Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

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January Website Review: Adultitis- The Escape Plan

I found Kim and Jason on the Escape Plan blog two summer’s ago. I started to write down the 40 day steps to end Adultitist. Got to number 20. Then got busy. Lost the name of the website because I forgot to save it. Periodically […]

Cheddar and Herb Biscuits

Growing up in the south biscuits were common whereas in California rolls or bread usually accompany a meal. We rarely serve bread with a meal. The exception would be if we are having soup or a dinner salad. Biscuits are a great choice because they […]

The Day of Epiphany: The Twelfth Day of Christmas

Artwork: Tres Reyes Magos,

(Author’s name unavailable)

Our daughter was not in the mood to take down the tree and put away the Christmas decorations. I can sympathize with her; I felt the same way. December seemed to rush by like the wind. Next thing I knew our son was back at school and we were going about the day just as before. So I went searching for another tradition. I most certainly was not looking to add another tradition but the Twelve Days of Christmas seemed like a perfect ending to all the excitement we experienced over the past month.

The Day of Epiphany, Three Kings Day or Christmas is celebrated in Europe and in many Latin countries on January 6th as apposed to December 25th. The feast commemorates the arrival of the Magi or Three Wise Men to the manger where the baby Jesus was born. The Magi, similar to Santa, leave gifts under a tree or in socks or shoes to symbolize the offerings of gold, myrrh and frankincense by the wise men. In return for the gifts from the Magi children will leave straw or hay under their beds or in their shoes for the camels.

Three King’s Day represents the close of the Christmas Season. There are many ways families celebrate the 12th Day of Christmas; however the tradition of serving a King’s Cake is the most constant of them all. The King’s Cake or Epiphany cake is baked with a trinket or bean inside. Whoever gets the piece with the trinket reigns as king or queen of the feast and gets to order everyone else around for the day. In Mexico the winner is in charge of buying the tamales. Traditional cakes can be a type of sweet bread shaped in a round (France), a pound cake or cake in the shape of a crown or a round pastry with a gold paper crown (Spain) set on top. The cake may be decorated with colorful candies or frosting.

For many families January 6th is the day they take down all the Christmas decorations. One family prepares pinecone bird feeders a few days before to hang on their tree. Once all the decorations are removed they set the tree outside to feed the birds. The bird seed is their small gift to the birds.

Kristen, a mom I met at the playground one day told me all about their Progressive Christmas Cocktail tradition. They start out at her sister’s house for French Onion Soup. Then travel to her mother’s house for horderves. Finally everyone gathers at Kristen’s house for martini’s. The idea of traveling from place to place seemed to fit with the theme of the traveling Wise Men.

I thought it only befitting that we could incorporate my favorite Christmas Eve read, The Littlest Angel. His gift was not made of sparkles or gems but was comprised of the warmest memories of earth: A butterfly, a stone and his dog’s collar all tucked gently away in a worn wooden box. Our cake? A wonderful Eggnog Pound Cake. Lastly, we come up with this year’s goals (our gifts) for both family and personal.

How do you celebrate The Day of Epiphany?

Apple Nut Skillet Spice Cake

Serving Spice Cake on New Years has been a tradition for the past two years. Last year Grammy gave our son a Ratatouille game for the Leapster. He was never into baking or cooking with me like his younger siblings. However, the game ignited a […]

Panettone French Toast

Panettone {Pan e toni} (meaning large bread) is an Italian sweet bread, studded with dried fruit that has been soaked in liquor, commonly associated with Christmas. Historians are unclear as to the exact history of Panettone; however, it is said to have originated during the […]

Family Togetherness: Traditions

Artwork: Home Dinner II (Family Series) by Yau Bee

The smell of the hall closet in my home growing up is one of my favorite smells. The closet is where my mom stored all the Christmas boxes. I remember as a child becoming so anxious and overcome with excitement from all the lights and music and smells I wanted to burst. Every Christmas morning we were met with the task of waking my father. Notably known as Mr. Scrooge. We would pounce on top of him begging for him to wake up. Mind you it was 8:00 in the morning. He would bat us off feigning sleep mumbling, “Ba-hum-bug!” It is the memories we create that bind each year to the next. Waking my father up on Christmas morning was part of the Christmas festivities. While I rememebr a few coveted Christmas presents I so badly wanted I mostly remeber the smell of Christmas and the repeated traditions that made Chrstmas delightful.

