Blogmas Day 24: It’s Christmas Eve!

It is Christmas Eve! I been up since 7 am, went out at a little before 9 am to run errands.  Nothing extravagant just food for my dishes and food for my soul.

I went to two stores in the mall. I didn’t like the vibe I got at the Mac counter. I guess they thought I was going to steal something right in front of the register, so I left. I went to Sephora, which is inside Jcpenny. I asked about pigments and the associate had no clue about what I was talking about. She even said all our eyeshadow has pigments. Um, really? You should know makeup if you work in Sephora. I left.

The day wasn’t a bust, I finally had some authentic Pho from Vn Pho here in Montgomery.  Amazing! I also had their fresh spring rolls, so great!

It’s Christmas Eve and I hope you are ready for tomorrow! Prayers and blessing to you all!

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Pho…

 

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Blogmas Day 23: Things I Miss

I get a bit nostalgic during the holidays some of it brought on by my seasonal sadness others just because I miss things or someone.  I have been contemplating things I am missing right now and wish were here still or could happen soon.   Here is a list of what I miss:

  1.  I miss my mother during Christmas because she always went all out for the holiday.  She always baked her homemade cookies.  I miss those cookies.  I miss pre-opening my gifts.  (Stop judging!) I just miss her presence and I wonder often how life would have been different if she hadn’t died.  Would I be traveling to Florida to visit or Alabama for that matter?
  2. I miss my aunt.  The house still has some of her presence there, but I miss our long talks.  I miss the companionship we had forged.  We could be in two different rooms and our bond would be still be strong.  I know she isn’t suffering any longer, but I miss her.  Lord, what I would do for a piece of her fried chicken.
  3. I miss our neighborhood with all the different families, because now most have passed on leaving their homes empty.
  4. I miss having a boyfriend.  I miss looking for the perfect gift.  I miss the amazing conversations about family during the holidays.  I miss all a relationship encompasses.
  5. I miss getting amazing outfits.  I used to get great outfits, except that cow coat I have never worn.  If you ain’t old or a child, no gifts for you!  LOL!
  6. I miss the surprises on Christmas.  Like the time my aunt’s nephew surprised us for Christmas and said he wasn’t going back to Cleveland.  Or when my cousin and his wife announced they were expecting Carson.
  7. Finally, I miss the feeling of Christmas.  I feel like the month of December goes so quickly I do not get the opportunity to just be in the moment and really experience all that Christmas means.  I want to feel Christmas and these days I am going through the motions.  This year was better than the previous two, but I miss the excitement and exhilaration I used to feel for the day.  Plus, Christmas is supposed to be 77 degrees, I just don’t know if Hell is right here on Earth or not.  It has reached high 40s this week, really!

What do you miss around this time of year?

Blogmas Day 20: Christmas Dinner

I wish my folks weren’t traditional or so damn allergic, because I get tired of eating ham and turkey for Thanksgiving and then Christmas. I am so over it.  The thing is…no one wants to move out of their comfort zone.

We have similar foods from Thanksgiving on Christmas, but more casseroles and pasta salads. The desserts are in abundance as well.  Don’t get me wrong it tastes good, but sometimes my mouth just wants something different.  What, you may ask?  Well…

How about a prime rib? I would love a good prime rib with horseradish sauce or, if we didn’t have those folks who are allergic to shellfish, seafood. Just the thought of tables covered in crabs, lobster, shrimp, squid, mussels and fish has my mouth watering and a look of pure anticipation.  It ain’t gonna happen.

Seafood is expensive and have you priced prime rib lately? For real ain’t gonna happen.  Plus, my folks would over cook the prime rib.  Blood creeps them out, where it pisses me off to have overdone steak.  It is just a thought though.

I guess I want to do something different for Christmas and changing up the menu makes for a subtle change. However, everyone isn’t open for that kinda change.  Eventually, I want to just travel for the holiday season so my want of prime rib and seafood can be met.

The thing is Christmas dinner is about more than the food and the gifts; it is about family and fellowshipping. We do not get together very much anymore especially since my aunt died, so I expect no different this year, but I was promised some turnip greens…

What traditions does your family follow religiously?

Blogmas Day 18: Book Club Meeting Success!

I made it through the meeting, but it was touch and go prior to the meeting. I seemed to be on schedule but some how or another by 5:30 things seem to be going astray. Let’s start at the beginning.

