We finally managed to go on our quest for the perfect Christmas tree this year. I’m not sure that this tree constitutes perfect, but it’s pretty. And it will do. Also it was for a good cause.
I am not a fan of buying a Christmas tree from a “big box” store. It just robs the experience of joy for me. I have very fond memories of picking out Christmas trees as a kid with my family. The little grassy lot was all lit up with Christmas lights. The tree farmers hovered around their camper and a fire barrel with mugs in hand. We ran around the lot until we found just exactly the right tree- this is a MAJOR debate for a kid- and then we hollered for our parents to come and look at our most amazing find. There was the smell of fresh evergreen in the air as the tree farmers sawed the bottom off the tree and trimmed the stray branches for us. I always saved the little disc of tree trunk… it smelled just like Christmas is supposed to.
So we have this little produce stand that just opened up on the side of the road nearby. They have a little sign that advertises apples and oranges and nuts and they have beautiful Christmas trees. There is a little camper for the resident farmer to sell out of and a stand boasting homemade candy. We passed by a few times and everything about it matched my memories– I was IN. But we live in Loserville and everything here closes at 5:30 or 6 on a Sunday evening, including roadside Christmas tree stands.
Devastation. And then we kept on driving.
We passed a pet grooming business with a sign saying “$25 Trees”. Now that was a hook if I ever saw one. The lighting was weird and the trees were a good size, but it was really hard to tell what in the world we were looking at. My children helped me inspect every tree while Chad stood by waiting for us to tell him which one needed to be tied to the roof. He also noticed that the sign actually said, “Buy a Tree, Save a Life- Proceeds Donated to The Humane Society”.
These trees were not perfect, but who could walk away from a sign like that? Not me. So we picked our tree and hauled it home, only to discover that it was going to need major surgery to get it in the stand.
I mean SURGERY. And after the surgery was performed, it still stands completely crooked. I mean CROOKED.
Also there is a giant bare patch around the back because so much had to be trimmed off to get said crooked tree into the stand.
All the tree hunting and surgery required a hearty meal.
So I heated a little oil…
And sautéed a few onions…
And I added two cans of fire roasted tomatoes that I found lurking in my cabinets.
I simmered the fire roasted tomato and onion mess for about 45 minutes on low-ish heat, stirring occasionally while I put on a pot of linguini.
When I put the pasta in the boiling water to cook, I added shrimp to the tomato sauce and continued cooking until the shrimp were nice and pink.
The only two things I wish I’d had on hand are sliced mushrooms (to add with the onions) and fresh basil (to top the finished dish), but otherwise, two thumbs up for the fire roasted canned tomatoes. And once decorated, the crooked christmas tree didn’t turn out too too badly either.
Linguini with Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 (14 ounce) cans of fire roasted tomatoes
1 box linguini
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (mine also had the tails removed– that’s a personal preference for me)
Heat olive oil in a deep non-stick skillet. Add the onions and cook until they are tender. Add fire roasted tomatoes, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the tomato sauce reached the 30 minute mark, put on a pot of water and cook linguini according to package instructions. When you add the pasta to the boiling water to cook, go ahead and add the shrimp to the tomato sauce and cover. That way everything should be done at about the same time. Drain the pasta and top with the shrimp and fire roasted tomato sauce. Cozy, filling, and yum.