is it weird that there's a brand of bread named Beefsteak?


Know what sucks ass?

Being in a group of only three people when two of those people decide to take the rest of the year off. Then a Large Dutch Lady* is assigned to be your external auditor and she must be in cahoots with the two people who are gone because she starts demanding all sorts of stuff that was never done as soon as you are alone, so it all falls on you to do. That sucks ass.

Instead of doing those things (I am staging a run-down-the-clock filibuster on the work stuff, like they do in Parliament, with lots of singing) I am carefully compiling my Christmas cooking schedule. I still haven't auditioned tomato soup recipes yet, that really must start tonight. I'm pretty darn nervous about Christmas Eve, my first time cooking for the in-laws. Here's what I'm thinking:

Served in the family room, as snacks:
Broiled Shrimp with Champagne Beurre Blanc or Cocktail Sauce
a platter of Marinated Olives, Red and Green Peppers, Feta, and Artichokes

"Cream" of Tomato Soup with Cumin and Orange (pending audition; its thickened with potato, not cream)
Beef Wellington, made with filo instead of brioche
Sautéed Spinach with Green Onions

Sliced Oranges with Caramel and Candied Ginger
Plum Pudding I make this one every year, it is amazingly good (and not at all fruit cake-y)

Ginger Pineapple Sparkler, just to have something non-alcoholic and fun. I can't wait to drink out of a champagne glass.

The Christmas Eve theme is "reduced fat traditional holiday favorites".

Christmas morning (at my mom's house), I am a little less set on. It's a bit trickier with my family than with Leo's. His eats low fat. My mom is currently following the South Beach Diet, Leo eats low fat and has crazy notions about food (for instance, he won't eat any fruit flavored bread like banana bread or blueberry muffins) and Schwest doesn't eat pork. Oh, and I'm trying to follow Dr. Brewer's (anti-gigantic babies) Diet, which is similar enough to South Beach.
I'm thinking:

Cranberry - Tangerine Scones (made with fresh, chopped cranberries)
(if they aren't too orange, I might make them into tree shapes and sprinkle them with green sugar, like my mom always did for Christmas)
Maple Pecan Sticky Buns
Homemade Hot Chocolate (I was going to make marshmallows too, but I decided that was too much work)
Potato-Crusted Smoked Cheddar and Turkey Quiche (I've made this with canadian bacon before, it was good)
Citrus Salad with Minted Splenda ("minted sugar" sounds so much better, doesn't it?)
Grape Leaves (which must be purchased as I am still afraid of cooking ground lamb, after my only run in with pregnancy-related nausea)

(this doesn't sound totally coherent, but that's because there are a lot of special requests mixed in there)

Christmas Dinner will be celebrated as Schwest's birthday:

Macaroni and Cheese
"Creamed" Spinach with French-Fried Onions
Sarah Moulton's Oven-Fried Chicken (I've been dying to try this)

Red Velvet Cake

Maybe some Peach (decaf) Tea or Lemonade or something

We are also going to be eating mexicali dip, frito pie and guacamole between the Lebanese brunch and the Southern dinner, by request. We ARE the world.

*Large Dutch Lady is apparently terrorizing half of the corporation. In the last hour, three people have approached me solely to complain about her.

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