Monday, December 28, 2009

The Christmas of '09

The Christmas of '09 has come and gone. What fun to spend time with family and celebrate the birth of our Savior!

The Christmas of 2009 will be remembered by the blizzard.
But what a beautiful blizzard it was!
It was like we stepped into Narnia.
Everything had already been covered in a beautiful, thick frost.
Then we received nearly 20 inches of snow....
... that blanketed everything....
even the vehicles.
Everyone was home for Christmas this year. And that means 28 of us!
We had our 3rd annual ugly Christmas sweater contest.
We recorded another video.
Can you guess what it might be?
It has to do with 7 brothers and their 7 brides.
And it was freezing cold, because it was blizzarding....
and the power went out during filming.
In fact, the power was out for about 13 hours. So we had Christmas Eve dinner by candlelight.

The kids did really well with the power outage and the close quarters!
Actually, believe it or not, this is a hug :)

Thankfully, the power came back on at 6:30 on Christmas morning and we all made it in to Grandma's house for lunch and goodies.
The rest of the time was spent playing in the new, abundant snowfall...
...making snow forts...
...playing card games, and board games, movies, eating too much. We were having so much fun and then, the unwelcomed guest, Monday, called and made us leave :(

Thanks Mom and Dad!
We had a great Christmas!


Menu Monday

Back from a wonderful, snow-filled Christmas.
Hope you all had a wonderful time with loved ones.

Now it's almost supper time and it doesn't look like anyone else around here is planning on cooking anything, so I guess I better come up with something :)

I miss mom already!

fish soup with pickled veggies
green bean chicken curry/rice
Mediterranean chicken/pitas/cucumber sauce
New Year's Day tradition: Grand Szechuan in Bloomington (all are welcome!)

What's on your menu?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cinnamon Sugared Almonds

This year for Christmas-friends-and-neighbors-gift-giving we made granola and cinnamon sugared almonds. A friend of mine in our small group made them as a snack once and I thought they were AMAZING! So I asked her for the recipe and she led me to here.
So easy and so yummy! You must go to the store right now and buy almonds! But buy the big bag, because they won't last!

Cinnamon Sugared Almonds
adapted from apple peaches pumpkin pie

1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups whole almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Foil and grease 2 10x15 inch jellyroll pans.

Lightly beat the egg white; add vanilla, and beat until almost stiff.
Add the nuts, and stir until well coated.
Mix the sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the nuts.
Toss to coat, and spread evenly on the prepared pans.
Bake for 1 1/2 hour in the preheated oven, stirring evry 20 min., until dry and toasted.
Allow to cool, then store in airtight containers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...

Well the flurry of Christmas activities has begun! For us it began on Friday with Addie's school program. Can you find her?

She wasn't too interested in doing any of the actions......or any of the words......or smiling.....or looking into the audience. To be honest, I was surprised she even went on stage! So I was completely thrilled with her performance!
Great Job Addie!

I think Isaiah is going to be one of those kids that are crying in every picture so that people will think that he must have had a horrible childhood if their only evidence is family pictures.

Not much happier here either. What torture! Making him do a gingerbread house! What kind of parents do you have!
Although Tony did just get done decorating his lips with frosting.

So, maybe this one is legit.
Saturday was spent with Tony's side of the family. We had a birthday party for Jesus complete with a puppet show re-enactment of his birth, presents, birthday cake, and making gingerbread houses.
I used this recipe for the gingerbread. And this recipe for the icing. And was completely satisfied with both!
Sunday was the kids Christmas program at church.
Evan was a shepherd. And Addie was an angel.
They've lost their sheep and don't know where to find them. Leave them alone, and they'll come home....oh, wait. Wrong story!
There's the sheep! And now there is a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among those with whom He is pleased!" (Addie is the one not facing the audience, or smiling, or speaking, or singing....but she's on stage! Way to go Addie!)

Next up:
Monday-our Christmas
Tuesday-Evan's program
Wednesday-over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go!
Thursday-Christmas at the farm
Friday-Christmas at Grandma Marian's
Saturday-Christmas in Iowa

Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Menu Monday on Tuesday

Woops! I forgot again! We did eat last week. It's been a little crazy around here with end of the year and Christmas festivities. It's all fun though. Here's this week's meals.

