We have arrived at the end of this very challenging and unexpected year! I am happy to turn over the last page of this chapter of 2020. However, it is also with grateful heart that I look back. Despite the heaviness and darkness that 2020 has brought, it also brought unexpected blessings. My last “Being Grateful” post for 2020 is about remembering and celebrating this last month of the year.
December was a quiet month of nesting at home. Lockdown continued on since November. There were no Christmas walks in San Francisco with BFF to look at holiday displays, Christmas trees and gingerbread houses this year. There were no holiday parties although my co-workers decorated the building with festive decorations that lifted up our holiday spirits every time we walked in, and work has provided boxed lunches. Christmas was a quiet and socially-distanced affair.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
This holiday, though, brought time and space for solitude and contemplation that were often missed during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I love being home during the holidays even before the pandemic. I am grateful for the coziness and warmth of my home where I enjoy life’s simplest pleasures — hours of reading, a hot cup of tea, watching holiday movies, baking and hanging out with Mr Sweetie watching football or our shows. Speaking of holiday movies, by December, I was pretty much burnt out watching sappy Christmas movies on Netflix since I started watching them after Thankgiving. LOL! I watched at least 8 Christmas romance movies and they were enough for me for the year!…. With the pandemic and not being able to go anywhere, I really enjoyed every moment of quiet and solitude as I was surrounded by holidays decors without any guilt of missing out with what was usually going on in the world.
I hate to say that we lost our Saturday night meal delivery mojo. Delivery food just do not taste the same and not as appealing. Sometimes I would even tell Mr Sweetie to just order for himself. I would rather eat my own cooking. As an example, I ordered an egg sandwich with fries. I should have just made my own! With the steep price tag plus the service and delivery charges and tips, it was like throwing our money away.
However, Eureka Berkeley brought back our Saturday date night at home mojo. We ordered the aptly named meal set “Date Night with Alcohol.” LOL! He chose an American Burger while I loved my Fresno Fig (burger with fig marmalade, goat cheese and arugula). Our order came with fries and brussel sprouts, AND a margarita for 4! We had a couple of sips each before we put it in the fridge. It was strong! This meal was one of the best delivered ones we had! I also liked our sushi, and vegan mac and cheese from Homeroom in Oakland. He also brought me a couple of musubi which I love and the only time I eat Spam!
IN MY KITCHEN
I had a lot of fun in the kitchen this month and cooked many comfort food. On the menu were:
- Fried egg on toast with arugula and persimmon topped drizzled with Spicy Cashew dressing and sprinkled with Everything But The Bagel spices both from Trader Joe’s.
- Garlic rice with Asian chicken sausage and fried egg. I enjoyed this while Mr Sweetie was away on a business trip.
- Blueberry pancakes. December is for pancakes and maple syrup although I cooked these for him as treats. I did not have any– next time!
- Curry noodles. These looked great in pictures but they were meh. Will not make this dish again.
- Bouikos or cheese scones. These are so addictive! See my recipe here. I will be making these forever!
- Apple Muffins. So good! Here is the recipe on my blog.
- Sticky Lemon Tofu. Also a keeper. I have been making this recipe and will be making them again for the 4th time. Recipe to be posted soon.
CHRISTMAS EVE was very nice although it was busy for me. I worked from home on Christmas Eve while cooking stuffing and slow cooker apple sauce in between meetings.
CHRISTMAS DAY was spent at our other house. On the menu was baked salmon, pork ribs, tamales, mashed potatoes and gravy and the apple sauce and stuffing that I made the day before. It was a simple but delicious meal shared among 4 people. We opened our presents. We stayed up until 11 pm on Christmas Day. As always, he spoiled me with new Uggs, name necklace and lots of new clothes. I gave him shoes, 2 pairs of his favorite pj’s from Ralph Lauren, new iPod and a fun gift from Man Crate which contained cookie shots. It was fun to watch him pry open the crate with a crow bar.
HIS BIRTHDAY WEEKEND — Since we are on lockdown for the second time around, I could not take him to a steak restaurant on his birthday. I ordered a ribeye steak for him from Wood Tavern in Oakland. He loved his birthday dinner. This birthday was extra special as he was restored to health this year after a minor surgery.
DECEMBER 27 — Even though fraught with worries, I got to see my family to bring them their presents. With masking and social distancing, I got to spend a couple of hours with them watching them open their presents and my little nephew play with his new toys. They sent me home with food as always as we cannot eat together.
BFF AND CHRISTMAS TREATS
Despite the lockdown, BFF and I got to see each other briefly to exchange Christmas treats. She came to my workplace to drop off cookies and chocolates. Even though we missed all of our Christmas friendship traditions, we our holding out hope that we will get to do them again next holiday season.
WHAT I AM GRATEFUL FOR
It is hard to not be grateful for everything in my life. With the uncertainties of 2020, faith and love grew stronger. Holidays brought gratitude for family, loved ones, friends, warm home, good health, hope and a table laden with delicious food. This Christmas really made me focus on aspects of my life that are most important which are togetherness despite the distance. I exchanged messages with my family in the Philippines and Japan which I hardly get to do before the pandemic because of time differences. I had daily conversations with my mom and dad. This Christmas is really about generosity — which is what Christmas is truly all about. These messages get lost in holiday parties, material things, sparkling decors, giant Christmas trees. Not this Christmas. This Christmas is about giving instead of receiving.
December is for tying loose ends. I am happy to say goodbye to 2020.
I wish you New Year that is full of blessings, hope, faith and the love of your family and friends.