As you can see, Michael and I are serious about gettin’ into the Christmas spirit. We roam about town, hitting up the holiday festivities. Folks are always coming up to say the nicest things, but Michael, he gets these long, quiet stares from the children, like they’re trying to figure him out. It took me a while to realize that they thought they were seein’ Santa Claus himself!
Come to think of it, maybe that’s what attracted me to him in the first place. Michael and Santa are alike in a lot of ways. Besides the white beard and a jolly belly, my husband and Santa share a great smile, a sense of humor and a heart as big as Georgia. Up until Michael came along, the best Christmas gift I ever received was that beautiful Mary Hartline doll Santa brought me when I was five. But Santa outdid himself when he brought me Michael Groover. Our second Christmas together Michael proposed, and nothin’ can hold a candle to that.
When Michael was all dressed up as Santa, he got to teasin’ me, asking if I’d been naughty or nice. I’d be lying if I said I’ve been a good girl all year and he’d call my bluff anyhow. But that’s the thing I like about Christmas, you get the chance to start off fresh. I know I should be takin’ better care of myself and that should probably begin with the foods I’m putting in my mouth. So this year, I’m going to cook up a Christmas dinner that’s a lot like me: a little naughty and a little nice.
Bobby and Jamie have taken my traditional Christmas menu and lightened it up. ‘Course, some things I’m just not willing to compromise, like my Lady’s Cheesy Mac. I’ve been making that dish my whole life and I believe in my heart that every tablespoon of butter and cup of cheese is absolutely necessary (at least that’s what my taste buds tell me). But I am going to balance out all that delicious fat and flavor with some lighter desserts and sides. “You won’t even know the difference,” Bobby assures me, smiling. “But your heart will.”
He’s probably right. Besides, it shouldn’t matter what we’re making as long as we’re serving it up to a table full of friends and family. That said, it’s still going to be delicious—and give me license for a second helping of cheesy mac!
I’ve included my Christmas favorites here for you to pick and choose what you like. Aim to create a menu that’s balanced, making a few selections from the “naughty” list and a few from the “nice.” No one expects you to be a perfect little Pollyanna at Christmas. In fact, sometimes a little naughty can be fun. At least that’s what my “Santa” tells me.
Stuffed Turkey Breast
Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus
Green Bean Casserole
Lady’s Cheesy Mac
Sweet Potato Bake
Southern Cornbread Stuffing
Old-Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie
The Deen Bros. Lighter Stuffed Turkey Breast
The Deen Bros. Lighter Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus
Bobby’s Lighter Green Bean Casserole
Bobby’s Lighter Lady’s Cheesy Mac
Bobby’s Lighter Sweet Potato Bake
Bobby’s Lighter Southern Cornbread Stuffing
Bobby’s Lighter Peppermint Pie
Bobby’s Lighter Old-Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie
Bobby’s Lighter Pumpkin Crunch