Chana Matar Paneer ~ Possessd by the Holiday Spirit

The Holiday Spirit is an impish, little brat.

On this night, it was lurking around the Christmas Tree Lot, where a particularly witty Sister Madly wandered about with the Professor. Naturally, Sister Madly provided appropriate commentary that added a festive note to the evening, her snark being so on point that she was looking forward to watching the Professor attempt to tie a large tree to the top of a rusty hatchback.

But the Professor had no intention of tying the tree to the top of the car, oh no; a tree of such Yuletide majesty deserved to ride in luxury inside the car.

Sister Madly, too, deserves to ride inside the car, Professor…

Still, the realization that the Tree wouldn’t fit in the back of the hatchback took longer for the Professor to acknowledge than it would for those with fewer letters behind their name. As predicted, Sister Madly’s wit was so on point during this exhibition that it was cheekily suggested that she be tied to the top of the car instead.*

* One might assume that this was the Professor’s attempt at humor, but Sister Madly assures you otherwise.

It was then that Sister Madly was first tempted by the Holiday Spirit, which nearly resulted in her volunteering to take public transportation back to HQ for the sake of the Evergreen. However, the possibility of encountering something far worse than a sentient Pine Tree on a city bus gave her the strength to resist the Holiday Spirit and retain the dignity of her sassy ol’ self.*

* Which is most fortunate- a holly-jolly Sister Madly is an absolute nightmare.

But the witty little Moppet did not escape this magic of this Hallmark Moment. As the Professor acknowledged that that only way that the Tree would fit would be to utilize the passenger’s seat, the Holiday Spirit took possession of Sister Madly and volunteered through her to switch places. As a result, the Tree rode shotgun with the Professor while Sister Madly was packed rather unceremoniously into the back of the hatchback

And that was when the Holiday Spirit made itself at home: not only did it demand to listen to campy Christmas music- something which absolutely delighted the Professor- it suggested they take “back way” of unimproved roads and potholes. Even as Sister Madly watched herself become covered in pine sap, excess needles* and some sort of rash, she could not stop the Holiday Spirit from assuring the PhD that all was just peachy-keen* and to turn up the music- Mele Kalikimaka was simply not going to sing itself!

* The Shake-The-Needles-From-The-Tree contraption at the Lot was no match for Hatchback-Over-Potholes.

But while the Holiday Spirit maintained full-possession of Sister Madly over the river and through several rounds of Feliz Navidad, it was, alas, no match for Do They Know It’s Christmas. This diabolical little ditty not only succeeded in exorcising the Holiday Spirit from our dearest Moppet, it sent said Spirit out into the street, where it was promptly run over by a dairy truck.

As with all Magical Holiday Tales, there is a moral to this story: there is a certain beauty in using artificial trees, which allows the thrifty to reuse said tree again and again without the need of packing thy beloved Moppet into the trunk of your car. Take for instance Sister Madly’s tree, which once belonged to her grandmother- not only has it withstood the years, but remains amazingly lifelike, as you can clearly see:

Well, maybe not a moral so much as a reason to post a picture of the Madly Christmas Tree…

Sister Madly, too, is an impish, little brat.


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP ginger, minced
  • 1 chili, seeded and diced
  • 15oz tin chickpeas; drained
  • 15oz tin tomatoes, crushed/diced
  • paneer, cubed
  • peas
  • 2 TBSP garam masala
  • 1 TBSP coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • heavy cream, to taste (opt)
  • ghee/oil, for sautéing

Sauté onion until translucent; 8-10 min
Add garlic, ginger, and chili; sauté 3-5 min
Add spices; sauté 30 secs
Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and stock; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes
Add peas; simmer 5-8 minutes
Add paneer; simmer 3-5 minutes
Mix in cream (if using) simmer 2-3 minutes

THEME SONG: Mele Kalikimaka, Bing Crosby

16 responses

  1. “So this is Christmas
    And what have you done
    Another year over
    And a new one just begun
    And so this is Christmas
    I hope you have fun
    The near and the dear one
    The old and the young

    A very Merry Christmas
    And a happy new year
    Let’s hope it’s a good one
    Without any fear…”

    I shoot my radio long before it gets to the Second stanza…. its my 10th radio I have replaced already this year… don’t worry I have got 10 more in the trunk ready to use.

    I go with a fake tree as well ..but mine is bigger than your wimp of a tree…

    Ours has to be climbable by my cat… 🙂

    Mele Kalikimaka all the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 5, 2019 at 9:54 AM

    • My tree is small but MIGHTY- much like the flu. And there is no vaccination.

