Our Holidays this Year: Great Food, Medical Clinics and Dogs in Tryptophan Comas


[How The Girls spent their holidays: waiting for Dad to share some of his turkey.]

Hope you have all been enjoying some down time during this week between Christmas and New Year’s!  Can it really be only TWO DAYS until 2013? Our holidays this year didn’t go quite as planned, but still ended up being happy, ultimately relaxing and filled with (of course) some great food. We threw together a great Christmas dinner on December 26th.

Why a day late? Well, after burning out with all the photo sessions (can you believe we’re only halfway there?!), I had planned to really rest and recharge over Christmas.  As usual, we had a vegan/omni feast planned; I took care of all the plant-based dishes while the HH purchased an organic turkey for his (and The Girls‘) portion of the meal.

It’s truly amazing to me how dogs can sense even a few molecules of meat in the house: just carrying the bag into the hallway triggered their noses, and they immediately milled around the HH’s grocery bag, sniffing and nudging and attempting to lick the exterior of the plastic, even though it was sealed airtight.  (“Mum, that’s because our noses are so much more sensitive than yours–everything is magnified 400 times.  Which reminds me, have you taken a shower yet today?“)

I had been having some vaguely annoying back pains over the previous few days, nothing to write home about.  On December 24th, though, things took a turn for the worse and I developed some severe pain and a slight fever.  After mulling it over all night (you REALLY don’t want to have to visit an emergency room in Toronto if you can help it; and visiting an emergency room in Toronto on a holiday weekend is basically just lunacy), I finally agreed early the next morning (yes, that would be CHRISTMAS morning, when everything is closed for the holiday) to go check in just to be sure nothing serious was going on.

We drove to the hospital, and, as I shuffled from the parking lot to the emergency entrance, I noticed what was a small crowd milling about the door.  As we got closer, I realized that no, it wasn’t a crowd milling about; it was the lineup to check in with the triage nurse, snaking outside of the actual emergency ward. That’s right, American friends: our wonderful Canadian medical system that is free to everyone is so backed up that they had insufficient space in the hospital Emergency entrance for all the people wishing to check in, let alone for the true emergencies themselves.

In the end, we managed to find one walk-in clinic that was actually open and broke a few speed limits to arrive literally 10 minutes before they closed. The diagnosis was suspected kidney infection (huh? How the HECK did that happen?!!) and a prescription for a powerful antibiotic.  As you can guess, an antibiotic prescription (more or less a guarantee of a candida flareup) was not my desired gift on Christmas Day. I actually waited one more day, dousing myself with Goldenseal and cranberry juice, to no avail. Rather than mess with my kidneys, I decided to take the damn pills.

And so, dear reader, that is how we in the DDD household ended up deferring Christmas for a day. On Boxing Day, we decided to cook the meal despite my feeling only nominally better. The HH and The Girls enjoyed a veritable feast while I ate precious little and drank more cranberry juice (unsweetened, natch).  It wasn’t until the pills kicked in the following day that I really piled up the plate and managed to sample everything.  Here’s what I had:


 [Clockwise, starting at 9:00: Brussels Sprouts Even My Honey Will Eat; Roasted Carrots; Spontaneous Stuffing with Cavena instead of Rice; Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onion Gravy; and JL’s totally spectacular Warm  Squash and Cranberry Salad, my favorite dish of the meal.]

No nut roast for me this year, as I just wasn’t feeling up to cooking it. And while I do feel a bit better, I’m not quite back to my usual perky self quite yet. The Girls, on the other hand, have been jonesing for turkey ever since The HH shared that first scrap with them.  When it comes to pleading for food, they tend to take very different approaches.

Elsie adopts a pleading, “Look-how-pathetic-I-am-Feed-Me-Now” look:


“Dad, you have to give me some turkey or I shall perish! I’m feeling faint, I tell you. C’mon, Dad, you know you want to. . . . “

While Chaser relies on the piercing Border Collie “stare” to wear down her target:


“You are feeling weaker and weaker. . . . you cannot resist me. . . . Must. Give. Turkey. NOW.”

And now, as we sit at the precipice of financial change (oh, wait, wrong cliff)–I mean the precipice of a New Year, I  thought I’d also share some of my favorite recipes from 2012 that would be perfect to serve on January 1st or beyond. (I’ll reserve the Candida Update I’d planned until next month, as that requires more of the aforementioned perkiness than I can muster at the moment).

Here are some of my favorite guest-worthy recipes from 2012 that would work well on New Year’s Day:

Fava Bean Balls with Cranberry-Tomato Chutney: this appetizer or main course from early in the year is one I made over and over as the year went on.


New Year’s Pelau: My take on what to do with black-eyed peas.

“It’s a Keeper” Butterscotch-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  A classic, remade. These were so good, I’m putting them in the cookbook.

