Sunday, March 31, 2013
Menu Plan: Bright Week
We are excited about celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord, even as we are recovering.
We may be traveling this week, so our menu plan will have to be a little flexible, but the beginning of it should hold true. For the first time in four years, though, we will be having our Paschal feast with just our family, and only the third time ever since we've been married.
You might notice that I call Easter Pascha or Fesah'. English and German are the only languages that use a Pagan name for this holiday. It is where much of the syncretism comes. We are not fond of that. Just about every other language in the world uses its word for Passover for this holiday. Pascha is the Greek, Fesah' is Arabic. You see Pascua, there is Pascal, Pasquale, and many other variations on this. Since we focus on the Lamb and not the bunny, since the only eggs we do are blood red from both the Jewish Passover and Christian doctrine and tradition, rather than the pastel "spring" eggs, we would also rather avoid the only linguistic connection to Paganism in our celebration. I'm not sure why, but it seems like the English had more trouble with this than other cultures.
My one disappointment this year is that I wasn't able to get good chocolate lambs for our Pascha basket. I tried to find them in a radius of about an hour and a half from our house and couldn't. I finally found a chocolatier online that made them with Callebaut chocolate, but by the time I did, it was too late to get them made. So, they were absent in our basket this year. We still have the chocolate eggs, strawberries, oranges, sausages, bacon, our red eggs and Pascha bread, Pascha cheese, ma'amoul and all the other goodies we normally have. The children will get to play a game with their red eggs before they eat them in the Scotchican eggs (our version of Scotch eggs, in which we use Mexican chorizo instead of regular breakfast sausage).
- Sunday - Fesah'
Breakfast: Blintz Casserole with Sour Cream and Raspberry Jam, Paschal Braided Bread, Pascha Cheese, Scotchican Eggs, Strawberries and Sliced Oranges, Hot Chocolate & Coffee with Chantilly Cream
Dinner: Herb Roasted Lamb, Harissa, Laban bi Chiyar, Tabbouleh, Hummus, Baba Ghanooj, Khoubz Araby (Pita Bread), Waraq 'Ounab, Sambousak, Fatayir bi Sabanich, Green Hot Sauce, Slow Sauteed Green Beans, Kalamata Olives, Tourshi*, Radishes, Gatayif, Baq'lawa, Ma'amoul
Breakfast: Leftover Gatayif, Leftover Scotchican Eggs, Leftover Blintz with Sour Cream and Raspberry Preserves, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Leftovers, Lamb Shaped Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake with Coconut Frosting
Breakfast: Stuffed French Toast made with Pascha Bread and Cheese, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Thai Peanut Chicken Curry with Rice, Apple Fritters
Breakfast: Cornish Splits, Butter and Jam, Hard Boiled Eggs, Fruit, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Bean and Chorizo Stew, Salad, Leftover Desserts
Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Waffles with Butter, Bacon, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Dinner Out
Breakfast: Bacon and Eggs, Toast, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Dinner Out
Breakfast: Breakfast with Friends
Dinner: Mongolian Beef, Stir Fried Vegetables, Steamed Rice, Key Lime Pie
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Crown of Thorns Ma'amoul
I've been meaning to post this step by step recipe for some time. I only make these once a year, so I'm always scrambling to find my scrap of paper with the recipe on it. These are the most complicated shaped cookies I make. I hate making shaped cookies, but these ones are so special that I do it anyway. The cookie itself is very simple, as is the filling, it is the shaping and decorating to make them look like a crown of thorns that takes so much time. I have a clean pair of surgical tweezers that I use to create the "thorns" on mine, though there is a specialized tool you can buy. These are traditional cookies in the Arab world. Among Arab Christians, this particular shape is traditional to the Paschal season. Ma'amoul are made in many different shapes, with molds, which are kind of a code as to what the filling inside consists of, and though I have those molds, I've yet to make them in any shape but these.
