs.
Roasted veggies – zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, leeks, tomatoes.
Soups – Sweet potato, squash, potato and leek, mushroom, lentil, bean, veggie – serve with garlic toast!
Stews – will simmer on low heat for hours and can be dipped into whenever! Add liquid when necessary.
Desserts – cookies, banana bread, tarts, pies, fruits, nuts, popcorn … so many choices!
Try something different. A favourite dish as a treat. A favourite wine. Make a non-alcoholic mulled cider!
All of the above can be served vegan, gluten and dairy free. Most will do well on the table for a 2 hours and will reheat easily in the oven or on the stove top.
Whichever scenario is yours, plan. Even if it is to plan a small dinner, a day relaxing in bed, Zoom calls with family/friends, game day with those in your house, watching a favourite movie on TV or whatever you like!
This holiday is a chance to relax and enjoy. And, of course, eat well! Wake up on the holiday refreshed and looking forward to a joyous day! Most importantly … have fun. It’s a time to celebrate and be joyous … not run around like a chicken with your head cut off. We have all had enough stress this year … make your special holiday … Special!