Tag Archive | Recipes

Birthday Bashes for Our Grown-up Kids

It was Hayley’s 20th birthday last weekend. So, we braved the avalanches threatening Snoqualmie Pass and headed over the mountains to visit Tyler and Lexi and Hayley and Spencer, to celebrate.  Hayley and Spencer drove over from Pullman and had a much nicer drive than we did.  Ours looked like this. In fact, we barely made it through; they closed the pass right after we crossed, for avalanche control.  Whew!

Ironically, just four short weeks ago we did the same thing for Tyler’s birthday: We braved the pass and met up with Tyler and Lexi and Lexi’s family in Roslyn, WA, which is half-way between their house and ours.  And I kid you not, there was at least four feet of snow. Heather, five and half months pregnant, was not anticipating the snow and was wearing a raincoat and suede boots with heels. 

Four out of our five kids, celebrating Ty’s 25th birthday at Village Pizza in Roslyn. Not much to choose from in Roslyn. Good thing they serve great pizza. 🙂

Back to Hayley’s birthday. First thing on the celebratory schedule was birthday breakfast.     Bacon, eggs, and BIG HUGE FLUFFY Belgian waffles.

As for birthday activities, Hayley has come a long way from princess parties. This is not particularly how I would like to spend my birthday. But it was what Hayley wanted to do: shoot her brother’s guns!  So she and her Dad and Tyler and Spencer went and did that, and Lexi and I stayed home and planned a baby shower.


Now I’m going to show you how to make Pesto Salmon Packets, which was Hayley’s request for her birthday dinner.  I had to send a Facebook message to Claire Hammond in England to ask her how to make them.  (Thanks, Claire!) It was Hayley’s favorite meal when she was in the U.K.:

1. Start with a pile of green beans on a square of aluminum foil. Salt and pepper them.


2. Place a piece of delicious fresh salmon on top of the green beans. (Portion size for one person)

3. Place a dollop of pesto on top of the salmon. Get Mom in the photo, just for the photo record. Mom is not in many family photos. She is usually on the other side of the camera.

4. To ensure quality control, bring in an inspector to approve the generosity of the pesto dollops.  Very important. Hayley makes sure I get enough on each one.

4. Fold in the corners of the foil to make a packet. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes. (Some of the larger pieces of salmon needed an extra five minutes.)  Unwrap, slip onto a plate, and serve with white rice. Num! No wonder Hayley loved it. (Claire made it for me when I was in the U.K. in November and I loved it, too.) Super easy.

Finally, the birthday cake. Or, in this case, CAKES, plural.  Lexi made Molten Lava (chocolate) cakes in little ramekins, served hot with vanilla ice cream.  AMAZING.  We licked the platter(s) clean. Pretty much.

We stayed an extra night in Ephrata because the trip there was so arduous; who wanted to turn around and drive back over the pass in THOSE CONDITIONS the very  next day?! Heather said she was sure glad she wasn’t with us on this trip!  It was a little disconcerting. But no avalanche warnings on Monday, so home we went, jiggedy-jig, having accomplished our second snowy over-the-mountain-to-show-our-kids-how-much-we-love-them birthday expedition. (Which we do. Love them, I mean.)

Who said kids’ birthdays parties got easier the older they get?

NOT!!! 🙂

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Perogies and the 12th Day of Christmas

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – DAY 12: January 6th

What is the 6th of January?

a.  Ukrainian Christmas Eve

b. Epiphany

c. the 12th day of Christmas

d. the perfect opportunity to pig out on perogies and cabbage rolls

Answer: ALL OF THE ABOVE!

January 6th is the proverbial 12th day of Christmas, and it is also the FIRST day – Christmas Eve – of Ukrainian Christmas.  (If I was really orthodox about it, I could start all over with yet ANOTHER 12 days of Christmas if I wanted to. But I won’t. I think I’m finally Christmassed out.)

Why do I care? Mostly because I LOVE perogies and Ukrainian Christmas is the perfect opportunity to indulge in my favorite childhood Ukrainian food. Both of my paternal grandparents emigrated to Canada from the Ukraine. They were both culturally and linguistically German but part of the lingering Ukrainian legacy in our family was – you got it – perogies!  And cabbage rolls!

Growing up in Winnipeg, Canada, where there is a large Ukrainian population, a number of my childhood friends celebrated Ukrainian Christmas. I was always a little jealous that we didn’t, because they always got two rounds of gifts! (Either that or their parents got great deals on buying presents because they could wait and shop the AFTER Christmas sales!)

