Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy 5th Day of Christmas!

Christ is Born!
Yes, we are still celebrating with zeal - even today as I dig myself out of a mountain of laundry. It's been a wonderful Christmas spent with family and church family. It was amazingly stress-free and joyful, thank God!
Here is a really moving video of an Orthodox Christmas Hymn in Arabic. It's translated in English with subtitles and has lovely graphics. Our own Fr. Josiah sang it (in his gift of a voice) during Saturday's service, but in English. It gave me chills - I wish I had that for you to hear! Enjoy!

ETA: The hymn was actually on Christmas Eve Day - not Saturday. Holidays tend to mix me up.

And just for fun - my kiddos love this video! Turn it up!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year, as well as upcoming celebration of Theophany - the Baptism of our Lord!

Monday, December 22, 2008


My little angel sings in her first choir show!
"Silent Night"

Pouty angel?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Vegan Potato Leek Soup

I think I finally nailed this soup. Once I made it to watery, another time too lumpy. Since I had some very large leeks hanging out in my fridge and a bag of russets hoping they'd get prepared before growing feet, I gave it another go. If you're Orthodox and fasting, give it a try. You know you're sick of spaghetti.

5 lb bag of russet potatoes (minus three potatoes for some other recipe another day)
2 large leeks
2 stalks of celery
2 cloves of garlic
7 oz of whole coconut milk
cooking oil
kosher salt (to taste)
seasoned salt (to taste)

First peel, chop, and boil potatoes in a stock pot until tender. Drain, reserving sligtly less than half of the potato water for veggie broth. Set aside potatoes and boil potato water with a stalk of celery, one clove of garlic, one whole leek cut in half. Boil for at least half an hour. Return the potatos to the stock pot with broth, add some salt. While this boils, saute sliced and chopped leeks and celery, and once these get nicely cooked, add minced garlic. Continue sauteeing for a couple more minutes, then add to the pot. Smash with potato masher until smooth. Continue cooking at a rolling boil for about another half hour. Add coconut milk shortly before serving (This will sweeten the soup, but it balances out nicely once more salt is added). Salt and season to taste. Serve with some warm bread or biscuits.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I am an Ingrid!

Fun quiz - not long and pretty darn close - though I'm not sure I'm quite as dark as it says. Maybe a little though...Hmmmm. Take quiz here. Thanks Mimi (or should I say Katherine!)

You are an Ingrid -- "I am unique"

Ingrids have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.

How to Get Along with Me
* Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.
* Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.
* Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.
* Though I don't always want to be cheered up when I'm feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.
* Don't tell me I'm too sensitive or that I'm overreacting!
What I Like About Being an Ingrid
* my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level
* my ability to establish warm connections with people
* admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life
* my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor
* being unique and being seen as unique by others
* having aesthetic sensibilities
* being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me

What's Hard About Being an Ingrid
* experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair
* feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don't deserve to be loved
* feeling guilty when I disappoint people
* feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me
* expecting too much from myself and life
* fearing being abandoned
* obsessing over resentments
* longing for what I don't have

Ingrids as Children Often
* have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games
* are very sensitive
* feel that they don't fit in
* believe they are missing something that other people have
* attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.
* become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood
* feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents' divorce)
Ingrids as Parents
* help their children become who they really are
* support their children's creativity and originality
* are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings
* are sometimes overly critical or overly protective
* are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed

Monday, December 01, 2008

The First Day of December

We made it through Thanksgiving quite well. It was just us and Jason's dad and it was a very nice and quiet day. For the second time I made the entire meal except for turkey and stuffing (which my FIL does). When I cook a big meal like that, I feel very grown up and capable. I know I am grown up and all, but still. It's a funny feeling, like, whoa, I'm totally like responsible for people's THANKSGIVING DINNER. OMG! The meal was fine and good. I made the same as last year, which were all recipes from last year's November issue of Real Simple Magazine:

garlicky green beans with pine nuts
buttermilk mashed potatoes with caramelized shallots
cranberry sauce with ginger and apricot preserves
white wine gravy with turkey pan drippings

Then I made my own versions of pumpkin pie and apple pie with a crumb topping. About the pies: So we all know I don't do crusts. I bought some pie dough from Trader Joes frozen.They are slightly more homemade-like than the ready to go tins at the supermarket. You need to thaw the dough and it supposed to be like two perfectly round pieces of dough in which you then place into your pie tin. Well, they always break, but it's no biggy because you just mend them back together with your hand once they've defrosted. Well anyway, the instructions call for you to have them thaw unwrapped. So I had three crusts on on the counter top. One for pumpkin pie, and the other for apple - of which I had PLANNED on making a double crust. But I seriously underestimated how devious my dog is when I let him inside for a while. Wouldn't you know it, that weasel hopped right up on to my counter top and very quickly scarfed down one of the entire crusts. I angrily shouted inaudibly at him and shoved him outside sounding much like the father on A Christmas Story when the pack of unruly dogs devour his beloved turkey. I was glad it was just a pie crust. So I said to myself, "Crumb topping it is!"

Just a couple of other mishaps occurred to remind me that I'm an incompetent hostess:

1. No yams. I have a famous recipe (well sort of - I have a theory* about this) for honey yams. As I reached into my cabinet to prepare them I noticed a foul smell and some fuzz growing along the side of the bag. Not. Good. I bought them about three days prior. I was miffed. I love yams.

2. As we sat down to eat I forgot to heat up the cranberry sauce that I had prepared earlier that day.

3. I completely forgot to put out the dinner rolls. We noticed them the next day sitting poised on top of our refrigerator.

*As for my yam theory, before I started hosting Thanksgiving and we designated that holiday for Jason's Dad, I had been asked to bring yams to a couple gatherings. As a young wife I wasn't much of a cook and could barely make anything. But my yams were decent. Everyone always raved about them, but now I kind of think everyone knew what an inexperienced cook I was and how nervous I was in the kitchen that they all overdid it on the praise of my yams. They were just being polite.

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving Day and weekend. Me and the kids got used to Jason being home for FOUR whole days in a row, so we are missing him today. We spent a lot of time hanging out in the garage working on our Christmas presents. Friday we got our system down and worked out all the kinks, and we actually got some good production on Saturday. The weather has been splendid - though on the warm side today. I love days when the kids just run and play all day outside. That's a day well spent in my book.