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Time to enjoy the meeting…

I had a things-to-do list for seven days before the meeting. Each day consisted of making gifts, cookies or food and cleaning. I stuck to my schedule religiously. I didn’t just come home every evening and watch YouTube or television. I came home with a mission in mind. So by Thursday, I only had to bake cookies and get some items from Sam’s Club.   Don’t tell my sister but I did get two different chopped salads from Sam’s only because they were only $2.58 a piece. Another side note, I almost had a meltdown in Sam’s because they didn’t have the big bag of chocolate candy, you know the one with the Hershey’s Miniatures, Hershey’s Kisses and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But I searched high and low to find them and I did. I meant I was sticking to my budget.

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The cookies…All of them.

So Thursday night I baked cookies and marinated my jerk chicken wings. And I finished by 1:30 am, which is better than that 2:30 am of the previous year. By having the cookies already made and scooped made things run smoothly. When I was finished though I was pissed. Why you may ask? WOW cable. Y’all they are always working on the cable. And when they do you may be without cable, Internet and phone from 12:30 am until 6:30 am. For those of you new to my blog, I sleep with the television on and I really cannot sleep without it. So I called and waited 20 minutes to talk to a representative because I needed to know why they do not let their customers know of the outage and why they do not credit us for the inability to use the service we pay for. Needless to say, although they were nice, they couldn’t answer the questions. Anyway, I tried to sleep but it was rough and I didn’t go to sleep fully until 4:30 am, when the television came back on.

Friday I had a late start because of my lack of sleep. But I went to the grocery store and bread store and came home and politely took a nap.   Did I mention the temperature was a nice 52 degrees? I got up from my nap and cooked my jerk wings, honey barbecue wings and garlic Parmesan wings. Then I had to head to the 2nd job to drop off the cookies and pick up my Bottom of the Lake dip.   When I got back home I did my fruit tray, finished cleaning the den and living room, set up a couple more things and headed to bed. I slept well that night.

Saturday I got up and made my chicken salad and ham salad sandwiches. The sauce for my meatballs and set up the tables and headed out to pick up my punch. When I got home I finished cleaning and setting up my food like the stuffed mushrooms and then I took a much needed hour nap. I woke to take a bath and beat my face. Then it was time to baked the mushrooms and set up the drink station. I mixed up the chopped salads and grilled my shrimp.   No sooner had I finished the doorbell rang with the first guest. However, I had on my lock sock and no lipstick on and I was walking around barefoot.

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The spread…This time I was able to take pictures…

The meeting was great.   All my members showed up and they bought their community service gifts (we donated towels sets to the Brantwood Children’s Home). We discussed current events; we discussed life and had a great book discussion of Second House from the Corner by Sadeqa Johnson. I gave the ladies the bath bombs and they loved them.   We had a great time fellowshipping and it was wonderful. Oh, by the way the temperature that day was in the mid 70s. We going to hell! I couldn’t open the windows like I usually do because it was hot so I had to turn on the AC in the house not in the den though I didn’t want anyone to get sick.

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All the members!

Everyone was gone by 9 pm and I was in the bed by 9:40. How you may ask? I am an organized cleaner which means once I organize the dishes it takes me no time to clean. I finally got to enjoy the food and thanks to my wine I had a great night’s sleep. Another holiday book club meeting under my belt!

Blogmas Day 17: Preparing for Book Club Holiday Meeting

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Every year since 1999 I have hosted the December book club meeting. This is the meeting most members look forward to because they are going to get good food and the spirit of Christmas when they walk into the house.  Well back in 1999, I decorated the outside of the house and our house was lit up and was the brightest house on the street.  Those were the days…

In the early days I had help. My cousins who are now in their late 20s and early 30s would come over and answer the door and act as greeters all in exchange for food.  Cheap help is hard to find nowadays.  Back then I also had over 20 members, which I would pray wouldn’t all show up.  I know that is mean, but hell it was true.

My aunt and uncle would be present in the house but unless you went to the back of the house you would never know they were there. I smile thinking about those times.  My uncle would look at the aftermath of the food table and say the women grazed like cows.  Deadpan serious.

My uncle died in 2007 two days before Thanksgiving and I remember my members weren’t sure if I would decorate and even host the meeting in its grandeur. I did.  It was hard because I was still grieving and getting use to the new normal.  After my aunt died in 2010, I made it my business not to allow the sadness of the time to dampen the meeting and it didn’t.  That is when me and The Guy reconnected.

