Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Solstice Aftermath

Man, that was big fun! But Bad Blogger never took any photos of the mayhem – even though I dutifully brought my camera. You’ll just have to use your imagination. We played Musical Baby and passed the newest family member around from one loving relative to another. We all got a chance to feed her a bottle and I was the official diaper-changer, a chore I do willingly because it’s such a delightful chance to interact with little ones. Yeah, I know. Coo-coo!

A big hit with the larger grandbeasties were the light bracelets that I bought cheap at Halloween and saved just for this light-themed celebration. At one point we were all (even the baby) wearing many bright-coloured bracelets and at another The Princess was decked out in all of them, creating necklaces and crowns as well as the bangles. We had our little gift exchange and one of Stargazer’s gifts was a large-scale tinker-toy-like building set where you are supposed to cover the structure with a spare sheet to make a fort. Even the adults got into this in a big way and we collectively built a castle that the Princess then decorated with the light bracelets. Very festive. There was wine (T-Man’s homemade of course), yummy food and not one but two desserts plus lots of laughter, kisses and joking. The Return of the Sun was toasted. We got home very late – at least for us early-to-bed types. This is totally my favourite and true winter holiday celebration.

Now on to the Big One! I didn’t get a chance to actually bake the shortbread yesterday because…duh! I cleaned the oven and by the time that was done I was out of time. I also was short of cookie sheets because I used 2 of them to make dark chocolate almond and cranberry bark and milk chocolate hazelnut bark. I’m not as fond of milk chocolate as I am the really dark kind but T-Man got both from the great little chocolate shop that’s on his way home from work. So I figured everything tastes better with nuts in it, particularly organic local hazelnuts! (Not ours sadly since the squirrels get them all.) Besides it’s real Callebaut from Belgium. The Good Stuff! Today I’ll bake the dough I made yesterday and probably the butter tarts as well. The freezer will keep them fresh for a couple of days.

I’m not so much of a baker anymore since my digestive system isn’t all that happy with too much flour and sugar. (I’m already feeling the effects of the pasta and two pieces of garlic bread I had yesterday!) However I don’t mind doing it and I really enjoy cooking in general. I always joke that my cooking skills are in an inverse relationship to my dear departed mom’s lack of them. I plead self-defence! What she could do to an innocent vegetable ought to be illegal. Though I really shouldn’t denigrate her too much – I still make her “Scots-haggis-in-a-turkey” oatmeal stuffing every year. (Yes, I actually have Stove Top this year for those who have a different idea of family tradition than mine.) And there are other recipes that are still in my repertoire – though I’ve tweaked them to have more herbs and spices than her more bland taste would allow. Even my shortbread is hers and the only modification I add is the cherry bit for decoration. Thanks, Mummy!

So I guess I’d better get to it, huh? Time’s a-wasting!

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