Sweet Potato Buns: A personal favorite, these not-too-sweet rolls are perfect on a brunch table.

Kale Salad, Fully Loaded: this infinitely adaptable staple in our home was a favorite with all of you–one of the top posts of 2012.  Who doesn’t love a good kale salad?


The sleeper hit of the year, these Quinoa Pizza Balls were also surprisingly delicious–and so, so easy to make.


Baked Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatmeal Pudding: I’d almost forgotten about this winning dessert-cum-breakfast.  Enjoy it both ways!

Wishing you all a very happy 2013, with a hope that it will be a healthy one for all of us, too.  As always, I’m so glad that you’ve spent some time here over the past twelve months. . . and look forward to hearing more from you all in the New Year.

xo Ricki

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]

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  1. Oh goodness, poor you Ricki! Hope the infection clears up quickly and especially that the old Candida doesn’t flare up again…Thanks for all you shared with us in 2012, I always enjoy your writing and recipes, and look forward to more in 2013.

    • Emma, thanks so much! I’m sure it will clear up in 2013–ha ha! And thanks for your support in 2012, too. Happy, Happy New Year to you! 🙂

  2. Ricki! So sorry to hear about the kidney infection and the anti-biotics. And over the holidays too . . . Hopefully you will kick this infection without triggering the Candida. Thanks for all the goodness that you share with us during the year. So lookig forward to more in 2013. Best Wishes for Health and Joy!

  3. Yikes! Why is it that those things always happen around the holidays when things are busier than normal? At least you got a handle on it. I had kidney stones once and good lord, I never want to go through that again!

    Here’s to a happy and HEALTHY 2013 to you!

    • Thanks so much, Abby. It’s decidedly unpleasant. 😉 And yes, I second the “healthy” aspect–let’s all have a very Happy New Year as well! 🙂

  4. Oh no! I *TOTALLY* get the disappointment and aprehension you have felt having to take the antibiotics! However I am relieved for you that you got a diagnosis. I am praying for you right now, as I was just diagnosed with candida and have been on the ACD for only a month. Oh. There is no way I want to have to start that again myself, and am just trying to be optimistic that it’s working OK. Oh, I really don’t want you to have a set back! Here’s to better health in 2013 for all of us! c@

  5. Oh you poor thing, I hope you feel better soon! Hopefully a not so great end to 2012 will mean a wonderful, happy and healthy 2013.

    P.S. As usual, every recipe listed looks devine!

  6. Oh, Ricki, I am so sorry. That sounds awful! Thank goodness you went in and got it checked out, even though it sounds like it was quite a hassle. I hope that the HH is a good nurse and that he is taking care of you!

    Have a Happy, safe, and *healthy* New Year!


    • Thank you so much, Courtney! And I hope that yours is a spectacular New Year and that you’ve got something wonderful planned. Here’s to health, happiness and wishes coming true in 2013. 🙂 xo

  7. Well that’s a bummer! Hope you’re feeling better, and Happy New Year!

  8. poor girl, hope you’re well on the way to recovery now! Happy New Year:)

  9. Ricki you naughty woman! You didn’t let on that it was *this* bad! I would’ve sent you FORTY THOUSAND BILLION AND SEVEN more hugs in my email if I’d known! C. better be giving you those massages I prescribed. 😉 xoxox

    • Aw, you are too sweet, Hannah. I think I didn’t know it was that bad, either! I’ll keep the hugs, though (and dole them out as required). And who the heck is “C”?! You DO mean “The HH,” Right? 😉 xo xo

  10. Oh my! I sympathise entirely – we spent a day in emergency dept a few days before new year and spent quite a few days feeling terrible – fortunately the emergency dept was fairly quiet (perhaps because it was kids hosp!) but it is not a good time of year to feel ill. Glad you are sounding like you are getting better and that you enjoyed some yummy food. Hope you had a good new year’s eve and best wishes for 2013

    • Oh, you have my sympathies! Hope that Sylvia is better. And yes, one of the worst times to be sick. Wishing you all a wonderful 2013 as well. Looking forward to what you will cook up this year! xo

  11. oh no, that is no way to spend the holiday 🙁 hope you are feeling better, asap!

  12. Ricki hope you are feeling better; are you okay? I miss you tons! These recipes look AMAZING! Those quinoa pizza balls are fabulous. Yummy! I am sending you get-well wishes.
    Love u! Happy New Year!

    • Aw, thanks, Amie! Much better but not quite “there” yet. . . hope you had a fabulous New Year’s! Looking forward to a chat soon. 🙂 xo

  13. Oh goodness! Just catching up on my blog reading to find this sad news! I hope by now you are experiencing some relief! You are such a great story teller. Even in the midst of a frustrating story you always make me laugh. Health and wellness to you!!!

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