A Quietly Merry Christmas Week

So how was your Christmas?

For me, it was the nicest Christmas I have had in a long time. There was a LOT of great food and wine, a lot of great discussion, a couple of great sleep-ins, a lot of laughs. There was also a lot of sniffling and coughing.

You guessed it – another cold.

But this one hasn’t been quite as bad as the previous two, so I’m hoping this means that my immune system is improving somewhat. I guess it also means I still have some work to do in the “self-care” department.

Anyway. It did not affect my quiet Christmas spirit. So here’s how we celebrated.

I actually did not take as many pictures as I intended over the holidays, and the ones that I did take are of food – Quelle Surprise. Some of it I even cooked myself. Yes folks, Christmas miracles do happen.

My friend Sharon was down from Toronto, and she treated us to a lovely pre-Christmas Dinner at Kitchen 76 at Two Sisters Vineyards.

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I adore a well done charcuterie board. This one had a lovely presentation with a great selection of cured meats, cheese, and olives. The crostini at Kitchen 76 are always perfect – a little bit of crunch, but still chewy. It sounds like a simple thing to do, but trust me, it’s something I still have to perfect. The artichoke hearts were a treat too.

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This time I went for pure pasta indulgence. I love big pasta with a hearty meat sauce, so the rigatoni with bolognese was delightful. I justified this because I was supposed to do a 20K pre-Christmas run the following day. Carb loading, you know.

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Sharon went for the lamb, Mom went for chicken. And my sweetie-pie went for the Salsicce pizza, his favourite.

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Sharon and I also had the 2010 Merlot, which is a beautiful wine. Just beautiful.

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We skipped dessert as we were all nicely full by this point. So instead of a dessert shot, here is a classic “Ken and Jo trying to take yet another selfie”.

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My phone is full of shots like this. I don’t know why we are so selfie-challenged. A goal for 2016.

The next morning I was meeting Karen for an early 20k run. I woke up exhausted and achey and couldn’t figure out why…. Now I know it was nasty cold #3 beginning to descend on me. I went anyway and muddled through 10 instead of 20k – I thought something was better than nothing, and with the prospect of several days of non-stop eating ahead of me, figured I should. After that, Sharon and I did a bit of Christmas Eve wine tasting. As it turned out, it was a great day to go. Many wineries were closing early, but we managed to get to three. Crowds were minimal, which is always a bonus in my book. I think I’ll plan on that every year.

Christmas Eve was full of cheese, chocolates, samosas (one of my favourite foods, and a MUST on the holidays), Ken’s tourtière, Poinsettia cocktails, and delicious goodies from Scratch Bakery.

Christmas Day I woke up with my lovely, melodic Peppermint Patty Cold of Death voice. I was feeling a little sorry for myself, until I remembered what awaited me for breakfast. We’re trying to work on some new breakfast possibilities for Highbrook, and this recipe was glorious.

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Delicious, decadent, divine, Croque Madame. Goodness gracious this was so good –  probably my favourite of all the holiday treats. If we add this to the Highbrook menu, guests are in for one amazing breakfast.

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I couldn’t resist another shot of cheesy gooeyness.

After that, I set up on the couch, in front of the tree with a book. Had a fire in the fireplace, a little nap, and a pot of tea to nurse my cold. That is, until we started up the Poinsettia cocktails again. It was a nice, cozy, low-key Christmas, which really is my favourite of all. And remember my ambivalence about turkey dinner? Well, I’m still ambivalent.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, for turkey this was good. The recipe came from one of my Rachael Ray cookbooks, but I couldn’t find a link to the recipe online. The turkey breast was done in a Parmigiano gravy, which I thought would be a nice twist. It was, but I don’t think I’ll rush off to do it again. I’m just not a turkey gal I guess. Mushroom risotto and green beans were served with it.

Somehow we ended up talking WAY past my usual bedtime. Even with my squeaky voice, I managed to join in. Had a blissful ten hour (?????) sleep, and then we went to see a movie at the Shaw Festival Film Series. Testament of Youth was playing, and it was beautifully done. A very, very moving story of World War One based on the memoirs of Vera Brittain. You can watch the trailer here – just make sure you have some kleenex handy.

The Shaw Festival runs their Film Series every Saturday until February 20th. They also have a documentary series, Friday evenings at 6 beginning this Friday, January 1st. I have attended some of the films for the last two years, and they have all been quite good.

I finished up the Christmas Week Festivities with doing one of my favourite things ever.

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The amazing Boxing Day Sale at the Book Outlet. As you can see I have three bags full. I guess I am the Baa-Baa Black Sheep of book buying. What can I say, it’s my weakness. But when you can get 50 % off books that are already at bargain prices, how can you lose? With the 50% discount, this batch cost me $75. I had a $40 gift card, so I only spent $35 on masses of books. Nothing could possibly make me happier.

Don’t worry though, the sale goes on until Thursday the 31st at 4pm – so if you are a fellow bibliophile, there’s still time to get your fix. You just might see me there for round two.

It was a great Christmas Week, exactly what I wanted. With all the good rest, good food, and good wine, I am hoping this cold is on its way out too.

What did you get up to over Christmas?