As I began to write this post, my eyes glanced at the calendar, and as I looked closer, I see that it is December 6th on Saturday! As I get older, I learn that each year, the days, and months get shorter. With that being said, the beginning of December means that Advent is upon us. Advent is a countdown to Christmas. It seems to be a magical time as I start to decorate my house for this joyous season. Every day another room gets transformed into what my family calls “Dottie’s Christmas Village.” I have many candles and lots of beautiful angels plus you cannot forget the tree, with jolly old St. Nick under its branches. My Nativity takes a special place on my mantle surrounded by golden angels and branches of pines trees that fills the room with the scent of outdoors.
Advent is a tradition in my home, when my son was young. My grandmother (Nanni) started giving him an advent calendar every year, so he could understand how many days were left till Christmas Day. Every day my son looked forward to opening another door and see what was behind it. Sometimes a short poem, a Christmas word, a chocolate kiss, or something that pertained to the birth of Jesus. After my Nanni passed on, I continued the tradition for my son as well as my nieces and nephews.
|Vintage Advent Calendar|
Another cute part of this tradition is for children to leave carrots or hay in their shoes for St. Nicholas’ donkey to eat. St. Nicholas takes the hay and carrots for his donkey and replaces them with small gifts and treats for the children. That is how he became the model for our modern day Santa Claus, which also comes from the Dutch name called Sinterklaas. St. Nicholas (San Nicola) is the patron saint of Bari, in Italy, where his relics are buried in the Basilica di San Nicola (Basilica of St. Nicholas). Therefore, I hope that your shoes have many goodies from St. Nicholas!
|Filled Shoes with Goodies|
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound of escarole, chopped and washed
A pinch of salt
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
Freshly ground pepper
Grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the escarole and sauté until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Add the chicken broth, cover and simmer about 5 minutes. You can add a can of white kidney beans (washed and rinsed to get the salt off) plus/or cooked Tortellini. Serve with crusty Italian bread and top with grated Pecorino-Romano cheese.
Till Next Time……
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