When I grew up, my grandparents lived just down the road from me. I remember bike riding on a dirt road for a mile to get to their house. I felt old and big and super responsible. I could ride all that way by my myself. When I was visiting them, I’d inevitably raid the candy jar and be offered multiple cookies. The tupperware that they have used to hold cookies in, whether store-bought milanos, chocolate covered graham crackers, or homemade peanut butter cookies is forever in my mind. I love that when we visited them this past summer, the same tupperware came out and my children were then the recipients of way too many cookies before dinner.
I have a soft spot for these amazing people. They were a stable part of my childhood and I’m grateful this Christmas Eve thinking about all the Christmas Eve’s I spent in their home. We’d have every family member there for a potluck dinner, the counter covered in more food than we could even think of consuming. After eating, we’d all go down to their basement and exchange gifts, have some singing or musical solos, and Grandpa would say a couple words for a Christmas devotional. I love this memory. I love that my grandparent’s home was a place where I got to be with my cousins, even if they were all boys, and where we built this life together.
I live far away from my grandparents now. I miss them and I attempt not to cry when I’m on the phone with them, out of pure heart love. But I have made something to remind me of them. When we visited last, my Grandma sent me home with a bunch of fabric scraps she no longer needed. I went through what she gave me and have made cloth napkins out of the fabric. I will have a piece of my Grandma in the kitchen with me. This napkin is just that. Grandma, although far, your love is with me now.
I wish you the merriest of Christmases, friends. I hope you forgive those around you more easily and live intentionally, staying mindful of the precious gift we are given each day to live and love. Maybe in one of those intentional living moments you make cloth napkins from your Grandma’s fabric.
In a different intentional moment you can make some of this red lentil stew. Eating it on top of spaghetti squash really is amazing. I’m against using spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti. If you try to sub it for the pasta, I think it kinda fails. Especially for kids. Spaghetti squash has a different flavor and texture and you want to use that meatiness to your advantage in dishes like this one.
The lentils are seasoned with curry, coriander, and ginger and given oomph by kale. The spaghetti squash is seasoned with salt and pepper. The squash has a sweetness to it, like carrots, and mixed with the earthy lentil flavor combo, it’s something that tastes just as good the next day for leftovers.
Make it today, Christmas Eve is as good of day as any. Or put it on your list for next week, you’ll be glad you did. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope you won’t wake up at 4 a.m. with your children anxious to open presents tomorrow…like mine have done before.