Ever walk into a store and see a certain display, hear a certain song on the radio, see a particular old family picture, smell a distinctive scent of apple pie or other treat, or feel something as in a blanket or see a particular show or commercial, that reminds you of a particular moment in time as a child during Christmas that will forever stay with you? The simplest and smallest connection at a given moment can trigger a memory that can be funny, serious, sad, scary, loving and full of emotion that sometimes brings you back in time. Usually you can remember exactly where you were, what you were doing, who you were with and in some cases even what you were wearing. You stop and smile as you reflect on that moment that is unique and special to you. For me it was a recent text photo from my sister.
She sent me and my brother a picture of her Christmas tree with blue garland on it and said, “Oh the blue garland is back!” My niece insisted on putting blue garland on their Christmas tree. Oh no not that retched ugly bright blue garland that haunted our childhood forever! We all have very fond memories of the same blue garland that my parents insisted on putting on our tree every single year. I sat here looking at the picture laughing at an instant flash back as I responded, “Remember how we tried to hide it one year?” How we all begged not to put it on the tree?” Every year this hideous blue stuff somehow magically ended up back in the storage box. It stuck around for many years and it started to become so old the threads became weak and was no longer one big strand but a few broken small stands and the blue things started to fall off. However, still every year my mother insisted on hanging up the sad little pieces on the tree anyway. There were even some parts of the blue that were burnt and melted from the hot big colored tree lights. I am surprised our house didn’t burn down. By the time we were all old enough to move out we all kept a piece of it as a souvenir.
Come to think of it, not only is the blue garland forever etched my brain but, so was our Christmas tree. I can just picture it, the box that had old tape from previous years that would not stick anymore and silver duct tape which was the only thing holding the worn sides together. The top didn’t shut tight with branches poking out the top and was tied down with string. This was because there must be some magic trick or top secret method to re-boxing a Christmas tree that only manufactures know about. Once the box was carefully brought up from the basement, we had the task of organizing the branches. Back then there was no such thing as having a fake tree with only 2 or 3 parts, no lights already attached, and no folding branches that neatly fell into place. Nope what we had was an all-day project. First was the wooden pole with color coded holes. Each branch was separated by size and colored paint on the metal ends in piles. Then we assembled the tree according to the colors on the branches and the holes. Over the years the colors faded which created an additional challenge.
With our Christmas music playing on records, it was time to decorate. There was no color scheme, no particular design, and no thought out organization. The lights where big, coated with colored paint, Decorations consisted of handmade ornaments that we made in school, snowflakes made out of yarn, popsicle stick reindeers, painted pine cones, all sorts of sizes and colored glass balls, bows, those lights that when lit had little bubbles inside, they almost looked like a lamp. We made popcorn garland, and cookie ornaments. Also, can’t forget the tinsel that my mother always saved from the previous year in a baggie. After using it for a couple of years it would start to lose it luster and shine and looked like something that had been in the dryer for 3 days. So, eventually we had to buy new tinsel. I remember trying to toss it on the tree and it would end up in big clumps in random spots or it would just cling to us, the static made it stick to everyone, everything and everywhere. We were constantly pulling it off the dogs and I think they even pooped some out occasionally. Then the last final touch was put on to make our tree complete… the blue garland! Once everything was up it was a grand display Christmas tree master piece. It was ours and it was fun, some of my most memorable family times were putting up this tree. As for the blue garland, I am not really sure what ever became of it, but have no fear it is back in style again and back in stores to carry on the tradition within our family.
Once I was old enough to carry on some of my childhood traditions with my own kids, we also created our own. My kids would wake up before the crack of dawn and get their stockings, bring them back to their bedrooms dump everything out to see what they got, and maybe have a chocolate candy before breakfast. Then after gifts we would have a huge breakfast and back then we were not vegan so it usually was all the traditional breakfast foods. Now that my kids are grown and are on their own, they continue this tradition with their own families. As for me, well I still cook a big scrumptious breakfast that is of course now vegan. This recipe is for a tofu omelet loaded with veggies and the omelet is wrapped in a Tomato wrap with some garlic potato patties on the side and a cheese dipping sauce along with some coffee. Now I say omelet but, in my attempts to flip it in one piece was an epic fail (due to not so great pans), so it became a tofu scramble in a wrap instead which was still extremely flavorful and delicious!
Tofu Veggie Omelet Scramble
Yields: 2 large omelets or 4 smaller ones
Time: about 45 minutes including prep time
Ingredients for omelet scramble:
1 package silken tofu
½ package firm tofu
2 tbsp. chick pea flour
¼ cup soy milk
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. Mrs Dash seasoning
1 tsp garlic and onion powder
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Coconut oil for pan
Veggies for omelet:
You can use frozen veggies but, if you do sauté them for a bit first before putting them in your omelet. I used peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, and broccoli. You can use any combination of veggies that you like, be creative! You can use squash, onions, potatoes, other greens or vegan cheese.
Yields: about 15 patties
Time: 45 minutes including prep time
1 bag of small multi colored potatoes (you can use about 4 medium size yellow potatoes)
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 – ½ tbsp. Mrs. Dash herbs
1 tsp garlic and onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste