Lessons Learned:1) Plan in advance. Even if you don't feel like you have the time, do little things along the way (switching out mugs, putting up the tree, picking up stocking stuffers). Also, keep a running list of things you would like to do (if you could do all you wanted to do), so that you don't forget them and feel frustrated at the last minute.
2) Accept that you won't get everything done. I planned on making at least 2 other dishes (a pound cake and something else I can't even remember now) for this Christmas. Didn't happen and letting them go let me spend more time with my loved ones and not being stuck in the kitchen. Really, we had plenty of food and didn't need them anyway.
3) Allow help. If people offer help-accept it. I have this weird complex where I feel like I should be able to take it all on myself. But, letting my mom help me make the food, getting my sister to make the coffee (although, I think others requested that...) and decide where some things should go, letting my boyfriend bring lunch-- it all really made things easier.
4) Remind yourself about what it's all about. It's all about being with the ones you love and remembering this over and over helps you with 1-3 and let's you spend more time with everyone.
The only thing that would have made it better would have been if my brother had been here. He had to work, so he couldn't make it. We did, however, make the most of the situation and facetimed on Christmas. That was really special.
food network website).
For breakfast, we had little smokies, my sister's scrambled eggs (she makes the best), a variety of sweet breads: Stollen from the Guglhupf, banana bread, and pumpkin bread (provided by my Aunt Bea), and stewed apples.
I'm so thankful for such a wonderful time. Even though everything didn't go as planned, it didn't really matter. Just being able to spend time with everyone was all I needed!
Here's the salted caramel sauce I was talking about. SO, so good. It's definitely a keeper.
Salted Caramel Sauce
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 to a few pinches of sea salt
1) In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine water and sugar. Stir frequently until sugar dissolves.
2) Increase heat and boil the mixture WITHOUT stirring until the syrup is a deep amber color. Occasionally brush down the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush a just a little water. (This will take about 8 to 10 minutes).
3) As soon as you get the deep amber color, reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cream. The mixture will bubble up and make a lot of noise but don't be scared, just be careful and keep whisking until smooth. Add in a pinch of salt (or a few if you like it a little more salty, like me).
4) Allow to cool in a glass or metal container.