      I must question whether or not you actually shoot your radio BEFORE the second stanza… if this is true, how would you know the lyrics of the chorus? You know better than to be naughty and lie during this season in particular.

      But let me guess: your cat is the angel at the top of the tree, aye? Because everybody knows how angelic cats are… };~o

      Liked by 1 person

      December 5, 2019 at 1:37 PM

      • I was trapped in a few cars over the years and at various gatherings where I couldn’t escape lest I jumped out of car or off a balcony to avoid the song…. thinking back…. I am sure I could have tucked and rolled and been okay… probably minor surgery or two.

        And yes… all cats are angels …but then again Satan is a fallen angel apparently so am I not sure what that says about cats…

        Liked by 1 person

        December 6, 2019 at 5:23 AM

        • What’s a minor surgery here and there in exchange for avoiding an earworm? Sounds like a good New Year’s resolution to me.

          To quote Terry Pratchett: “In ancient times, cats were worshiped as gods. They have not forgotten this.”

          Liked by 1 person

          December 6, 2019 at 3:51 PM

  2. Sun Hesper Jansen

    My present Tannenbaum is a three-foot Norfolk “pine” — a tropical poser that pairs well with kitsch-Hawaiian holiday songs. It also looks lovely in the myriad earrings I can’t wear anymore due to a metal allergy; to think I almost donated them all — they make great ornaments!

    By the way, you were in my thoughts the other day when I displayed my Santa Cthulhu at work. Warmest wishes to you in the season of creeping madness and despair!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 5, 2019 at 5:58 PM

    • Santa Cthulhu? How does one summon him???

      I like the idea of the earrings (well, not the allergy- if one’s not born with an allergy, it should not be allowed to develop later in life) may have to utilize the ornament idea should I ever get a non-ceramic tree. I have only one ear pierced so now I know what to do with earring of the set! Thanks! ;c)

      Liked by 1 person

      December 6, 2019 at 3:32 PM

      • Sun Hesper Jansen

        Glad to be of service!

        And my Santa Cthulhu is a small poster, and I think if I meditate on it hard enough, he’ll come down the HVAC and hopefully accept the coworker I’ve marked for sacrifice. Or he’ll leave something in my stocking that will break my mind forever. Honestly, it can only be an improvement on most meetings I sit through.

        Liked by 1 person

        December 6, 2019 at 6:01 PM

        • So THAT is what the HVAC is for! I have always wondered… doesn’t seem to do anything else as far as I can tell…

          Ok, so next meeting, position yourself far from the HVAC- no doubt it’s going to be epic!

          Liked by 1 person

          December 6, 2019 at 7:20 PM

  3. locksley2010

    Ah yes, the Professor sounds like a case of intellectual intelligence aplenty but no practical intelligence found amongst many academics.

    There’s a lot to be said for plastic trees, especially when, like you say they are reusable! It used to be an annual tradition where I’d go down to my Nan’s (Grandma to non Brits) and help her decorate the tree with decorations from the 1970s!
    I did notice that as I got older and taller, the clever old lady would then extend this help to putting up all decorations in the house.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 6, 2019 at 3:44 AM

    • Definitely not much practical intelligence- and this is ME talking!

      Does this mean you are tall enough to put the star on top of the tree without the aid of a ladder? I find that impressive… I’d invite you over to decorate my apartment! And perhaps change a light bulb or two… a cider for your troubles… ;~D

      Liked by 1 person

      December 6, 2019 at 3:42 PM

      • locksley2010

        I can’t claim it was all my young lanky limbs at the time, the step ladder came in handy quite a bit!
        So as long as you have one of those, the cider would be quite welcome!

        Interestingly, whenever I hear “Last Christmas, I Gave You My Heart” by Wham (no, it’s Wham!) I think of Deadpool.

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2019 at 12:18 AM

        • But why else would you think of Deadpool?!?

          I don’t have a step ladder, but I do have a very inadequate chair… ah, who cares- I have lots of cider, so just come on over!

          Liked by 1 person

          December 8, 2019 at 3:34 PM

  4. locksley2010

    That’s a very good point!

    No step ladder and lots of cider? Done!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 9, 2019 at 12:40 AM

  5. Heliophile's diary


    Liked by 1 person

    December 17, 2019 at 6:31 AM

  6. Pingback: Making this for Tuesday's Dinner. Chana Matar Paneer ~ Possessd by the Holiday Spirit — The Sixpence at Her Feet – BB and Binks

  7. Pingback: Making this for Tuesday’s Dinner. Chana Matar Paneer ~ Possessd by the Holiday Spirit — The Sixpence at Her Feet – BB and Binks

If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.