I am a self-confessed foodie. At Christmas, it’s ridiculous – I start baking for the freezer in early November and I try hard not to eat everything before December 25th. Now, with my intensive caregiving days and years behind me, I can indulge my passion for baking the perfect shortbread cookie or mince pie.
But it hasn’t always been so. I remember the year that Nicholas was so nauseated from a recurrent gastro condition that an x-ray of his abdomen revealed part of his stomach had herniated above his diaphragm. Doctors said a surgery would be required and Christmas would be cancelled. That was December 23rd in the early 1990s. But sometimes all of us catch a break and the next day, Christmas Eve, we got the happy news that the stomach had somehow rearranged itself into its proper place. We could go home! I don’t recall what we ate for dinner on the 25th, but I’m sure it wasn’t fancy.
This year, I would like to offer my cook’s solution to the Care-Less Christmas dinner. If you don’t have time to cook and you don’t want to order out, you may be inspired to try this menu.
Put some cherry tomatoes in a pretty bowl. On a plate, put a small bowl of salt for dipping, some toothpicks and a little glass of ice-cold vodka. Guests can spear a tomato, dip it in the vodka and roll in salt. Delicious and fun!
Slice a cucumber into rounds. On each round, put a dollop of blue cheese dip or a soft blue cheese. Put a pecan or walnut on top. Looks Christmassy and it’s yummy.
Buy those cooked chickens from the rotisserie at the grocery store. If you have several guests, put several on a tray. Decorate with fresh rosemary sprigs and cranberries.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave till soft at high power. (each potato takes about 7 minutes). After they are cool, they peel easily. Mash with margarine and a bit of cumin if you like that.
Stuffing: Make up a box of Stove-top stuffing and throw in a few chopped pecans and chopped dried apricots.
Frozen Peas: Cook peas, toss in butter and a bit of grated lemon peel.
Buy decorated Christmas cookies and serve with candy cane ice cream. My grocery store sells this at Holiday time, but if you don’t have it, just crush candy canes and sprinkle them on vanilla ice cream.
Serve the dinner on pretty paper plates on a matching paper tablecloth. I bought lovely things (surprise!) at the dollar store this year for my Mum’s Christmas time birthday lunch. With real flowers on the table, it looked beautiful and no washing up!
To all my fellow caregivers, I wish you a care-Less lead-up to Christmas. I hope you can relax and enjoy the company of your loved ones.