December Delights – Day 4!

By now, I hope you’re getting into a groove with the “December delights” – remember, what we’re after here is a feeling of calm in the hurry-scurry of these odd Covid holidays. Many things look very different this year and it’ll do us all some good to figure out new traditions instead of spending our energy lamenting what cannot be this year.

With that in mind, add a can of fruit (I used fruit cocktail, but peaches, pears, apples – anything at all will do!) to your growing Reverse Advent Calendar. Take a look – even after only a few days, that stash is taking shape and someone is going to be very happy to have that on Christmas Eve!

For my “Diva drill” today, I decided to make a crusty loaf of dark Russian bread. I’ve never had the patience necessary to make good, leave-it-to-rise bread and I swear by my bread machine. If you don’t have one, you’ve got three options – buy one new, haunt the local secondhand shops (really – it’s not at all unusual to find perfectly good small kitchen appliances for $10), or try this recipe for Irish soda bread – no yeast required! Honestly – homemade bread is a luxury we can all afford and once you make a few loaves, you’ll have a hard time going back to enriched, preservative-filled nonsense.

My appreciation for making (and eating!) real food got a swift jumpstart when I started along my “French journey.” The French are not alone in their desire to eat well on a budget (Italian cuisine, anyone?), but for me, people like Julia Child convinced me that upping my cooking game was perhaps not out of my reach and that good food deserves to be presented well rather than just glopped onto a plate. Paying attention to those small details in all aspects of life is at the heart of French Lessons by E.J. Gore (and it’s also the book that introduced me to the idea of the 12-hour vacation).

On my “just a little bit every day” approach to the holidays, I re-arranged pictures to put up some favorite holiday ones – two of them are lovely framed cross-stitch works created by my mother. We *might* hang lights on the porch tonight, but that might also wait another day or two – and that’s okay! It’s about moving forward, not blazing ahead and burning out.

See you tomorrow!

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