It is always kind of a last minute thing for me, despite the best of intentions, so here we were with Christmas a week away, discussing what to buy for whom. Quite a few years back Ray's and my siblings and we decided that we just didn't need to exhange much in the way of Christmas gifts and we would all prefer to donate to charities instead. We like Heifer International and the Food Banks, so this morning we did our online contributions, then we set out to find a few things. We were going to some friends' for dinner tonight and needed a bottle of wine to take along, so we decided to check out the new Whole Foods Store out in our neighborhood. Emily told me they call it "Whole Paycheck." Beautiful store, but holy smokes is it expensive! It was fun to wander around and see all the exotic foods and wares and we did find a bottle of wine.
How do you select wine? Do you go to tastings and keep a notebook listing the ones you like? Do you read the wine column in the newspaper, or subscribe to Gourmet magazines that have articles on new vintages and how to pair wine with food? I'm impressed with people who do that. Me, I have a much simpler criterion for buying a bottle of wine. I choose the one with the prettiest label. We were fortunate to find a beautiful label, er—lovely bottle of wine, in our price range at Whole Foods.
It looks good, doesn't it? I mean, just look at that label!
We found a few other items to buy at Whole Foods, but by and large I was a little aghast at the prices. A quick stop at Trader Joe's restored my sense of equilibrium. Those two stops kind of did us in, so we picked up tacos from one of the parking lot taco trucks on our way and went home.
One of my Christmas projects actually started last summer. No, actually it started about twelve years ago and finally is seeing fruition. After my Mom died in 1998, my sister, Becky, sister-in-law, Brenda, and I divided up her collection of recipes. You have to understand that my Mom was a very good cook. I mean very good. We didn't want those recipes to get away from us. Our plan was that we would each type up the recipes we took, my sister and SIL would email theirs to me and I would compile them into a book form. We all got busy with other things. We typed a few recipes, but mostly we didn't. I did create a template for the layout, however, and as I needed a recipe I would type it up into the template. This summer my brother's oldest daughter got married and it occurred to me that she would enjoy having some of her grandmother's and aunts' and her mother's best recipes, so I revived the idea with Becky and Brenda and they went to work sending me recipes. I decided to make the book so that it would be pages punched and put into a 3-ring binder (the half-page size) so we could continue to add to it over the years. The initial edition has over 100 recipes. The book I put together for Jessica was well-received and my own daughter and others wanted to know when they were going to get their copies! I promised them for Christmas, and today I finished them.
I was able to find small binders that one can slip a sheet of paper under a clear plastic cover to personalize the cover. I bought a variety of pretty printed papers at a scrapbooking supply store, so each has their own distinctive look. The pages inside are all the same. At one point I was considering designing cloth covers and sewing them. I'm glad I didn't do that. These look so clean and cheerful and can be easily wiped clean if need be. So now they all know what they are getting for Christmas, but it wasn't going to be a surprise anyway, although they might all be surprised that I actually followed through!
Dinner with our friends was lovely. I am feeling the Christmas thing now! I got a lot done today.