Monday, December 19, 2011


2011 is sliding off the edge of the globe! I don’t like willing time away, but I’m happy to see the rear end of this year as it nears the horizon. Actually, I feel like giving it a boot in the butt to boost it on its way!

In 1992 Queen Elizabeth surprised everyone when she restored life to the Latin phrase “annus horribilis”. Liz had us diving for our dictionaries. Google had not yet arrived on our desktops. Kofi Annan, the then UN Secretary-General, resurrected the phrase in 2004; not one to miss the boat, Juan Carlos of Spain threw a spanner into the works by dragging it to the surface again in 2007.

Now it’s my turn!

It’s all Greek, Double Dutch and Latin to me - so in plain old, sometimes uncomplicated English, this year has been, minus embellishment or exaggeration, a horrible year; one filled with never-ending tragedies; devastating disasters and anxieties; one awash with tears. 2011 has been a year scarred by natural and unnatural disasters; blotted by man’s unconscionable inhumanity to man; pointless violence; senseless cruelty to animals; hate and prejudice.

I have one all-encompassing Christmas wish - for everyone to have a safe, happy, peaceful, stress and strife-free time; whether you’re with family, friends or alone.

Please ensure whatever you’re doing isn’t detrimental to the safety of yourself or others. Borrow the Hippie-Flower Child ideals - they won’t mind; they probably won't even know - spread love, goodwill, peace and happiness. Don’t cease when the Christmas season ends; continue through 2012 and forever thereafter. Everyone, including you, will reap the benefits!

After all the devastating, terrifying, horrific, heartbreaking events of 2011; the unending sadness, loss and despair suffered by far too many in our own country and elsewhere in the world, smooth waters upon which to sail are due; tranquil, serene conditions through which to glide are in arrears. Grief became an uninvited, unwelcome visitor far too often in 2011.

Enough already!

Once again I’ll be joining the Griswold family for their “Christmas Vacation”. Not a Christmas goes by without my doing so. What’s Christmas without Chevy Chase aka Clark Griswold and his crazy, dysfunctional family? They make me feel at home. I’ll enjoy their company as I always do!

And, as always, I refuse to be politically-correct! MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! Happy New Year, as well!

May 2012 overflow with kindness and love. Stay safe; chill out; stay cool; be grateful for all that is good in your life!

Cheesy-Christmas Chick: Combine 150g garlic and herb creamy cheese, 1 crushed garlic clove, 25g chopped, unsalted pistachios, 1tsp chopped sage, grated rind and juice of ½ lemon, salt and cracked pepper. Carefully ease your fingers, then hand under skin of large chicken at neck end, freeing it from breast meat; smear mixture under skin; tuck in skin flap. Arrange 8 bacon rashers over breast; drizzle with olive oil; season. Place in roasting tin on top of some fresh rosemary springs; cover with foil. Calculate cooking time 16mins per 450g; remove foil last 45mins. When cooked, transfer to warm platter; cover; rest 20mins. Skim fat from pan; place on low heat; blend 4tbs dry sherry with 400ml chicken stock; bring to boil; season.

Christmas Left-Overs’ Macaroni & Cheese: To 1/4c butter; add ½ onion, chopped, minced sage leaves, 2 minced garlic cloves; sauté 5mins; add 1/4c flour; stir; cook 5mins; add 1.4lts milk; whisk until it boils and thickens. Whisk in 1c mascarpone, 1c grated cheddar and 1c grated gruyere. When melted and sauce smooth, fold in 450g shredded left-over turkey meat, 3c diced, cooked kumara, 1c cooked peas and 450g cooked macaroni; season; transfer to oven dish; sprinkle 2c grated cheddar on top; bake at 176C, 20-25mins; place 1tbs cranberry sauce in centre; serve.

