Category Archives: Food

Do I still keep a blog?!

I confess that Facebook is much, much easier for me – it’s so simple to eke out a quick status update (especially on my phone) and keep in touch with people there. But I’m told there are still people who don’t keep up with or belong to Facebook (gasp) so I should try to be more diligent with the blogging.

It’s March! Hard to believe. It’s also a couple of weeks into Lent. This year I’m not doing anything in particular – well, Seth suggested that I give up buying magazines on impulse at the grocery store, and so far I have complied. I did not give up chocolate or soda, which is a good thing. (I don’t consume much of either, but the other day I made Mark Bittman’s chocolate mousse for a dinner party and it was divine – enough to make me like chocolate, even. And, well, I’ve been enjoying Diet Dr. Pepper now and then at work.) Actually, what I’ve really tried to give up is anxiety. And so far, I’m not doing too badly. I’ll have to post more about that later (so as not to increase my anxiety over meeting a work deadline!).

Miss Anna is doing well! She has been all about books and music lately. To wit:

(Although one could make the argument that she is more interested in the yellow highlighter than the piano.) We continue to be delighted and amazed by this little girl!

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A Very Exciting Discovery (Two Days Too Late)

Contrary to everything I have always believed, it seems that the Norwegians also celebrate the feast of St. Lucia. Hooray! Even though we missed it this year (it falls annually on December 13), that is really okay since Anna is only 10 months old. Next year she will be old enough to enjoy it (though probably still not old enough to wear a wreath of candles on her head).

I seem to be obsessed with finding recipes to celebrate this feast day. Maybe it is just that I’m itching to bake something Scandinavian at this time of year? The traditional food of St. Lucia appears to be lussebullar (saffron rolls). There’s another recipe here for pretty braided bread featuring orange juice and cranberries. And last but not least, here’s a recipe I may have to try soon:

Norwegian Almond Bread

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup melted margarine

Beat sugar, egg, extract, and milk, add flour and baking powder, finally add margarine. Pour into bundt cake pan sprayed with cooking spray (or specialized Scandinavian cake pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Edges must be golden brown. Cool in pan before removing. Bread will break if removed too soon. Sprinkle with confectionary sugar. Cool cake in pan before removing as it can break apart.

Variation: before pouring batter into pan, sprinkle sliced almonds on the bottom.

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Filed under Celebrations, Family, Food

Random recommendations

My friend Dawn from my Augsburg Fortress days writes a blog about her daily adventures as the mom of two young kids. She also happens to have a PhD in developmental psychology and is a senior editor of Sunday school and children’s resources. Anyway, Dawn recently posted this:

Ever since I’ve worked at Augsburg Fortress, I’ve been struck by the fact that if only everyone in the ELCA bought $9 a year of AF merchandise, we’d be able to keep moving forward without the financial challenges that face denominational publishers these days. If only, if only. So in this season of Advent, I’ll be recommending a new AF product each day to help you spend your $9 by purchasing great Christmas gifts. If you’re not an ELCA Lutheran, you still may find some gems here, and then your financial contribution is just gravy, or icing on the cake, or something like that. (But not gravy and icing together.)

So head on over to her blog for some great product recommendations including the Spark Story Bible and the Alphabet Adventure book (both of which Anna will likely be receiving in her stocking this year)!

Also, thanks to my friend Missy for posting her recipe for Creamy Turkey Wild Rice Soup. I could eat creamy chicken wild rice soup every single day of winter and not get tired of it, I think. So I’ll definitely be making this soon. (Step one: find wild rice. I don’t see it in New Mexico grocery stores very often… or maybe I haven’t been looking closely enough?)

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Ginger Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

I made this recipe for Thanksgiving and Seth proclaimed it “the best pumpkin pie ever.” Here’s the recipe for safekeeping!

Ginger Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree – or just under 2 cups homemade pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons ginger puree or grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 graham cracker pie crust

Pre-bake the graham cracker crust for five minutes at 375°F.

