With the bar hopping out of the way, we switched gears to Christmas. This would be the year I fulfilled my desire of cooking a traditional Christmas Goose. Sean, Amanda, and I all piled in the car and ran around to a dozen different stores; Sean trying to finish last minute shopping and Amanda and I acting goofy while sometimes helping. The grocery store was no different, Sean had some dishes he wanted to try while Amanda and I ran around trying to find ingredients such as Chinese Five Spice. [Note to anyone who cares: they will give you some at your local Chinese restaurant.]
The same manic last minute style round robin was repeated with Nicole; we were probably less than helpful, but we appreciated the chance to get out and stretch our legs. Knowing Amanda and my obsession with farms Nicole and Sean took us to Buckingham Farms for some produce and a free bag of cherry tomatoes.
Christmas morning rolled around and we congregated in the living room with Nicole and Sean celebrating their first Florida Christmas. Gifts were exchanges, cookies and pretzels from Mom were eaten, many egg nog drinks were poured and poured again. Family (and cookies) are truly the best part of the holidays and although the majority of our families were up North we got to spend time with each other. The four of us headed over to our cousin Tina’s house to spend a few hours with their family before Nicole had to rush off to work.
After a few hours of playing with the children and catching up with family Amanda, Sean, and myself headed home to start the process of making Christmas Dinner. Sean prepped his green bean caserole, while Amanda and I worked on our favorite sausage, sage, apple stuffing. Following Gordon Ramseys recipe after an intimate session of rubbing seasonings, filling cavities with aromatics and otherwise prepping the goose, we eventually got it in the oven.
Several hours and a litter of drippings later the goose was finished as well as the sides and fixin’s. Our patience was tested as our stomachs were growling, but at 10pm Nicole finally came home and we sat down to dinner. The sides were delicious as expected, the goose however was another story. Having never eaten a goose we were amazed at the leanness of the birds and overall lack of meat. Per pound the goose was the most expensive bird we had ever bought and yielded the least amount of meat. We were all a bit dismayed.
The next few days were relaxed with us eventually successfully watching every episode of Alaska: The Last Frontier, Alaskan Bush People, Fixxer Upper, and every tiny house show aired. Sick of being indoors we drove to Downtown Fort Myers walked around to stretch our legs and shared a single slice of pizza.
Nicole made plans to go to Santibel Island Beach with Tina and her little ones. Cheating and driving up the left lane we met them at the tollbooth skipping a nearly hour long wait. Amanda and I played in the water and on the beach like children, posing with a fish carcass and trying to get coconuts out of the trees. We all spent time in the water playing with Malena and Brenan. Fearless Brenan loved playing in the water, even entertaining himself if we happened to be busy doing adult stuff; Malena on the other hand was spooked by a fish and soon became permanently attached to Nicole.
After a few hours of sun and surf Tina left and Sean met us on the beach. A little fried from too much sun we moved the party to Lazy Flamingo on Sanibel Island. Much Gulf seafood was consumed accompanied with cold brews. Conch fritters we learned are conch flavored bread, Nicole and Sean don’t like eating the tentacles of calamari, and oysters are slippery and difficult to keep on the plate yet delicious.
As the night grew Our adventures took us back to the main land and in need of some beer we took a road trip to Fat Point Brewing in Punta Gorda for a spread of beer and pizza. Growlers were filled and we took the beer back home to refill the bank, aka the fridge!
Not quite as productive on the bikes or blog as we expected our break to be, but full of stories, memories, and a lot of love, laughter, and lounging around.