HAPPY TWENTY SIXTEEN! While Christmas is over but…it’s still the most wonderful time of the year as we toast to the arrival of new beginnings and a chance for everyone to ‘get it right’ this year! Before I begin the new year’s posts I thought I should do a quick re-cap on my Christmas for you—how about a quick evaluation before we shelf the going-ons of our December 2015 as a mental de-clutter and wrap up!
On Entertaining Small vs Big
Well we had a much quieter Christmas this year and chose to entertain intimately with sets of couples over the festive season rather than have the one big Christmas party on the day itself which had been more our thing in previous Christmases. Entertaining in smaller numbers helped us focus our attention on our individual guests and foster deeper friendships which usually begin with those intimate, heart-to-heart conversations rather than discussing current affairs suited to what I call ‘for large group consumption’. There are pros and cons with both options (small versus big) for the host and depending on what I’m able to manage in terms of time, resources and convenience, I find it worthwhile to evaluate what exactly would best suit my circumstances on a yearly basis.
I’m sharing a few of the highlights of my Christmas with you, five specifically—to mark the end of twenty fifteen and as a celebratory tribute to living ever more creatively in twenty sixteen. As we begin the new year, I’m already dreaming up the projects that I can’t wait to show you and some of the new (and hopefully exciting) facets I’m hoping to introduce to the blog. Thanks for your support and allowing me to share all with you last year and really soon, this year! It’s been a blast and I hoped some of you were helped by my creative journey : ) So here goes…
1. Why I’ll Be Brining My Turkey Every Year
For every year I wrestle with my turkey, it’s a wonder that I would still embark on taking on the big bird each Christmas! But this year I had an epiphany. A miracle, really. If you haven’t heard of the brining method of preparing your Christmas turkey, you HAVE to explore it, learn it and never look back. Thanks to this recipe I found from chef Emeril Lagasse (the cheerful cherubic gentleman who’s frequently on Martha Stewart Living), I’ve overcome my turkey for good. Talk about going from glory to glory.
Just look at this picture of what I served up at the Christmas table this year. Something huh? There’s no longer any need to stick my fingers under layers and folds of pale turkey skin to insert herbed butter and the like. You brine it and rub the butter on the top of the skin! Hurrah. Enough said. Juicy, tender and flavourful turkey meat can be had like a dream.
2.Teaching Our Kids The Importance of Making
Not enough of us make crafts with our kids to hang on our Christmas trees each year and I wonder why when it’s such a wonderful memory to make for our children each year. I make it a tradition in our family to craft with my kids every Christmas so that it will be something they shall remember far more than some toy we wrapped under the tree for their delight on Christmas morning. This year we made boy and girl angels from plain wooden clothes pegs with rounded heads.
All we used were these materials:
Craft tacky glue
Foam (for angel wings)
Wooden clothes pegs x 2 (available form craft stores)
Coloured markers to decorate & embellish
3.Why We Should Grow Edible Things This Year
These rosemary herbs came from our garden. I grew them a few years back and now it’s a permanent bush that thrives even under neglect!
There is so much use for them—for roasts, for steaks, for roasting nuts even, and of course for my annual turkey. They even make a pretty nifty basting tool with olive oil over the barbecue. I also use them to wrap gifts and to decorate the table, napkins or to add a lovely scent to our kitchen. Almost all of the plants I’ve chosen to grow are edible in our little garden, for obvious reason! They’re a delight to the soul and such a great way to save both money and the earth! You ought to get down to it this year if you haven’t.
4.Adding Oomph to Salads
These walnuts were toasted with maple syrup and some brown sugar. Oh my gosh. You won’t believe how good they make your salad! I added some roasted cubed sweet kumara (sweet potatoes) and organic raisins in the mix…woahh. Everyone loves a surprise in a salad.
I find that adding nuts (pine/almonds/macadamia/pistachios/pecans etc) and seeds almost always add the sweet spot of delight to my salads. On special occasions, the least a charming hostess could do is try her best not to bore others with a predictable salad?
5.Making Cards By Hand
While I know not everyone has the time (as if I do!), I wish the world would be seduced again into the charm of making a card by hand. I’m convinced we would save the world, one card at a time.
Even if my friends made me a white card with a squiggle or a doodle of a stick figure—I’ll be charmed and touched beyond words. Do you remember that tagline “When you care enough to send the very best?” I think that might’ve been Hallmark, but I’d like to think they were referring to handmade cards. Yea. Nothing is better than the cards my kids make for me. I hope they never ever buy me cards from the shops. (Somebody please remind them when they’ve outgrown their crayons and colour pencils).
These are Christmas cards I’d made this year with my wonderful Christmas present from the generous husband—a Heidi Swapp Minc machine. I’m so addicted to hot foiling that I don’t even know where to begin to blog about my hot foil exploits. Here’s a start, I guess. I’m unveiling my first batch of hot foil cards and gift tags I created for this Christmas. Look out for my future posts on the ‘Mincredible’ fun I’ve been having with my Minc!
And that about sums up my beautiful quiet peaceful Christmas of 2015. Love my family and best friends in Singapore whom I miss dearly. I hope I was missed too!