Our Holidays this Year: Chop, Slice, Stir, Sip, Nibble, Cook, Eat, Relax. Repeat.

[Some of the spoils of the 25th.]

Hope you all had a fantastic holiday!  Over here in the DDD household, we’ve had a wonderful time the past few days, what with the HH on holidays between Christmas and New Year’s.

(“Yes, Mum, we’ve loved it, too! It’s great to have those extra trail-walks. . . and play time. . . and. . . ooh, whatever that yummy food is called!  Um. . . do you think I could have some more of that stuff?”)

After scrambling at a cougar’s pace (that would be the feline kind, not the Courtney-Cox kind) the last few weeks to complete my work at the college (ie, marking last-minute assignments and over 170 exams within the space of 4 days); keep up with writing commitments; and buy gifts for my loved ones (then wrap and give said gifts to their intended recipients)–on Christmas Eve, finally, I began to unwind, think about some serious chillaxing, and prepare for a fabulous festive feast (including triple alliteration, no less).

“Yeah, Mum, chillaxing is great this time of year! I’m feeling toasty warm over here by the fireplace.  Oh, and by the way, I’m happy to help with leftovers. . . you know what I’m talking about.”

This year, the HH announced once again that he would like a tradtional turkey dinner.  As regular readers of this blog likely know, my honey is a devoted carnivore.  Most days, this state of affairs presents no problem at all: we coexist peacefully; he eats his meat at lunch time, or orders off restaurant menus when we dine out; or he cooks his own steaks or hamburgers and consumes my dinner as his side dish.  (For a good description of how another vegan-omni couple works it out in a similar way, see JL’s recent post). A huge turkey, however, is another matter entirely. 

“Yeah–turkey–that’s what it’s called!  So, did I hear you say, ‘turkey,’ Mum?”

One thing I love about the HH is his full acceptance of me–quirks, blemishes, and all, including aspects of myself that even I find difficult to tolerate.  Neurotic tirades about germs, disease, airplanes, strange noises in the house at night, having to wash the dishes just so–et cetera–are all met with (mostly) patient, even responses or calm rebuttals.  In the nearly-15 years we’ve been together, my sweetie has witnessed my physical proportions vacillate wildly a half dozen times, bouncing between an initially svelte, mini skirted physique to that of an engorged beach ball (nearly 200 pounds at the height of my candida woes in 2009).  And not once–not even in a whisper–has he ever uttered a negative word about my weight, acted less affectionate, or suggested that I might like to go on a diet. 

And so, on Christmas Day, after sleeping in and chasing the lethargy with a shot of coffee (the HH) and matcha tea (moi), we opened our presents in front of the fireplace. And then the HH got to work cooking his turkey.

After he popped it in the oven, he played sous-chef for me, chopping veggies, sautéing onions, slicing potatoes and trimming brussels sprouts.  

[Perfect gluten-free stuffing waiting to go into the oven.]

The rest of the day was spent alternately sipping warm apple cider drink (me, courtesy of Lexie). . . .

. . . or wine (he, courtesy of Casillero del Diablo). . .

. . . while reading (he: The Absolute Sound; she: The Blue Notebook and a few new cookbooks), playing with the Girls, doing the mega-crossword in The Globe and Mail (that’s a week-long project, I suspect) and listening to The Nutcracker, Buena Vista Social Club, Peggy Lee, Chopin and Zacharia.

["That's pretty nice music, Mum! Perfect for listening while waiting for more turkey. . . "]

Throughout the day as we reclined and prepped, we snacked intermittently on this cranberry-crusted cashew goat-cheese log I’d made  (simply whir about half of them in a blender to create a paste, then mix with the remaining whole berries and press the mess into your cheese; bake at 250F/120 C for 20 minutes to set). Heavenly!

[Cranberry-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese on oat crackers. . . almost made me forget about the meal!]

