December 29th??? Wow.
I’m already back at work after a lovely long weekend. I hope you all enjoyed some special time with the people you love. I have been a bit remiss with my posting habits since Vegan MoFo, but five days off gave me plenty of time to stockpile some daylight photos.
Let’s start with a recap of my family’s Christmas festivities.
My brother picked me up on Christmas Eve and whisked me off to my Mom’s place – where there was a decorated Christmas tree (unlike my place), 10 boxes of Chocolate Peppermint soymilk and a copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas ready for watching.
I was in my flannel pyjamas as soon as possible. While the Whos down in Whoville were grasping hands, I started prepping overnight oats.
I was up early Christmas morning to portion out the parfaits. They are just as decadent as you would imagine.
Overnight Oat Layer
2 cups rolled oats
3 TBSP chia seeds
2 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Mix all ingredients together in a large container. Cover the container and let sit in the fridge overnight.
Peanut Butter – Banana Ice Cream layer
2 frozen bananas, peeled
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
Blend together in the food processor until a soft-serve consistency is achieved.
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberry
3 TBSP blueberry jam (sugar-free would be best)
Stir together in a medium bowl.
Garnish – almond slices and a few blueberries.
Assembly – In each glass: Add a couple spoonfuls of the overnight oat mixture, add a quarter of the ice cream blend, add a couple spoonfuls of the blueberry layer, add another layer of overnight oats and garnish with almond slices and a spoonful the blueberry layer.
My brother, Dan, and I made a big batch of waffles before we went to bed on Christmas Eve (I was catching up on Dexter anyway – I don’t recommend this as a way to get into the holiday spirit!). Once they cooled we stuck them in the freezer. In the morning we warmed the waffles in the toaster and topped each serving with a drizzle of maple syrup.
After we opened our stockings, Dan joined me for a short run around the neighbourhood. It was great to get outside – the weather was perfect for a speedy session.
Once home, showered and changed it was time to set up for the arrival of my older brother, his wife and their four lovely little ones (ages 8, 5, 3, and 1).
As I’ve shared in the past, we don’t do traditional Christmas meals. Instead we select a different theme each year. Last year was Disney, the year before was our Ode to Obama. We’ve also done Appetizers, Things you dip, Things you roll, Italy, Everyone’s Favourite Dish, Red Things…
This year, we are all looking forward to a family vacation planned for February. We haven’t all been away together since 2005 so we’re pretty excited. We are meeting in Disney World (I know…but my Mom loves it there) to run a 5km race together and then boarding a cruise ship for four days. I’ve never been on a cruise and have no idea what to expect but the chance to join the entire clan on a vacation was too sweet a chance to pass up.
With that in mind we went with a Caribbean cruise theme. The idea was to focus on the relaxed attitude we associate with the islands, and vacations in general. We planned to set up a buffet that everyone could enjoy over the course of the day.
My brother’s girlfriend made us each a magnet with our name on it to put on our door (on the ship), so we used them as place cards at the table. We decorated with tiny umbrellas, fresh thai coconuts and these little palm tree picks – to which I added cranberries.
|sorry for the blur.|
My idea of a good trip is based on continuous access to fresh fruit. Here are a few shots of our spread.
A platter of kiwi, papaya, golden dragon fruit, and pomegranate. I also picked up persimmons but they weren’t ripe in time for Christmas.
The buffet continues with mangoes, clementines, grapes, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, oranges, and my Mom’s home-made sourdough bread.
We also had hummus (regular and roasted garlic) and lots of veggies (cauliflower, peppers, cucumber, broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes).
To balance all the fruit, my mom made a huge pot of bean chili. I didn’t try any – I was full of fruit
I also made a couple adult beverages:
White Sangria – 1 bottle White Wine (sweeter rather than dry varieties work best), 2 cans ginger ale, 1 orange – sliced, 1 cup strawberries – cut in half, 1 cup red grapes, 1 cup blueberries, 1 lemon – sliced. We let it macerate for 24 hours.
Pina Colada– Fresh coconut meat (about a cup), chunks of pineapple (about a cup), agave (about 1/4 cup), white rum (2-3 oz), golden rum (2-3 oz), vanilla extract (2 tsp), lime juice (2 tsp) – Blend together with a handfull of ice. Adjust to your own preferences.