Makes approximately six dozen cookies
3 cups semolina flour
1 cup butter, melted
3 cups pastry flour
2/3 cup rosewater
2/3 cup orange flower water
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
12 ounces pitted baking date paste (can be found at Arabic/Middle Eastern markets, in 13 ounce packages, which I use), or date pieces (the date pieces are coated in sugar, so you may want to leave out the honey)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use the true cinnamon rather than cassia: Ceylon cinnamon, which has a citrussy flavor to it, but you may use whatever you have)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
This recipe must be started the night before you intend to make them. Mix semolina with melted butter. Cover and soak semolina mixture overnight.
The next day, add in the pastry flour, and mix well with the semolina mixture. Add rosewater, orange flower water, sugar and yeast and mix to make a cohesive dough. If the dough seems too dry, you can add a little more of any of the liquid (rosewater or orange flower water), as you prefer, a teaspoon at a time. Allow the dough to rest at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grind up the dates with the cinnamon, melted butter and honey. I use my food processor for this.
Butter several cookie sheets and preheat oven to 375 F.
Pinch off small amounts of the dough to make one inch balls that you shape into a long roll. Pinch off a small amount of the date filling, to make a slightly shorter roll than the dough.
Flatten the dough with your fingers and place the date roll inside of it.
Seal up the dough.
Form it into a ring, with the seam side down, sealing the ends and blending them a little to hide the seam.
Place cookie on prepared pan, leaving about an inch of space between cookies.
Using CLEAN tweezers (we have sets dedicated to this task), make "thorns" around the sides of the ring.
Using the same tweezers, make more thorns around the top.
You don't want to pinch the dough too tightly, or you will squeeze out the filling, just try to grab the dough itself with the tweezers. This is how mine look when I have finished fiddling with them.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 - 20 minutes. You don't want these too dark, but they should start to brown a little at the edges.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Menu Plan: Holy Week
Menu planning has been hard lately, as neither Rich nor I feel much like eating at all. So, I finally finished off the plan for the week yesterday, but never had a chance to finish the post here. We do have one repetition, because we moved our meal schedule around a little bit last week.
Because of how sick we were and this being Lent and Holy Week, Elijah's birthday party has been postponed for a couple weeks, but we did get to celebrate a little for his birthday. Since the Annunciation fell in Holy Week this year, it was a little less prominent in our celebration.
- Sunday - Palm Sunday
Breakfast: Bagels and Cream Cheese, Blueberry Toast with Jam, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Greek Ribs, Garlic and Dill Cous Cous, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Beets and Onions, Chocolate and Berry Trifle
- Monday - Holy Monday and Feast of the Annunciation
Breakfast: Toast and Cream Cheese, Sliced Apples, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Roasted Cod with Lemon, Garlic and Dill, Steam Sauteed Broccoli Raab and Asparagus with Garlic and Dill, Sliced Watermelon and Pineapple
- Tuesday - Holy Tuesday
Breakfast: Autumn "Latkes", Sliced Oranges, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Macaroni & Cheese, Green Salad with Mustard Herb Vinaigrette
- Wednesday - Spy Wednesday
Breakfast: Vegetable Hash, Sliced Oranges, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Black Bean Ribolittas, Sliced Avocado, Warm Flour Tortillas, Salad with Herb Vinaigrette
- Thursday - Maundy Thursday
Breakfast: Yogurt with Blueberry Preserves, Toast, Sliced Fruit, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Tempura Shrimp, Burmese Fried Rice with Asparagus and Shallots
- Friday - Good Friday
Breakfast: Almond Butter Toast, Sliced Fruit, Ginger Tea with Honey
Dinner: Curried Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflower and Spinach, Brown Rice
- Saturday - Holy Saturday
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon Sugar, Bananas, Tea with Honey
Dinner: Garlicky White Bean and Spinach Soup, Whole Wheat Rolls, Fruit Plate
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Menu Plan: Fifth Week of Lent
We had a lovely birthday party for Amira, which kicked off the week, then kind of went down hill from there. Because of our deep sickness, there is a lot that has not been done and just does not look like it will be done. There is too much urgent to go back to make up for the lost time at this point. I'm sorry about that. In any case, I am just now emerging from the fog of illness, fever and pain, to rejoin the land of the living.
