Kris and I had decided not to get a tree this year but after the weekend in Iowa for an early Christmas we thought a tree would be perfect for our quiet celebration. We left Iowa on Christmas Eve morning and the plan was to drop off the dog, unload the car then head out and get our tree.
We thought this would be an easy task but turned out to be a small adventure. We went to 5 or 6 places and they were all out of trees. Kris was getting a little frustrated and we were about to give up when I said let’s run by one more spot. It is a small landscaping place a few miles out of town. When we got there we saw a bunch of trees and were so excited. Kris got out and went to the door which had a note on it. The note said the owner had to leave for a medical emergency but all the trees were $25. Just grab one and leave the money in the bucket . ( there was a 5 gallon bucket by the door with a slot in it). So we found the perfect tree and used the $25 we won with the scratch off tickets (a gift from KZ’s step brother) to pay for the tree!!
We got home, put up and decorated the tree. It was perfect! Now was time for the traditional Christmas Eve meal –
Oyster Stew –
2 Tbs butter
1 small onion, diced
1 quart whole milk
12 oz fresh oysters and juice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Heat butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Pour in milk and oysters and cayenne pepper, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
1 lb grass fed beef 12 oz beer
1 onion, diced 1 can diced tomatoes
3 Tbs chili powder 1 can chili beans
1 tsp oregano 1 can dark red kidney beans
1 tsp basil salt
1 tsp thyme pepper
Brown beef and onion in large skillet. Sprinkle beef with 1 tbs of the chili powder while browning. Drain off excess fat. In a large soup pot ( I use a dutch oven) add tomatoes, beans, beer, meat mixture and stir. Add the spicy V-8 to get the consistency you like for your chili. I used about 1 ½ cups. Add spices, mix well and bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer for at least 1 hour.