Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Preparations

A photo of the "birthday" tree that I managed to locate...
Although it is a little small & the ornaments aren't the greatest, it serves its purpose.  

With the kids' birthdays wrapped up, I now need to begin to focus on preparing for Christmas.  Less than a day left (in this part of the world)!  I still have all of the gift wrapping to do but Kevin can help with most of that today.  I did realize yesterday morning that I needed to come up with some kind of a menu for the weekend.  For the last few years, my parents and my sister, her husband and their son joined us in Miami for Christmas so I always had a crowd to cook for over the holidays.  

For Christmas Eve dinner, I traditionally make cioppino (a seafood & fish stew originating in San Francisco - so incredibly delicious) and serve it with sour dough bread and a green salad.  My recipe makes quite a large amount which usually isn't a problem because we always had many guests to feed - and it makes great leftovers. However, this year it will be just the four of us and I really don't feel like going through all of the trouble of making it - there is a lot of chopping of vegetables & cleaning of seafood/fish involved, which my dad always does. Instead, I think we will have a very low key dinner with hamburgers from the grill and a green salad.  

Christmas morning, I usually make a big breakfast with a selection of breakfast casseroles, quiche, muffins,  bacon, sausages, etc.  This year, again because it will be just the four of us, we will have less elaborate fare - waffles with bacon, sausages and fruit salad.  I will make a buffalo chicken dip and serve with tortilla chips, carrots and celery for a early and lite lunch.  

Christmas dinner will be a roasted turkey breast, stuffing, glazed carrots, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes and goat cheese grits. I was able to find some cranberry sauce at the market so we will have that and gravy as well. I plan to make a lemon meringue pie and, if I can track down a can of evaporated milk, a pumpkin pie. Kevin might make sugar cookies with the kids today if we finish with Caitlynne's braces and can get our act together.     

Whew!  Now, I am not only very hungry but also very tired thinking about all of the cooking I will be doing over the next couple of days! I was able to find all of the ingredients I needed (except for the evaporated milk) but this is probably the most expensive Christmas dinner I have ever made.  Most of the dairy products (cheese, cream, sour cream, etc.) in Thailand are imported from Australia and New Zealand and are incredibly pricey. The recipe for the buffalo chicken dip  I am making called for 6 oz. of Greek yogurt, for which I paid just under $9.00!  Yikes!  Note to self:  only dairy-free dishes for next year's dinner!

I am now 85 miles into my transcontinental run and approaching Ashland, VA! It has cooled down a tiny bit (yesterday morning it was 77 degrees) and the humidity has lessened so I have been able to get some great runs in. I am debating running a 10K (called a mini-marathon here) downtown in mid-February. My main concern is the logistics of driving there, parking and then getting home. The 10K is being run under the "umbrella" of the Bangkok Marathon and there will also be a Half Marathon and a 5K that day. So, a lot of craziness will be added to the already horrible mess that is Bangkok traffic. The start time for the marathon is 3:00 AM, for the half marathon it is 5:00 am and the 10K starts at 5:45 am. I am not sure if the early start times are necessary because of the heat or to reduce the impact of road closures on traffic. I am going to ask around and see if there is anyone from Nichada who plans to run the 10K and maybe I can tag along with them. I really would like to see how a race is put on here. 

I hope all of your Christmas preparations are going well!

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