Alexander and Dominic did an admirable job of holding down the fort and taking care of simple meals and the bare minimum of running the house, including morning prayer and basic chores, so Rich and I could rest. It got so bad that I ended up calling the children with my cell phone, because I couldn't even make my voice loud enough to be heard through our bedroom door, and even if I could, the coughing spasms that would wrack my body when trying to do it wasn't worth it.
So, here is our menu for the week. Sunday was a rough day. We had brunch and dinner. I basically spent every last bit of energy I had on Sunday to make the St. Patrick's day meal, which was appreciated, but took a lot out of me. We didn't do much for the feast days this week. Amira pulled out the St. Joseph's staff they made last year for his feast. We have a great love for St. Joseph here, so I was a little sad we couldn't do more. I'm just glad that this didn't strike while we were in Holy Week.
Breakfast: Asparagus and Boursin Frittata, Sliced Oranges, Cinnamon Pastries, Hot Apple Juice
Dinner: Corned Beef with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze, Colcannon, Oatmeal Bread
Breakfast: Cream Cheese and Bagels, Sliced Apples, Tea with Honey
Dinner: Pasta with Tomato and Olive Sauce, Mandarin Oranges
- Tuesday - Feast of St. Joseph
Breakfast: Coconut Pancakes, Sliced Mangos, Tea with Honey
Dinner: Fish Sticks, Baked Potato Wedges, Roasted Cauliflower
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon Sugar, Bananas, Ginger Lemon Tea with Honey
Dinner: Pasta with Garlic, Greens and Toasted Walnuts, Steam Sauteed Broccoli Raab
Breakfast: Yogurt and Strawberry Jam, Buttered Toast, Ginger Lemon Tea with Honey
Dinner: Black Bean and Tortillas Casserole, Avocado, Sour Cream, Salsa and Roasted Pineapple
Breakfast: Almond Butter Toast, Sliced Oranges, Ginger Lemon Tea with Honey
Dinner: Root Vegetable Casserole, Green Salad, Fruit Plate
Breakfast: Spinach and Egg Strata, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Garlicky White Bean and Chard Soup, Whole Wheat Rolls
Saturday, March 09, 2013
Another FO for the Year
Finished March 8, 2013
I made this out of Rowan All Seasons Cotton, which I think is discontinued. I have a lot more of this yarn in a different color and planned to use it to make a sweater that uses this cable band, so I made the hat as a swatch to check gauge and st definition. I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the year.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
I hadn't done my round up of projects for the year yet, and I gave up trying to keep track of the books I read. Here is what I finished knitting in 2012.
- Diagonal Garter Stitch Dishcloth - knit January 16
- Striped Mittens for our great nephew - knit January 29
- Stranded Baby Hat for a friend's baby - knit February 1
- Ponytail Hat for Amira - knit March 8
- Headband for Amira - knit March 9
- Ribbon Hat for Amanda - knit December 1
- Blue Denim Socks for Elijah - knit December 25
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Lots of Knitting
Even though, technically, with all the travel, I had more time to knit last year, everything was so emotionally draining I couldn't even focus on creating something. That was a little too much to ask. The move and change in job and upheaval and chaos of a fixer upper home, the loss of a baby, the loss of my father in law, all have created stresses and hardships that we each are handling in our own ways, which makes things even more challenging. We are finally starting to see some light, I think.
I finished a total of seven things in 2012, two of which I never shared here.
