Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Brunch 2010

One of the highlights of every Christmas morning is brunch, cooked by my husband. After returning from Mass, he slices potatoes into tiny chunks and fries them to a delectable golden brown, then serves them with thickly-sliced mushrooms and onions, a dish we term "Narnian Home Fries" because it reminds us of Shasta's breakfast with the dwarves in The Horse and His Boy. Sausage and Portugese salilio bread completed the brunch, along with the necessity of tea. My eldest daughter cooked a Yule log cake and garnished it with meringue mushrooms, a confection she's been perfecting, aided by our family's recent acquisition of a stand-up Kitchen Aid mixer.
My Christmas breakfast duty is setting the table, which I always do the night before. This year I decorated our large wooden lazy susan with boxwood branches, silk white roses, wooden hearts, and red ribbon to make a impromtu Christmas tree as the centerpiece. A stroke of luck gifted us with two red-and-white checked twin sheets which together created a covering for our massive table. A brown runner and a length of ribbon completed the ensemble. Silver serving dishes, plain white plates, and embroidered napkins from my favorite antique store were complemented by our everyday teacups and Sunday silverware. Mixing old and new to create holiday centerpieces is one of my favorite parts of Christmas day, and I confess I look forward to that as much as I look forward to my husband's homefries. May God bless you this Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

St. Lucy's Day

Here's the centerpiece my daughter made for this year's St. Lucy's Day celebration. The little doll is from Magic Cabin Dolls, and the little trees I got at clearance at WalMart. Our children love this celebration, which we celebrate with monkey cake, whose little chunks my daughter observed, could look like eyeballs.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Baby Bene!

I realized that in the scuffle of the past two months, I never posted a photo of our latest one, Benedict (nicknamed Bene). Born on Oct. 21, 2010, a very wonderful baby. God is good indeed!

Bene's Baptism Cake

My oldest daughter continues to be creative with her cakes. Here is the cake she made and decorated for our newest baby's baptism, complete with blue lollipop on top.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Butchering the Ramb

This past year, our family began raising American Blackbelly Hair Sheep for meat. A few weeks ago, we butchered our two oldest males, one ram and one who, because of his youth, we dubbed the "ramb." Unlike our pig butchering, where we had experienced help, Andrew and I tackled this task ourselves, armed with the help of the The Homesteader's Handbook to Raising Small Livestock and Cutting Up In the Kitchen. It was much less intimidating than the pig, and we managed to do both in two days. But from the pig butchering, we learned that some unconventional tools such as tree pruning sheers and a reciprocating saw are more useful in some cases than butchering knives and cleavers.

After watching their dad carve up loins and chops, the older children wanted to help. So Andrew set them to work cutting up some of the smaller bits for stew. That evening I tossed some of the chunks with seasoned flour and roasted them 325 degrees in the oven. The family concluded that "ramb nuggets" were a delectable treat, especially on a fall evening!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

New Teapot and Cup

One of the nicest parts of collecting everyday china is that your acquisitions break so frequently that clutter is not a lasting problem, particularly when you have children.

Since our last teapot was chipped on the spout, I purchased this new one at a flea market which looks so appropriate to the fall. Also I wanted to show off my latest addition to my restaurantware collection of red and white: this floral pattern is so unusual! I've claimed it as my morning teacup.