Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Plan B Christmas Dinner

Hello! And I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Ours ended up differently than what we had planned, but it was still okay. 

It began as usual: rustling my husband and daughter out of bed and getting them downstairs for the opening of stockings - always a fun time! Then after breakfast there was the opening of gifts, followed by gathering up the Christmas presents, cookies and food to take to the family gathering at my sister's house on the other side of the state. 

There was just one problem: it was snowing when we got up and it continued to snow the whole time we were having our morning festivities. But we dutifully set out, hoping for better roads once we hit the interstate. That didn't happen, though - instead, we followed the line of cars ahead of us, no one going faster than 55 (in a stretch where people typically zoom right past those who are only going a bit faster than the posted speed limit of 70 mph). 

At the rate we were going, it would take much longer than usual to get to my sister's, and with no overnight stayover planned, we'd  have to turn around and go back home the same day. And there was no guarantee that the roads would be much better for our return trip. So instead, we turned around at the next exit and came back home. It was disappointing, but my sister understood when we called her to say we weren't coming. She said she'd heard of our snow and had wondered if we'd try to make the trip over there. 

This change of plans meant that we'd have to have our Christmas dinner at home. If it'd just been my husband and myself, I would have made a fancy pasta dish, but our daughter doesn't like that sort of thing, so I came up with an entree we could all agree on: homemade pizza. I made sure to include red and green toppings - roasted red bell peppers (I make these and freeze them in packages when red bell peppers are in season at our Farmer's Market) and fresh spinach; mushrooms, black olives and onions were added too. (The dough was easily mixed up in my bread machine).

If I had wanted to, I could have formed the pizza dough in a holiday design, like a Christmas tree or an ornament. Would have been fun to "decorate" a pizza in this manner, I suppose, but I opted for the usual shape.

I regretted missing the homemade cannolis one sister was bringing to the family gathering (a nod to our Sicilian father), and briefly pondered making some sort of dessert for us. But since we had all had gotten candies in our stockings - and I had made four kinds of Christmas cookies to take to my sister's - another dessert wasn't really needed. 

The rest of the evening passed by quietly. My husband read the hobby magazines I'd placed in his stocking, while I pulled out The Christmases We Used To Know, a compilation of first-person stories from Reminisce magazine. Although the recollections of family gatherings tugged at my heart a bit, I still enjoyed the book very much. And I was pleased to get a phone call from one of my sisters, saying they had all missed us.

The weather is supposed to be much better this weekend, so we will do some visiting with family then. Due to events like holiday get-togethers with in-laws and a birthday celebration on some siblings' calendars, we won't get to see everyone, but we'll at least touch base with some, including my 91-year-old dad. 

That is life sometimes! I hope that everyone who got together with families yesterday had a wonderful time. 


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