Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I gotta say, going into this day I was shut down, not knowing what to expect I wasn't prepared to feel anything, plus we are still a little sick. We headed out to my brothers house at 11am. The jeep was silent as we drove in the 19 degree weather down streets lined with brown snow. The sky was whitish grey and the Christmas decorations on Main Street, stood sentinel, alone. The day seemed a perfect metaphor for how I felt. On a childish impulse, I put on Green Day's American Idiot/Jesus of Surburbia, the music turned down, we kinda jammed to ourselves. At one point I leaned over and cranked it, the band was singing "I don't care if you don't, I don't care if you don't, I don't care if you don't care... oo oo oo I don't care!" when they got to this lyric, we were really getting into it:
Everyone is so full of shit
Born and raised by hypocrites
Hearts recycled but never saved
From the cradle to the grave
We are the kids of war and peace
From Anaheim to the middle east
We are the stories and disciples
Of the Jesus of suburbia
Land of make believe
That don't believe in me
Land of make believe
And I don't believe
And I don't care!
I don't care!"

We were really getting into it, and at one point we just looked at each other and started cracking up! 

Everyone was already there as we pulled in front of Greg's house and my stomach began to lurch. At the door, the kids greeted us with squeals of delight. Walking in, we said hello and Merry Christmas to everyone, we didn't say anything to Barb bad Greg, they didn't say anything to us. Having greeted (almost) everyone, I went into the kitchen to put out the food we brought; salted peanut bars (my personal new favorite, a hopelessly addicting confection that Beth brought to our going away party), spicy sausage dip (another keeper from the going away party that Nichole brought) and "deviled eggs". They are technically stuffed eggs since there is no spice in them to make them deviled. Barb breaks the ice. She put a salted peanut bar in her mouth as she asks me what it is, loves it and we talk about how I made them, she wants the recipe. She moves over to the spicy sausage dip and slathers some onto a piece of toast I brought to accompany the dip, I warn her that it's hot, she takes a little off, and loves it. She wants the recipe for that too. The ice is mostly melted now. I get some sangria to help loosen me up and sit down with Dan who is playing pick up sticks with the kids. We fall into a comfortable rhythm, everyone is cheerful, in the holiday mood. Setting up for the family portrait was hilarious, trying to get everyone in the right place and the kids to smile all at once. 

At one point, over dinner, Greg includes me in his conversation and at that moment I know everything is ok and mom and dad will get their birthday party. We left Greg's house at 5 and headed out into the dark, cold, snowy night with our bellies full and our spirits lightened. On the 45 minute ride home, Dan's sister Susan texted me and wanted to know if we wanted to stop by for some pie and coffee. We headed home to feed the dogs and let them out and then went over to Sue's house. Welcoming as always, the family was really happy to see us, as we were them. We caught up, I played with Savannah's Wii yoga, Dan helped Jonathon with his computer problem, the boys played some kind of DJ video game, Dan schooled Sue in Farmville while I went upstairs to Savannah's room to listen to her play piano. We played Pit, our traditional game. It's a stock market game and get's really loud and is a lot of fun. Finally, at midnight we headed home, even more uplifted, such a great family! 

Recipe for Salted Peanut Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/3 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 pkg. (10oz) peanut butter chips
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
2/3 cup white corn syrup
1/4 cup softened butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups Rice Krispies
10oz pkg. salted peanuts

Mix yellow cake mix, 1 egg and 1/3 cup softened butter until crumbly and then press into a 9x13 pan (no need to grease this) and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Next, cover with the 1 1/2 cups marshmallows and put back in the oven until the marshmallows puff up.

Meanwhile, melt the peanut butter chips and then combine with 2 Tbsp. peanut butter, corn syrup, 1/4 cup softened butter and the vanilla. Then add the Rice Krispies and salted peanuts to that mix. Once everything is combined, dump this mixture over the marshmallows to cover.

this needs to sit for a while to set up. you can put it in the fridge for a couple hours if you are in a hurry. Enjoy!

Recipe for Spicy Sausage Dip

1 lb. of your favorite sausage ( we used Spicy Italian)
1 can Rotel tomatoes with habeneros 
1 block of cream cheese, room temperature

Remove sausage from casing and brown in skillet, add tomatoes and cream cheese, mix. Serve with toasts.