Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holiday Day

Church Christmas Brunch

I always put up my Christmas tree after Thanksgiving dinner. I start Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. In my world, ham comes after turkey, garland comes after feathers, and Rudolph comes after pilgrims. But this year I broke my rule. Big time. On Saturday morning I went to a Christmas brunch at church. We had a mug exchange…

 My Stocking Mug Just Waiting for Some Hot Tea

And they also had booths set up from various charities that were selling handmade items to raise money. I bought a cute necklace made by a Burmese refugee through a charity called Eternal Threads.

Just as I was feeling guilty for celebrating Christmas, I hopped on over to a new tradition: Friendsgiving. This year a group of friends (about 30 of us) got together to celebrate Friend Thanksgiving. I smiled every time someone walked through the front door. Each person came in saying something like “Hey guys! I made my mom’s apple pie.” or “I made my grandma’s macaroni and cheese.” or  “I used my great aunt’s green bean recipe.” It occurred to me that this was pretty much the first time that any of us had contributed to a Thanksgiving meal. Our table was a conglomerate of about 30 different family traditions. Nothing original or new. All delicious hand-me-downs.  And even though no one thought to bring napkins, tap water was poured into paper cups from a local pizza place, and the buffet line started right past the five gallon bucket which held our still-thawing frozen turkey, we had a great time starting our own new tradition. And some day, thirty years from now when we are the ones making Thanksgiving for our family with cloth napkins, crystal-ware, cooked turkeys, and nieces that call us late at night for our Famous Whatever-It-Is recipe, I feel like I’ll look back on our first Friendsgiving and smile, thankful for all of the Thanksgivings of practice and traditions that have happened between the two.

So what did I take? Two things. Macaroni and Cheese. I must admit: I have never made good macaroni and cheese. I can never get it creamy. I am also terrible with mashed potatoes, but that is another story. So I made some macaroni from an online recipe (I had called my mom for hers, but it seemed too complicated). I didn’t have everything that the recipe called for, so I made some of it up. Classic Emily Move. It turned out fine. But the second thing was much better: Green Bean Bundles. Correction: Mom’s Famous Green Bean Bundles.

Mom’s Famous Green Bean Bundles
3 cans Del Monte WHOLE Green Beans
1 package Oscar Meyer Center Cut Bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
Wooden toothpicks

I know, I know. That sounds like a lot. It is. That is enough for a party. I am too scared to try to divide the recipe. I’m just sure I’ll mess it up. So I will tell you how to make Green Bean Bundles For A Bunch.

Here’s the part that is most commonly messed up. SAVE THE GREEN BEAN JUICE FROM THE CAN. I kept telling myself this over and over to do this, but you would be surprised how natural it is to drain a can in the sink. So while I was thinking about it, I put a towel in my sink. Then later when I went to pour the juice down the drain, I questioned the towel in the sink and then remembered to save my juice. It is literally the only thing that stopped me from messing it up.

Save Your Juice!

Anyways, drain your green bean juice into a measuring cup. You will end up needing 2 cups.

Cut each bacon strip in half (so that you will have about 3 inch strips).

Grab about 4-6 beans. Lay them on one end of a piece of bacon. Roll it up. Put a toothpick to hold the bacon in place. Put the bundle into a greased, glass dish.

Once you have finished rolling up your bundles (basically when you run out of bacon), mix your 2 cups of green bean juice with the 1/2 cup of brown sugar. The original recipe calls for 1/2 a cup, but mom  usually puts in a little less than that because that much really just isn’t necessary. Pour the mixture over the bundles.

Bake uncovered for one hour at 375.

The Final Dish

They were actually delicious! (I mean, they are always good when mom makes them, but I was just certain that I would mess them up somehow.) I came home with an empty plate, which is the sign of a good party dish.

(Merry Christmas.) Happy Thanksgiving!

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