Cajun Chicken Skillet /salad
Mediteranian Chicken/rice/veggies/cucumber sauce
cheeseburger buns/fruit/chips

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas time is here!

For unto us is born this day, in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I love Christmas time! Spending time with family. Kids home from school. Snow forts. Ice skating. Gift giving. Homes decorated. Baked goodies. Gifts for teachers and neighbors. Seeing relatives. Home for Christmas. Caroling. Celebrating Jesus' birthday.

What do you guys do to help your kids (and yourself) understand that this is Jesus' birthday and not theirs? How do you make Jesus more exciting to them than their pile of presents?

Growing up my parents instilled some good traditions in us kids. Mom always made a birthday cake for Jesus and we would sing Happy Birthday to Him. We would go caroling to friends homes and sing and give them a loaf of home made bread. We would come home and read/act out the Christmas story. Then we would exchange gifts, but before you gave your gift to someone, you had to say why they were special.
I didn't get it at the time (sorry mom & dad), but the point was to not just rip into all the presents, but to take some time to point out evidences of God's grace that we saw in each other. I think because I was always focusing on the letdown of how the rehearsed line, "Heidi, you're special because.....," would always end with, "'re my only sister."
And I would think, "Really?"
"That's all you could think of?"
"That's the only reason I'm special year after year?"
Rather than, "Yeah, thank you God for placing me with all these boys and for how that will shape me for Your future plans for my life!" But what kid would be able to think like that? So how do we turn our good intentions of holiday traditions into something that would really impact our kids hearts this Christmas?

What did you do growing up?
What do you do now?
What have you seen other families do?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

huaraches al pastor

If you are ever in Minneapolis at either the Global Market or across the street on East Lake St. you must eat at Taquería Los Ocampo--even if it's not time to eat. And if you don't know what to choose, (i'm sure it's all good) just get the huaraches al pastor. You won't be disappointed. It's starts with a masa cake, which is like a really thick tortilla, really thick, like 1/4 inch thick. They then top it with some beans and cheese and lettuce and radishes and tomato and onion and whatever meat you want. We've only tried the al pastor. It is an intense flavored pork, chopped into tiny bite-sized pieces. I don't know how to describe the taste....kind of smoky, kind of sweet, kind of salty, but it just bursts with flavor. I've searched for a recipe to copy and it seems to be pretty secretive. I probably don't want to know how it's actually flavored. I might not eat it again. Some things are better left unknown. But after much searching, I did find a recipe that we tried this week. I must say, it's not Los Ocampo, they are the real deal! But it's close enough to give me that fix.

Huarches al pastor

al pastor
5 lb pork shoulder or pork butt (i don't like typing that), sliced just under 1/2 inch thick
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 c pineapple juice
1 T vinegar
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
2 T diced garlic
2 1/2 t salt
3/4 t pepper
1/2 t Mexican oregano
1 onion, diced small
chilies (either 1 T chili sauce or 1 chipotle in adobe sauce)

combine all ingredients and pour over meat in a sealable container and refridgerate 12-48 hours.

When it's time to cook, grill until edges are crispy, but middle is still tender.
Chop up into penny-sized pieces.

2 c masa flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 3/4 c chicken broth

combine dry ingredients and add broth until dough holds together. Add water if needed.
divide into 4 equal portions.
shape into long ovals, about 1/4 inch thick onto sheets of waxed paper.
cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.
when ready to cook, place on griddle or frying pan on medium-high heat.
cook until bottom of masa is light brown, about 3 minutes.
use wide spatuala to flip over.
while other side is cooking, spread with refried beans and cheese and meat.
remove from griddle and add remaining toppings and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Etsy Shopping

Hey, check out these etsy shops for some great Christmas gift giving ideas! I could browse through etsy shops all day. So many crafty people! Here's a few to get you started.

Cozy Creations

How About Orange?

My Little Dear


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Menu Monday

Hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving and were able to spend it with family and friends.

Here's what's cookin' at the Coopers:

plum chicken/rice/green beans
huaraches al pastor
chili and corn bread
pizza at church
chicken tetrazinni/bread/corn

What does your menu look like?