Saturday, December 24, 2016


This recipe is actually for one of my three daughters, and I'm sure they'll all know which one it is. It's for the daughter who for a brief moment was in a state of panic, thinking that due to unfortunate circumstances, Christmas dinner might be moved to her house. Her dad was the one to make the call. Though I couldn't hear her, I almost wet my pants, laughing at the thought of her expression. I could almost hear her – Me? Make Christmas dinner? But I can't cook!

I couldn't count the giggles I let out on that one.

All she would've needed to make would be the main entrĂ©es – the turkey, ham (or both), and the mashed potatoes, because that's all that's expected of the host. The rest of the family members always divvy up the side dishes and breads and goodies and bring those to the table. Nobody wants the hassle of keeping mashed potatoes fresh and warm during a one-hour drive, so the host always makes them.

But this particular daughter wouldn't know what to do with the turkey, and she'd be calling me – Do I have to peel the potatoes before I mash them?

It worked out that we didn't need to move Christmas dinner to her house after all, and I'm sure she sighed a thousand breaths of relief. But for any of you who get in a panic over Christmas dinner, here's the easiest last-minute one you can make. It will also work for you, daughter, if ever again there's the possibility of having Christmas dinner at your house. Although a few adults might quirk an eyebrow, the kids will love you for it. Who wants that boring stuffing and cranberry sauce with those awful red berries anyway?

Make a Christmas tree taco dinner.

First, you will need two-thirds of a yard of nice green fabric (honey, that's 24 inches, so don't buy a whole bolt.) Green construction paper would work as well, but you might need to tape about four sheets together to make it large enough. If you don't like that idea, and you have no fabric, use aluminum foil over cardboard and you will have a silver tree. Fold your 24 inches of fabric (or substitute) in half. Then cut the shape of Christmas tree branches out on the unfolded side. You did this in kindergarten, so I know you can do it. Unfold the fabric, and then you will have the shape of a very nice Christmas tree.

It is your choice if you want to put on any garland or not. You can string anything that you would put in a taco bar. Green olives, diced tomato, diced onion. You can make an all olive garland, or one that is all tomatoes, or one that alternates every other color.

You want nice big bulbs for the taco-bar tree, so for that you will use aluminum foil and cut a number of 8-inch circles, easily done by using a small dinner plate as a pattern. Then bring up the edge all around each circle, so that you are shaping them into a nice round bowl. These little bowls will be filled with diced onion, grated cheese, green olives, black olives, diced tomatoes, taco sauce (double your bowl for sauce so it doesn't leak), and anything else you'd like for tacos. Be sure to fill a few of the bowls with taco meat. Last, make a trunk-sized dish in more of a square shape and fill it with the taco meat. That will be the trunk of your tree.

Your dad and I would both love a meal like this, because quite frankly, by the time we're done having Thanksgiving with all of you, and Thanksgiving with a few other people, we are a bit tired of ham and turkey and all of that hoopla anyway. To look at the same meal again for Christmas is a bit of a bah-humbug, if you ask me.

Love, Mom

P.S. Merry Christmas!



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

MY NEW BFF--Teddy!

I remember thinking that once the last kid moved out, my house wouldn't be scattered with toys. Boy, was I wrong.