Friday, November 25, 2011

a toast

It is exactly one month before Christmas.  The other evening, I finally finished my week long project of  designing our Christmas cards and had them sent to the printer.  It was the first hurdle for this Christmas season, and it was finally done, albeit done into the wee hours of the early morning.  So now, I am now officially in the Christmas mode, as those cards were the catalyst for me to prepare for Black Friday, and finalize my Christmas shopping.

An excerpt from last year's Christmas photo session.

I look back on my childhood and wonder how my parents did it.  They didn't have the luxury of having their cards created online to be printed.  They didn't have access to outlets, Black Friday sales, or online shopping.  Back then, Christmas ornaments, decor, or pretty dishes didn't change with the "style of the year"...what ever they received from their wedding registration, they used.  Every year.

But every Christmas was magical to both my brother and I.  The silver tinsel and the brightly coloured ornaments were a staple, along with every single handmade ornament we made at school, proudly hung on the FRONT of the tree.  Although I'm sure my parents fretted over the latest "toy" they had to line up and get for their wide eyed children, for the most part, Christmas seemed simpler. Every Christmas morning, my brother and I would race down the stairs, eat the fastest breakfast of the year and tear open our gifts.

I recently heard a poll on the news that said about 70% of shoppers will be spending less this Christmas.  They will be more budget minded, try to take some time off work and focus on things that really matter.

When I heard this and wondered if this is something we should have been doing all along...instead of escalating the Christmas holiday as the latest expression of fashion, maybe we should remember why we're doing this in the first place (religion aside).  As much as I love partaking in the latest trends, and decorating our home with all the beautiful ornaments and decor like it's displayed in the magazines, I need to keep reminding myself...ten years from now, will we remember the latest "pre-lit, multi-functioning, hottest coloured Christmas tree" we had sitting in our home, or the look on our kids' wide-eyed, syrup covered face, as they smile with glee, holding their latest treasure, with the wrapping paper skewed all over the floor.

Quick French Toast
(adapted from Ina Garten's Challah French Toast)

6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon good honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large loaf challah, brioche (I used a French baguette, pre sliced the night before, and stored in a zip lock bag)
Unsalted butter

To serve:
Pure maple syrup
Good raspberry preserves (optional)
Sifted confectioners' sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, honey, and salt. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter as needed, until it's all cooked. Serve hot with maple syrup, raspberry preserves, and/or confectioners' sugar.

Enjoy slowly.

1 comment:

  1. I believe people will start slowing down for the Christmas season and maybe not get so caught up in the hype - it's hard in blogland not to want to create all the "pretty" things we see tho - isn't it? I will primarily re-use what I had from last year for this year I think :)


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