A special guest post from the lovely Charlie Foust CD(DONA), LCCE, CLEC

During the holidays it is kind of my nature to get excited/uptight about the meal that we eat on Christmas Eve. You see, we serve this meal to my mother in law. Not only is she the mother of my husband, she is also an amazing chef.  The kind of person who can pull together culinary awesomeness  with whatever she has in her cupboard. The kind of person I aspire to be, when it comes to cooking.  The kind of person, if I am honest, that I am particularly jealous of.  I want to feel that ease in the kitchen. I want it to be effortless and amazing.  But instead I get excited/uptight. Ironically, she couldn’t care less if we eat bologna and cheese sandwiches, because she just wants to spend time with us.

15 years in and it is the same routine. I am looking online, buying cooking magazines at $12 a pop, highlighting things on Pinterest, and combing through my array of cookbooks trying to find just the right combination of foods that will be pleasing to her pallet. (Insanity)

This year, I was sick with a myriad of cold, cough, stomach stuff in the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas.  I had to let it go. I didn’t have the energy to put into menu preparation that I usually do, and that had to be just fine. With a different perspective, I went to the market the day before Christmas Eve. I decided that I would look for whatever beautiful food I could find, plug some ingredients into google and see what sounded good to me.  I came upon a bunch of beautiful, greens on, carrots. Butternut Squash was next. I started thinking of comforting soups…. and literally filled my cart with what ever sounded like it went together.  I stopped to Google what was already in my cart and found this-


I also grabbed the ingredients for the homemade croutons, some mixed greens, goat cheese, cranberries nuts and a beautiful bar of chocolate.

When the big day came, my mother in law and I cooked together in the kitchen. We laughed, drank wine, made soup and celebrated being together, which… if you remember, is the reason she came in the first place. The meal wasn’t extravagant… to be sure. But it was honest, filling and made with a ton of love. It turned out wonderful…

Pro Tip- A bar of chocolate (in this case Rogue Chocolatier) is a beautiful way to share a dessert with company. We love to open, break and pass to share with our guests.

Much love to you all,