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Better Late Than Never

January 4th, 2012

The day before yesterday, we had my family Christmas dinner & celebration. It’s a bit late because my mom’s being treated for breast cancer. As a result our holiday celebrations have been been worked around doctor’s visits and other appointments. After being postponed once, we were finally able to get together to celebrate on Monday. We’ve never been big on going all out, generally a simple affair is what we like. We gather for a meal, a few small gifts and then coffee and conversation.

Since I’m usually in charge of most of the cooking, it’s a deliciously local affair.  This year the main star of the meal was a nitrate free ham cured by Whitefeather Meats from a hog raised by some friends of ours. There were au gratin potatoes and brussels sprouts that were 100% local. The rolls weren’t all local, the flour came from King Arthur, but the rest of the ingredients were local. (here’s my recipe for dinner rolls if you’re needing a good one)

My sister also brought mashed potatoes, homegrown green beans and corn, but I somehow didn’t get a photo of those or the HUGE plate of cookies and treat she made with the nieces & nephew. Probably because as soon as the ham came out the oven everyone descended on it like vultures. It was quite delicious, both of my parents said it reminded them of the ham they enjoyed for the holidays when they were kids.

Then we gather round while my dad reads the Christmas Story from the Bible. Then we go around and open gifts one at a time starting at the youngest and working our way up to the oldest. After the gifts were exchanged, we made some homemade ice cream to eat over the pie I made. It was a simple celebration just like all the years gone by and it was nice finally be able to celebrate this milestone even if it was a little later than usual.   Since we were so late in celebrating our Christmas, we also postponed our New Year’s meal (Mr Chiots and I had the traditional meal by ourselves here at home).  We’re planning our New Year’s meal of sauerkraut & pork in a few weeks, better late than never I guess.  After all holidays aren’t about the specific day of the week/month/year, they’re about spending time with those you love!

Does your holiday meal consist of the same dishes each year or do they change?  Do you have specific dishes made by specific people? 

25 Comments to “Better Late Than Never”
  1. kristin @ going country on January 4, 2012 at 6:27 am

    My dad was an airline pilot and usually worked holidays. Now my brother is an airline pilot and works holidays. It’s the same now as it was then: The holiday is whenever everyone can be there. The day doesn’t matter.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I’ll be sending some positive thoughts her way from Blackrock . . .

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  2. daisy on January 4, 2012 at 6:49 am

    ~Sending healing thoughts to your mom.~

    What a luscious and perfectly simple meal. Absolutely perfect. I hope you’ll share your au gratin recipe with us.

    We eat lasagna for supper on Christmas day. You’re so right about it being more important that everyone is together, rather than focusing on the day.
    Continued blessings…

    Reply to daisy's comment

  3. Liz J on January 4, 2012 at 7:10 am

    My family will be celebrating Christmas together this Sunday the 8th, as my sister is a nurse and worked both Christmas and New Years. Traditionally Christmas dinner has been ham. I somehow changed that to lasagna a couple years ago ~ it’s nice because you can make it ahead and have a bit more time to relax and visit with people. Your dinner looked wonderful and making ice cream is always fun and memorable for kids. I’ll be praying for your Mom and a cure for cancer.

    Reply to Liz J's comment

  4. Corrie on January 4, 2012 at 9:17 am

    We’ve had to delay Christmas a few times because my brother is a firefighter, and sometimes his unit day is on the holiday. For many years we had a big Italian feast prepared by my dad on Christmas Eve: sausage, meatballs, bracciole, homemade sauce, antipasto, etc. Now that he’s gone, we feebly try to carry on the tradition, but our first attempt was pretty lackluster. Maybe as the years go, it will be easier?

    Christmas morning is always sausage-egg casserole (this year, made with gluten-free bread for me! ) and a ham for dinner. Our meal sounds a lot like yours actually.

    Reply to Corrie's comment

  5. Rhonda on January 4, 2012 at 9:27 am

    We pretty much stick with the same basic stuff: ham or turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing and green beans — those are always present. BUT we mix it up with additional “new” sides and desserts. This year I made maple glazed carrots and they were a big hit!

    I will say prayers for your mom. Growing up, I was never very religious. I went to church sometimes but I never really embraced it. It’s only been the past 5 or 6 years that I’ve really embraced religion and the mental freedom it’s given me. I still don’t attend a church but I read the Bible regularly and pray, pray, pray. I find myself saying a quick prayer here and there throughout the day without even thinking about it. I thank the Lord every time I go to the garden or prepare food. I have a long list of friends I pray for and I will add you, my long-distance friend whom I’ve never met, to my list. :-) I hope your mom comes through with flying colors!

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  6. Songbirdtiff on January 4, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I’m saying a prayer for your mama this morning. It looks like you had a wonderful celebration! I tend to believe that even when we thing things are “late” they still happen exactly when they are supposed to.

