Today’s the day when I take down Christmas and pack it away. Every year, as I close up the last box, I’ll insert a note for myself to read when the next December rolls around.
It’s my way to check in with my year-older and wiser self, and remind myself of the previous year. I’m gentle with myself, and give kind guidance of how to proceed with this holiday, based upon the previous one, while it’s still fresh in my mind.
I’ve noticed themes through the years that mainly have to do with telling myself to spend less time, money and energy on gifts, and to simplify, and invest more time with loved ones.
I do sometimes chastise myself for setting up expectations that fall short, but encourage myself to learn from my errors in judgment. I remind myself of the fun and successes, and warn myself to steer clear of the holiday stress and excesses.
Because I love the holidays a bit too much, by the time Jan. 1 rolls around, I’m worn out, and usually have a cold (which I do now), and I’m making a list of things I’ll do differently next year. Usually, the letter ends with some mention of food, and promises to put the holiday foods behind me, and embrace more healthful eating.
This year is no different.
A few days ago I brought out the juicer, which I literally had to dust off. You can see it here, waiting patiently, in front of my jars of flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar and confectioner’s sugar, which are resting, after their heavy-duty holiday workout.
I looked to this week’s Tops Markets’ grocery ads for inspirations, and was not disappointed at what its Redding store (formerly Sunset Marketplace) and Weaverville have to offer.
To begin, I was attracted by the 3-lb. bags of apples (Red, Gold or Granny Smith) for just $2.29, which makes it less than 77 cents a pound. And bunches of organic Dino Kale, $1.49, plus, our choice of bunches of lettuce (Romaine, Red or Green Leaf) for just 69 cents each; Haas avocados, four for $3, and Cara Cara oranges, $1.29 a lb., and Texas Red Grapefruit, four for $3.
Usually, I’d make a salad of these items, topped by a fresh-squeezed orange vinaigrette. (See recipe, below.) I’m very fortunate, because my neighbors, Lorna and Jeff, have a huge orange tree that hangs over on my side of the yard. It survived the chill and the oranges are still delicious.
But this week, I’ll use my oranges, as long as many of the Tops items I mentioned, above (except for the avocado, just because I’m not wild about avocado juices) for a juice base.
Maybe I’ll add some fresh ginger, just to liven things up a bit. For sure I’ll juice the apples and kale and oranges together, and toss in some celery. And I’ll try the kale and grapefruit, and include carrots ($1.49 for a 2-lb. bag at Tops this week) for some extra sweetness and color.
The possibilities are endless. My body will thank me. Just as soon as I clear the house of the leftover Christmas candy.
Fresh Orange VinaigretteJuice of two oranges (about 1/2 cup) 2 T. of orange zest 2 T. honey 1 clove of smashed garlic 1 T. Dijon mustard 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. pepper 3/4 cup olive oil
In a blender, combine everything except the olive oil. Blend until everything’s the same color. With the blender running, slowly, in very thin stream, add the olive oil, until the mixture emulsifies. Taste and adjust seasonings.
If it’s too thick, add a bit more orange juice (or water). It it’s too thin, add a bit more olive oil.
Serve over salad, or as a topping for fish.
This recipe sponsored by Tops Market in Weaverville and Redding.
Click here to order a sandwich online from the Weaverville Tops Market.
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.