New Year, New Tools.

The tree is dumped the conservation land, the presents are in the playroom, and I am officially sick of food. Actually, I am still eating like a pig, and trying to work my way through the piles of candy and treats that we received from students and my husband’s work colleagues. (Food gifts are always appreciated, by the way.)  We ate really well throughout the holidays, and I got cooking tools for Christmas, so I am still somewhat inspired to cook despite being an estimated five pounds heavier than I was in November.  My dear husband granted me my wish for new pans, and got me two new All Clad frying pans. I also still have a gift card to buy more kitchen tools, although I am waiting for my kids to return to school to go shopping. Which reminds me, did my kids have the longest vacation in history? They were out the 21st of December, and go back January 3. Ridiculous.

A couple programming notes from holiday cooking: One tradition our family really likes is to do fondue for Christmas Eve dinner. I started this years ago when I realized we had not yet used our fondue set that we received as a wedding gift. I continued it because Christmas Eve is a night where we need a quick turn-around for dinner. We go to church late afternoon on Christmas Eve, so when we get back everyone is hungry. Fondue is perfect because I can prepare it all ahead of time, and just melt the cheese sauce when we get back from Church. There are lots of variations, but I like the very easy gruyere cheese with white wine and garlic. Add a little flour to thicken. I usually cut up lots of french bread, salami, pepperoni, peppers, and broccoli. Then we do chocolate fondue with strawberries and pound cake. There is nothing more fun than dipping your entire dinner, and somehow we manage to get some vegetables in. Every year my children’s only complaint is that we only do fondue on Christmas Eve. This year I resolve to remember to drag out the pot more often.

Now, on to 2012. Tonight in my All Clad pans I made Giada’s Roman Chicken.  It is not hard to make, although I would cut the chicken breasts into smaller parts (or use those pre cut chicken tenders) to make the chicken cook faster. This is a good meal for everyone because it is sophisticated enough to be interesting to adults, but actually everything in it is fairly familiar to kids: chicken, peppers, tomatoes. Throw it over spaghetti, and everyone will have something they like on the plate.

There it is, in my fancy new pan. I should be relatively inspired over the next few weeks, as I have new tools and I am in what I call the glory days. Glory days would be defined as days my children are in school but I am not teaching. Happy Glory Days!

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