Friday, December 28, 2012

On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

Candles lit from the Peace Light
Today is the fourth day of Christmas. Yes. It is still Christmas through Epiphany. I love celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas, but over the years it's become an increasingly simplified celebration. My mom was always good at the big, over-the-top celebrations. I think it's a gift she has. She has an eye for the beautiful and we always looked forward to her perfectly wrapped presents, the house decked, as it were, with boughs of holly and the dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies, candies and treats. Those count among some of my best memories. She jokingly called herself The Queen of Christmas, and she was. She made it a special, magical time for us and she seemed to find a lot of joy in the process. When we had our own family, I tried that once and quickly realized that I was going to have to blaze my own trail. I am not the heir to that throne.
By knowing my limits, keeping things simple and mostly avoiding celebrating Christmas until Advent is actually over, the Twelve Days of Christmas are a joyful time, not just for the kids, but for me as well. The one thing I can't hack beyond Christmas Day, though, is Christmas eating. Enough is as good as a feast, as Mary Poppins once said. After a few days of constant eating, my body is ready to slow things down and get back to basics.

In a pretty glass to make it celebratory
 Zach grew up with a dad who was very much a fan of health food and a food he has a particular, and somewhat odd, sense of nostaliga for is carrot juice. I can't manage straight carrot juice myself. It's just not, well, fruity enough for me. Add an apple, though, and I'm good. Carrots are good, cheap food (we get a mega bag at Costco for maybe $5 or $6) and they juice up quickly. Since the only way to keep fruit for any length of time in this house is to buy it in quantities that would suffice to feed the monkey house at Como Zoo, by Fridays of most weeks I usually have a few thises and thats in need of using up. Friday is my juicing day. Basically, I juice some carrots and then toss in anything else that needs to be used up. This week it is, apples, oranges, clementines, ginger and grapefruit.

A gallon pitcher that will be full when I am done
I juice the carrots and anything else that might have useful pulp first and set it aside. From this batch I saved the carrot, apple and ginger pulp. You have to add a little extra liquid, but it makes a very tasty carrot bread. Or carrot apple ginger bread, as the case may be. If you put the juice in a pretty glass and put a little butter on the bread, it works for a celebratory Christmas breakfast.

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