**Monday’s menu: Cranberry-bean soup. Fried rice with kale.
**Because: The crandberry beans got very mushy in the pot and looked just like bean soup. I added carrots, roasted red peppers, fresh thyme, and pepper, and called it Little House on the Prairie Soup. (In those books, Ma always makes the best bean soups.)
**The reviews: Fair to middling. Who wouldn’t love Ma’s bean soup? Apparently several of my children wouldn’t. Maybe Ma’s wasn’t so peppery. (Honestly, it’s brothy, rich, and delicious.)
**Tuesday’s menu: Dahl. Paneer with tatsoi. Baked rice.
**Because: “Paneer” was requested as a special holiday meal, but I had some in the fridge all ready to go. Made it an Indian theme overall.
**What is tatsoi? I don’t know, but it looks a bit like baby spinach. It cooks up less delicate and more spicy than spinach, but it’s locally grown and worked as a good green addition to the meal.
**Wednesday’s menu: Black bean chili (crockpot). Leftover rice. Cornbread.
**Because: I love my crockpot. This entire meal comes from my freezer and/or cupboard and/or cold cellar. I am digging into the stores and making sure I use up every bit before springtime. That’s what it’s for! (Yes, I need reminding.)
**Thursday’s menu: Soups (leftovers). Biscuits. Cabbage salad with tahini dressing.
**It-was-a-nice-thought: We ate by candlelight to celebrate the solstice. It looked perfect and beautiful for a moment, and then everything went rapidly downhill. Cranky children, complaints, “it’s too dark to see my food,” and bingo, the romantic plan crumbled.
**Quantities: I doubled the biscuit recipe, and had way too many leftovers. Never good to come out of a “leftovers” meal with more leftovers than you started with.
**On repetition: I made the tahini dressing because once I find something I like, I make it until we’re all bored of it. This is also known as “getting into a rut.” But it was still really good the second time around. I added grated carrots and rutabaga to the cabbage. Yum.
**Friday’s menu: Devised, prepared, and served by someone else (my dad and my step-mother). Hurray! Happy holidays!
**Saturday’s menu: Christmas eve at brother and sister-in-law’s house, potluck-style. Meats, cheeses, crackers, olives, paella, cookies, smoked salmon, etc. etc. etc. until we’ve nibbled ourselves into a pleasant food coma.
**Sunday’s menu: Eighteen pound turkey. Classic bread stuffing. Brussel sprouts. Mashed potatoes. Pan gravy. Pumpkin pie. (pictured above)
**Forgot: To cook up the cranberries.
**Achievement: Totally dairy-free meal.