Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Caravan

by Meghann on December 21, 2008

My Family’s Christmas Caravan is a tradition that dates back to before I was born. It all began when my Grandmother wanted to see all of her son’s houses decked out for the christmas season. It has grown and expanded some 20+ years later but the principle is still the same. Each year we all get together the weekend before christmas and travel to each family member’s house and “eww & aww” at the christmas trees. It’s one of my most treasured family traditions that I am always proud to be a part of.

The focus of each stop along the way, besides the Christmas trees, is the wonderful, amazing food everyone prepares for the guests of their location. You nibble yourself through each house and by the end are stuffed and only feel like sleeping.

First Stop: Grandma’s House

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My Grandmother had the luxury of being the first house so we were there bright and early before 9:00 am. She had a lovely display of breakfast goodies.

In order to be at her house at the correct hour I had to be awake at 6:15am and had not eaten anything before my arrival. My body is not used to not getting right of way so It was eating itself inside out by the time I arrived. My hunger took me over and I went straight to building a larger then intended plate of food.

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I had some straight from the tree orange and grapefruit, 1/2 wheat bagel with cream cheese & salmon, breakfast bread, apple & walnut. This plate really did a great job of stopping my hunger pains. The breakfast bread was so yummy I went back for a small piece.

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My Cousin Mindy & Woody’s House

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My cousin Mindy is a semi health nut so she had a beautiful display of healthy home made food.

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I had fresh berries, sun dried tomato stuffed olive, herb mozzarella cheese, bread & tapenade, and a homemade peppermint brownie. Let me just tell you that peppermint brownie was AMAZING! I had to hold myself back from going for more!

Uncle Bob & Aunt Carol’s House

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It’s tradition every year for my aunt to make Split Pea soup. As soon as I went in the house I went straight for the soup and had half a mug full.

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I’m not going to lie, I was a tad disappointed in the soup. It was not up to her usual par. It was some what watery, so I only had abut half of what was pictured above before I realized it was not worth it to keep eating. There were other food items I still had my eyes on.

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I went back for a small piece of my aunt’s famous Congo Bars and a piece of Pizza Bread that smelled so yummy heating up in the oven as we arrived.

My Aunt and Uncle are building a cabin in their back yard (I think my uncle has a lot of time on his hands) so we al took a trip out to check out their progress. I thought this was a cute pic of me and my Mommy standing in front of it. :)

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Cousin Angel & Jeremy’s House

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Each year Jeremy makes this amazing chili that I knew I had to have a small bowl of. Keep in mind I saw other cousins and uncles of mine going back for seconds on this. It was good!

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I topped the chili with Homemade Tortilla Strips and some Cheese. The tortilla chips were hot and fresh straight from the deep fryer when we arrived. You have not lived until you have had homemade tortilla chips!

Uncle Bill’s House

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I was ECSTATIC to see my Uncle had tons of fresh veggies to nibble on. I happily filled my plate with lots of veggies and half of a Cheese Taquito that looked good.

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My Cousin Jay & Katrin’s House

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I left before I could get a picture of the two of them in front of the tree. :(

As you can imagine I was pretty full by the time we got to this house so I went with what looked the most intriguing.

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I accidentally squished it as I was unwrapping it, but it was a yummy mini Ice Cream bar.

My House!

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Now you see what all of my baking was for last night. :) I had to serve out the goodies as well. This was my first time as a stop on the caravan so I tried to go for a taste of everything

I set out some Crackers with Olive Tapenade & Smoked Salmon, as well as some Roasted Pecans.

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I set out the Spicy Chocolates from Cowgirl Chocolates. They ended up being a huge hit with my family and a great conversation starter. If you have any parties coming up I would highly suggest ordering some of these babies to bring along.

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Tina’s Muffins I baked fresh last night

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Lastly a fruit salad I made with Fat Free Vanilla Yogurt, Pear, Blueberries, & Grapes. I set my homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola on the side for guests to use as a topping.

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My plate had a little bit of everything.

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Last, but not least, my cousin Bobby & Candice’s House

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Again, I was pretty full so I just snacked on a couple of crackers with cheese & meat on them.

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We also celebrated December birthdays at the last house.

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Even though I shouldn’t have, I had a small piece of the birthday cake to end my day with.

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Reflection:

I debated in my head how I was going to handle this tradition of eating. It is a once a year occurence, but I know how out of control I can get at nibbling at each house along the way. In the end I decided to use my best judgement at each house and just eat what I felt would be enough with out going overboard. By now I trust my own instincts with eating enough to not over do it.

I would be lying if I said I did not feel some guilt with the amount of food I ate today, but my enjoyment of the day with friends and family overshadows all of the guilt I feel. I did eat a lot, but I don’t feel sick and I know I will be eating right again tomorrow. I was able to sample all of the wonderful homemade dishes and have no regrets on what I did not sample. If there’s anything I’ve learned this past year is to take it all one day at a time, we can’t be perfect all the time and it’s ok to live a little here and there. :)

I am BEAT. It has been another crazy busy weekend, which is leading to another crazy week. Unfortunately I still have two days of work ahead of me before the craziness starts so I am going to head to bed to get some rest before it all starts. Good night everyone!

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