Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas always seems to arrive so quickly and this year was no exception.  I felt very unorganized and didn't get as much baking done as I would have liked but when all is said and done, life was good.  My brother Jared, his wife Coralee and their three boys were visiting and it was so wonderful to see them and spend a little time with them.  I love spending time with my family and enjoy their company.  We are a loud group but full of love and fun.

I was able to get some of the baking done and put together some lemon loaves (recipe coming soon)
persimmon bread 
and fig jam (thankfully I actually got the jam done in November) 
for my friends at the office.  Unfortunately I didn't get the oreo balls done in time to share them with me but I hope they don't mind not getting them this year. 
I did get some wonderful peppermint marshmallows (I never got around to making the marshmallows this year) and hot chocolate mix made by Carol and some yummy sugar cookies made by Barbara.  Can never have to much good stuff.

The Elders came over a two days before Christmas and helped make some pita bread.  Nothing like putting two young men to work in the kitchen.

On Christmas eve we all gathered and Adam, Marie and Lisha's home.  We had dinner, socialized and exchanged gifts. Dad brought some old mementos for us all to choose from which included music he had written, photos, programs from when he played in the Tel Aviv orchestra and much more.  He gave Nathan a copy of the a hymn that he has written.  We were all able to choose something to keep and Adam scanned some of the things that we all wanted a copy of.  
(Picture of me with my mother, father and two brothers just before my baptism in the Jordan River)

Dad decided it would be a great idea to make marshmallow launchers for all the kids under 18, personally it makes me worry about his sanity.  They all LOVED them of course!  And picking up stray marshmallows.  

Christmas morning we had breakfast first (red velvet pancakes this year, recipe below), as always, just the four of us spending time together, well five if you count the cat.  

Knowing that my kids are good balls I gave them each some "drinking glass straws" as a stocking stuffer.

The kids enjoyed exchanging gifts with each other.  Tara wrote a series of clues for Nathan and sent him on a scavenger hunt for his gift.  All the clues where written in "pirate speak" and Nathan read them aloud in his best pirate accent. Ryan sent Tara on a much shorter hunt for her gift.  As you can see they take great pleasure from torturing each other.   The kids all seemed pleased with their gifts and they were so sweet and gave me the Apothecary jar I liked at Williams Sonoma.

Later in the day their father, Alma and the girls came over and we had a meal provided by Jason's (Tara's boyfriend) family restaurant.  Great Taiwanese food.  We exchanged gifts and spent time socializing and relaxing.  Nathan and Kristina ran upstairs as soon as they could sneak away and immediately started playing his new video games.  Some things never change.

Spending time with my family one of the greatest parts of life.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.  Hope you all had a great Christmas too.

Red Velvet Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons red food coloring
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, food coloring and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix just until combined, do not over mix.  Add chocolate chips and fold in batter.

Pour about 1/4 cup onto medium low griddle and lightly brown on both sides.  These pancakes darken quicker than regular buttermilk pancakes and need to be flipped sooner than you may think.  I found that the edges just started to look dry when they were ready to be flipped.   When the pancakes are cooked through they spring back with you touch them with your finger like a cake would.

Serve with butter and powdered sugar or maple syrup if you like.  Enjoy!

Adapted from that's so yummy

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