A friend was due with a baby in January, so as part of the shower gift I put together, I made this hat:
Finished December 1, 2012
I was well on target to be finished ahead of time for Christmas for Elijah's socks. I knew it would mean something to him to have something hand made by me, even if it was a plain as socks. Unfortunately, I ran out of yarn and had to hustle to get more. I did, but just in time, so his socks were finished on Christmas day. He wears them all the time, and I have to remind him that they need to be washed.
Finished December 25, 2012
On to this year's FOs:
Finished January 26, 2013
This is actually for me. I like it and enjoy wearing it, but I think it is funny that the pattern called this a shawl. It's hardly a scarf. I've had this yarn in my stash for some time, waiting for the right project and I think this was it. I used the pattern wingspan and made some of the recommended modifications for using worsted weight yarn. I also added four more triangles and did an applied I-cord at the neck rather than the rows of garter st. In the unlikely event that I actually knit this again (I tend not to knit the same pattern multiple times), I would start with using the original CO number and interval between the triangles, rather than the modified one she suggested for the weight yarn I was using. I did make more triangles, for the length, but this would add some depth to it as well.
I love the colors of this yarn:
One of Rich's coworkers and his wife had their first child this January, so I made a coordinating set of baby things for them.
Finished January 27, 2013
I "designed" these. As in, I made up the CO count and length and decreases, etc. It didn't take much design work.
Finished January 29, 2013
I modified a pattern I found online to make it somewhat more pleasing to my eye.
Finished February 4, 2013
I'm not that happy with these, actually. The construction was clever, but fiddly, and I didn't like how they looked off a baby foot. I probably won't make this design ever again.
Finished March 1. 2013
This is part of Amira's birthday present this year. We got her a look alike doll from American Girl Dolls for Christmas, so I made a coordinating set of shrugs for her and her doll, Lucy. I used this pattern for a holiday shrug and made some of the recommended changes to size it for Amira. I also made the ribbing about 1/2 an inch shorter for her size around the neck and edge, and made it a small amount shorter on the cuffs. I did 2 1/2" for the main ribbing and 1 1/2" for the cuffs.
Finished March 3, 2013
I ran out of yarn while making the doll's shrug, so it doesn't have the cuffs, but I thought it was close enough.
I have a hat on needles right now. Mostly so I could work on a cable band that I will be using on a sweater for myself. The hat is about half way finished, and I hope to have it finished within the week. I've been working on a baby coat for a friend of mine, on commission/trade. She sews and is making a spencer for Amira while I make this for her new baby. I also cast on for an entrelac St. Nicholas stocking for Jerome. When I finish that, I hope to make the pattern available.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Menu Plan: Third Week of Lent
We tried the falafel loaf last week. It was a little faster to make, didn't require standing at the stove over a hot pan of oil, and it tasted fine, but there was something missing. We all agreed that we preferred having them fried.
I still have plans to post more knitting and recipes. You'll just have to wait a little longer, it seems. I have already finished six knit items this year, and am beginning a crochet project and in the middle of a sewing project.
Breakfast: Leftover Pizza, Oranges, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Herb Roasted Pork Loin, Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Red Potato Salad
Breakfast: Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Syrup, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Creamy Vegetable Soup, Whole Wheat Rolls
Breakfast: Rice Pudding with Cranberries and Coconut, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Pasta with Garlic, Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower, Sliced Oranges
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon Sugar, Oranges, Tea and Honey
Dinner: Make Ahead Dal, Rice, Sauteed Broccoli and Kale with Garlic, Salad
Breakfast: Yogurt and Granola with Honey, Sliced Oranges, Milk and Coffee, Milk & Coffee
Dinner: Macaroni and Cheese, Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli
Breakfast: Almond Butter Toast, Fruit Plate, Tea with Honey
Dinner: Black Bean and Chile Rice Burritos and Salsa, Sliced Oranges
Breakfast: Ful, Green Hot Sauce, Toast, Fruit Plate, Tea with Honey
Dinner: Shrimp Tempura, Coconut Rice, Stir Fried Broccoli and Garlic with Sesame Oil