The first thing I remember about 2011 was the feeling of fullness. Seriously, we had just experienced a seven-course meal cooked by my husband and our friend, Karen. It was a night to remember. 2011 ended up being one of the best years for my family too. So, we shall end this great year and start 2012 with the same tradition and celebration of a great meal.
Steve and I have been spending our evenings this last week cooking. Every night, we have been experimenting on desserts, sauces, recipes, unique ingredients and techniques as we prepare for our New Year’s Eve feast. Tonight we made shrimp salad rolls with a lime sauce to accompany. My daughter, Julia, thought the sauce looked like baby poop. Oh how the children keep us humble. The recipe called for fish sauce, which by the way smells wrong, but when added to all the other ingredients, gave the lime sauce an amazingly flavor. Cooking is quite the chemistry experiment.
So here is the New Years Eve menu featuring foods from around the world.
We shall start with a nice cheese platter featuring cheeses from France. Next, will be the appetizer of seared beef tenderloin with a shallot jam served on a slice of Italian bread. Then we shall have salad rolls filled with shrimp, fresh herbs, and vegetables accompanied by a cilantro-lime dipping sauce.
Our soup of the evening is an African peanut soup that is beyond yummy. Our main course will be crab cakes served with a remoulade sauce, which happens to be a Creole mayonnaise that has a nice kick and adds a great addition to the crab cakes. And finally, Steve has now perfected a bread pudding recipe that will be topped with a hot vanilla bourbon sauce and caramel sauce to end the glorious meal. Oh…and for those of you who don’t like the texture of bread pudding, he has taken this dessert to new levels and this dessert is basically love.
I will forever have great memories from 2011. This was the year we traveled to Paris and Italy with our girls. It was the year I started my new job with Compassion. It was the year we took our girls and the church youth group to the Dominican Republic for a mission’s trip with Compassion. It was a year that nobody got seriously injured or sick. It was the year that I met two of my sponsored children. It was the year that we delivered close to 4,000 shoes overseas with shoesforkids. It was the year I traveled with some of my favorite women to Ecuador and the Philippines. It was the year my refrigerator stayed full, the heat stayed on and we shaved our dog (not all the memories can be good you know).
This year was like a good meal. So rich, so wonderful, so beautiful that it makes you want to cry with joy at all the goodness. But like a good meal, it has come to an end and you can only hope for the opportunity to experience another one. And sometimes the meal doesn’t always taste so good, but at least you have a meal and at least you have food.
And you have life and health and countless blessings.
Aren’t we to live life to the fullest? Even in the times we don’t have the best of meals placed before us, aren’t we to give thanks?
So what does 2012 have for us? Well…I know I am going to be starting 2012 with another bountiful meal and a full belly. And the following day I will be eating again… and again. Maybe my meals won’t be as extravagant as New Years Eve, but at least I will eat. And maybe 2012 I won’t be going off to Italy and France, but at least I have an amazing family.
So on New Years Eve, I will raise my glass up high and say cheers. My belly will be full. And you know what? I will be with friends who have seen and been with those around the world who have never had such a feeling as a full belly. We will all be mindful of this. But…don’t despair my friends, because having a full belly isn’t life. Having abundance doesn’t equate to happiness.
Having a purpose, having joy, having family, having love, having Jesus…this is the bread of life. This is the meal to be celebrated.
Happy New Years!
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
Dominican Republic Missions trip
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