Tag Archives: Christmas

Food on Friday ~ December 6th

It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.

Early December and it’s cold, dark, and drear in the run-up to Christmas.  Today there is not much cheer around here, and anyway most people are busy making their arrangements for a great Christmas holiday.

Well, I’ll be on my own in the garret again over the Christmas holidays, so one of the things I should do is cook myself some great food.  There are some very cool, very easy recipes in this post, and I hope that we can all enjoy them in the run-up to Christmas Day.  I’m wondering if there’s going to be any great Christmas time TV.

First up this week, from Barcelona we have Ali at Gimmie Some Oven who has a healthier broccoli chicken casserole, made with pasta, tender chicken, and broccoli in a cheddar mushroom sauce.  Despite everything this is a light and very healthy dish that’s really easy to prepare.

Healthier Broccoli Chicken Casserole

Now from Joy the Baker, something else with a broccoli theme; spicy broccoli pizza with homemade pizza crust.  This is far, far better than anything you could buy anywhere, and a great pre-Christmas treat for your casual guests.

Spicy Broccoli Pizza with a Homemade Pizza Crust

Dana Shultz, the Minimalist Baker has a cool recipe for one-pot chicken soup with white beans and kale.  This 30 minute recipe does look so easy to make, and it’s warming, healthy, and gluten free.  What more could you want on a cold December evening.

One-Pot Chicken Soup with White Beans and Kale

Another great chicken dish, and this time the recipe is from the ever-delightful Heather Christo;  creamy tomato baked chicken and pasta.  I would use gluten free, or wholemeal pasta, but that’s your choice.  Whatever this is a great midweek dinner.

Creamy Tomato Baked Chicken and Pasta

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest always gives us the longest titles for her recipes, this one is 30 minute Chinese egg drop chicken rice soup with garlicky chile oil. Say no more…..

Chinese Egg Drop Chicken Soup

The collection this week is from Country Living magazine; 85 easy Christmas appetizers that will delight all of your holiday guests.  From this huge list I’ve chosen these deviled eggs with old bay shrimp from Carrie Purcell.  But make your own choices fro your pre-Christmas drinks party and Boxing Day snacks.

Deviled Eggs with Old Bay Shrimp

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

some people are almost ready for Christmas

I still have nothing at Christmas

for it is in giving that we receive the most

Marmaduke relaxing in the garret.

During this festive season I have nothing arranged, and expect to see nobody at all on Christmas Day.  I’d rather not be spending another festive season alone in the garret, but a little while ago my plans for Christmas were thrown into disarray.  I had arranged to take a trip to visit a friend, however my friend is now spending Christmas with their family, rather than with me.

I suppose I can’t complain about that, after all Christmas is the one time of year that you should really spend time with your family.  Sadly, for me there is only my sister, and she has her own husband and children to spend Christmas with.  I’d I be like the ghost at the feast if I went there.  I guess I can count Marmaduke as my family, so I won’t be totally alone here.

Some kind people have invited me to visit over the holidays….. I don’t know if I can do that.  Finding a flight just before Christmas, returning just after is very difficult this late in the day, actually it’s a’most impossible.  Any flight I’ve been able to find carries a hefty premium ~ like 50% above the normal fare, (or much more) for a really crappy set of connecting flights.  So, anyone travelling for Christmas will have had to have booked their flights some time ago.

Also, spending Christmas with someone I don’t know so well seems uncomfortable somehow ~ as though I would be intruding.  (My strong sense of ethics always stop me from having real fun.)

Whatever Hollywood might say, making last minute arrangements for Christmas Day is somewhere between difficult and impossible.  If you want to travel over the Holidays you have to book your journey well in advance ~ unless you are willing to pay double the normal fare for bad seats on flights that are the most difficult and inconvenient as possible.

Some say that their Christmas visit to the family was a last-minute idea.  And that the whole thing was quite spontaneous.  All I know is that flights over the Christmas Holiday have to be booked well in advance.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Marmaduke still thinks we’re going away over the holidays

Lonely Christmas

I have no one to talk to, and I’m alone

With only one month to go until Christmas Day I’ve been thinking about all those people who will be lonely over this Festive Season.

