I love food.
I love food in the spring. I love food in the summer (hello local corn on the cob and fresh berries). I love food in the fall. But most of all, I love food at Christmas.
There just isn’t another time of year where I eat all my favourite things in such quick succession. I paced myself and tried to make sure I felt okay physically (not too much dairy, light on the breakfasts) – and it was delicious.
*Please note: the photo above is not from our Christmas dinner; in fact I only have TWO pictures from the entire week of feasting. Food photography is not my forte. I took a picture of the seafood casserole and even though it is objectively one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten, it is white and yellow and looked very unappetizing in photos.
CHRISTMAS EVE…EVE | Seafood casserole, curried rice with shrimp (both out of a Company’s Coming cookbook – talk about a blast from the past) and pecan pie with ice cream. My husband grew up loving this seafood casserole and rice combo, but I only started making it two years ago. It has quickly morphed into a family favourite, and I only make it for his birthday + Christmas, so it definitely feels special. It’s rich and filling and decadent (hello, lobster, scallops and shrimp). Bonus: the leftovers are absolutely fantastic and the adults polished those off on Christmas Eve!
CHRISTMAS EVE | Lunch was our beloved mini donair pizzas. I make the meat and sauce but buy pre-shredded cheese and Naan. Donair is a unique form of spiced ground beef, very popular in Eastern Canada. There are entire restaurants devoted to donairs; the meat is shaved off a giant spit and folded inside soft pitas with onions, fresh tomatoes and a delicious sauce. I make ours in pizza form, topping Naan bread with donair sauce, meat and cheese and broiling them for a few minutes. I served diced fresh tomatoes and fried onions on the side. Dessert at both meals was a smorgasbord of edible delights – my Mom’s sweetened condensed milk squares (AKA 7-layer bars), homemade fudge (brown sugar and chocolate) and homemade peanut butter balls.
Supper was my Mom’s homemade Mac n’ Cheese – the kids favourite meal at Grammie’s house – though the adults enjoyed leftovers of seafood casserole.
CHRISTMAS DAY| Breakfast always, always involves cinnamon coffee cake (monkey bread that I make with fluffy buttermilk biscuit dough) and we had scrambled eggs with bacon.
Lunch was assorted meats, fancy cheeses, crackers, dips, and other cold finger foods. We started doing this last Christmas and I think it will be a tradition moving forward. John has assumed responsibility for this meal and it feels like a nice reprieve on Christmas Day. I grew up always having a huge turkey dinner, but I like being able to relax and put everything on paper plates after the morning chaos and excitement. Dessert was unbaked cherry cheesecake – my absolute favourite dessert.
Supper was meatballs in the slowcooker. Again, this was a new idea from last year. We all love meatballs, and being able to put something in the slowcooker allows us to go off on a Christmas Day adventure (last year to Peggy’s Cove, this year to a local beach). I think, weather permitting, we’ll aim to make this another annual tradition for our family. It’s so nice to get outside and stretch our legs!
BOXING DAY | Turkey, turkey, turkey! Stuffing (StoveTop, because I’m fancy like that), corn, squash, homemade pickled beets, canned cranberry sauce and…of course…unbaked cherry cheesecake.
We ended up having enough cherry cheesecake to each have a wedge one meal per day for almost a week (the kids sometimes opted for cookies – which just meant more cheesecake for me)! I’ve had my fill for the season and won’t have another one until my birthday…but it was so, so delicious.
LEFTOVERS | While there was a lot of cooking up front, we then lived on leftovers for days and my fridge is now almost completely bare. I made a soup with all the leftover turkey and veggies which fed us for two meals + some skillet cornbread; I made turkey filling for sandwiches. We finished up dishes of Mac n’ Cheese, meatballs and rice, and a few remaining donair pizzas. We’ve picked away at the peanut butter balls, cookies and fudge and everything is stashed in the freezer so we can slowly dole out the remaining stash.
I have to say, though there were a lot of decadent treats, overall, I’m happy about how I paced myself this year. For the most part, I didn’t feel overstuffed and would often stick with a single serving of items, not feeling the need to go back for seconds. Some of this might have been related to feeling overtired (so not as hungry), but I did try to be more conscious about what I was reaching for, when, and why. Christmas still felt very indulgent, but not to the point of regret (mostly)!
What about you – any favourite Christmas treats? Do you love leftovers as much as I do? Anyone gearing up for a sugar detox in the New Year?