Hungry Holidays 2018!

Happy holidays, friends! I’ve been battling a serious situation where all my clothes have been mysteriously shrinking over the past week, but don’t worry – I’m not letting it get my spirits down and I’m still indulging my way into 2019. Your girl is writing this post surrounded by empty Purdy’s and Lindor wrappers from my most recent binge so, yeah, still the same animal I was a year ago!

Hungry in Calgary | Holiday Cuban Lunch
Call your grandma because the Cuban Lunch is back, baby!

This year’s holiday tour started with a stop to see Matt’s side of the family in Camrose. In addition to my favourite festive activity of guzzling homemade Irish cream supplied by my brother-in-law’s adorable partner, Santana, we also all made a bit of a fuss over the fact that the Cuban Lunch chocolate bar has been revived! It’s a semisweet brick of chocolate studded with whole roasted peanuts. A local woman got the rights to it and did a small first run earlier this year, then another this month just in time for a lot of grandparents and great-grandparents to receive these as nostalgic Christmas gifts. Matt and I tried one and really liked it, but our reaction was nowhere near as enthusiastic as the 50s+ relatives we gifted them to. Food memories are the best memories, as we already know!

Hungry in Calgary | Holiday Curry
Curries for days at Pan Flame Indian Cuisine

I also love our family’s dedication to trying new things. This year, the night before our Christmas celebrations began, they took us to Pan Flame Indian Cuisine for a flavourful feast! I’ll definitely be putting together a blog post later to fill everyone in on my new favourite Camrosian restaurant.

Hungry in Calgary | Holiday Turducken
Turducken down! Don’t worry, we recovered the spilled stuffing!

Indian food wasn’t the only change for our Camrose-based Christmas celebration, because this year was our first time cooking a turducken from Calgary’s SA Meat Shops. It cost $185, weighed more than my five month old niece and came with cooking instructions and a disposable roasting pan. What more could you want? For anyone not hip to turducken, it’s a deboned turkey stuffed with a whole deboned chicken and two large duck breasts. Between each layer, SA Meats adds a delicious bread crumb stuffing filled with onions, celery, bell pepper and tons of seasoning. We added the woven lattice crust of bacon slices for extra pizzazz!

Hungry in Calgary | Holiday Aligot
Cheesy whipped potatoes and turkey-duck-chicken gravy… yes!

There was some slight drama getting it out of the roasting pan and onto a cutting board to rest, but the mess just meant there were more dark meat morsels from the bottom of the bird for us to pluck up and eat with our hands while we finished preparing the rest of the meal.

Hungry in Calgary | Holiday Feast
Decorative beans on the plate as well! See, #balance is key.

We also made pommes aligot this year, a recipe I learned at Jasper’s Christmas in November (full blog post here!) These potatoes are mostly cheese, cream and butter – I’m not even exaggerating. It’s how you get the beautiful stretchy effect when you pull up a spoonful of these beauties. No additional sauce required, not that this fact stopped us from making a big old batch of turducken gravy! Throw a little homemade cranberry sauce on the plate and you’ve got a party!

IMG_6359
I swear we added a bit of juice to these breakfast cocktails!

After Camrose, we headed to Red Deer for Christmas at each of my parents’ homes – at Dad’s house it was watching him roll out and bake fresh butter tarts, then doing our customary Christmas jigsaw puzzle as a family. At Mom’s it was accidentally getting buzzed on mimosas and Baileys at 9 in the morning. Both celebrations involved loads of cheese, turkey, wine and snuggles with my baby niece, so it was a fabulous couple of days!

Hungry in Calgary | Holiday Tarts
Christmas at Dad’s means watching him roll out paper thin pie dough for butter tarts!

Once we came back to Calgary, it was straight back to the grind… yeah right! We have had so many new toys to test out, like Matt’s countertop ice maker for the basement bar, my glorious immersion blender and some shiny new pans and serving dishes. All of this, of course, once we managed to pull ourselves away from the TV after dozens of rounds of Overcooked on our new Nintendo Switch. We’re feeling very spoiled, stuffed and satisfied this holiday season – I hope yours was even better!

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