Every year around of end of October early November most people start thinking and planning for Christmas. Our minds start being preoccupied with gifts for loved ones, with decorations and cleaning of houses and of course with food. For any Polish person Christmas means abundance of food that begins on Christmas Eve when we have our most important supper of the holiday season. Traditionally, this supper is supposed to comprise of 12 different dishes (representing the twelve Apostles), including various meats, carp in jelly, bigos, borscht, uszka (ravioli) and of course various sweets like popyseed cake following the supper. The feast of 12 dishes is never consumed in full on this single day. You get a sampling of most things and the rest usually lasts well into New Year’s Eve. A little bit like North American Turkeys from Thanksgivings or Christmas that are being transformed into various other dishes like soups and sandwich meats etc.
I have never maintained this tradition myself. Mostly because it would have taken me well into my birthday to consume the amount of food that is prepared in polish households. In a way, though, when I prep my food on the weekends it sort of feels like when my mother used to prep food for Christmas. Only I don’t prep traditional Christmas dishes, I just cook my veggies 🙂
So what’s this dilemma I’m referring to? Well, for me the dilemma has to do with wanting to indulge and have foods that I don’t usually have any other time of year. You’d think that this is quite normal and harmless, but until this year it’s been the most dangerous time of year food-wise for me and I imagine it’s the case for many people. That’s why all the gyms in town have so much uptake with all the New Year’s Resolutioners who are all resolved to lose the Christmas inches from their waists come January. So, in November I used to start thinking how nice it was going to be to have some of *fill in the blank badness* during the holidays since I’ve been so good up until now. For example, I have a weakness for liquor filled chocolates. You name it, I like it : kahlua chocolates, bailey’s chocolates, fancy bottle shaped chocolates and the list goes on. There is supposedly nothing wrong with wanting to indulge over the holidays. The problem is when the holidays (or occasions to celebrate) seem to pop up too often or I start thinking about my choice of vice too early. Let me explain.
These days holidays such as Christmas have a different start date than back in my childhood. Today you start feeling “the pressure” of the holidays pretty much the first week of November. How so? Well, grocery stores change their decorations from Halloween to Christmas theme, they start paying Christmas carols wherever you go (even at the gym), Christmas decorations start popping up everywhere, tea shops start selling traditional christmas flavour tea (pumpkin pie, eggnog, gingerbread) etc. etc. Simply put you feel the spirit way too early. So I give in and get a treat or two. I especially like Winners this time of ear for all Christmas related items (I like Winners, period. But they seem to have very unusual Christmas treats, things you can’t get at Dominion or Sobeys). Once my treat of choice ends up at home, it starts taunting me, calling my name and generally speaking won’t let me sleep at night. So, as you might have guessed, most times the treats don’t really make it to Christmas and I have to go out again and again to replenish the Christmas stash of treats. And there is also the excuse of having a child, because there must be Christmas cheer for the child. But does it have to be in form of sugar? Probably yes. I, did too, as a child enjoy a special chocolate bar, an orange (yes, oranges were typically associated with Christmas and not easily available outside of holiday season), and other forms of sweets, but Christmas for me only came once a year and Santa came on December 24th and not a day earlier. Today, Christmas is no longer special, because how can you say it’s special if whenever you have a hankering for something you just go and get it, Christmas or no Christmas? So, all this to say that this year is different for me.
I can’t hide from all the hype and commercialization of this season, but I can say NO to early stocking up with goodies. And I have! After all, it’s a week before Christmas and I have not stocked up on anything! I will buy my regular food that I always buy, I might convince Randy for a special mystery item on our grocery list this weekend (it might be quail! Definitely not a turkey). And when it comes to treats, I might make it to Winners for something, but from experience I know that there will be at least 1 bottle of wine gifted, so voilà my treat. As for the rest, I opt this year to make my own treats. I know they are not loaded with all forms of sugar and fat and I’ll feel good about having them.
So today I’d like to share with you 2 of such treats that I absolutely love. My Coffee Hazelnut Crepes and Coffee Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar.