my holiday "diet"

(AKA "the story of how I ate a lot of really delicious food over the holidays and actually lost a few pounds without even thinking or caring about it."  A friend has labeled those the "stress pounds" that melted away as I relaxed over the break...sounds sensible to me!)

All kidding aside, the holidays were truly full of good eats - whether with family, with friends, or on our own.  I especially liked how much of it was home cooking.

In my family, it's a tradition to have a buffet of hor d'ouevres for Christmas Eve. So when Mom asked if Wildcat Guy and I would prefer a more typical holiday meal (i.e. a turkey or ham) when we celebrated Christmas with my family on Christmas Eve, I immediately said no. This is definitely one tradition that I did not want to skip.

Doesn't that plate of food look good??  Going clockwise from the deviled eggs, there's spinach and artichoke dip with blue corn tortilla chips, a heavily-cheddar cheese ball (wow, that had some bite!) with Triscuits, li'l smokies sausages in barbeque sauce, and a Hawaiian roll (the better to sop up the leftover barbeque sauce with).  For dessert, there was the apple tart that I made - a perfect complement to all these good bites.


The next night (Christmas Day, when Wildcat Guy and I celebrated our own Christmas), our meal started with a salad piled with veggies - served on the good china, for no other reason than because I wanted to. (That's the best reason to use the good china, right?)


For our main course, though, we did actually break with tradition. For the past two years, we've had lasagna for our Christmas dinner. But on Black Friday, we'd found some fun winter shapes pasta while we were out shopping and decided to have that for Christmas dinner instead. It was thick, chewy pasta, and it went well coated with roasted garlic Alfredo sauce, topped with shrimp.

So what do you have for dessert after a dense pasta dish? A slice of light, refreshing key lime pie. (Okay, this wasn't homemade - it's definitely a frozen pie that I bought wi$ely to have on hand for some unknown occasion that turned out to be Christmas dinner.)

A few days later, it was off to Michigan we went, to visit Vintage Blonde and her husband. Our first night there, we decided that Mexican food sounded ideal and headed into Mexicantown to Los Galanes.

But, of course, you can't have dinner in Mexicantown without margaritas! These were almost perfect - just a little heavier on the tequila than I like, but still a good flavor to them.

Sunday night, after a day of relaxing and shopping, the four of us enjoyed a crockpot of white chili with chicken. One word - yum. It was soupy and hearty and flavorful - just the kind of meal (with some sourdough bread from Panera) that you want to eat on a cold winter's night.

And yes - we visited our favorite pastry shop in Detroit, where we bought not one, not two, not three, but four tasty treats - (from top) one of my favorite cream cheese brownies, a slice of triple chocolate cheesecake, a slice of Oreo cheesecake, and a tiger tail.

Wildcat Guy just could. not. wait to eat his tiger's tail. We had barely driven out of Greektown before he wanted to dig in! Then again, when I had a bite, it was pretty good, so it's not like I can blame him.

That night, most of our New Year's cocktails were pretty standard - beer, champagne - yet I can't not mention the mixed drink I stole from Wildcat Guy. (Yes, I admit it - I stole it.) He has an interesting tendency at open-bar events to walk up to the bartender and ask for something of their choosing. On this particular occasion, when I tasted what he'd been given, I was immediately reminded of the delightful limonada that I had in Havana this summer. I have no idea if the ingredients were the same - nevertheless, I certainly enjoyed it.

After our New Year's festivities ended, while Wildcat Guy and Mr. Vintage Blonde snacked on cold pizza, I opted for the triple chocolate cheesecake we'd gotten at the pastry shop.  But the other two treats did actually make it home with us - because sometimes, edible souvenirs are the best!

What?! A homemade brunch of pancakes, eggs and sausage - as a sit-down meal - was an amazing treat after our late night celebration. (It was also an amusing contrast to my first New Year's Day meal with Vintage Blonde back in 2009, when we stopped at Panera on our way back to her apartment - in our pajamas and dress shoes! - to get food.)

As the mug says, this - a relaxed meal with special friends and my dear love - was certainly an unforgettable way to start 2013!  Here's to plenty of good eats in the year ahead.

Where I am: home
What I'm reading: the January issue of InStyle magazine


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