Monthly Archives: December 2012

Christmas Schedule

Christmas Schedule

Way back in the day, when Cathy and I were both newly-weds and we were finding our own Christmas traditions we discovered that our family does better with a schedule. We are somewhat indecisive by nature (with the exception of my BIL) and we can end up sitting around for, well, hours waiting for someone to make a decision. Imagine this conversation: Where do you want to eat dinner? I don’t know. What sounds good to you? Hmmm. I like lots of places. Do you have somewhere in mind? (and continue ad nauseum.) Pretty much it made Jeff and Glenn want to bang their heads against the wall. Enter Cathy with her fantastic idea to create a Christmas schedule. The schedule allows us to plan meals, with all of us chiming in on what we like and dislike so that there’s for sure something for everyone; to program some activities so that Glenn knows if there’s time for him to go to Powell’s for a few hours or not; and when the girls were little it ensured that we had at least one official activity each day for the short people. Now that we’ve celebrated twenty plus Christmases together the schedule has very little change from one year to the next as we’ve filled it in with our family traditions but it still creates a fun feeling of anticipation as we look forward to all of our favorite foods and activities.

Our family Christmas has moved from Des Moines to Bend to Portland over the years and the host has taken on the role of schedule creator. Since we’re in Portland this year that meant it fell to me…even though I talked through almost all of it with Dad and Cathy too. When we finally got it all together last weekend though Glenn jumped before I could send it. Let me just say that my husband is a rocking uncle. Truly amazing. So he took it upon himself to create a schedule of his own. Yes, he created a fake one. He filled it with every bowl game in history, breakfasts at every fast food joint in town, and “pick your own TV dinner” meals. He threw in a three mile family run, rain or shine, and an NCIS marathon. Here’s Glenn’s schedule…

Christmas 2012 GA

So last Sunday we emailed that schedule off and waited to hear what the rest of the family thought. We got some funny texts from Cath’s girls and then sent the real one. I’ve posted it here. (schedule) You can check out our plans–activities and restaurants we’re hitting up (can’t wait to check out at least one new one!)–as well as our menu beginning with Uncle Glenn’s Enchiladas (from ATK.) Just three days until the celebrating begins!




What’s for Dinner

What’s for Dinner

Can you believe we’re just a week away from Christmas? Crazy. Here’s the plan for this week…

Monday: Boeuf Bourguignon. Glenn had this for the first time in Paris. He came home raving–I absolutely had to find the recipe. So here it is from Epicurious. And bonus: Glenn made it tonight! Uncle Jack came to visit on his way to the airport tomorrow so Glenn even had “an audience.” He served it with ATK roasted potatoes.

Tuesday: Penne alla Chiantigiana. Another recipe from Juri Sbandati’s class. We’ll serve it with green salad.

Here’s the recipe:

1/4 large red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 dry red peppers, minced (I use a pinch from the spice jar)
2 Italian sausages, removed from the skin (I used a pound package of mild Italian sausage)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 glass Chianti
1 15-oz can whole stewed tomatoes (I use a 15-oz can of diced tomatoes and a 6 oz can of tomato paste)
1/2 pound penne
salt to taste

Saute the onion in olive oil. Add some of the minced dried red pepper. After a few minutes, add the sausage. Add the fennel seeds; then add the Chianti and simmer. After the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes, turn the flame to low and cook until the liquid is drawn.

Cook the penne in a separate pot. drain then toss the pasta in the pan with the tomato sauce.

I serve it with chopped fresh parsley or shakey cheese.

Wednesday: Taco Casserole with cornbread and fresh pineapple. (This may be a bit of a golden meal. Hmmm. I should serve it with broccoli or something.) This is an old recipe of my mother’s that I’m trying to recreate. It’s hamburger and corn and taco seasoning and olives and cheese with tomato sauce or tomato paste or both? Anyway, I’ll see if I can find it or fake it and let you know if I do.

Note: I found it! It’s in a little 3-ring binder recipe book from Portland Christian. Pretty sure each page was typed. How old would that make it?!? Here are the directions:

Taco Casserole–Fry until brown 1 1/2 pounds hamburger. Then add 2 cans tomato paste; 2 cans water and 1 package taco or enchaloda [sic] mix. Simmer 10 minutes. Remove from fire and mix with 1 package of taco or corn chips. Place in casserole dish and sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups grated cheese. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. You mad add 1 can of whole pitted olives and 1 can of drained whole kernal [sic] corn if desired.

Thursday: Pasta Fagoli Soup (Olive Garden Copycat) from SewItMakeItBakeIt with green salad and crusty bread. I’ve made this before but my recipe makes about 10 gallons so I’m trying this “family-sized” one instead. It will be perfect for the second to the shortest day of the year. My MIL will be here for dinner, soup and salad is her favorite so it will be perfect.

Friday: leftovers. (Pathetic, right?) I’m guessing that by this time we’re liable to have some of all four meals leftover so we’ll clean out the fridge on Friday so we can start again the next day.

Saturday: Jenn’s Out of This World Spaghetti and Meatballs from AllRecipes. Loved this last time I made it so it’s back up again. The leftovers would be amazing in a hoagie roll. This time I’ll cut the sugar in half and see what we think.

Sunday: Sausage Bake with applesauce. Another comfort meal on a short dark day.

Monday is Christmas Eve and we’re celebrating with my MIL. I usually try to do something special for brunch and dinner with her so stay tuned for this year’s menu. Then Cath’ and her family arrive on Christmas day and let the celebration (read: eating) begin!