Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cooking at the Holidays

Years ago I experienced my first Feast of the Seven Fishes feast on Christmas Eve. A few years ago we adopted this tradition with the addition to the family of my Italian Uncle Vinny from New York City. Christmas Eves spent in Florida (where my parents and my Aunt Kim and Uncle Vinny live) include large quantities of fresh crab legs and claws (cold and steamed), lobster tail, jumbo shrimp and various other delights. This year I cooked this meal at home in Chicago for my son and his Navy buddy. As fresh lobster is hard to come by here I instead substituted various types of fish to go with the crab legs and shrimp. With sides of roasted green beans and parmesan and paprika roasted potatoes, the boys were quiet for 30 minutes while they gorged. It was tons of fun.

Christmas morning I made a quiche for the boys, another family tradition my mom's family has been making for years. I combined a few recipes to create the recipe below. Although a vegetarian I didn't enjoy this dish, but my hungry boys did.

Lively Librarian's Bacon and 3 Cheese Christmas Quiche

1 9 inch deep dish frozen pie crust
1 lb bacon ( I used honey and apple smoked bacon)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 oz shredded cheddar cheese
3 oz shredded mozzarella or swiss cheese
3 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup half and half
4 lightly beaten eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the bacon for 20-30 minutes until crisp, pat dry with paper towels to remove the grease. Chop bacon into bite size pieces. In a large bowl combine the chopped onion, the cheeses and the bacon pieces. Pour this mixture into the unthawed pie crust. Lightly beat the eggs with the half and half and pour this mixture into the pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350, bake an additional 35 minutes until top of quiche begins to brown.

Today I have soup in the crock pot for the boys which they can enjoy all day in-between naps, holiday movies and projects around the house.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas Readers!

I'm putting my Christmas tree up tonight and planning for a festive holiday at home. This year my son and I will not be spending Christmas with my family in Florida, instead we are peacefully snug in our little bungalow with the Beagle and many friends. Currently my house is full of my "kittens", the passel of boys that live in my basement when they are home from college and the military. They curl up on my huge sofa, eat everything in sight, watch movies and play games, sleep where they fall and never leave the house without each other. The boys include my son, plus his Navy buddy who is living with us temporarily, a Big Ten football player home for the holidays, a Marine on leave before he leaves for Afghanistan and an Airman from the Air Force who is home before leaving for Italy. There are also various girlfriends and old friends from high school who wander through my little home. To say that it's boisterous and busy is an understatement.

Even though I am not one to decorate, bake cookies or revel in Christmas silliness, our little tree is brightly lit, our stockings are hanging from the bookcases and we are ready for snow and presents on Christmas morning. I look forward to new traditions with Paul and his family and old traditions like watching my son find the hidden ornament on our Christmas tree.

To my readers, thank you for reading my blog for another year. Wherever you are, however you spend the holidays I wish you a very happy December full of love and laughter.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


2012 was a year my friends from all over the world began new stages of their lives.
  • A local high school friend got married and is expecting her first child
  • A friend in the UK became a grandmother for the 2nd time
  • A friend in New Orleans became a great-grandfather for the 1st time
  • Other friends are like myself, preparing for the flexibility of a new life with adult children
It's always exciting to learn of a friend's ______ (fill in the, marriage, relationship, job...). What is fascinating are the stages that we go through and when. I'm 42 years old with a grown child and planning my future with my life partner. I have friends who are also 42 years old who are newlyweds, new mothers, newly divorced and starting over and some are still waiting to begin their future families. Friends who are just a few years older are already grandparents and even great grandparents. Shopping for people who are first time mothers and first time grandparents and who are nearly the same age as myself can be a bit unnerving.

With the reach of social media sites like Facebook, I occasionally will see a picture of someone from my past.  It's often jarring. The way I remember someone is not the way they look years after they were in my life. Important life stages came and went and when I see them again they go from past to future in the blink of an eye. In many ways reaching different stages at different times than your friends can be a wonderful can share parenting tips, new career expectations, assist with life changing events such as divorce or a move. At other times it is emotional. Holding a friend's new baby knowing that the next baby in my life will likely be my first grandchild. Or seeing someone who didn't have a stage such as parenthood or marriage either by choice or circumstance and knowing that everyone has a different path to travel. Whatever stages my friends and I are in, it's a heck of a lot of fun to be involved in life as it flies by.