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

    • Susy on January 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

      So true, because we waited we actually had a white Christmas!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Melissa on January 4, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Saying a prayer for your mom, we went through this a year and a half ago with my mom. She’s doing very well now though. But I know it’s hard. I’m sure you are a great comfort to her. Your family celebration sounds wonderful! That ham looked amazing!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  8. Sofie Dittmann on January 4, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Good luck w/ all the health issues! I guess the way you have to look at it is “here and now” – besides, you get to eat more “good luck food” as well…

    Reply to Sofie Dittmann's comment

  9. Allison on January 4, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Whomever is hosting the holiday usually makes the main dish and others bring a side to share :) You never know what you are going to get.

    Sending thoughts and prayers to your mom for a quick recovery!

    Reply to Allison's comment

  10. April on January 4, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I have enjoyed your blog so much! I truely look forward to reading it everyday and when there is not a new post, which is pretty rare, I go back and read some of your archives. I just wanted you to please pass my regards to your mother and family. I know I am not alone when I say, she will be in our thoughts! Thank you for shareing such wonderful stories and some harder ones with us.

    Reply to April's comment

  11. Estelle on January 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I am sorry to hear your mom is sick, Suzy, and I hope that 2012 will be a good, healthy year for her.

    Reply to Estelle's comment

  12. Daedre Craig on January 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    The Brussels sprouts look delicious. I really want to try some of those one day.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  13. Mike Simmons on January 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Susy, thanks for the linking to White Feather Meats. I am in eastern Ohio and have been looking for a good nitrate free meat supplier.

    Reply to Mike Simmons's comment

    • Susy on January 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      They have a great selection of all types of meat, you can also find nitrate free meats at Local Roots in Wooster, OH.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. Melanie W on January 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    My family is similar to yours in that the exact day doesn’t matter, just having a chance to all get together! My sister is a church musician and so she’s often traveling on Christmas day, so we bump our festivities a bit later.

    Our traditional family Christmas meal is fondue! Odd, I know, but we have the best time. It’s a bit like eating crabs (we’re Maryland folks, after all) – it’s a meal that takes time, so you have a chance to really visit while you’re eating (and it’s harder to eat too much!).

    My mom is having a hard time hearing and can’t always follow the conversation above the hissing oil for meat fondue, so this year my sister, who was hosting, decided we’d have cheese fondue along with some other things on the side to fill our the meal. It was lovely :-)

    Glad your celebration with family was so lovely!

    Reply to Melanie W's comment

  15. Jaye Whitney on January 5, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Well, a new tradition to our holiday meals is your ginger-man cookie recipe. I made them this year and they ROCK!!! Seriously, I haven’t had a better ginger anything recipe. Your description was spot on and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. Nice to have a new recipe to add to our traditions! Thanks!

    Reply to Jaye Whitney's comment

  16. KimH on January 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Yum, your dinner looks wonderful.. Im so glad you all had a wonderful day together. Family is the BEST!

    Im putting your mom’s name in my prayer book..(Susy’s Mom☺ ) and keeping her in my prayers, always.. All of your family as well..

    I borrowed this idea from someone else.. my prayer list can get quite long sometimes, so I write names in the book, and hold the book & look thru all the names & pray asking for blessings & the best & highest for those whos names are within.. God knows who they are, and also knows the best & highest, whether we think we do or not. ;)

    Hugs to you & your family.. Our family went thru a couple years living with the chaos of breast cancer. I pray her treatment is successful beyond imagination.

    Reply to KimH's comment

  17. iris on January 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Oh man, those brussel sprouts looks soooo tasty! I cooked a dinner for 13 this year, and it was a mad crazy stress marathon. How do you do it?!

    Reply to iris's comment

  18. leanne on January 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    best wishes to your mother!

    can you share your bun recipe? I’ve been looking for a delicious, simple recipe and yours look just like my gran’s used to…

    Reply to leanne's comment

  19. Jodiana on January 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    We had the exact same Christmas dinner. My nephew tried Brussels sprouts for the first time and loved them. I will be praying for your mother’s healing. Also for you and Brian as you hunt for your next home.

    Reply to Jodiana's comment

  20. Sierra on January 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Susy, I’m really sorry to hear about your mom. Your meal looked delicious! Those rolls look like the ones out of America’s Test Kitchen Cook Book.

    Reply to Sierra's comment

  21. […] Our family Christmas meal, which happened late, was also a Dark Days Meal. The ham came from the same hog that the pork for our New Year’s meal came from, the au gratin potatoes were made with local potatoes, milk, butter, cheese, and onions. The brussels sprouts were local as well and my sister brought homegrown corn and green beans. The only part of the meal that wasn’t local was the flour that went into the rolls, and it was from King Arthur, so at least it was purchased from a small company. […]

    Reply to Dark Days Challenge: Week 6 EAST recapper SOLE meals « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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