Holiday Highlights

Hash Brown Casserole (recipe at the end of this post)
I look at the calendar and see that the last of our family left only a week ago. Then why does it seem that all of the holiday activities seem to have happened a long time ago? Conversely, Daddy-O and I were watching a Netflix show last night when the Sonny & Cher song "I've Got You, Babe" was mentioned. And Daddy-O said, "It seems like that song was popular just yesterday." It was first released in 1965. I'm pretty sure those two observations of the movement of time mean that we are officially old. You can google time perception and aging and find all sorts of scientific studies. All I know is that it feels different now. Let's catch up a little here (I have been blog absent for a while) and take a quick look at our holiday. It looks like all we did was eat. There might be some truth there.
We have Christmas breakfast right after the girls check out what Santa left for them. Just basic breakfast food, but this year with a gingerbread butter that was a gift from a friend. I'll see if I can get her recipe. It's definitely a recipe worth having.
We made our traditional standing rib roast for Christmas night supper. And because Jessica and Todd were not here for Christmas, we cooked another one on New Year's Eve. Because they wanted one.
Mommy is teaching her little ones the art of promptly writing thank you notes. When my own girls were little Santa always tucked a box of thank you notes into their stockings.
When Jessica and Todd arrived for New Years, they—along with their little helper—baked a batch of cinnamon rolls that we all love. There are a few pans left in the freezer for Daddy-O to enjoy later.
Jessica and Todd spent Christmas with his family and while they were there, they had a lesson in baking his mother's famous chocolate layer cake. So to make sure they had the process firmly in hand, they baked another one at our house. Nine layers of homemade yellow cake and lots of fudgy frosting. I'll try to share this recipe later. I want to check with his mom first and ask her permission.
We had so much rain while they were here, but we took advantage of every break in the rain to play outside. Little Sister learned to ride her bike and was zooming around the house so fast that I never got a picture of her! Baby Girl loves her balance bike and told me, "Somebody needs to nail some pedals on my bike!" Think she's ready for a real bicycle?
Little Sister got a cookbook and a chef's coat from Santa, so she offered to make breakfast for us one morning. Yogurt, fruit and granola parfaits. She's learning good solid cooking techniques. And she already knows about presentation. We're working on serving skills.
When it was too wet to play outdoors, the girls entertained us with original dramas. This play was called "The Human and the Mermaid." Total improv. I'm not sure which one saved the other...the plot was a little fuzzy. But it kept them busy for hours, finding props and costumes, arranging seating, inviting the audience. I think we could classify it as a "comic tragedy."
The last big family meal was lunch on New Year's day. It's the same menu we always have. The same traditional meal I've had since childhood. And the same that Daddy-O grew up with. I cannot imagine anything different. It's a southern thing. Black-eyed peas, collards, pork and cornbread. J-Daddy said this was his favorite meal of the entire holiday season.
I had forgotten how good this casserole was. Friend Missy asked several weeks before Christmas if I had a good recipe for a hash brown casserole. I told her I did. And that it was the same recipe that we all used back in the day. I was surprised that I didn't have it here on the blog. So here it is, safely blogged so that we can all find it now. HASH BROWN CASSEROLE 1 (2-lb) package frozen hash brown potatoes (the cubed style) 1 cup diced onion 1 pint sour cream (that's 2 cups or 16 ounces) 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese 1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted 1 stick of butter, melted Mix all ingredients, reserving some of the cheese. Spoon into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 1 hour. If you dice your onion the night before, this only takes minutes to stir up in the morning. The leftovers—if there are any—are good reheated. We baked this for our Christmas breakfast and then served the leftovers as a side dish with the rib roast on Christmas night. No one complained about "leftovers."
There was so much wonderful family time that isn't documented here. Funny things Baby Girl said, sweet moments with the grandchildren, bedtime stories and snuggles, farm adventures with Daddy-O, bath time with peppermint shampoo, Baby Girl hiding under the bed on the day were to leave because she didn't want to go. All those memories. These are the things I hope the grandchildren remember and talk about and taught about long after I'm gone. Here's my wish for the new year....that we take a hard look at what is really important. What really matters. And then make our time and activities match our priorities.