We made the decision in November to skip Christmas; we don’t like the commercialism, we had no plans for family visits, we are in no way religious, and I had to work. We didn’t decorate, we didn’t plan a special meal, we didn’t exchange gifts. I work at home, so it became clear that unless we turned on the TV, we could pretty much escape the holiday all together.
I couldn’t refrain from some baking, however. I have an easy fudge recipe that I make only during the holidays. I couldn’t not make something I only make in December.
As a compromise to Christmas, I decided to send out Solstice cards.
From winter’s stillness light returns…
Everything was going as planned. Until the 14th, when I woke up with abdominal pains, fatigue, and what I thought was some kind of virus. 17 days, two trips to the ER, a CT, a bottle of Percocet, a GI specialist, several missed days of work, and an endoscopy later, this self-proclaimed foodie was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease -- an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation. (More gory details here, but thankfully so far all I’ve experienced is abdominal pain and fatigue.) There is no cure for Crohn’s. Talk about a big bummer of a Christmas gift. But wait, I wasn’t celebrating. Which was even more a blessing in disguise, really, because time stopped on the 14th. My pain and fatigue took over, and I wasn’t in any shape to do anything but sleep and watch TV. I couldn't finish baking, and I had to set aside my Solstice cards.
I’m feeling much better now, but I’m still on a somewhat restricted diet and am cautious – make that paranoid – about what I put into my body. I have, however, lost 10 pounds this month, and I can’t say I’m disappointed about that.
New Year’s Day was my first dive back into baking since becoming ill. Birthday brownies for far-away friends.
They’re good brownies. They came from Martha Stewart's Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share, a birthday gift from Eric. They are very dense, reminiscent of truffles, though I prefer a slightly more cakey brownie. I cut them into squares, wrapped them by fours in plastic wrap, and then a freezer bag. I was able to fit a stack of five in each take-out container, which then was packed into a 6x6x6 box for mailing.
My next baking project is a Daring Bakers’ Challenge, one I’m very much looking forward to. Details about that sometime after the 27th.