The lead up to this Christmas was a difficult one, so I wanted to make it extra special. And of course, for me that means spending a whole lot of quality time in the kitchen. I made ninja bread men, which were so much fun to make (and even more fun to paint their faces), and I finally got around to making reinbeers after all these years. They were a gift, I think it might become a staple every year for under-the-tree shenanigans.
The Christmas dinner menu was a hefty one but worth every effort. I started with a hot mushroom dip with flat bread for an afternoon pre-dinner ‘snack’. For dinner, we had brandy apricot stuffed turkey breast, red onion & Gruyère gratin, rare roast beef filet, maple roasted parsnips & carrots, roast potatoes, roast beetroot & goats cheese salad, and balsamic asparagus & vine tomatoes. Mmm mmm mmmmm, all washed down with champagne and wine. And that was for just the three of us. Luckily it was good, we ate it for two days! For dessert I made santa hat brownies with armaretto cream. There was a bit of an ‘incident’ with the first batch (just call me butterfingers), so glad I had back up.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas, and was really pleased that my dad and husbandman did also. It was quiet, but I think we made up for that with Christmas tunes, booze, and awesome presents under the tree. It was a fairly late night, and after a cleansing margarita we decided to call it a night. It was also good to speak to the family during their Christmas, plus my sister Heidi called from Aus for ours. Thanks Heids!
Unfortunately it was not a white Christmas as we expected, but on Boxing Day we did a 3km walk to the pub to stretch our legs (and arms, several pitchers later we were ready for our walk home!), and the snow had finally arrived, the streets were blanketed, and everything looked stunning. As you can imagine, after a few beers, this was very happy news, and while the walk home was a bit cold, it was lovely – everything is so much prettier white. Welcome snow, its good to see you again, finally!
We managed to fit in a few more Firsts – we visited Stratford which is about a 40 min drive away, and what a cute little place! I spotted a lovely shoe shop, and found some lovely red boots which I am looking at right now. Merry Christmas to me, eh?! We explored the town a bit, and stumbled across a whole bunch of ducks, and they were awesome! Cute little buggers chillin’ in the snow.
We also managed to get out to Niagara, it just seems wrong being so close and not taking dad for a visit. He had never been before, and Lee and I had not been in winter, so this was something special. What a treat, how beautiful is this?!
And so it is with mixed emotions we say farewell to 2012. I know a lot of people are pleased to see the end of this year, as am I. I can honestly say while there have been some real highlights this year, it has also been one of the worst, and one of the most stressful. Our Year of Firsts was definitely filled with many firsts, not all of them pleasant, but we managed to push some of our boundaries and have learned a thing or two about ourselves along the way. And I am even more thankful for the people in our lives – our family around the world, our amazing crew back home, the beautiful people we know along the way, and our new Canadian friends. We love you all, thank you for everything you have done for us this year, Team de Souza are grateful!
2013 may have a different theme (again, more on that later), it will definitely still be filled with firsts. And while I am not kidding myself about 2013 not also being full of its own stresses, I feel much stronger and ready to tackle the year. Stay tuned, stay safe and Happy New Year!