I promised to get up early on Tuesday so we could go to the grocery store (nothing like LAST minute shopping) and buy the ingredients needed to make desserts for Christmas Day. We are ALL invited to Chiara’s friend Laura’s house for Christmas dinner! When I say ALL I mean we are 13 plus 3 kids and heading to a household that presently has at least 6 adults and 2 kids of their own. Whoooo eeeee!
Well, I didn’t get up that early at least not by Clark family standards but I was fortunate enough to get up after my nephew Justin did, because he made me a great high-protein breakfast which I thoroughly enjoyed. Poached eggs, lentils and some salsa and it was delicious. Tom suggested he go to Starbucks and was swiftly informed that was NOT happening. Time, this was all about time! We had to grocery shop, Justin needed to go to a store, and Chiara needed to go to Home Goods to buy a trifle bowl. A couple of weeks ago, I suggested to Chiara if she told me what she was preparing for Christmas Eve dinner, perhaps I could bring a recipe or two and make something for her and I would tell her what to buy before I arrived. I never heard. I did pack a few holiday recipes (hey, you never know) . A half hour after I arrived, Chiara informed me that we were responsible for desserts to bring to the Christmas dinner and luckily two of the recipes I had with me were for two lovely desserts. BUT she didn’t have half the ingredients which was the main reason we had to shop TODAY, Christmas Eve – Just sayin’!
Tom, Brad and I hop into Tom’s Audi and immediately make a blood pact of omertà and head to the nearest Starbucks. First things first. Needless to say it was packed and we probably lost at least 15 minutes that we were going to have to make up at the grocery store. Fueled with appropriate amounts of caffeine, we headed to Publix. Brad decided he was going to wheel the cart, I had the grocery list and we never really knew what part of the store Tom was in until perchance we met him in an aisle.
The problem lay with the Lady Fingers. I hunted through the store asking clerks where might they be. The bakery area was all out but why didn’t I check Aisle 11 and sure enough there was something passing itself off as lady fingers when really all they looked like were small tube-like sugared cookies. I had to make do with these, we were running out of time. And because we were sort of rushing, I realized as I was checking out that I hadn’t brought in the canvas shopping bags – going green and all that jazz. So we just put the groceries in the cart, a few plastic bags had already been filled and I would repack the cloth bags in the parking lot. In the 85 degree heat, that didn’t make a lot of sense and was quite a sight.
Next stop, Walmart, we still need to buy ice and a cooler and just maybe Walmart might have the right Lady Fingers. Naturally they did not. I wasn’t surprised because when we were in Publix and I asked 3 different employees about where might I find the marscapone cheese, they looked at me like “What?” That and the fact that the store didn’t carry Ziti, did not carry DeCeco brand pasta, very little Barilla and a lot of Muellers, I knew I was in Florida!
We got the cooler and the ice that Chiara had ordered and somehow on the conveyer belt 3 yoga mats and a soccer ball – uh huh, Tom!
Back at the house as I’m unloading groceries in a fury and trying to rearrange the refrigerator for the third time to make room (consolidate, consolidate), Dennis is chopping lemons and limes, Juanita is working on something and Belle is making quinoa.
I have Chocolate Pumpkin Tiramisu and a Cranberry Trifle to whip up. I start with the tiramisu and discover there ‘s no Confectioner’s sugar in the house! Now I have to send someone out to the grocery store again and maybe they’ll even find the correct lady fingers. In the meantime in case they don’t, I assign Peter to figuring out how to slice these cracker-like cookies in half lengthwise. I try one knife, Dennis suggests another knife because they are crumbling as they are being cut. Peter to the rescue! He goes into the garage and comes back with a hacksaw. We all looked at him aghast! However, the saw precisely cut the cookies and they laid in wait to see if the others would show up.
Meantime two bags of cranberries were bubbling on the stove and hopefully popping open. Teamwork prevailed and Peter took out the big Sunbeam mix master because there wasn’t a working hand mixer in the house and he whipped the marscapone and heavy cream. I thought I could put the trifle together forgetting that the cranberry filling actually had to be cool, so that get’s shoved into the refrigerator. So now everything has come to a screeching HALT! No sugar, no tiamisu, no trifle really underway. And I still had the baked ziti to make.
By the time Laura, Jim, Addie and Collins arrive, we have put together apps, dessert, tableware, pork loin, cooked the brussels sprouts and chopped the lettuce. They brought so much food: sausage and peppers, Meatballs in gravy, and a lasagna and some Italian desserts. I baked the ziti and put it in the refrigerator lol.
People came, people left, beer pong was played, the music never stopped, glass piled up and it was time to do some clean up. Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you that the dishwasher was not working! This afternoon it was in cycle and Tom opened the door and that was that. It wouldn’t drain, it wouldn’t reset, it wouldn’t make a sound. All the Dads tried to fix it, Tom called the 800 number to see if we could get service – uh really now, it’s Christmas Eve! So all the dishes were taken out and washed by hand and tonight even though we ate on disposable plates, there were platters and bowls and pots to wash well into the evening.
JUST before we were about to pack the little ones off to bed, Finley is stricken with the thought that OMG we didn’t make the cookies to leave out for Santa! That did it, NOBODY was going to bed till we baked cookies. Laura’s mother-in-law stepped in and supervised the slice and bake process and soon we had a batch of peanut butter cookies topped with M&M’s. OK now, it’s time for all good little girls to go to bed with admonitions that nobody is to get up and go downstairs till we all get up.
Personally I couldn’t wait to snuggle in bed and have sugar plums dance in my head.
Merry Christmas to all to all a good night!