For the past six and a half years, since I started Apples Under My Bed, I have always written a Christmas post. I've shared pictures from our day of feasting with family and reflected on how grateful I feel for my people. My family are always keen to get together and celebrate, and while we are not religious, Christmas is an important time for us, even more so since losing my brother on the 22nd December 2007. It's a hard time of year and a wonderful time of year. We focus on the food and being together, and although there's a sombre undercurrent to it all, Christmas is always lovely. This year was no different, however, for whatever reason, I don't feel the desire to share the pictures I took on the day. The food was the same, which is not to say that it wasn't outstanding, we are just sticklers for tradition (and my brother would possibly refuse to sit at the table if we didn't serve the usual pork), and we were gifted some beautiful presents. After spending the day with family, we came home to watch Love Actually on the computer in bed, snuggled next to our sleeping babe. We are blessed and our hearts are full. Joan was not delighted by Christmas lunch, which was a surprise. I assumed she would attempt to bathe in the gravy while grabbing fistfuls of pork from the serving platter, but no, she preferred to sit with a bowl of peas, outside on the grass where no one would look at her or try to get her to open a present (introverts, unite!). Despite Joan's underlying desire to simply be home with Ben and I, she did have moments of joy (like discovering and falling in love with shortbread) and Ben and I got that special, Christmas morning moment you dream about when you have kids. When bubba woke, I said that we should say "Good Morning!" to the Christmas tree, just as we had each day since bringing home "the smallest possible tree" from the local Scouts. I told Joan that I thought there was a special present for her under the tree, and we should go and see what it was. Curious, she ran out to the lounge room and when she laid eyes on a toy lawn mower (which is identical to one she has played with/bogarted at playgroup), her eyes grew even bigger than they normally are, and her face lit up! Her mouth dropped before turning into the sweetest grin, a mixed expression of "Oh my goodness!", "What is happening?!" and "Is it mine?!" on her face, as she looked back and forth between us for confirmation. And then she let out a squeal. It was magical.
Ben and I also bought her a toy kitten pillow thing, which she adores and kisses before she has a nap, and a sandpit that she is just now coming around to. Three things. I want to try to keep presents to a minimum, especially in the early years when family get excited and lovingly shower kids with gifts. After we showed bubs the sandpit, at which she promptly turned up her nose, we went into the kitchen, brewed coffee using these ace new pods that Joan thoughtfully gifted Ben and fed each other gingerbread men. My love for our family (and plum pudding with boozy sauce) is a given, but I have to say, our sweet and slow morning was my favourite part of the day. As we create our own traditions, I have a feeling we will keep Christmas morning for just us, before the day gets hot and overwhelming and kids get overtired and overstimulated. It's funny how the day flips like that. Mornings are golden, and as cheesy as it sounds, Christmas morning shines bright. Indeed, I am already excited about next year, when Christmas will mean even more to our babe. And I have no doubt that she will devour the gravy and open presents with a big appetite when she is a little older. Even still, I quite fancy our gentle morning ritual, as well as ending the night with a Christmas movie + leftover pudding in bed. They'll be magical and grounding bookends to a busy and beautiful day of blessings.
So, no pictures of Christmas, but a lot of words. Go figure. What I do have for you, though, is a picture of salmon fishcakes. I recently created a few recipes for the fabulous brand of sustainably-caught fish, Fish4Ever. They're a UK brand, so not local, but they do really great, honourable work and I would much rather support them than local fish that is farmed and part of the consume, consume, consume cycle. They're also not super cheap, as far as canned fish goes, but compared to fillets they're affordable. We mainly eat canned fish now, because of these aforementioned reasons. Furthermore, paying for sustainably-caught fish not only means a better nutrient profile (bring on those Omega-3 fatty acids), it also encourages you to not eat huge portions, which is in line with living a more sustainable life. We can all do so much good if we try to eat more plant-based foods and less animal products, and, super importantly WASTE LESS. That last part deserved capital letters. Alright, thats' enough for today. You can find the recipe on their website (LINK HERE - ERROR: the ingredients list should have included 1 egg!) and search around for stockists near you. My local IGA has their products, as do many health food shops.