In England this Christmas, one in five adults will be spending the day alone.  And the Salvation Army say that almost a million elderly people, aged 65 and over, will be alone on Christmas Day, and most of them will be very lonely.  Tradition and Hollywood both say that Christmas is a special time to spend with friends and family, and yet millions of people don’t even plan to leave their homes at Christmas.

If you are a mature adult the chances are that you have spent at least one holiday season by yourself.  There are many possible reasons for this, you may live far away from family and old friends, you could have been divorced, or your relationship might have fallen apart, or you may have lost a loved one, or you may be suffering from your own problems such as alcoholism, drug addiction, severe mental illness…..  Or it just might be that you had plans and for some reason they fell apart at the last minute.

This year I will be alone in the garret, and you can tick several of the reasons I’ve just mentioned as to the cause of my solitary Christmas.  I wonder how many of you reading this will also be alone over the Festive Season, and how many will be spending it with an aching heart looking back at the mistakes of the past.  Life can be viciously unkind, and not everyone we have ever met and loved was going to be worth the tears we shed.  How many times do we have to say that we’re sorry for the things we have done or not done before we are forgiven?  And when will we ever learn?

Not all need be doom and gloom if you are going to be alone at Christmas with nobody to talk to and nobody to even care.  There are some positive things you can do;

  • Don’t get drunk or high or take to much mood-altering medication.
  • Don’t spend Christmas day unwashed, unshaven / not made up, with your hair uncombed, in dirty clothes or your night attire.
  • Don’t stay in bed all day feeling unutterably melancholy or depressed.
  • At least go out and take a short walk to some place that has special meaning for you.
  • Make use of the empty streets to take some different photographs.
  • Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself some positive self-talk.
  • Trust yourself, even if nobody else does, things will get better, nothing stays melancholy and depressing forever.
  • Contemplate the past, the present, and all possible futures while listening to some inspiring music.
  • Cook yourself a special meal and be thankful that you are safe, warm, and eating well.
  • Reach out to those you would have truly liked to be spending Christmas with.
  • Clean up the administrative dross from this year, and make positive plans for the future.

Some say that Christmas Day is just another day.  And that it’s not being alone that makes you lonely, it’s that nobody even cares.  All I know is that I intend to make the very best of being on my own at Christmas.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

White Christmas Mojito

Melancholy Monday ~ Lonely this Christmas

lonely is not being alone, it’s the feeling that no one cares

Sadly, and by force of circumstances, I will be alone in my garret over the Christmas holidays.  I am quite afraid that I shall feel very lonely.

I’ve been alone over the Holidays before.  There is something poignant and tragic about being lonely at Christmas.

Please listen responsibly.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

where do the lonely hide at Christmas?

Christmas is Cancelled

Scrooge had the right idea ~ Christmas Bah! Humbug!

For the second year in succession my Christmas vacation plans have been cancelled ~ without so much as a ‘bye your leave’.

The thing is, when other people totally fuck up mess up your Christmas holiday plans, they feed you a bunch of guilt assuaging crap in the mistaken belief that you can’t telling the whole truth.

The other thing is, when Christmas vacation plans get suddenly cancelled, it’s pretty difficult to unwind arrangements, and almost impossible to make alternative plans with only 6 weeks or so until it’s time to fly off to somewhere warm and sunny.  At Christmas Time everywhere is booked up months in advance, the airlines are overbooked, and it’s utterly impossible to find a cute travelling companion.

So, come Christmas Eve, I’ll have a box full of gifts for a woman, a suitcase full of great clothes, a wallet full of US$, and no place to go.  Last year I stayed in the garret on my own, except for Marmaduke, and got good and drunk ~ well miserably drunk.  And it looks as though it might be the same this year.  Which is a shame.

The other sad thing is that, along with my holiday plans being cancelled, comes some problems in a treasured relationship.

l, they always said that when things seem to be going well you’ll get a load of shit dumped on your head.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

don’t think Santa is coming this way

Merry Christmas to Everyone

Marmaduke and I Wish You Very Merry Christmas

one with lots of love to share

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

a Christmas Rose for you

Christmas Songs

Chris Rea ~ Driving Home For Christmas

I’ve done that more times than I’d care to remember.

