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For My First Christmas, As Myself

Christmas this year didn’t feel quite right. While it didn’t quite sneak up on me it just didn’t feel like Christmas. It felt a bit forced. I don’t know if this is part of getting older but time is really flying by. We are at the dawn of a new year already and I feel like it was just yesterday when I was gearing myself up for 2016.

This Christmas Day was a very low-key event for my family breaking a trend that has lasted about thirty years. My immediate family of four was staying in, in our matching pjs picked out by yours truly, and just spending the day together. We would eat, laugh, tell stories we have heard a thousand times, but most important relax. Relaxing is not something I normally associate with any holiday. Usually no matter how prepared or excited we are, there are too many things to do within too few hours and the activity of the day makes it go by in a flash. It is sort of like when its your wedding and you feel like you were only there for thirty minutes instead of the hours you paid for because you are so busy ensuring everything goes right. But this day would actually encourage relaxing and a sense of calm. What a novel idea, I know!

On this day of relaxation I was the designated chief but unlike a designated survivor ( I signed up for this gig. It had been quite a long while since I cooked something but I do enjoy it when I have the time. I like to cook something special from my collection of cookbooks whenever the opportunity presents itself. This seemed as good a time as any.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas I reviewed my books and decided on my menu. I made a list of what to buy at the store and was satisfied with my choices. I was not going overboard just making the foods I wanted to eat.

From “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” I was going to make Julia Child’s stuffed mushrooms, a recipe I have literally wanted to try for years.

From the “Blue Bloods Cookbook” (yes there is such a thing) I made green beans with silvered almonds. Another first time recipe for me. 

Lastly my final dish, which is now a specialty of mine, French style mac and cheese made with the best cheese on earth- Brie!! This entrée is fairly simple to make and waaaaay worth the time. I found it many moons a go on Huffington Post and it quickly became a staple of any Thanksgiving meal I made. This year I decided to switch things up a bit and do it for Christmas. Plus we went out to dinner this Thanksgiving (

I cooked all day but at my leisure. I didn’t feel rushed or pressured. Doing it at that pace made it so much more enjoyable for me. I was able to concentrate on the recipes making sure I followed them to a T.

After the majority of the meal was made and I was waiting for my entrée to finish baking in the oven, I actually had time to sit and have some wine.

Once it was done, on the table, and being served I realized something pretty incredible- I wasn’t sweating. I wasn’t fire engine red or drenched in sweat like I had malaria. Although I had the windows open while I cooked, as it was well over fifty degrees in Brooklyn that day, I was actually comfortable. I had cooked in my flannel pajamas, the first pair I had felt a need for in some time. It was at that moment I realized I was apart of a Christmas miracle; my health.

I could have cried but honestly I was too excited to. It’s the first time in my life this has happened and the best I have felt in well over seven years. I am glad I was able to celebrate with a drink, another first for me in some time. It was within that space I realized I was celebrating my first Christmas as myself.

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year came in the form of “Cravings” model Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook ( I expect next year’s menu to include some of her very yummy recipes.

For These Recipes:

For Posts of Christmas Past:


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