My psyc had a few suggestions. "If it is too upsetting and overwhelming then just don't do it. The Hubby understands and the world won't end if you don't decorate. Or do something completely different or crazy. Go out and grab some cheap ornaments that have no sentimental value or decorate with whatever you want. You could decorate your tree with silverware, office supplies or underwear! Whatever makes you happy!" At this point she had me laughing. "Why not have an adult Christmas? Do something crazy that you can't do when you have kids like open your presents naked! Whatever you do focus on what you do have, each other. Make it yours. Make YOU happy."
I left there feeling a little better. Not as guilty for not decorating. I talked it over with the Hubby and he was fine with leaving all the decorations in the attic and just making everything low key and as relaxed as possible. We also called our family and changed some plans. My MIL was supposed to be coming over to our house Christmas day. She knows about our situation so I told her how I was feeling. She understood and was very supportive so we moved the festivities to her house where I could just relax and have a good time.
Even though I was upset and not really in the Christmas spirit, I was looking forward to my family's celebration. We are Norwegian so we traditionally celebrate Christmas eve. We all get together for dinner, sing, play games, catch up, play with babies go to church, come back have dessert and do more of that fun stuff. We have some traditional dinner items, but in our family dessert is the big deal. We usually have more dessert choices than dinner with tons of traditional cookies, pies, cakes and puddings. The big one though is a rice pudding we call Riskrem (rice cream).
My Momma (Mom's Mom) made it every year for as long as I can remember. Her Mom made it before her in Norway and her Mom before her. After Momma moved to Florida the task was given to one of my Tantes (aunts) then when she moved to North Carolina another Tante tried to make it, but made the rice too hard. Then a cousin tried and turned it to mush. 3 years ago the task was given to me and I have been making it ever since. I was told I make it exactly like Momma which is the biggest compliment in our family.
Riskrem is really a labor of love. Making it requires you to stand at the stove for 1-2 hours straight and has a couple of steps that takes 2 days. Friday night as I was standing over the pot on the stove and stirring away, I was thinking about what a huge tradition this is. You would think it would be a lot of pressure, but it wasn't. I thought about all the love that was put into it over the years (even the ones that didn't turn out too good, we ate anyway because of all the love and hard work that was put into it). I thought of all the women who have made it over the years and realized how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my family. How blessed I am to have such loving, supportive, caring people around me and how I can't wait to celebrate with them. From then on the smile did not leave my face. I think I finally found some Christmas spirit.
Since our family loves to share a good meal and dessert I would love to share the recipe with you. Don't worry, it's not a family secret so no one will be mad at me. I grabbed my camera and took pics as soon as I found my spirit and decided to share the story with you guys.
Things you will need:
1 Cup of white rice
2 12oz cans of evaporated milk (make sure it is not sweetened)
2 cans of water (when you empty the cans of milk fill with water)
1/2 a stick of butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 a cup of sugar
For the second day you will need:
1 Cup of whipping cream
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
FYI the pics are of a double batch. I would start with the single recipe above, it makes a good amount.
In a large pot combine rice, milk, water and butter on high stirring often till it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir almost constantly making sure you scrape the sides and bottom so nothing sticks and burns. You don't have to stir fast, it is just to keep everything moving a bit.
Cook till everything thickens and the rice is soft like how you would eat it. Stir in the vanilla and sugar and cook for a few minutes more.
Let it cool for at least an hour before you cover it and put it in the fridge over night. It will thicken more as it cools.
The next day it will be very thick as you can see. Mix it around a bit so the thicker top layer gets combined with the rest of the pudding.
Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla till it is thick, light and fluffy whipped cream.
Fold the whipped cream into the pudding making sure it is mixed through. This is the step that it helps to have lots of extra room in the bowl. I didn't so it almost over flowed as I added the whipped cream.
This will make it so nice and creamy and very rich too. I just love close up shots!
(I moved half the riskrem into another bowl so I could actually get the lid on this one)
Last but not least we put an almond on top. Right before we serve it the almond is mixed in to be hidden. When everyone has some the person who gets the almond in their serving wins a prize. Traditionally it is a marzipan pig which is a symbol of good luck for the new year. A lot of people don't like marzipan so the prize changes each year.
If anyone tries the recipe let me know how you like it. I hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday no matter what you celebrate.