Twas the Night Before Kwanzaa

Black-eye Pea and Wild Brown Rice Risotto, Seared Baby Lamb Chops and Saute Swiss Chard

Twas the eve of Kwanzaa, and all through our house, we will rest in peace after unwrapping Christmas gifts with glee. This year, my household of two starts a new tradition of celebrating Kwanzaa. Our Christmas tree is brought mere days from the 25th. I want it to stay fresh into the New Year when we celebrate the last principle, Imani. It’ll be our Kwanzaa Christmas tree. 

Kwanzaa Christmas Tree Ornament
Find the gold painted wooden Adinkra ornaments at

Honoring the Ujamaa principle, ornaments will be hung with care, and they will be chosen from local shops or specialty artists of color. Our tree skirt is scrap fabric brought from a local West African shop for $5. It still has jagged edges from being cut out from a clothing pattern. Quite honestly, I haven’t found a kinara within my design aesthetic. I will light a candle instead. It’s a fresh piney scent. On each day of Kwanzaa, we will write the principle of the day and how it affects us on gift tags to hang on our tree. Our first meal of Kwanzaa will be left over dinner from Christmas. Perhaps, during the week, I might want to try Funke’s Mussels in Pumpkin Leaves Soup (unavailable ingredients not found in New York will be substituted).

For your Kwanzaa events, try any of our recipes located here. My 2012 addition to the list is Black-eye Pea and Wild Brown Rice Risotto served with seared baby lamb chops and saute Swisss Chard. The risotto is inspired from a New York Times recipe by Mark Bittman that pre-cooks the rice before proceeding with the risotto recipe. It’s healthier with a nutty flavor then the classic version made with Arborio rice. It has the same cheesy, creamy and rich taste to enjoy with seared baby lamb chops. Of course, no dinner is complete without a green leafy vegetable, such as sauté Swiss Chard. Perhaps, it’ll become our traditional Kwanzaa dinner for our household.

By the time Kwanzaa starts, we’re exhausted from all the holiday shopping. Our wallets are empty from being pressured into spending too much money on gifts that mostly bring temporary moments of joy. Last Sunday, the preacher asked us to remember our favorite holiday gift. Those childhood gifts are almost forgotten, but my family first came to my mind. Growing up, my family didn’t celebrate Kwanzaa. Within my own household (a relatively new part of my life), I hope we make our Kwanzaa celebrations of the past; today and future become beautiful memories, too.

Merry Christmas! 

To the get the Black-eye Pea and Wild Brown Rice Risotto with Seared Baby Lamb Chops and Saute Swiss Chard, visit here.

Black-eye Pea and Wild Brown RiceRisotto

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