Cream Cheese Christmas Biscuits: Cream 1c butter and 240g cream cheese; add 1c white sugar and 1/2tsp vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Combine 2-1/2c plain flour and 1/2tsp salt; gradually add to creamed mix, beating until well-blended; add 1/2c chopped pecans; cover; chill 15mins. On 4 sheets foil, shape dough into 4x6-inch rolls, 1-1/2-inches in diameter; tightly wrap each in foil; chill over night. Line baking trays with foil; remove rolls from fridge one at a time; coat each roll with red or green sugar crystals (food colouring added to sugar); cut dough into ¼-inch slices; place on trays; top each biscuit with pecan half; bake 15-18mins in preheated 165C oven.



  1. Lee,
    Merry Christmas to you!
    The year has been an assault on our abilities to cope and yet we do. Resilient we are and that's what ensures our survivial. I'm happy that we've reconnected.
    Each moment and each friend is precious. When I'm gone I want to know I savored each one.

  2. Thank you, Bob....I'm glad we've reconnected, too. You're one of the good guys! :)

    Enjoy your Christmas with your loved ones...and raise a glass of good cheer on New Year's's looking at you! ;)

  3. I SO agree with your assessment of 2011. May 2012 be better in all respects.

    Have a lovely Christmas and a happy New Year.:)

  4. Hey girl
    This post is PRICELESS. The clerks in the stores are not allowed to say Merry Christmas unless you say it first. My Sister and I were at our favorite outlets mall and I was picking up Puppy some odds and ends kitchen items so mine would stop disappearing and when we checked out, the Clerk said "Merry Christmas" first and we returned the comment. I later told my Sister that the Clerk had not gotten the memo and I was glad. Peace be with you and may your Christmas be very Merry. Now I will end your sermon with AMEN.

  5. Hi Serena and Lady Di...yes, I don't think I'll get many arguments about my assessment of 2011!

    I love that clerk, Lady Di! A clerk after my own heart! ;)

  6. Same back. I've found that it's not healthy to dwell on the bad news too much. Can you imagine what the daily news would have been like back in the days of Black Death, inquisitions, slavery, unending wars and the like? I'd like to think we're a little more civilized now.

    Those pictures remind me of the song "Christmas Island." One of my favorites.

  7. I guess, Dave, that because of all the technology etc., we have at our finger tips today, we see and hear, instantaneously and constantly, more every second of the day of what goes on in the world than we did in the past.

    Of course, it would be nice to think "that we're more civilized today", but sometimes, unfortunately, I doubt that we are when I hear about some of the deeds perpetrated by some upon others!

    We've excelled at invention, technology etc., but we've yet to excel as human beings!

    The human race still has a long, long way to go. We're still in the first leg of the marathon, I think...if not still hesitating on the starting block!

    I'm being far too's just that I get so frustrated with it all at times.

    So I'll change my tune...a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours, Dave. Take care! :)

  8. Katfish8:05 AM

    MsLee Howdy Dear! LTNS! Texas sends best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and a most prosperous New Year!!

  9. Merry Christmas to you Lee!

  10. Er that was JMB above!

  11. Er that was JMB above!

  12. Merry Christmas, thanks for the recipes.

  13. Same to you, Katfish! Great to see you, as always. :)

    And that goes to you, Jmb and Cosmo as well...thanks for your good wishes.

    All the best to you all for the New Year! Hugs!

  14. My wish for you is also that you had a Merry Christmas and the New Year will be waaaaaay better.
    Our 2011 included 600 acres of our farm ground under flood water for 4 months. Yeah I'm ready to try another year. I'll help you start kickin 2011's rear. later. c

  15. Good to see you, jmb!
    Good to see you, jmb!
    Good to see you, jmb!

    And a Happy New Year to you! :)

  16. Thanks, Christmas was lovely. It was very relaxed and stress-free. I spent it down at the Gold Coast with my nephew and his family...they've got two little kiddies; 6 years and 3 (going on four) they really made it with their excited, eager little beings!

    My goodness! Your 2011 wasn't so great, either! It was a horrible year for so many people, worldwide.

    Thanks for your offer of help with the "kicking in the butt"...I won't knock your offer back! :)

    Happy New Year to you and yours, Cliff...I hope 2012 is much kinder to you.