A funny thing happened on my way to the holidays. I decided to join an online dating site.
I’m not sure where in the midst of mommying and blogging and food making and writing that I figured this to be a good idea, but for the last two weeks as you have intermittently seen haphazard posts tossed up here onto the pages of Cheeky Kitchen, I’ve been behind the scenes, trying to master the art of the first date…for the second time in my life.
There was the tall, curly blonde who took me out for bowls of ramen. He was lovely and kind and even tacked a harmonica lesson to the end of the date.
There was the bold and saucy artist who posted a beautiful painting in the mail, delivering it to my home from his own personal studio.
There was the glasses-wearing, beret-wearing salesman who trotted me to a pulsing dance floor around midnight one Friday.
And…oh…do you see what I’m telling you? This whole weird and wonderful world of being surprisingly single again, after nearly 16 years of marriage is so blissfully fun and so wildly overwhelming that I feel like I’ve taken on a fourth full-time job, while also being introduced to truly delightsome experiences. That said, I promised Eldon on Saturday that I’d nearly shaken the “new boys are so fun!” bug out of my system, desiring a return to weekends that have less to do with meeting four new men for cocktails and japanese noodles, and more to do with…I dunno…breathing. Or something like that.
To which, Eldon just laughed and said, “Whatever, darling. Whatever.”
Rather than heating things up with all the dirty details of my wooly dating excursions, let’s instead get all hot and heavy over the holidays, shall we?
How are yours going? Have you felt the spirit of the season sink in, yet? I did, for the first time on Saturday night. First while sitting at a little round table at A Cote, sipping absinte cocktails with my a handful of my darling people and watching the drift of giant white snowflakes (lit by streetlights) through the picture window. Later that night, it happened again, when E and I walked into the Black Crown in Denver, all decor’ed to the gills with gaudy tinsel and the warmth of a million white lights. It was like a holiday dream done Liberace style. Perfectly plump and divine, golden and glowy. And instantly, it was Christmas.
Sometimes that feeling strikes us suddenly. Sometimes it takes work. You have to roll gingerbread dough. You have to hang candy canes across the boughs of your tree. You have to cut little red beets into stars and make this perfectly festive crostini.
I don’t know what it’ll take for you. But I hope, if you haven’t already felt it, you’ll get the sweeping sensation that there is magic coating your month.
Tell me when it comes. I love sharing stories of the Christmas spirit.
Perhaps I love it even a little more than online dating. But whoa baby. It’s a close call. ;)
Festive Roasted Beet Crostini
6 beets, cleaned and peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
16 slices good-quality baguette
4 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice beets into 1/4" slices. Use a star-shaped fondant cutter to cut a star from the center of each beet. Place stars and beet rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt lightly with sea salt. Place in heated oven and roast until tender, about 22-25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
Place baguette slices in the preheated oven and allow to cook just until toasted. Spread goat cheese on baguette. Top with several beet stars and a sprinkling of fresh thyme. Serve and enjoy.
NOTE: Save the roasted beet rounds and place them on top of your holiday salads for extra flair (and to keep from wasting those perfectly adorable parts!)