Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 28, 2008

Edna Shaffer: What next? Look ahead

By EDNA SHAFFER

So today is back-to-work day? How very different from the last day before the Christmas holiday. All of those chirpy "Merry Christmases" have turned into grunts and barely audible "yes, we had a fine time" when asked about the celebration.

Back home, the company is gone and under the tree lies the shirt two sizes too small, the stately figurine with a broken leg and those beautiful pierced earrings for ears that are not pierced! The refrigerator is still loaded with some unappetizing 4-day-old foods.

As you slide into your La-Z-Boy to turn on the news you hear those old familiar words sliding across your lips once again: "Next year is going to be so different."

Our family will be celebrating twice this year -- a very small quiet celebration on Christmas Day, then again when the young parents will be here with the little ones on the weekend. Christmas has come to be whenever the family gets home. We are all trying to de-emphasize the gift exchange. We don't want it to swallow up the real message of Christmas.

Have you been working on your New Year's resolutions yet? How did the ones go for 2008? I've decided they are a little archaic and only lay on the guilt, which I can do a pretty good job of without resolutions. So I'm not playing that game this year.

I want to wish you all of the best this coming year. Thank you for being such faithful readers, and for your friendship and the help with the Christmas Caper. I hear thar it was enjoyed.

Since many of you had ham for Christmas, here is a good way to use up some of those delicious leftovers. What a great comfort food on a cold snowy evening -- and your potatoes are already peeled! Just mix, put it in your slow cooker and go read the paper.

Ham and Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

2 lb. pkg. frozen hash brown, shredded or O'Brien

1/2 medium onion, diced small

1 (10&3/4 oz.) can cheddar soup

1 (10&3/4 oz.) can cream of potato soup

1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

1 c. sour cream

6 thin slices of ham for top layer

Mix all ingredients except ham together in large mixing bowl. Spray inside of slow cooker with nonstick spray, fill with the mixture. Do not press down. Cover top with ham slices. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Serves 4.

Carry this thought with you into the New Year.

Parting Shot:

A possibility was born the day you were born
and it will live as you live.

-- Marcus Solero

Edna Shaffer is a local mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who writes about cooking from the perspective of an older adult. She can be reached via the Record-Eagle at 120 W. Front, Traverse City, Mi 49685; or by sending e-mail to: coachngrandma@charter.net