I should have been more on top of Christmas this year, but I wasn’t.
In years past, I’ve had lots of shopping to do: The Departed, his children, his extended family, my mother. All of them impossible to shop for, and rather disheartening too, given how many heartfelt gifts were greeted with either blank looks or sighs that said “It isn’t really what I wanted, and I needed you to know that in an indirect way so that you can’t accuse me of being rude or ungrateful.”
I’m too sensitive, you see.
This year, there was much less buying to do, but so much more socializing I spent my free moments in December catching up on my rest. Tinsel did not appear on our tree until December 23. We use photo-frame stocking hangers, but the frames for each of our new cats remains empty. There’s no star at the top of our too-tall tree that projects up into the skylight – because I sent the old star to The Departed with his stuff and then forgot to get a new one.
I’m still working on a Christmas gift for my father. I sent him gifts, yes, but the one I was making? I finished it on Christmas Eve, and unlike Amazon, I can’t manage the logistics of same-day delivery.
Early for next year, I say. Top that, Amazon.
It’s all very different. I used to be on top of Christmas and felt in control of it all, even with all the people and stuff involved. It was very pretty.
This year, Christmas feels chaotic and joyful.
One thing is the same as last year, though, and the year before that: Christmas breakfast. It’s good for any day, really, that you want something a little bit special and not a lot of work. I got the recipe from a Cooking Light cookbook
that I received for my 40th birthday, with came with heartfelt wishes from my girlfriend that I should “enjoy it along with my slowing metabolism.”
Needless to say, I modified away all the “light” elements of it. I’m sure it was fine before, but it’s fabulous and yummy now. The caramel sauce at the bottom of the pan turns into a vanilla-caramel syrup, so when you’re done baking it, just scoop out the french toast and spoon a bit of the pan syrup over it.
I couldn’t get a decent picture of it because we ate it all too fast. Yes, it serves six people. But, to be more precise, it serves one person, one dog, and one Yeti.
- ⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
- ¼ cup pecans (optional)
- 1½ cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon grated orange rind
- 5 large eggs
- 6 slices French peasant bread
- Combine first 3 ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes or until bubbly and sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Pour sugar mixture into bottom of a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Spread mixture evenly over bottom of pan. Chop pecans and scatter on top of sugar mixture. Set aside.
- Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (through eggs) in a large shallow bowl; stir with a whisk. Dip bread slices in milk mixture; arrange bread slices over sugar mixture in dish. Pour any remaining egg mixture over bread slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, preheat oven to 350°, and bake for 30 minutes. To serve, dish out slices with a spatula and turn upside down (caramel side up). Serve with butter or dusted with powdered sugar or just as it is.