Whisk the pumpkin puree with the eggs and brown sugar. Whisk in the ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper. You can either use the ginger puree that comes in a jar (Trader Joe’s is good) or grate ginger yourself. Use about a 4-inch piece and discard the tough fibers. Just use the milky juice and puree. {Editor’s note: I used powdered ginger from Penzeys Spices. Cheap, delicious, and much easier than puree-ing your own grated ginger, thank you very much.}

Whisk in the half and half and whisk until smooth. Pour into the graham cracker crust. Bake for about 50 minutes at 375°F, or just until set. The filling will continue to firm up after it comes out of the oven. Let cool for at least two hours before serving.

This is a great make-ahead dessert; it keeps well in the fridge and the flavors develop even more as they sit. In fact, the ginger kick will be distinctly stronger on the second day, so I do suggest making this at least a night ahead. {Editor’s note: this suggestion comes from the original source. I personally suggest frantically making this exactly two hours and 50 minutes before you have to leave the house.}

D.I.Y. Graham Cracker Crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie crust

About 12 full-size graham crackers
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup water

Crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs – they should yield about 1 1/2 -2 cups. This is very easily done in the food processor, too. Measure out 2 cups of the crumbs. If you have any crumbs left over, just put in the freezer for use some other time.

Melt the butter and stir into the crumbs. Add the water. Press into a 9-inch pie pan. Use a paper towel to dab up any excess butter that’s oozing out.

If you’re using the crust for a no-bake recipe, pre-bake the crust for about 10 minutes at 375°F. If you’re using it for a baked recipe, like pumpkin pie, there’s no need to pre-bake. Fill and bake as directed in your pie recipe.

You can also make these ahead and freeze, sealed in a plastic bag or under foil.

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Almost Thanksgiving?!

 We’ve been back from San Diego for over a week now, and it was a wonderful time. Anna got lots of family snuggle time – we took hundreds of pictures and it seemed like she was being held by someone different in each one! Lucky girl. We also spent lots of time at the beach, indulged in fish tacos, Chipotle burritos, and In-N-Out burgers, and Anna got some new clothes at the Gymboree and Baby Gap outlet stores near our hotel. Oh, and Seth’s cousin got married! It was a beautiful wedding and they make a lovely pair. We’re so happy for them. It was such a rejuvenating vacation that felt a lot longer than four days! You can see all kinds of photos in my November Flickr set here.

I am now coming down on the other side of a trial I had on Monday. We actually didn’t finish the trial and have to go back to court next month. Luckily, all my prep work is done (although I’m going to subpoena four police officers since we have some more time now). (You might be thinking that it sounds like a crazy case, and you’d be right.)

Anyway, with this trial somewhat behind me for a bit, I’m starting to think ahead to the holidays! Seth got out our Christmas decorations last night and we had fun putting some of them out after Anna went to bed. We got our tree up, but won’t hang the ornaments until this weekend when Miss A is awake and can participate. (By “participate,” I mean crawl around the floor and look cute while we try to keep her from eating anything non-edible.)

The highlight for me, though, was unrolling the felt tree Advent calendar I received at my baby shower last year. I got a little teary thinking of that lovely party and filling the calendar with all the happy ornaments made by my family and friends. Even if at nearly 10 months Anna is still a bit too young to understand, we’re still going to go through the motions of finding an ornament each day to hang on the tree. Next year she’ll have a better sense of it all, not only what Advent means but also how very, very much she is loved by all the dear folks who made those ornaments for her.

I’m also starting to think more about holiday traditions. Advent/Christmas has always been my very, very favorite time of year… I’m not sure if that’s because it’s also the month of my birthday (but I don’t think so – I’m not the only one who loves December, right?). Some of my most treasured memories are from this time of year: baking cookies, the St. Olaf Christmas Festival, reading the Christmas story and other beloved books, various nativity sets, Advent calendars/ wreaths, etc., etc. Now I’m trying to think of other meaningful rituals we could add to our family’s celebrations. If we were Swedish, for example, I’d bake this bread for St. Lucia Day… but we’re not. 😉  So if you have any must-do activities that you think should become part of our family’s celebration, speak up!

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