Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Payoff

So it's only right that the hard work of summer freezing and canning results in some easy and lazy winter meals . . . but it feels almost too easy.  This sauce just involves me getting a big frozen block of diced tomatoes (cooked with basil), a can of tomato sauce (canned by the generosity of my mother), some dried herbs (hanging in my kitchen), some frozen roasted red peppers (roasted on my gas burners on my stovetop in summer), and fresh onion (from a large bag in my kitchen).  Viola!  Easy, schmeasy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Abigail Landmark

Thar' she rolls!

How did I end up on my stomach again?
Saturday, Abigail turned over onto her stomach for the first time.  Were her doting parents watching with held breath?  No, her doting mother found her on her tummy under the rocking chair, a considerable distance from where she had been laid.  Why did her mommy find Abigail?  Well, after a few minutes of noisy complaining, she felt compelled to investigate.  It took a while for Abigail to really claim this skill, but as of today, every time we lay her down she flips herself over.  Unfortunately, Abigail doesn't really like being on her tummy.  So she isn't able to fully enjoy her new skill.  But her mommy is both excited and teary-eyed (well, considering getting teary-eyed, but busy with the boys and Christmas decorating and baking), realizing that her daughter is zooming into toddler-hood.  Once they start moving around, it's all over!  Micah and Jesse . . . get ready!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tree Lighting

A New Christmas Cookie for the Davis family

I was very excited to find a recipe for pumpkin applesauce cookies with oatmeal & raisins posted on (If you want to see the webpage, click here).  I was going to spare you all the results of my healthy cookie search, but then the cookies were actually really good.  (Especially with the nuts and chocolate chips I added.)
Pumpkin Applesauce Cookies with Oatmeal & Raisins
Start to finish: about 45 minutes

2 cups, all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups, quick oats
1 tsp, baking soda
1/2 tsp, salt
2 tsp, cinnamon
1/4 tsp, ground cloves
1/2 tsp, ground ginger
1/2 tsp, ground nutmeg
1/2 cup, unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup, natural applesauce
1 cup, packed brown sugar
1 cup, sugar
1 cup, canned pumpkin
1 large egg
1 tsp, vanilla extract
(note: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg quantities can be increased if stronger flavor is desired.)

3/4 cup raisins

PreparationPreheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, salt cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg and mix well. In 2nd larger bowl, beat together butter, applesauce, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract and mix in. Then add flour mixture and mix well. Gently stir in raisins. Drop teaspoons of batter onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until light brown on bottom. Let cool on wire racks, then store in an air-tight container.

(note: these are cake-light in texture and will not crisp up.)

They were amazing, but I highly suggest stirring in nuts and chocolate chips when you stir in the raisins--and we added extra raisins, too.  My helper-chefs are below:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My December Beauty

There is something so breathtaking and unexpected about such amazing flowers in the cold, dark days of December.  After another year of neglect (all I do is water it) and not really enough soil in the pot, this resilient Christmas cactus has wowed me again.  A gift of grace, truly.

Pumpkin Muffins Revisited

I have a bunch of squash I need to use that I bought at the farmer's market.  Here they are, aren't they gorgeous?
I actually started with sunshine squashes, a pumpkin relative.
I thought I'd revisit an old recipe I tried last winter for pumpkin muffins.  Here's the link if anyone's interested in trying it:  pumpkin muffin recipe

I hack the squash in half, then roast both halves side by side in a roasting pan.

The batter, with the raisins this time.
My helpers really surprised me at how capable they were.  Apparently I've been underestimating them!
The helper, one of two.  This guy did almost ALL of the stirring, my least favorite part; greased the cups; and filled the cups.  It was so much better actually letting go of the process and letting him really help me.

The finished product: they were really good with the raisins!

Holiday Scavenger Hunt

If you're decorating with kids around, you could always opt (as I did) to let them do most of the decorating for you.  My kids are crazy for scavenger hunts (which, in our case, are really just checklists of things to do).  So I gave them a list of things which included hanging stockings, setting up the wooden tree, drawing Christmas pictures, making Santa beards, setting up nativity scenes, putting my Christmas cards into envelops for me, and singing songs for me while I made supper.  It really milked the decorating for all it was worth . . . I think it took the kids about an hour and a half to finish it.  And it made me do all of the decorating at one shot instead of dragging it out like I know I would have. 

We then started celebrating advent, which we do each night of December by lighting candles, reading part of the Christmas story, singing a Christmas carol, putting one of the advent items on the calendar (we actually have two calendars, so the boys take turns each night), eating a chocolate (I know, wonders never cease), and then blowing out the candles. 

Come on Christmas, we're ready!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Easy, "Christmasy" Fish

I actually took this picture before putting it in the oven, since it was so pretty (it was still pretty when I took it out, but not quite so vivid).  I made up the recipe and it took about 10 minutes to prepare, plus 30 to cook.

Christmas Tilapia

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Wash tilapia filets and spread them in the bottom of a glass baking dish.
Salt fish and drizzle with olive oil.
Cut orange(s) and onion into thin slices and arrange over the fish.
Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over that.

Bake 30 minutes at 350.

Once it's served, have each person tear out pieces of the orange from the slices to eat with the fish.

Abigail Baptism

 Abigail was our church's first infant baptism.

Abigail Elizabeth Davis, whose name means, "Our Father is Joy," was baptised on Sunday, November 28th at our Living Water Church.  We are so happy and blessed by her and pray that the joy of the Lord will be her strength.  Thank you to everyone who was able to attend or sent their love.  Sorry to everyone who was not told about the event (we're not too organized over here these days).  :)