Please listen responsibly

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Songs on Saturday ~ December 1st

At Christmas, love the giver more than the gift.

The First of December is the beginning of my personal Christmas Season ~ others may begin their own Christmas earlier, or if they follow older traditions will not begin to celebrate Yule until December 21st.  The end of Yuletide is January 1st, and here in England the traditional end of Christmas is 12th Night, which falls on January 5th.

Anyone with the spirit of Christmas / Yule in their heart will have their own seasonal traditions, one of mine is that my Christmas playlist comes into force today ~ my computerised music system really only plays festive songs between now and 12th night.

This is one of my favourite festive tunes ~ it reminds me that not everyone looks forward to Christmas.

Please listen with joy and compassion in your heart.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

snow in the high desert,

New Mexico

 

Christmas Is Cancelled

He who has not Christmas in his heart will not find it under a tree.

To be more honest, my Christmas plans have been cancelled by my tour company.

I had arranged to fly out to the Algarve in Portugal on December 19th, to spend Christmas in the sun with a group of other like-minded solo travellers.  It should have been fun.

Sadly my tour company has just emailed me to say that ‘they have decided not to proceed with this group departure’.  Their reason…..  the minimum number of guests has not been achieved .

Disappointed?  You bet I am.

They have offered me 7 alternative Christmas Holidays, all of which are more expensive, and none of them to places I want to spend Christmas ~ such as Agadir in Morocco.  And, they will send me a refund for the $1300 or so I have already paid for my trip to Portugal.

So, unless I want to spend Christmas alone in my apartment again, I need to find somewhere to go at short notice.

Ah well, the spirit of Christmas still lives in my heart.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

there’s always somewhere with someone

Food on Friday ~ Christmas Extras

Christmas!!!!

For some it’s heir favourite time of the year ~ others aren’t always so fortunate, so we’ll try hard to make this a happy Christmas for the whole world.

Anyway, back to food for this Christmas.  I’ve no doubt that you’ve got all the main stuff organised ~ the Christmas Dinner I mean.  But what about all those snacks, and breakfasts, and afternoon teas that you’re going to want to provide over this festive season?

What about all those extras?  Well, this Food on Friday might just give you some good ideas.

First this week we have this really cool snowflake pull-apart monkey bread from Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest.  Loaded with butterscotch and cinnamon ~ what a great breakfast, or something extra sweet to have with your afternoon tea!

Snowflake Pull-Apart Monkey Bread

From No Plate Like Home, how about this eggnog quick bread with rum infused glaze?  What a great idea for afternoon tea, or for something to have at parties.  You know what?  I’ll bet this will go down a treat.

Eggnog Quick Bread with Rum Infused Glaze

Next from the archives of Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français we have this Christmas tarted up treacle tart with ginger and pecans.  Jeez!  This looks so rich and tasty~ I love treacle tart!

Tarted Up Treacle Tart with Ginger and Pecans

Now for something that’s a cross between sweet and savory ~ from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes we have honey hazelnut baked brie.  I really like baked brie, and this recipe looks fabulous with a sweet and sour honey sauce.

Honey Hazelnut Baked Brie

Here’s something sweet and irresistible from Averie Cooks; melt in your mouth toffee.  Averie says it’s perfect for cookie exchanges, or as a hostess gift, or for parties.  This toffee looks good to me.

Melt In Your Mouth Toffee

Well, something no drinks party should be without is a brilliant cheese board.  So Chungah at Damn Delicious offers us some tips on how to create the perfect holiday cheese board.  Looks damn delicious to me.

The Perfect Holiday Cheese Board

And, talking about drinks, Country Living has this brilliant collection of drinks recipes; 30 Christmas cocktails for a holly jolly holiday season.  Among the recipes is this cool white Christmas mojito from Half Baked Harvest.

White Christmas Mojito

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Have a very Happy Christmas

 

 

 

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