Recipe for holiday happiness…

I started the day uncertain and feeling somewhat drained and detached from the typical holiday feeling.  What with an ongoing negotiation to try to modify my home loan and trying on a new hat for fundraising for my short film, I preferred to stay underground and sulk.  The California sun beamed optimistically to me, so I didn’t have the excuse to at least get in the mood.  I petered around the bachelorette kitchen, being sure not to bump my leg on the dishwasher door which doubled as a dish drying rack for the two dishes that were there air drying.  For the last week.  What a pit I had turned my charming kitchen to.  The effects of sequential deadlines and a sporadic, inconsistent schedule; the freedom I’ve always dreamed of.

I began with apples, skinning them and scooping our their seeds when I remembered a visit to Naja Tea Room in Long Beach where a guest spoke about cooking with tea.  I double checked if I still had a canister of Chai a friend had given me.  Before I knew it, I was on a mission: operation Apple Ginger Smackdown.  I steeped the Chai and peeled some ginger then poured the Chai and the ginger into the blender and added that mix to my apples.  I added cinnamon, nutmeg and honey and cooked it on high until it cooked all the way down to a slightly thickened consistency.  Apples done.  I made a salad and a big batch of fresh mint tea and headed over for mealtime.

It was perfect in it’s simplicity.  The kids were playing, food was being prepared.  I instantly felt better to be cutting, chopping helping where help was needed, including admiring a very handsome four year old non nonchalantly strolling through so I could admire his Spiderman costume complete with muscles.  We sat down for dinner and ate what my stomach recognized as food that makes me feel like home with the Eggnoggin Taboggin, the holiday spin of a hot Toddy.  We all shared a relief that it was time to sit and be, jumping from the night’s signature drink to sparkling grape to red wine.

We ended the evening talking and laughing.  I was full and my Apple Ginger Smackdown was a success.  That is what I needed.  We laughed so hard with my friend’s mother, that all of our sides were hurting as we told tales that only ladies tell.  Food, laughter, togetherness completed a wonderful holiday.  Before I fell asleep I wondered how will I make more use of these enriching resource in the days to come…and what my friends were going to do with all of those leftovers.

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