Archive for January, 2008

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I made this.

January 28, 2008

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Seriously. That’s Danish pastry, made from scratch, following the lovely, painstaking instructions found in Baking with Julia. In light of my recent culinary failures, it seemed a little foolish to take on a project of this magnitude, but I forged ahead. Made the dough, chilled it for several days, rolled it out and folded it up and re-rolled it 46587689 times, then chilled it some more.

I made a great little batch of berry goo with a bag of mixed berries I found in the freezer. They must be very old, but it didn’t make a difference — the berry goo ROCKS. The only problem I had was with the confectioner’s cream — there weren’t regular stovetop instructions, only microwave ones. Which are trouble in my house because A. the microwave is for heating things up, not for cooking; and B. our microwave is freakishly powerful, so following instructions for other people’s normal microwaves doesn’t usually end well. So I ruined one batch before getting it right…but it was oh, so right. Mmmmmm.

They were a ton of work, but they’re flaky, berry-gooey, creamy yummy perfection. And my picky four-year-old doesn’t like them. You know what that means….more for me.

(Just kidding, really, I only had one this morning! And I did Pilates right away to assuage the guilt.)

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The $14.99 difference

January 28, 2008

Behold, the craft corner from hell…

before:

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and after:

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I cannot even put into words how happy this makes me. And I wonder how long it will last…. *sigh*

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Groundnut Soup (aka Skippy Soup or Peanut Soup)

January 5, 2008

I got this recipe from long-time friends the Krakes. They were missionaries in Ghana where they picked up this recipe. I’ve adapted it a teeny bit. I had a birthday/dinner bash and this soup was a hit.

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Ingredients:

The meat of 1 cooked chicken torn into bite sized pieces (rotisserie or cook your own)
2T butter
1-2 medium onions diced
3/4 t red pepper
2 T flour
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
2 qt (8 cups) chicken broth (homemade or store bought)
1 t minced ginger (or 1/2 t powdered)
1-2 t garlic
salt
seasoning salt
1 16oz jar peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
2 carrots peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick (in a pinch I’ve used a can of carrots)
3 zucchini sliced 1/2 inch thick

In large stockpot, melt butter and saute onions over medium heat until translucent (about 5-7 minutes).

Add to the onions – red pepper, flour, garlic and ginger to make a paste. Cook one minute stirring constantly.

Add tomato sauce and broth – bring to simmer.

Add peanut butter and seasonings.

Once incorporated, add carrots and zucchini.

Add chicken and allow to simmer on stovetop for 30 minutes.

Serve hot – with chopped peanuts for garnish. Can also be served over rice.

Notes:

This soup will thicken more and more as it sits on the stove. When reheated the next day it is really thick – and is excellent over rice. You may thin it with some chicken stock.

The original recipe did not call for vegetables – though I remember it having ocra in it. I chose carrots and zucchini – thought they were perfect in it. Other similar recipes sometimes call for bell peppers and sweet potatoes.

Final note – a “ground nut” is another name for a peanut – which grows in the ground.

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It’s still Thursday

January 3, 2008

So I can do a Thursday Thirteen! But first, if you haven’t done so already, go to the post below and wish Jodi a happy belated birthday!

Thirteen very random things:

  1. Our kids’ Christmas lists were made up of toys that were not made in China, as a general rule. We’re tired of their toys being recalled. This was a lot easier to take than it seemed it would be initially. And you know what? The gifts they got are all so cool and creative…they didn’t even watch to ask TV for three days after Christmas, ’cause they were too busy playing.
  2. My sister just turned 40. That means this year I’ll be 39. Um, that’s strange.
  3. Today I made Jodi’s beef stroganoff. Half because it’s so freakin’ yummy,and half because it makes the house smell soooo good. Like heaven. Yum.
  4. I’ve been playing entirely too much JezzBall lately. Remember JezzBall? So addicting. I got to level 26 last night.
  5. If you make banana bread batter, then add oats and chocolate chips until it looks like cookie dough, the resulting cookies are out of this world.
  6. As always, we made resolutions together as a family on New Year’s Day. We make a list of things we’d like to learn, places we’d like to go, habits we’d like to form and break — stuff like that. It’s January 3rd and I’ve already forgotten all but two of mine.
  7. I sent the first half of our Christmas cards on Monday. God willing, the other half will go out tomorrow…but I am struggling because at this late date, I feel as though there should be some kind of note or little letter saying what we’re up to…not just a card, even if it is cute and hand-signed by all the members of our family.
  8. One of my husband’s vendors brought him a lottery ticket today. How sad is it that as I look at it sitting here on the desk, I’m thinking, dude, that’s the only way we’ll ever own a house with more than one bathroom, unless we move to the middle of nowhere.
  9. I stayed up until 3 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. We had just settled into bed and were drifting off when we heard the telltale sound of a mouse stuck in a glue trap. Ew, ew, ew. (I did buy a new sonic pest thingy the very next day, and there is no further evidence of mouse in the house, forever and ever amen.)
  10. There are about five blogs that I love to death but I never comment on because of the stupid google account sign-in being wonky. I mean, really — how hard can it be for google to figure out that I am in fact already signed in to my account? As evidenced by gmail, open in another tab? Drives me nuts.
  11. I’m stuck on a weight loss plateau. I’ve lost five pounds but can go no further. But I can’t complain or people get that “omg, she totally has an eating disorder” look in their eyes. I assure, you, I do not. And though I know I hide it well, I think the fact that my hip and waist measurements are freaking identical speaks well to the fact that I’m carrying quite a few extra pounds in a place that not only looks awful, but is quite unhealthy. If I could lose two more, I would be really motivated to keep going. But after three weeks of no progress, the cookies on my counter are looking better and better.
  12. My car is totally wonkified in the cold. If I roll my window down, it will not roll back up without major coaxing. And my parking brake pops back up when I put it down. Not like it actually engages, but the light goes on. Weird.
  13. If I go to bed with socks on, I wake up in the middle of the night because they are bugging me. That’s about the only thing on earth, other than a four year old climbing into bed with me, that will wake me in the middle of the night. The sensation of socks on in bed makes me crazy. But you know what…it’s not going to stop me from going to bed with socks on tonight…’cause it’s DANG cold.

Enough rambling! Good night!

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A Fond Farewell

January 2, 2008

You were good to me – my thirties. In my twenties I watched the show Thirtysomething and imagined what my life might be at thirty – something. At thirty I had 5 years of marriage under my belt. You brought me ten more fabulous years of marriage, two wonderful children – a new home state, countless new friends, new challenges and new opportunities. I grew as a woman, wife, mother, sister, friend. And now, as I bid thee farewell, I can only pray that God will give me as much grace and mercy in my forties as he has in the past. I pray for my marriage, my children, my health, my friendships, my faith – that all will grow healthy and strong.

Thank you Lord for new beginnings. just-me.jpg