Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Gifts not bought!

My last post from a holiday was my Easter Gratitude's and boy that was a day of gratitude's for sure! So very grateful then and even more grateful today! Christmas is defined in many ways, for me it has always been about the production! Throw it all together and tie it in a pretty bow so the kids, my husband and whoever else was peeping in at the moment could see what a great job I was doing!

Since Kirk's passing however I have taken a more low key role, a mellower approach that is not so much about the show but more like about the love I can show and receive and I really find my joy through my cooking! Its rather cleansing for me to prepare food these days and feed my children, grown and otherwise!

With a lean budget and Kirk's voice in my head I think I pulled off another Christmas miracle! Last week I made the rounds to a few food banks and with that I was able to get some great gifts for Aaron, my now 11 year old. Each food bank was so nice and so welcoming it was a blessing to get help from people who really just wanted to help!

At the end of the day we all could use some help and it is truly a blessing to be in a place where help comes with a smile and even a hug once in a while!

So the Salvation Army does so much to help in the community in the way of food and many other monetary assistance. This year I have relied heavily on them, thank goodness they were there this year! I wasn't thinking they would have much of a present for me to pick up from them but the bag was quite full of goodies for Aaron. There was a Bronco's pullover, a Wilson football,  and a sweater hoodie thing, there was the book Old Yeller (great book for an 11 year old boy) and some other little stocking stuffers.
It was the food box for Christmas that had me kind of confused. In the box there was a box of Mac&cheese, 2 big cans of peaches, some white beans, some re fried beans, a box of toasted oats and two cans of green beans. Grateful to have it but an odd choice of food for a holiday box. They also gave us a $10 gift cert to King Soopers. Good that will buy half the turkey!

Another one of the food banks gave me some great Lego stuff and a light saber so that was a great score for him and yet another gave me a nice first baseman glove and more books.

So all in all Aaron had a really nice Christmas and I was so happy for the gifts!

Back to the food, so the challenge was cooking a massive amount of food with out using the stove and very little of the stove top, propane in an RV is like gold especially in the winter. I knew I wanted to try to BBQ the turkey again (since Easter did not work out so well) so out of the little cash I had I bought a big bag of mesquite coal. I learned how to brine a turkey from the Internet so that was the first task, get the turkey to soaking, set it in the ice chest and bury the cooler in the snow!

Next, I needed to make a pumpkin thingy without having to bake it, so I looked that up as well. Found a no bake pumpkin pie that used gelatin and I threw together a crust from brown sugar, rolled oats and butter. In the frig that went and we were ready for the next day of cooking on the grill.

Christmas morning was nice, everyone slept in (nice break from the excited impatient kids at 5am days) but with them all sleeping in so did I. So I didn't get the turkey on the grill until 11am. Oh boy dinner was going to be later than I planned! It was ok though I had plenty to keep me busy.

It was all of 40 degrees outside so it was hard to get the grill much higher than 220 degrees, it was hot though and would have to do! I put together the southern style mac and cheese and set that in the crock pot and went about making the stuffing! Hmmm? All I had was stovetop and no fresh veggies to put in it. Quick open the canned food cabinet (hope nothing falls out and hits Cheryl in the head)
in there I find a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, hmm could be interesting, what else?
OK so I found a can of Anne's Organic sweet corn and veggie soup, now we're talking. OK throw together the stuffing on the stovetop then put in a baking dish for the grill top.

Next, the peach cobbler, those two big cans of peaches had to be good for something. I found a quick recipe online for fake peach cobbler using canned peaches and yellow cake mix, throw some cinnamon and nutmeg on it and you've got Christmas cobbler. So the question of the day is can you grill a cake? Well, Im here to tell you, YES yes you can! The yellow cake cobbler cooked perfectly on grill and it really tasted good too!

 Traditional green bean casserole but instead of cream of mushroom soup I used a can of turkey gravy, I was going to make the gravy from the turkey drippings anyway so why not!

One rule and note to self is that if you are going to BBQ your turkey, get it on the grill way earlier! My turkey was 18lbs, had sat in a brine for 18 hours and still needed 7 hours of  grill time. Oh but was it a perfect one, nice and juicy!

Time was ok though, as I said I am taking my holidays a lot slower and with more purpose instead of rushing around pleasing everyone and trying to make a perfect day!

We all sat down and enjoyed our meal and I knew I was grateful for many gifts that had been given to me! The gift of my children was first and foremost, forever am I grateful I had them and forever I am grateful for their loving smiles.

The food I cook for them on these holidays that are representative of my gratitude's, food has and always will represent love and warmth to me and I do have a gift of making something out of nothing every time! I do not have to have the commercialism of the holiday to make it a good day, not do I need to shower anyone with expensive gifts to make me feel good! All I need is some heat and love and I hook it up!

Peace and Love my friends!
Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year Ever!

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