Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Christmas Eve was noisy and fun around our house, with seven adults, two teenagers (we wouldn’t dare call them children), and five children between four and ten years old.

I tried something a little different this year, shooting for a target which might please both the kids and the adults. Results were mixed, with two items being off the charts on the smile-o-meter, and one “okay, but don’t do it again.”

Here’s what I fixed:

Bowl of plain chopped Romaine
Little bowls of olive salad, pepperoccini peppers, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and marinated artichoke hearts
Spinach, Pesto and Cheese Lasagna
Meatballs with Parsley and Parmesan
New York Light Garlic Texas Toast

Christmas cookies made by a friend
Hershey dark chocolate and milk chocolate with almond kisses

Toasted Head Merlot

A few of us enjoyed the yummy spicy olive salad. It’s a standing joke around here with the little kids that when they say “Yuck, I don’t like that” to something I know is fabulous, I automatically say, “Good! More for me!!”

The lasagna had green stuff in it that wasn’t totally emulsified, which put it in the borderline acceptable to “I won’t touch that stuff with a ten foot pole” category. Apparently pesto is okay, but spinach which is identifiable as spinach is not. That’s okay. The leftovers were outrageously good. More for me!

The meatballs were the runaway hit of the evening. The recipe says it will make 44. I doubled it, and at three in the afternoon I was still rolling the little suckers and stopped counting at 110. When my son-in-law came in, he followed his nose straight to the big simmering pot of meatballs, lifted the lid, murmured, “Oh, Lord,” and sighed happily. Doing a little meatball calculus, of the original number of approximately 110, I saved ten and hid them in the refrigerator, about ten were eaten by the children, twelve by Buck, the two other adult women, and myself, leaving 78 divided by the teenagers and three other male adults. Do the math. Staggering.

Some while back I found the “crowd pleaser” in the garlic bread department. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, it’s greasy, it’s plebeian. . . but my group lights up like, well, Christmas trees, when I fix it for them. It’s “New York Lite Garlic Texas Toast” made by the Marzetti company.

A couple of our guests brought the Toasted Head Merlot. I thought it was scrumptious.

It was a chilly evening here in the Florida panhandle, and we lingered by the fire with wine and chocolate kisses.

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