Merry Christmas

What a week! What a month! I am very much looking forward to taking a few days’ break from blogging, hunkering down with my sweet (and loud and funny and busy) family, and soaking up the last joyous minutes of this holiday season.

While I spend most of my time here raving about The Best Food on the Planet, I appreciate the often and sometimes poignant reminders that my life is much more than food and blogging.

Truly nothing in my life would have meaning without that sweet, deeply-held belief that this glittery, bustling, wonderful Christmas season exists because of a precious baby born thousands of years ago in humble circumstances only to become the Savior of the world…for me…for all of us.

I am endlessly grateful for that knowledge and the opportunity it gives me (and sometimes forces me) to recenter and reprioritize. Again and again.

In this season of giving, I thought it would be appropriate to again say thank you for all of those who generously donated to Mentors International earlier this year after I told you about my experience in Ghana, Africa. I have thought of your generosity over and over again during the holidays; what you gave is so much more than a donation, so much more than money. I met some of the amazing people your donations will help – because of you, their lives will change for the better. Truly, you have demonstrated what it really means to give.

Through your donations + your purchases of the eCookbookMKC readers have donated a total of $54,571.10 so far with additional donations trickling in every day. THAT IS INCREDIBLE!

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I received this message from Mark, the CEO of Mentors, this week:

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being so generous with the Mentors International families we are helping to lift from poverty with “A hand up; not a handout.” Due in great part to your readers’ generosity, since July 1, 2016, Mentors International has been able to place $120,000 new dollars into the Mentors Ghana loan fund. 

During that same time we have distributed:

1,067 loans
Loaned out $295,000
Added 362 new, active loans
Created 121 jobs
Added 478 new clients
Hired 2 additional staff
Impacted an estimated 6,000 people.

This is a HUGE impact. THANK YOU, thank you, thank you!!!!

I echo Mark’s remarks and simply say: Thank you! You have inspired me in so many ways; we many never know the full and far-reaching impact of your generosity. 

And because this is a food blog, after all, a quick note about food for Christmas Eve and Christmas! Our traditional Christmas Eve meal is detailed below (two desserts because…um…I’m having a real personal struggle deciding between creme brûlée, which we always have, and the new sticky toffee pudding I just posted).

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And Christmas Day I keep it really simple. I make cinnamon (or sweet) rolls in advance to bake the morning of, crackers and cheese and appetizers for the afternoon, and we are starting a new tradition of soup and bread bowls on Christmas night (all made ahead of time so I can enjoy the day with the family) with lots of leftover treats and snacks because we will have food coming out of our ears by that point in the holidays.

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What will you be eating this weekend? Please, please share.

Also, this coming Friday, the 23rd, will be the last newsletter for December unless I manage to get one out on the 30th (we’ll be traveling during that time to visit my in-laws in Portland, OR, so I’m staying a little uncommitted at this point). You definitely don’t want to miss the exclusive recipe in this week’s edition (no-bake, easy, decadent, and rock-your-world worthy). So sign up here if you aren’t already on the list to get the weekly newsletters! 

Mostly, I want to say, thank you for being here. I appreciate you so much more than you realize, and from the very sincerest part of my heart, I truly hope your holiday season is filled with love, laughter, and peace.

Merry Christmas!