Nonetheless, we enjoyed the perogies and cabbage rolls.

So guess what we had for dinner tonight at our house? Yep. Perogies. (They taste a lot better than they look.)  But maybe that’s just because I grew up on them.  I’ve linked the recipes if you want to try to make them from scratch. They’re kind of a lot of work, though. So I just stock up in bulk at Costco every time I go to Canada. 🙂

Do you have any favorite foods that connect you to your family history? What are they?  Do share!

3 French Foods

Three French Foods

So, tonight, what is technically the “third day of Christmas” according to the traditional calendar, finds our family in the Great White North (Canada). This is my Home and Native Land and we are here for Christmas round two with the Canadian relatives.

I LOVE coming home to Canada. There are so many things that are great memories for me of growing up here, especially around the holidays.

I never did have “three French hens” (a la “The Twelve Days of Christmas”). But I DID learn to love some French (Canadian) foods, even though our family isn’t French Canadian.  (Kind of hard to get away from French in Canada, you know. It’s on everything from signs to shampoo bottles.)

But that just served to give me a love for the language, I think. That and sitting through French class every day from kindergarten through twelfth grade and two years of university!

But I digress. This is supposed to be about food, not language.

Here are three French-Canadian foods I love at Christmas (with links to recipes I use personally!):

1. Buche de Noel (pictured above) – Yule Log. Hillary made this one for her French class Christmas party at school. She made another one for our family on Christmas Day.  Yum!  And especially good because it’s a wheat-free cake; perfect for our gluten-free Tim.

2. Tourtiere – Meat Pie. Made with ground beef and sausage and seasonings in a traditional flaky pie crust. Ooh la la!

3. Split Pea and Ham Soup – we make it the day after Christmas using the Christmas ham bone and leftover meat. Super!

Check ’em out … try ’em out … let me know how you like ’em!

 

Joyeux Noel … et Bonne Année et Bonne Santé!

(Merry Christmas and Happy New Year/Good Health to You!)

Yay! for Christmas Cookies

CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN DAY 2: FAMILY COOKIE RECIPES

“A balanced diet is a Christmas cookie in each hand.” ~Anonymous

I am Scottish on my mom’s side–which makes me predisposed to love things like Celtic music and dancing (love the bagpipes and the Highland Fling!), plaid, argyle, woolen scarves, and SHORTBREAD.  (The tightfisted-with-money part of being Scottish somehow escaped me, which I’m a little sad about because I think that might have been a helpful quality. Oh well, you can’t have everything.)

Today I am baking Christmas cookies with my girls. This shortbread recipe has been in my family since who knows when and is my earliest memory of a FAVORITE Christmas cookie. And the dough tastes great, too! Hayley made this batch.

Whipped Shortbread: 1 c soft butter, 1-3/4 c flour, 1/2 c icing sugar, maraschino cherries. Cream butter thoroughly. Combine and add dry ingredients at low speed on blender. Roll in small balls, press in a piece of maraschino to the top of each. Bake @ 325 for 13 minutes.

I believe it’s important to not just make DELICIOUS foods on holidays, but to make them with MEANINGFUL recipes. The kind that evoke memories of special people and special times–or that make you feel connected to whom and where you came from. For our family, that means the Lawrence family’s ubiquitous Chocolate Crinkles and Snickerdoodles. Muddy Buddy’s a la Auntie Deanna.  Grandma Magner’s Nuts ‘n Bolts. And for Christmas dinner, Aunt Ethel’s Cranberry Christmas pudding (simmered on the stove top in a coffee can to be especially authentic).  With caramel sauce.  Num.

Family traditions are important. Family is important, period. Whom and where you came from is an important part of who you are, whether you like it (or them) or not. It keeps you connected to the bigger picture in life.

I am grateful for a family who loves God, loves each other, loves me, and loves Christmas cookies.  🙂

“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother … and your mother …  And I know that same faith continues strong in you.” 2 Timothy 1:5


Why So Thankful, Charlie Brown?

The morning after.

(Thanksgiving, I mean.)

Coffee with eggnog. Yesterday’s cinnamon rolls followed by warmed-up apple pie (a nutritious breakfast). Add to it pancakes made of fried leftover mashed potatoes, bacon, and maque choux (Don’t worry about trying to pronounce it. It’s a Cajun dish made with corn and fresh tomatoes… it’s delicious!). With a little fried turkey topped with cranberry sauce on the side.  Num!

But that’s not what I’m mostly thankful for.

We watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special this morning, too. As they’re walking along, Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally says, “What’s Thanksgiving got to do with us?  What do WE have to be thankful for?”