My final menu included Fava Bean Balls (I loved the flavor but not the texture–I’ll keep working on it and post the recipe once I perfect it) with Apple-Cranberry Sauce; Creamy Whipped Kabocha (processed with soaked raw cashews and a splash of lemon juice for a sour-cream effect); Scalloped Potatoes adapted from Alta’s recipe; our favorite brussels sprouts; gluten-free stuffing (loosely based on this recipe); and onion gravy.  It was an incredible, indulgent, celebratory meal, and we relished every bite.  In fact, I even enjoyed it again the next day for lunch:

The HH savored his turkey, too, alongside all the same sides as me. And because it was far too much for the HH alone, he shared amply with The Girls, who, it seemed to me, reacted much the way Marilyn Monroe did to a moving camera, or William S Burroughs did to a bag of cocaine on the table, or a gas stovetop element does to a lit match.  In fact, I’d say that Chaser still gets that “crazy eye” look any time someone utters the word, “turkey.”

["What? What's that you say?  Oh, no, Mum, you're totally wrong about that. No way, Mum.  Oh, I can stop any time I want.  Really.  No problem.  No worries.  It's just that I like turkey.  I choose to eat turkey. I mean. . . hey, by the way, is there any more?  I mean, I wouldn't mind some turkey. . . I'd actually love a little turkey. . . just a little. . . just one piece. . . . "]

For dessert, I attempted my very first Sticky Toffee Pudding, combining recipes from both Angela and Lexie.  The result was a thick, dense, spiced cake rendered gooey and sticky from soaking in toffee sauce, with a hefty scoop of Caramel Ice Cream alongside, also doused in more sauce (sorry, no photo–we lapped it up pretty quickly).  While The HH loved the dessert, I would have been happier with just the ice cream and sauce.

By this morning, I was ready to revert to lighter fare and more of my regular routine.  Ever since you all weighed in on what you’d like to see here, I’ve also been thinking about quicker, easier dishes for the Flash in the Pan series of recipes.

This breakfast is a hybrid of a classic chia pudding and a breakfast smoothie. It can be prepared the night before and left in the fridge to soften and plump up overnight.  The pudding combines some of my favorite smoothie ingredients (rice protein powder, avocado, rice milk, cacao) with the texture of a pudding, resulting in a high-protein, high Omega-3 meal-in-a-bowl that provides a whole host of other health benefits as well.  Pillowy soft, luxuriously creamy and rich tasting, this breakfast is a quick way to acquire a full serving of protein in what tastes like a dessert.  It’s a great way to use up those ripe avocados on your countertop, too.

I can’t think of a better way to cap off the holiday feasting. Can you?

Well, Mum, if you really want to know, I’s say that another slice of that turkey would do just fine. . . but chances aren’t looking too good at the moment.  I may as well just give up on it for now. . . *Sigh*.”

And finally. . . your opinion, please!

I loved learning what you’d like to see on the blog in 2012 (and please feel free to keep those ideas coming in the comments!).  For now, I’ve got a more immediate question for y’all (I already asked this one on Facebook, so if you answered there, thanks!):  The HH and I have been invited to the home of a friend of a friend for a New Year’s Eve bash.  All I know about this gent is that he’s a true gourmet who loves to cook and eat.  I’ve been asked to bring a sweet treat and am considering the following three (note that they’re not ACD friendly or gluten free–but then again, these are for a crowd of conventional eaters). 

Which one would you choose?

The Classic Chocolate Fudge (with a hint of orange zest):

fudgeorangeapricot

 

The quirky Spiked Sweet Potato Truffles:

 truffleinside

or The elegant Matcha Chocolate Truffles?

matchatruffleplate

I’ll be back next time with some musings on the end of the year, resolutions and health in 2011!

I’m sharing this recipe at Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday event.

