Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Better than Good

     We are four days into the new year, and I finally made that puppy chow I have been saying I was going to make for a few months.  Every time I walked into the pantry to retrieve the ingredients either my chex or chocolate chips had disappeared.  Even today, when I pulled the chocolate chip bag from the shelf, it was almost empty and I had already put the butter and peanut butter in a pot on the stove.
     Lately, I have been flailing, struggling to find my way through the chaos that surrounds me, but today I was determined not to get swept away.
     I poured the remaining chocolate chips into the saucepan, and added a square of baking chocolate.  It was in its nondescript white wrapper.  I paused momentarily, and then tossed it in.  I didn't care if it was bitter or semi-sweet, it was all I had, and it had to be good enough.

     After few handfuls of powdered sugar dusted, chocolate enveloped, nutty chex, a messy toddler and a pleasantly surprised husband it is decided:  they are good and they might even be a bit better than good.
    I am a few days behind, and am lacking my usual list of well defined new years resolutions, but my goal for the year is to take what I have, give all that I can and try to remember that even though things might not be what I expect or imagine, it will be good and sometimes maybe even a bit better than good.

so, bring it on 2012!

but before I entirely leave 2011 behind, here are a few highlights of the holiday season:

Cardamon Bread Braids/Wreath

2 cups water (warm)
1 1/2 Tbst Yeast
1/4 cup sugar

Add yeast and sugar to the warm water and let sit for 15min.  Then add:

1/4 cup oil
1 tsp cardamon
1/2 tsp allspice (or cinnamon)
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
5-6 cups of flour

Stir all the above ingredients into the water.  When the dough gets hard to stir, turn it onto the counter and knead flour into it until it is warm and elastic and not sticky.  Put it back into the bowl, cover and let it rise for an hour or until it has doubled in size.
Turn it back onto the counter, make a dent in the center of the dough and add:

1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

knead until the raisins and nuts are evenly distributed.
If making a wreath: divided into three pieces, roll into long strands, braid and form into a wreath.  Place onto a large cookie sheet or baking stone and let rise for about an hour.  Put it into a pre-heated oven and bake for 30-45 minutes.  (tap on bottom to see if finished - it should make a hollow knocking sound)

If making into braids:  divide the dough into 4 pieces.  Divide each of the 4 pieces into 3 pieces, roll into strands and braid.  Place two braided loaves onto one cookie sheet.  Put into a pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Rotate cookie sheets in the oven for even coloration half way through the baking time. Tap on bottom of bread to make sure it is done.

Remove from cookie sheet or baking stone and cool on a wire rack.  Serve with butter or cream cheese.

Cutting our Christmas Tree

Baby Safe Fabric and Paper Ornaments

Making Butter Cookies - Stars, Hands, Rinos and one Airplane

Ginger Bread Houses

Adam opening his present - home brew complete with label

Ivory liking the dress I made her (from a men's shirt)!!!

Baby Safe does not mean indestructible. 


  1. Hello,

    I just read your page that Hans left opened and I am amazed to see all the good things you cooked in the tradition way on this splendid season !!! The way you prepare the season's greetings warms the heart ! ; we can really feel the atmosphere of Christmas spirit and the warmth and happiness that overflow your home !
    Ivory is such a lovely girl and Sylvain looks like Dirk so much on this picture !
    We wish to all of you the best wishes for the New Year from our home to yours across the ocean !!
    With Love, Laurélyne

  2. Hi Laurelyne,
    thank you. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year as well (and enjoyed your visit with Oma). I can't wait to see new pictures of your little ones.

  3. Thanks for posting so many cute photos!