Let me answer your question, Sally.

We are thankful for ABUNDANCE. For FREEDOM. For being able to live in a country that was founded on a fundamental FAITH in the power and enduring truths of God (even though we’ve not done the greatest job of sticking to them!). We will never know how many ways that foundation has permeated our daily lives and influenced the freedoms and abundant blessings we enjoy (… that is, until we lose them!).

On a personal level, I am thankful for a FAMILY who loves God and each other and loves being TOGETHER. Who love to LAUGH and have FUN  and enjoy LIFE and FOOD(!) together.  I am thankful for God’s PROVISION and PRESENCE in our lives. I am thankful for SATISFYING WORK that I love and wonderful FRIENDS to do life together with. I am thankful for JOY and PEACE and FAITH and HOPE that passes understanding, and always keeps me looking UP.

What has Thanksgiving got to do with US? A chance to pause and reflect on what’s important. What counts. What lasts. And Where it all comes from.

And give Thanks.

What are you thankful for?

Family Togetherness

We had a fun weekend … Husband and I took the Youngest Two and  Dog  over the mountains to see Eldest Son and his Beautiful Wife, and to get a bit of a Getaway ourselves. Middle Daughters were in New York and London respectively. Not wanting to be stuck home missing them, we decided to embark on a trip of our own!

Base camp was a beautiful resort winery perched on the Columbia River Gorge. We had a gift certificate that needed using (thank you very much!) which entitled us to one night in a gorgeous cliff house overlooking the pool and canyon.  Stunning.

The resort was having a harvest festival so we got in on some activities like this cooking demonstration by Chef Bear and his assistant where we learned Useful Things like how to make Homemade Ricotta Cheese and what to do with the plethora of Homegrown Tomatoes that may be spilling out of your garden (what luck, that’s me!). Roast ’em, process ’em, then throw ’em in ziploc bags in the freezer till you’re ready to make spaghetti sauce out of  ’em.  (Who knew?)

I won’t post the recipe for the Homemade Ricotta Cheese until I actually try it myself.  Sounds a little sketchy to me.

In the morning, above-mentioned kids joined us for a fabulous brunch.  Seriously amazing.  Of course, all Youngest Daughter wanted was chocolate cupcakes and giant shrimp.  Together on the same plate.  Ugh.  Oh well, that’s the beauty of a buffet.

Before we parted company, we all took a hike.  I started off calling it a Nice Walk but we quickly discovered the downside of a resort built on a cliff.  Going down is a Nice Walk.  Coming back up is a Gruelling Hike. Everyone rebelled.  Except the dog, and only because he can’t talk.  It was still fun.

Then home again. Glad we took time to spend together this weekend.  Family Togetherness is a Big Deal to our family. There’s a lot of things maybe we haven’t done right, but I do know we’ve made a point of this one. Our kids are our Best Friends.  🙂

What are some ways your family spends time together and builds “family togetherness?”

DIY “St_rb_cks” Pumpkin Scones

Just great.  The sun did not come out ONCE yesterday in the Pacific Northwest. At least, not in my corner of it, anyway.

Fall is certainly upon us.

To console myself in the absence of sunshine, my thoughts turn to … food. (They don’t call it “comfort food” for nothing.)

Top of my list in the autumn?  Pumpkin Scones.  Mmmm…

But in these current economic times, who can afford to hit Starbucks every morning?  Not me.  So, here’s the next best (even better!) thing:  DIY ( Do It Yourself)!

If my family doesn’t gobble them up first, I store  ’em in the freezer in individual ziploc bags and pop them in the microwave (briefly) when I want a warm one with a cup of  coffee.

Maybe it’s not quite as comforting as a warm summer day.  But equally satisfying in its own way.

If you try them, let me know what you think.  Hope you like ’em!

DIY PUMPKIN SCONE RECIPE

6-12  scones (depending on how you cut them)

Scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 large egg

Powdered Sugar Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

Spiced Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

TO MAKE THE SCONES:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.
  4. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet. (Note: I cut them in half again and make 12.  Otherwise they’re HUGE!)
  5. Bake for 12-14 minute or until scones begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
  6. TO MAKE THE PLAIN GLAZE:.
  7. Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.
  8. When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.
  9. AS THAT WHITE GLAZE FIRMS UP, MAKE THE SPICED ICING:.
  10. Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.  (Note: I put the icing in a small, plastic ziploc bag and cut the teeniest tip off with scissors, and use it as a decorator bag. I think that works best.)