christmas

Dear The Huffington Post

I recently perused your article Christmas Gifts for Mom: 15 Items that Won’t Break the Bank. It featured an adorable photo of a young child holding her forehead to her mother, along with not 15, but 116 inexpensive items that mom would enjoy! I would like to thank you for including #84 in your  list, along with the disclaimer to “open in private”. The PleasurePillar Wonderland would be welcome in any mom’s stocking this holiday season. I am glad to see you have a progressive and enlightened attitude toward women’s sexual health, but I agree it’s a bit delicate to open in front of family on Christmas morning. I also appreciate the economy and singular focus on finding something uniquely for mom in place of the typical vacuum cleaner or “fitness aids” I have been gifted over recent years. I am sure you’ll receive many thank you letters on Boxing Day from happy moms everywhere.

This is not one of those letters.

Perhaps, HuffPo (I hope I can call you that) I can provide a gentle critique and suggest that your list was egregiously mistitled and should not be listed as a gift for moms of any sort. You see, this led to an uncomfortable situation where I was perusing this list with my two four year olds and now they want to buy a PleasurePillar by Wonderland for Grandma. They have no clue as to it’s purpose, but they liked the bright colour and amusing shape, and despite my desperate attempt at clicking away from the image faster than the speed of light, they feel that it would be the thing that Grandma would enjoy most this holiday season. Even more than the dinosaur planter (#49) that I tried to direct them towards, or virtually any other fucking thing in the universe.

Not the PleasurePillar, but a future resident of my desk if everything goes my way at Christmas (thehappyplanter on Etsy)

I tried to rely on the Memento like memory of four year olds to erase the idea from their minds to no avail. This morning, my son asked what store we were going to go to in order to purchase “THE BLUE THING FOR GRANDMA.” I am not sure, HuffPo, if it is appropriate for my son to give an item that will not be legal for him to purchase for another 14 years. After all, you don’t see many delightful hand printed and glittered bottles of bourbon at Christmas, do you? Hopefully he’ll be progressed enough in his sexual education by then to be deeply uncomfortable about buying such a thing for Grandma. I hope he wants to poke out his own ear drums and bleach his eyeballs at the mere suggestion. If he does, I know I will have done my job at instilling appropriate boundaries. I think boundaries are important, don’t you, HuffPo?

With warmest regards for a pleasure filled holiday season,

Hopeful Receiver of a Dinosaur Planter and in Desperate Need of a Lobotomy

Turkey Hot Pockets: Post-Christmas Letdown Recipes Edition

Look, I am a little cranky post-Christmas to be honest with you. Too much booze, not enough sleep, and all that cooking and cleaning kind of take the shine off of it, you know?

I have 17 out of 18 lbs of turkey leftover. This may be due to my annual salmonella freak out that turned everyone off of eating the beautiful, tasty and terribly large turkey that I prepared for four adults and two children.

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Look at that beautiful goddamn thing. My dad (who is carving it) ate the drumstick and that’s about it.

After the turkey casseroles were made and the turkey soup I still had about 8-10 lbs to go, and I remembered the most amazing idea ever. A few months ago, Brother Jon had the thought of the genius thanksgiving hot pocket. He is a visionary. I would buy a thousand of those and serve them up fresh from the toaster oven for every special occasion from now until forever. I promised to prototype it with my Canadian Thanksgiving leftovers and then promptly forgot about it in a fit of not wanting to do anymore cooking ever, as is my semi-annual holiday tradition.

But today; today in the haze of grumpiness I prototyped. I made this calzone dough, although any recipe that you can find on the internet would do, I guess. I don’t bake, which should be strongly factored in to all of my advice. Seriously? Every holiday I have ever had in history has been somehow brought down to disaster by baking.

So I made the dough. As in, I dumped all of the ingredients into my KitchenAid and sat down to have a coffee for 10 minutes because my hands are tired and there’s a machine that does the kneading sort of for you. Then I dumped the contents into a bowl, covered with olive oil and turned the bread proof function on in my oven because that is a real thing that new ovens have.

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Ingredients made into a ball of something that will turn into something else. ALCHEMY.

Then I waited for yeast to do its thing (seriously, bread is a miracle, isn’t it?) and then I cut it in 4, and let the yeast do it’s thing again. Then I stretched it out and filled it, and basically if you understand how a calzone works you can figure this part out.

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This could have easily been a flat bread had I not put in the effort to fold it in half. *pats self on back

The filling I used was turkey, roasted brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole with apples and pecans, cranberries and then a big dollop of gravy on top because gravy. I know not all these things are on people’s holiday menus and you hate brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes are terrible or whatever, but look, I DON’T KNOW YOUR LIFE. Put whatever you want in it, ok? This isn’t Epicurious. (sorry, I have the Christmas letdowns. I am going to go get some more Bailey’s).

So then I sealed it up. I didn’t do the egg wash thing like the recipe said because that seemed like effort. But I did put some olive oil on it because olive oil is my favourite and thanks to Madame Weebles and Nudo, I now have a lot of it. Or at least I did, until I left the olive oil close to a 3-year-old. Now I have a whole turkey casserole that is going to be poached in olive oil when I put it in the oven. I’ll let you know how that tastes.

Then baked it at about 400 for about 20 minutes until they were brown and gravy was leaking from them. I told you I wasn’t very good at this.

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Turkey dinner hot pockets, fresh from the oven and taken from the most flattering and least leaky angle.

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The Maillard reaction improves the look and taste of everything in life.

Even the 3 year olds took exactly one bite of it before declaring it yucky, so I’d say that was a success.

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Taste test.

The true test will be if anyone actually eats the leftover one tomorrow because no one in this house has eaten a leftover since the early aughts.

Learnings:

Mashed potatoes aren’t my favourite in there. It was a kind of bland layer. Maybe if you mixed the gravy directly into the mashed potato it would be better.

More gravy. Because. Maybe some bacon. Definitely more cranberries if you’re into that sort of thing.

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No gravy oozing. Disappointing.

Do not leave a full bottle of olive oil anywhere near a 3-year-old. Terrible outcome.

Perhaps drink less coping booze for big holidays to avoid post-Christmas rut.  You know what, ima just forget I said that altogether. CHEERS.