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Sunday we drove down to MA to meet up with some friends. We ate lunch together at the Cheesecake Factory. The four moms met online when we were all expecting Dec 02 babies. Since then the families have gotten bigger, we don’t live any closer but we like to stay in touch and see each other when we can. The first two photos were taken by the boy. He was fascinated by the food and the artwork in the restaurant. There was also a curious abundance of photos of the girls’ shoes on his camera! ;)

broccoli salad
I’ve been on a broccoli kick lately. So I thought I would share this great recipe. I think I still make it pretty much the way I learned it from my Aunt Ruth. If you are reading this Aunt Ruth, thank you – this has been a perennial potluck favorite!

Broccoli Salad
florets from 2 crowns of broccoli
6 slices of very crispy bacon broken into bits
1 cup coarsely shredded cheddar cheese
a dash of lemon juice
a sprinkle of sugar
a dash of salt (optional)
mayonnaise to coat liberally

This is enough for 6 to 8 servings. It keeps well in the fridge, in fact I think it is even better the next day.

beef orzo soup with ginger and green onions

Yes, this is what I’m having for lunch. Yes, I’m posting this to make you hungry. Hee hee. This is actually a leftover portion that was in the freezer so it’s not quite as pretty as it would be when I’ve just made it. Here’s the rough recipe, I’m pretty sure this is my own creation. It has a bit of an Asian flavor to it. I apologize for the vagueness of the proportions, that’s just the sort of cook I am. Exact measurements are not important in this case, just wing it and adjust to your personal taste. I love making soup, it’s really quite forgiving and the layering of flavors is such an interesting process.

Beef Orzo Soup with ginger and green onions (about 4 servings)

  • beef stock, maybe 2-3 cups? (I usually just save the leftover juices from when I make roast beef, good for using again in all kinds of ways)
  • flank steak, about 6 oz.?, cut into 0.5 x 1 inch pieces on the diagonal
  • 1 cup of orzo (this is a rice shaped pasta if you are not familiar with it)
  • grated fresh ginger to taste, maybe 2 tbsp?
  • soy sauce to taste
  • one or two stalks of green onion, sliced thin

I brown the steak in a bit of olive oil with just the white part of the green onion in the bottom of a good sized pot. Then pour in the beef stock, thin with water as necessary. Stir in the soy sauce and grated ginger and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and allow to simmer until orzo is cooked. Stir in about half of the remaining green onion slices and then toss the rest on top of each serving.

Enjoy! I’d love to hear about it if you try this recipe and like it. If you don’t like it then adjust it to your own tastes!

eating snow ice cream

eating snow ice cream

We finally got some fresh snow yesterday and last night. The boy and I retooled the luge tunnel. I groomed the steps to our mini-hill and the girl and I tested the hill. Better with every snow. We had friends over yesterday and the kids had fun climbing all over a creature of unknown species that us mamas were attempting to make. It was perfect snowman snow or snow camel, snow elephant, snow blowfish . . . While the boy and his sister were wishing their friend was back to play I ran in the house for a big bowl, spoons and a large measuring cup into which I splashed cream, sugar and vanilla. We found an untouched patch of fresh snow to scoop into the bowl. Then the boy poured in the cream mixture and I mashed at it with the whisk. Snow cream! I’ve never done this before but I’ve heard about it. It was much better than I thought it would be. Maybe because we made it ourselves. Some things are like that, yes?
Okay, no comments about acid rain please, don’t spoil the fun!

corn with red peppers

corn with red peppers

I’m not a big fan of corn so I generally throw something extra in to liven it up. Usually that’s green peppers. I steam frozen corn in the microwave and then throw in fresh diced peppers raw. I don’t care for cooked peppers so much, they usually lend a little too much of their flavor to the rest of the dish. Tonight I had some red pepper on hand so I threw that in to the corn instead. Then I tossed in some grated parmesan and a little caesar dressing. Now that was some goooood corn! And it looked pretty too.


This is our church‘s second year creating an impression of what Bethlehem’s marketplace might have been like about the time Jesus Christ lived. It’s a little hard to describe but our visitors have enjoyed it enthusiastically. It’s not a living nativity, it’s more like a participatory historical drama, mainly geared towards kids 3-11 but enjoyed by adults as well. I’m not really sure how I came up with this idea but it evolved out of some conversations with my friend Jan and a great deal of searching the internet. Teens and adult members help decorate the auditorium and serve as different characters. When you enter the building you are greeted by wise men who hand out maps to the market. You then go visit whatever shops pique your interest. All the shopkeepers are dressed in the historically suggestive costumes we use for our Children’s Workshop (aka VBS). The kids get to make bread, shape pottery, work with wood, hear stories, visit the spice merchant, and sample flatbread and unusual fruits and nuts. While it’s a rather large undertaking for our small congregation we’ve found it to be a fun and educational experience and we hope to continue building and sharing it with our friends every year. Did you know that “Bethlehem” means “house of bread”?


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