Christmas is in full swing around here! Our house guests arrived on Saturday to stay in our “guesthouse” (camper) and we had our traditional fondue dinner last night. I used this snowman pot for cheese sauce. There is a candle in the bottom that heats the sauce up. The hat is a lid, and it is really cute when it is together. It’s the kind of thing we only use once a year, but it makes things special.
I made hamburger balls–some with cheese and some without. I cut up 2 chicken breasts, and peeled some frozen shrimp. There were mushrooms to dip into tempura batter. Another bowl of tempura coated the shrimp for those who wanted any. There was bread to dip into the cheese sauce and fresh fruit to dip into the chocolate fondue.
Each person cooked what they wanted, and there was lots of nibbling, cooking, talking and visiting. Fondue is time-consuming, so good for a fairly small group as there is time for each person to cook what they want, sit down and eat it, then get up and cook some more. Some people put the fondue pots in the middle of the table for ease in visiting. We put the hot oil on the stove top so no one got burned. With so many little kids for so long, this has worked as the least stressful for our family for all these years.
This yellow fondue pot was my grandma’s, in the 70’s! It finally stopped working well last night. So, with regret, we threw it away! But, I would say it was definitely worth what ever price my grandma paid for it so long ago. Now, we will hunt for another electric one at a yard sale or Goodwill for next Christmas. And, in case you were wondering, it was all gluten-free except the purchased French bread that was dipped into the cheese sauce (all in separate bowls to prevent cross-contamination).
All that preparation for fondue really made today’ cooking easy. We went to church this morning, and then came home to an easy meal of BBQ’d hamburgers, made with the leftover hamburger balls from last night. I just left the cheese mixed in and Rob grilled them. I had some buns I got for 99c off the day-old bread rack. I served fruit, leftover cheese sauce and bread, and cut up some carrots and celery to add to the mushrooms. Rob sauted the leftover shrimp as well to use it in a timely fashion.
Then, I threw a soup into my Instant Pot with the leftover chicken pieces, some carrots, celery, onion, broth and rice, cooked for 10 minutes, vented it out, and left it on “keep warm” until we returned from the Christmas Eve service tonight.
It has been the tradition since I was a girl to open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, so we always do that. After church, we had a wonderful time opening them. Thankfully, we finished the shopping on Friday and the wrapping on Saturday morning. I just had a joke present to finish tonight, for the extended family gathering on Christmas Day. Rob always likes to give at least one or two silly presents. The nieces and nephews always look forward to their turn getting one. He’s nailed boxes shut, used rolls of duct tape on presents, taped dollar bills into a long strip for the kid to pull from a slot in a box, and more. I’m not telling what the plans are for tomorrow, but it’s different for sure:)
I have used every suggestion offered to me to warm things without a microwave. Here, I’m using my boiling eggs as a double boiler to warm some artichoke dip. I’ve used pans on the stove, my Instant Pot, my Instant Hot for tea, etc., fried things in a frying pan, the BBQ and oven. I’m going to get another one soon, but want to shop and compare, and I just don’t have time right now for that:)
I did a big Costco run for bulk items, and hit sales and my freebies and several large value coupons at Fred Meyers. I got reduced bread. I have been saving quite a few of the Friday Freebies for stocking stuffers. I used quite a bit of food from my freezers and cupboards to make meals with the other food I got. When I went to the mall, I found many good sales for the few items I needed to get.
I took 2 exercise classes at the YMCA last week.
I worked with my nephew several days last week. One thing I did was light the Advent candles a few times, and talk about Baby Jesus coming, etc. One day, he asked to sing Christmas songs during that time. Upon sitting down at the piano and choosing a Christmas song, and singing it, I asked for his choice. I had to laugh when he chose “It’s a Small, Small World” but we sang it. Too funny! We read several chapters of Little House in the Big Woods. He played Legos for hours. One day we made Krispie treats, his favorite.
My niece was having a party one evening. Her mom was working that day, and so was she. Her dad had a lot on his plate, so she asked me to bring over a tater tot/green bean casserole, so I did. It was easily made from home-canned green beans, home-made white sauce with rice flour to thicken it, hamburger, and tater tots on top. They had salad ingredients for make-your-own salads, and had the other kids bring chips, drinks and dessert. Fun, and economical for everyone.
Merry Christmas to everyone! Ours is going very well, and we are enjoying every minute of it!