Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We'll take a cup of kindness yet, for Auld Lang Syne!


This week we are sort of flying by the seats of our pants with meals. I normally have my week's menu planned by the previous Friday, but this week, I'm winging it. When my brother is in town from Maryland for the holidays, and my in-town brother's family is popping over, as well as my mom, I never know how many we're going to have for any particular meal. It's senseless to plan ahead and buy groceries until I know who is going to be here. I have plenty in my freezer that my own family can "live of the fat of the land" if it's just us. And if it's a crowd, we'll plan daily.

On Saturday, my mom brought over meat for tacos, taco shells, taco salad bowls, huge baked potatoes and tortilla chips, and we did a taco bar kind of thing. We have one vegetarian teen, and some picky kids, so it's nice to do a meal like that where everyone can have what they want. We threw some Sangria in for good measure and a batch of "Mexican sludge" (meat con queso) that my brother whipped up to eat with chips. My mom knows that I sometimes get a little frustrated feeding the crowds during the holidays. Our house is the only one that holds everyone, so, by default, they all end up here for family meals. That gets a little hard on the budget, not to mention that the cleaning and cooking gets old. It was nice to get the break last night, because not only did she bring the food, but she prepared it while I drank Sangria!

Thinking ahead (and thinking of crowds), I'm planning my New Year's Eve menu. We get my brothers' families, as well as some of my family from Cincinnati for New Years. I think my son has invited some friends as well, and Doug's parents are coming. It should be a loud, but fun, crowd! We never plan an actual dinner, but plan to snack all evening long. Everyone stays until midnight, when we toast, between yawns, with some Asti Spumante. It's a long stretch of night for us "old people" and we all feel half sick with too much appetizers and Christmas cookies by midnight. I've tried to keep it half healthy, and my mom is bringing a vegetable tray to break up the fattening to stuff in our intestines! Maybe if the weather cooperates we can do a 10 p.m. walk around the block.

Planning ahead to our New Year's Day dinner, I will include the traditional pork and cabbage for the New Year. I'm not at all suspicious, nor do I believe it brings good luck, but it's fun to have a tradition. This year we'll have a more casual meal, allowing for sitting around whatever bowl game is on while we eat.

New Year's Eve

Fiery Cajun Shrimp and a loaf of bread to soak up the sauce
Cowboy Caviar and Pita Chips
Vegetarian Topopo Salad
BBQ Smoked Wienies (the kids insist!)
Sweet and Sour Meatballs (cocktail meatball recipe below)
Hot Spinach and Crab Dip (my brother is bringing again)
Crudité Platter with White Bean Dip and Ranch

Christmas Cookies and candy


New Year's Day

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Cole Slaw
Hoppin' John
Loaded Baked Potatoes

Barq's Root beer and Red Creme Soda floats

Cocktail Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup dried bread crumbs
½ cup grated American cheese*
1 T. parsley
½ cup milk
1 egg
1 t. salt
pepper to taste
⅛ t. garlic powder

Mix all ingredients.
Form small meatballs (about 2 t.).
Brown in oil (cook through).
Serve with
barbeque sauce or sweet and sour sauce.

* This is just like the stuff you put in Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese.
You'll find it in a can near the Parmesan in most stores.
If you can't find it, just use the packets from mac 'n' cheese.


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