The Holidays can be  a marvelous time of year. In my young little family I watch as their little brains transform the ordinary tinto extraordinary. This magical world of theirs fills with excitment at every turn. In an excerpt from a book entitled, “Strengthening Our Families” it states that, “When conceived in principles of righteousness…a heritage of family customs can serve as the social glue that holds families together, ushers family members through difficult life passages, and weaves loving ties…”

Helen Bateman author of “Roots and Wings: A Book of Family Traditions” wrote,  “parents must give their children two things: roots and wings. Give them roots to keep them grounded through tough times. Give them wings to soar above everything, explore new worlds and fly farther than we ever did.”  Family traditions are rituals that link us to the past while providing a foundation for the future. Sharing our stories and past rituals gives us roots and wings. Simple rituals unanimously agreed upon as a family can be long lasting. They give us a sense of family connection or roots.  Our personal identity is founded on traditions. These traditions define our character. They strengthen and mold our morals and values. The more traditions our family fosters the more secure we feel thus allowing for greater personal freedom and possibilities, wings.

Traditions set the mood in our home bringing warmth, fun and unity to our families. Caryl Krueger wrote, “traditions unite a family in love, end divisions and are imperishable gifts to those who follow after us.” Traditions are not limited to a holiday or celebration. Any repeated ritual can be a tradition. Reading stories and singing songs at bedtime is a family tradition. Gathering together every Sunday for brunch is a tradition. Playing music after the evening meal, family breakfast, family counsel and even small gestures or sayings help add excitement and charm within our homes.

Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls

In our quest to find the perfect cinnamon rolls we had to take a few important details into consideration. First, the finished dough had to be soft, light and doughy not dry and airy. Second, the filling had to be gooey and buttery. It had […]

December Resolution: Attitude

Photo: Edward Blackbeard “Teach” By Dunechaser via Flickr As I reflect on the past year looking towards the future I am reminded of my ninth grade history teacher. Upon the close of the school year he counseled us that if we wanted to have a […]

Saucy BBQ Cran-Apricot Pork Chops with Oranges

I had some pork chops I did not know what to do with. With a few searches on the net I came across a recipe for Saucy Pork Chops with Oranges. I did not have any orange juice (that stuff never lasts in this house) or marmalade. I did however have cranberry juice and apricot jam. At the last minute I discovered the oranges were eaten. No worries, the oranges are mostly for presentation.

Serve with a garden salad and baked sweet potato.

Source: Adapted from Southern Living Mag.
4 Pork Chops (1 1/4 inch thickness)
1/2 cup cranberry juice
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp red pepper
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup apricot jam
1/2 bottle BBQ sauce
Orange slices

Combine the cranberry juice, soy sauce and red pepper in a large zip-lock bag or container with a lid. Pierce chops several times then place in the marinade. Allow to sit at least 30 minutes.

Heat grill to 350 – 400 or oven to 375 degrees. Combine apricot jam and BBQ sauce. Remove chops from marinade. Discard marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Brush one side of pork chops evenly with half of BBQ mixture mixture.

Grill 10 minutes. Turn pork chops, and brush evenly with remaining half of mixture. Grill 10 minutes or until done. Remove chops from grill, and let stand 5 minutes.

Grill orange slices, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 1 minute on each side. Serve with pork chops.

*grill boneless pork loin chops 8 minutes on each side or until done.

— Replace cranberry juice with 1/2 cup orange juice.
— Replace apricot jam with 1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade.

December Website Review: Roots and Wings

This month’s website review is on one of my three favorite craft sites: Root and Wings. I came across the site last year when I was looking for a book my sister-n-law recommended on the importance of family traditions. I am not sure if this […]