Last Year at this Time: African Sweet Potato Stew (gluten free; ACD, all stages)

Two Years Ago: Quick and Easy Dal and Chickpea Koftas (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

Three Years Ago: Apple Noodle Pudding (kugel) with Tart Dried Cherries (not gluten free; ACD maintenance only)

Four Years Ago: A Joy: Pot Luck Club

© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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Comments

  1. I’d go with the truffles – tres chic!

    And that breakfast looks YUM-o.

  2. I second the truffles. :)

  3. truffles! hmmmmm… i love the way the matcha looks.. i think the spiked sweet potato.. its always fun to find something orangey and spiked in there!:)

  4. Matcha! They look so elegant.

  5. Matcha chocolate truffles get my vote! :)

    Oh Ricki, your description of your relationship with HH, including your whittling away of days together in companionable silence and sometimes chatter, is exactly what I dream of but fear never finding. Thank you for reminding me to hope :)

    • Hannah, what you may not know is that the HH and I met when I was almost 40. I used to dream of it, too. . . until it happened. So you never know when/how you’ll meet the right person! (and despite the normal ups and downs, I know in my heart that the HH is the right person for me!). :D

  6. Matcha Chocolate Truffles gets my vote!! :)

  7. Don and I work in the kitchen together on special dishes like the turkey dinners and the New Year’s stuffed cabbage (for good luck). Otherwise he usually cooks and I bake. I would go for the fudge but that is my sweet tooth talking. Both truffles are impressive. The matcha tea ones are the ones I vote most likely to wow a gourmet.

  8. Oooh sweet potato truffles… mmmmm…

    Looks like your holiday was fabulous!!

  9. Oh, so relaxing! You just reminded me that I need to take a day off and do nothing.

    I vote sweet potato truffles!

  10. Matcha truffles for sure. They look amazing, and they reflect your love for matcha tea! (but I’ll admit, the sweet potato truffles look good too ;)

  11. Sweet potato truffles because I’d love for you to really trick them :) Sounds like a fab holiday Ricki. I’m happy for you. xo

  12. Gracious, Ricki! What a lovely recap of the holiday, through photos and food. I’m drooling over just about everything, not least the heavenly chia pudding.

    • Glad you like the pudding, Gena (which means a lot coming from the chia pudding expert!). :) It was a really laid back few days. . . thinking maybe time to get outta my jammies. ;-)

  13. This post warms my stomach and my heart! Delicious food (as ALWAYS) but it’s the glimpse into your relationship that is so special. I feel so lucky to have met you and your HH in person and your description of the love and respect you have for one another was obvious during our dinner with our omnivorous but super-supportive loves.

    Wishing you the happiest new year, dear friend! xo

    • Aw, thank you so much, JL! We’re still looking forward to when we can meet up with you and Dave again–loved spending time with you both–and so nice to find another “blended” couple to share time with! ;-) Hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve enjoying all kinds of food and fun together! xo

  14. Your dogs are so beautiful. One day when my children are older, I hope to have a dog to run and walk with. Dogs are so magical.

  15. Love everything in this post, Ricki! It’s such a gift that you shared all of it with us! :-) Oh, and I’d pick the sweet potato truffles so now since it’s after the fact, I’m wondering what you took. Hope you all had a fabulous time at your upscale party! Must go to bed now. I’m turning into a pumpkin. ;-)

    Shirley

  16. this post slipped off my blog reader unnoticed so I am am unable to give any advice before new years – but I would have chosen the sweet potato truffles because that is what I really want to make – although it is just so hot tonight that making chocolates would not be a good idea – 35 C is just too hot for doing anything but eating the stuff! Loved hearing about your christmas – glad HH got his turkey and you got a fantastic feat – you know what I would prefer – I love the sound of the cheese with cranberries – yet again wish we had fresh ones here – and love that pic of HH’s slippered feet – looks so cosy and relaxed

  17. So glad you liked the potatoes! What did you use in place of the wine – more broth?

  18. Hmm though I love matcha I might have to go with the spiked sweet potato truffles! Sounds like a delicious holiday meal. Looooooove the Chaser and Elsie photos, especially that first one. :)

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