Today my book club consists of 13 members including myself, which is so much better than the larger groups we once had. I don’t have to cook as much, don’t judge me.  It takes a lot to prepare for the meeting and sometimes if you have read my blog long enough I would get sick.  Imagine trying to cook and clean when you feel like shit.  Definitely not a good look, but thank goodness I am feeling good and I have been working on my to-do list all week.  And I am more prepared than last year, I hope.  Although I make the tokens I give the members now, but back in the day I would spend mad money getting gifts.  I think the handmade gifts show I felt they were worth my time and money for a thoughtful gift.  I do not make elaborate desserts.  We are older now so I get some wine and point them to the liquor cabinet so they can mix their own drinks.  What?  I host but I ain’t serving you.  This year I do plan to get a picture of all the food, unlike last year they acted like they were starving to death but some meetings I get nothing to eat because y’all know I don’t eat cheese but they love it.  LOL!  I used to have things like cheese balls and straws at the meeting, not anymore.  If I ain’t going to eat it I ain’t making it.  Stop judging me!

What my members never really think about is I have to prepare to host the meeting and I have to prepare for the discussion of the meeting.  That is a lot of work that I think they take for granted.  However, celebrating Christmas is my thing and I wouldn’t do it any other way.  Here’s to a good meeting, which I hope will not be our last holiday meeting.

Blogmas: Day 10 Food Cravings

What do food cravings have to do with Christmas?  Nothing.  However, I would love to find a buddy to go with me to get sushi.  I am so craving it.

On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I had been running around all morning trying to get the items I needed for my dishes and for the house.  I didn’t have time to eat breakfast before I left and I mean nothing I passed by looked good enough to stop for. Plus, I don’t eat out much so I stick to my usual.   Unfortunately, I didn’t even pass a Chic Fila, which is one of my favorites, but I really didn’t want chicken, you know what I mean?

Then I made my final stop, which was Publix.   As I gathered my last few items, ate a few samples (by the way I am not a fan of chicken sausage with parsley), then I passed the seafood and sushi area. The birds started to sing, flowers started blooming and my heart sang a beautiful, soul-stirring song. Too much? LOL! I wanted sushi and I was going to get me some. Did you even know Publix had fresh sushi? I have eaten it a few times before and after taking note of the health score (high 90s) I perused the selections and debating between a spicy tuna roll or a dragon roll, I went for the dragon roll. And I am so glad I did because it was amazing with ginger and wasabi I was in food heaven. Which is probably why it is so hard for me to lose weight.

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Dragon Roll from Publix…Delicious!

I know there are plenty of restaurants that serve sushi, but um, their health score scares me too much to try them. However, there are a few places that have good scores, I just need to find me a sushi partner to help me explore them and that we can order different rolls and share.   Any takers?

Blogmas Day 8: Creative Cooking Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup

It is cold here in Alabama, like really cold. Like we went from summer to winter.  You know if it gets below 60 degrees it is cold, right?  So that means soup, but not my homemade everything but the kitchen sink soup.  I can’t overfill my refrigerator right before my Christmas book club meeting.  A while back I saw a recipe for a crock pot loaded baked potato soup and thought I would give it a try.  And I am so glad I did, because this is one those soups that sticks to your ribs without putting you to sleep right after lunch.  I can’t be taking a nap at my desk…LOL!

I got the recipe from Food.com and of course I made a few changes, because you all know I do not like real cheese.

Ingredients:

6 lg baking potatoes cubed

1 lg onion

32 oz of Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth

3 cloves of minced garlic

¼ cup of butter

1 cup of cream

Salt and pepper to taste (I used Cajun seasoning and pepper)

1 cup of Velveeta Shreds or your favorite sharp cheddar cheese

3 tbs of fresh green onions

Garnish:

Bacon

Green onions

Velveeta Shreds

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Everything in the slow cooker/crock pot!

In your crock pot or slow cooker, place your potatoes, onions, broth, garlic, salt/Cajun seasoning and pepper. Turn your slow cooker on low for 8 hours.  Then you need to mash your potatoes I left some cubed so I could have the extra texture.  Add the potatoes back to the slow cooker and then add your cheese, cream and onions.  Your mixture will be thickened and the smell will have you ready to indulge.  Add your bacon, green onions and Velveeta as garnishment and get to eating!

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Loaded baked potato soup…yummy!

Verdict: OMG!  This was so good.  It tasted like a loaded baked potato and very filling.  And although the only meat is the garnishment of bacon, but seriously this soup will fill you up without the meat.  It is worth giving it a try on those nice and cold days.  Let me know if you try it!

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Creamy, flavorful goodness!