Yard Sign #2, Xmas 2016, Recipe Roundup
I made a second yard sign with the scraps from the auction quilt, with an excellent Maya Angelou quote: "In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength."
And on the other side: YOU ARE NOT POWERLESS. (It helps me to be reminded of this fact every so often, and I figured it might encourage passersby too)
Yay, freezer paper stenciling! And yay, special little craft scissors that my Auntie Nance gave me years ago.
My first fabric yard sign, from November, is holding up well. I washed it a few weeks ago, as it had gotten dirty from being splashed with rain and mud all winter. The hem had frayed, so I re-sewed it. The color has faded a little, but it's still doing its job.
Two months belated, but here's a little bit about Christmas, since I always find this kind of thing useful in subsequent years:
We did the advent calendar activities again this year. Here's the 2016 activity list:
- Drink hot cocoa w/ candy canes
- Donate knit hats at grocery store
- Umbrella parade and tree lighting in Milwaukie - This was a new one, and it was fun. Low-key, and we were able to take the MAX there
- Put up Xmas lights and hang stockings
- Donate toys at fire station
- Read a holiday book (Silver Packages - first time reading it, made me cry)
- Get holiday ice cream at Salt and Straw
- Go to Arlo's school holiday show
- Read a holiday book (An Orange for Frankie - also made me cry)
- See kids' choir performance at Central Library/Xmas tree in Pioneer Square
- Make treats for birds/teachers
- Bake and eat panettone
- Make cinnamon-applesauce ornaments
- Zoo Lights - This was our first year visiting Zoo Lights, and it was so cold but beautiful. We rode the MAX and got a good discount on our tickets. I'd go again next year, but hopefully on a warmer night
- Give money to charity
- Drink hot cider / Decorate Xmas tree
- Caroling with Felix's preschool - He opted not to go, which was fine, since we've done this for the past three years, and the boys have refused to sing along with their classmates every time (except maybe to Rudolph that first year). We've established that 3/4 of our family does not enjoy singing in public (I am the remaining 1/4)
- Make graham cracker gingerbread houses - Another new activity this year. I bought a bunch of candy at IKEA (of all places). I made royal icing with meringue powder and had a hell of a time getting the graham cracker houses to stay together (I don't have much patience for that kind of thing), but the boys still enjoyed decorating their ramshackle graham cracker lean-tos and eating the candy. Next year, I might buy a gingerbread house kit from IKEA too.
- Make and send Christmas cards - Thanks to an early suggestion from my sister, I had some photos printed, and the boys made cards to send/give to family members. I loved their envelope decorations!
- Make paper snowflakes
- Watch a holiday movie (Elf, and we also watched The Grinch somewhere in there)
- Red and green pedicure
- Make gifts for family - This year we made chocolate-coated truffles. We made a ganache filling (half of this recipe) using flavored chocolate bars, then poured it into a 24-piece silicone candy mold I bought years ago. Once they'd set, we dipped them in chocolate (a 4oz coating recipe gave just enough chocolate to coat the 24 truffles by rolling them in my hands, not dipping), let them dry, and put them in little hand-folded paper boxes. It sounds like more work than it was.
- Make sugar cookies (accompanied by Auntie Li and Aunt Kate this year)
Our 2016 family ornaments were knit doughnuts with embroidery floss sprinkles. Pretty cool pattern!
A long-overdue recipe roundup (I'm still loving our Instant Pot!):
- Lentil tacos in Instant Pot - Fine when topped with normal taco/burrito accompaniments
- Barbecue soy curls - A very simple recipe: Rehydrate 8oz of soy curls in boiling water to cover, plus 2T liquid smoke and 2T soy sauce. After 10 minutes, drain, then add to Instant Pot insert along with 16oz BBQ sauce. Cover and Slow Cook on high for one hour. Serve on a bun with cole slaw. Thumbs up!
- Enchilada casserole - yummy and vegetarian
- Cabbage and sausage soup (link has auto-play video) - Made un-vegan by using kielbasa and beef broth. Another good Instant Pot soup
- Orecchiete with chanterelles, sage, and walnuts, served with roasted zucchini - A nice, simple recipe for chanterelle season
- Chicken teriyaki (drumsticks), white rice, and baby bok choy with cashews
- Slow-roasted chicken drumsticks (omitted sauce), served with potatoes and salad - good chicken-cooking method
- Broccoli cheddar soup with baked potatoes - very good. Inspired by SoupCycle's "Barack-ali" cheddar soup, which was renamed back to plain old broccoli cheddar when Trump was inaugurated :(
- Crepes with sauteed apples - I made these in the electric skillet, and they turned out well. The boys liked them a lot
- Crispy baked tofu served with miso sweet potato and broccoli bowls, but I substituted roughly chopped cabbage (1lb) for the broccoli. Baking the tofu at the same time as the sweet potato and cabbage was convenient
- Going way back to Thanksgiving 2016, since I like keeping track of what we have each year: Orange-glazed tofu, sweet potato puree topped with mini marshmallows (baked at 425 for 5 min), buttermilk mashed potatoes with store-bought gravy, kale and ricotta salata salad, rolls from Little T, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and my standard apple pie - The pumpkin pie was undercooked yet again. Every year this seems to happen, and every year I vow to find a new recipe. Next year I should just make the recipe on the Libby's can. None of this fancy Cook's Illustrated stuff!
And finally: Spring is coming! It has been a cold, rainy winter, and the daffodils are a few weeks later than usual, but the crocuses are doing their best to bloom anytime the sun peeks out.