The holiday season is my favorite time of year (well, next to summer of course), for so many reasons.But I wanted to share a few of my top reasons today.Things that get me into the spirit of the season.
For me, the first thing that gets me into the holiday spirit is the music. It is fun. It is festive. And most of the time it is beautiful. I do also realize I know more people in my life who dislike Christmas music then enjoy it, and for those of you reading this (and you know who you are) please stop listening to the 24 hour Christmas music station. They usually suck and give Christmas music a bad rap! Really. Most of the music they play is cliché and cheesy.
Of course I still listen to that station because I like it all (the good stuff and the cheesy). If you want a few really good Christmas CD’s start with any of Harry Connick Jr.s CD’s (he currently has three and they are all great). Other places to start would be Mariah Carey or Sarah McLachlans Christmas CD, or any of the Starbucks compellation CD’s (they usually put together great mixes).
I love most movies with a holiday theme, but my top three are the ones I have to watch at least once a season.Movies where it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas if I didn’t watch them.
#3: (Well this ones a tie)Elf & Home Alone: Sit back and open up a nice easy drinking everyday bottle of white or red to watch these funny and heartwarming movies.
#2: Scrooged: Open up a bottle of bubbles to watch this awesome modern version of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, and celebrate Frank Cross’ transformation as he realizes the true meaning of Christmas is love. Always puts a smile on my face.
#1: It’s A Wonderful Life: Open up a bottle of the king of kings of red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon (from Napa or Sonoma), to pair with the Christmas movie of all Christmas movies. Both are American classics.
To me, food is such an important part of the holiday season. And you wont find much in the baking arena around my family. Mostly because my mom (admittedly) cannot bake, but she is one of the best cooks I know.
Growing up, we used to get all the family together to form an assembly line to make tamales while listening to the classic holiday tunes. It brought us all together, even when times were busy and tough. We always made time to make this holiday specialty. It taught me that the season is and will always be about bringing friends and family together, regardless of how busy and hectic things are. All of that stops, just for one or two days (hopefully more), while we enjoy each others company, eat, drink, tell stories, and laugh. That’s why it is such an important time in my life. It is a time to stop, focus on what is important in our lives, relax, and hopefully enjoy a nice meal (hopefully with some fantastic wine) together with our favorite people in our lives.
Another annual specialty in my family is my moms famous (and it is famous, well it is to me) “Green Chili Turkey” recipe. See, in our family, we have to throw a little southwest flair into everything we do, so instead of a traditional turkey, my mom has been making her Green Chili Turkey for years and brings it over to my Uncles house for his annual Christmas Eve party. I cannot imagine a Christmas without it! Well actually this year I have to, since it is one of the few Christmases in my life that I am not going home to be with my family. So, since I won’t be there this year for Christmas or my Uncles’ annual party I decided to live vicariously through them by sharing my moms recipe and making it myself this year. So here it is:
Mary’s Mom’s Green Chili Turkey
Mind you, this recipe has never really been written into recipe format, just through the experience of making it each year with my family, so bare with me, and just respond to this post if you have any questions… seriously. This is the most basic way of making Green Chili Turkey. If you want to experiment, try it this way first, then put your own flair and favorite spices into it.
- About 3 cups of shredded turkey (whatever your favorite
method of cooking a turkey.A mix
of white meat and dark works well)
- 4-6 roasted green chilies, sliced (if they are hot chilies,
no more than 4).You can use
canned green chilies if you must, but the real thing is so much better.
- 1 can of cream of chicken soup (or if you’re feeling up for
it, make your own homemade cream of chicken soup, it indeed will add more
flavor, I’ve done it both ways… depends on how much you want to put into
this.The can is just fine for
- 1 lg or 2 sm bell peppers (sliced)
- 1 large onion, red or yellow (sliced)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
Start by sautéing the bell peppers and onions together in a large skillet (with the olive oil and butter) until soft (about 10 minutes)
Add the can of chicken soup (follow directions on can, may need to add some water, at least 1/2 cup to thin)
When mixed, add the roasted green chilies and turkey
Add your spices (adjust them to your liking)
Let cook together for at least 25 minutes
Transfer into a Crock Pot during your holiday get-to-gether.It will allow it to stay warm and tasty all night long and it will continue to develop its flavors.
Serve with your favorite side dishes (or over your favorite warm rice… so warm, comforting, and yummy).You can serve by itself, or with tortillas and salsa.
Try it and add what you like. I would love to hear your ideas on the recipe!It can be prepared so many ways.
For me, my favorite things about the holidays mostly revolve around my family, and well, my family really are not big wine drinkers (it’s weird, I know!). However, the beverages you’ll mostly likely see us imbibing over the holidays are margaritas, beer, brandy, eggnog, and other mixed drinks.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays as I dedicate this blog to my family, miss you and enjoy the sun and fun in Phoenix!