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Planning a holiday feast

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I know there are many people around Southdale right now content with the fact that their holiday cards are all in the mail, their baking neatly piled in the freezer, and gifts, in co-ordinated wrapping paper, are already under the tree.

I am not one of those moms.

You won’t find me shopping on Christmas Eve, but I suspect I’ll pop by our local grocery stores a couple of times in the days before Christmas for just-one-more-thing. (Stay out of my way — I’ll be on a mission!)

The one thing I am organized about is the holiday meal. I start preparing it a week before the big day — and over the years, my family has come to expect certain dishes that I only make at Christmas.

I learned to cook later in life. In fact, until my triplets were born I couldn’t find my way around a kitchen. It all changed that first Christmas with my three daughters. Although they were only a few months old at the time, I decided to cook an entire holiday dinner for the first time. I didn’t get the timing quite right, but I figured I had a few years to figure it out before the girls would be old enough to remember.

Now, 13 years later, I find preparing a holiday meal for 12 not too daunting. I’ve learned the turkey can sit on the counter for quite a while and still stay warm until the potatoes are mashed. I’ve learned you don’t need to be intimidated by gravy. And I’ve learned, if someone offers to bring something say yes — and tell them exactly what you need. (Dessert? Vegetables? Buns?)

I think the secret to my confidence is I make the same meal each year. Everyone is excited for those once-a-year treats and I have learned to perfect each dish in our family tradition. Of course we have turkey, stuffing and gravy, but Christmas dinner wouldn’t be the same without The Golden Dome of Cauliflower (I promise your kids will love it!) or Cranberry Beet Jelly (which is also great stirred into pancakes for Boxing Day breakfast). I may be the only one who really appreciates the Spinach Timbales, but even my kids have come to accept them as part of the celebration.

Whatever your style — organized or laid back, traditional or spontaneous — here’s hoping you spend time creating special memories this holiday season with your loved ones.

If you’re interested in any of the recipes I’ve mentioned, please visit
www.yoursouthdale.ca, and I’ll be happy to share our family traditions with yours!

Happy Holidays!

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