Monday, January 08, 2007

New Years

Yes, I've not been diligent about posting reguarly.

My husband and I learned a fun new game on New Years Eve from my sister and bro-in-law: Speed Scrabble. SO MUCH FUN! If you love Scrabble, but don't like the length of the game, this is the version for you. You don't use the board but build your own crossword puzzle with your tiles. Here's how to play:
  1. Turn all of the tiles over (letter side down) in the middle of the table.
  2. Each player takes seven tiles and you turn them over simultaneously.
  3. Build your individual crossword puzzle using your 7 tiles. The first person to build a complete crossword using all seven tiles announces. "Take two" or "Two."
  4. Everyone takes two tiles and continues to build onto or create a new crossword puzzle.
  5. This process continues until all of the tiles are used and the first person to be done announces that they are "Done."
I think we played at least 8 or 10 games within what seems like an hour. I'm sure it took a bit longer, but we were having so much fun and I honestly didn't pay close attention to the clock.

We didn't keep score, but kept track of who got done first. Talking with a friend from church, she told me that when they play, they count the points of the letters used and the letters remaining are subtracted from the score, somewhat similarly to conventional Scrabble. This may be my favorite game yet! Unlike N.

The Lasting Impact of the Holidays

Well, I haven't posted much about the actual holidays. Overall it was great fun and we all had a great time. DONE.

Now, this Christmas was the first Christmas in a couple of years that my siblings and I were all together. My sister and bro-in-law came up from IN. They usually come up for Thanksgiving and go to his parents' for Christmas. My bro and his girlfriend came over, along with my parents. Okay, so you get the picture. NOW onto the rest of this story....

I love my bro-in-law. Really, I do. He's funny, smart, and most importantly, perfect for my sister. They complement each other really well. All that being said, he introduced my Dearest to a computer game that I really cannot stand. I don't dislike it because it's violent (it is a bit in the cartoon sense, not realistically so) or because it's loud (volume control, people!). I cannot stand it because after my Dearest was introduced to it, I BARELY SAW HIM FOR 4 DAYS!!!

He was introduced to this game on Christmas day. The day after Christmas, my sister and bro-in-law went merrily on their way to stay with my parents for a few days unaware of the potential ruin that was left in their wake. My Dearest went back to work on the 27th and played N at almost every possible moment... for 4 DAYS! Yes, the game is called N. Don't ask me where you can download it; I refuse to be responsible for disappearing spouses, children, or leading you down the slippery slope!

My Dearest has now realized just how much he was engrossed in the game and how I missed spending some time with him so he doesn't play quite so often now.

The lasting impact however, was seen this past Sunday during church. During the sermon, I looked over to my youngest son sitting next to me and saw he was drawing a board for N. I looked 3 seats over to my older son and saw that he was ALSO drawing a board for N.

Here is Ethan's board for N:

Here's Isaac's board for N:

Monday, January 01, 2007

Christmas Food Recipes

Christmas Day -- Javanese Dinner
December 26th -- Baked Oatmeal, Egg Casserole, and Overnight Caramel French Toast

Christmas Day -- Javanese Dinner

The beauty of this meal is that the diners do most of the work. I set out 10 large bowls with the ingredients, then the diners portion as much as they'd like into their own bowl creating 10 layers. Start with the rice and end with the hot chicken broth.

Chow Mein Noodles
Cooked, Diced Chicken
Chopped Celery
Chopped Green Onion
Crushed Pineapple
Slivered Almonds
Mild Cheese, Shredded
Hot Chicken Broth

Baked Oatmeal Vegan Style
We are not vegans, but Dearest's sister is and his brother and sis-in-law are vegetarians.

½ c each brown and white sugar
½ cup oil
3 c Rice Dream
4 c oatmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 chopped apples
dried cranberries

  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Preheat oven 350*. Grease 9x13 pan. Pour in the oatmeal. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. If you sprinkle cinnamon on top before baking, run the spatula over it so it gets a little wet & won’t burn.
This is very tasty served in a bowl with Rice Dream.

Baked Oatmeal non-Vegan and non-Vegetarian Style

~1 c sugar (brown, white or a mix)
2 – 3 eggs
½ cup oil
3 c milk
4 – 5 c oatmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
a finely chopped apple

  1. Mix sugar and eggs.
  2. Add oil and milk. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add oatmeal, salt, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Preheat oven 350*. Grease 9x13 pan. Pour in the oatmeal. Bake for 30 minutes.

Egg Casserole

potato patties or hash brown potatoes
8 eggs, beaten
1 c. milk
1 lb breakfast meat, cooked
shredded cheese

  1. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of the pan (if using patties, a single layer, if using shredded potatoes, about 3/4 inches deep)
  2. Mix eggs and milk. Pour over potatoes.
  3. Scatter breakfast meat and cheese over eggs. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350* and bake about 45 minutes until eggs are set.

Overnight Caramel French Toast

1 c. brown sugar
1 stick butter
2 T light corn syrup
12 slices bread
6 eggs, beaten
1 ½ c. milk
1 t. vanilla
¼ t. salt

  1. Combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in saucepan and bring to a light boil, just until sugar melts and mixture looks like caramel.
  2. Spread mixture evenly into bottom of 9x13 pan.
  3. Place 6 slices of bread on top of syrup. Cover with remaining 6 slices. – You should have 2 layers of bread, each layer with 6 slices.
  4. Blend remaining ingredients and pour over the bread slices evenly.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight (about 8 hours)
  6. Place in pre-heated 350* oven for 45 minutes

For me, one of the biggest compliments is for someone to ask for a recipe. Both my sisters-in-law asked for the Baked Oatmeal and the Vegetarian sis-in-law asked for my Overnight Caramel French Toast recipe. Success! I hope you enjoy them, too.

Belated Merry Christmas!!

Well, we celebrated Christmas for 4 days straight. Here's a summary of where we were and what happened. Since I'm such a foodie, I'll include what we ate! :-) Recipes to come later.

December 23rd -- Christmas with most of my Dearest's aunts, uncles, and cousins. Some of the cousins have now decided we should get together in the summer as a mini- reunion; it seems that we only get together is during the holidays.

December 24th -- We went to church for worship, came home and opened presents with my Dearest's Mom. We ate appetizers, most of the day instead of having a "real" meal. We had spinach artichoke dip, meatballs, crab dip, shrimp cocktail, chips and salsa, and hummus. YUM!

December 25th -- My family came over - my parents, my sister and bro-in-law from IN, my brother and his girlfriend. Packed house! We had Javanese dinner to eat.

December 26th -- My Dearest's sister, brother and sister-in-law came over for breakfast on their way to KY to visit my Dearest's dad, other sister, her husband and family.

The biggest highlight of the 4 days for me were seeing the boys hand out their presents and seeing the fun and funny reactions of the recipients. It was so funny to see, say, my mom's expression when she opened a gift from the boys -- a Spiderman plastic plate and dice! Too fun. The boys had fun giving gifts to the family and I think the family enjoyed it.

We got some really cool gifts, too. Dearest's brother and sis-in-law live in northern CA and know all about our fondness for Thai food. They gave us a sampling of curry spices from CurrySimple. So easy to make Thai food at home with their authentic sauces. They also gave us a bottle of a locally grown (for them) Reisling wine that paired very nicely with the spicy curry. Thanks so much, guys!!

After the 4 days of Christmas celebrating, Dearest went to work for a few days and I recooperated with 2 active boys who got lots of new toys.