Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Lobster

We don't like turkey. More accurately, I wasn't prepared to buy a heritage bird and normal turkey makes me sad. So I researched out what an authentic Thanksgiving might have looked like and we decided to go with lobster - at least plausible if not necessarily authentic. Plus, the real question is why have turkey when you can eat lobster?
Add lobster to salted water
Boil for 11 minutes. Ice bath 5 minutes.
Check youtube for shelling strategies.
It appears I was way too busy eating to take pictures of the finished plates but we dipped the lobster in garlic butter and served it with the aforementioned salad with maple dressing, garlic mashed potatoes, my sil's yam recipe sans marshmallows, and my sister HOF's brilliant turkey out of Bezian bread:

An unintended consequence of subbing the lobster for turkey was that it didn't take us all day long to make dinner. In fact, it took just over an hour after the yams were baked and we were even juggling kids. It made the day so much more relaxing to not be scheduling oven availability and timing everything perfectly just to have to keep everything warm because the turkey's not done yet. I will say that the lobster was really fun to do once but it is a lot of effort with the de-shelling and having them alive in the fridge and all - so we'll probably try crab next year. Or spring for the heritage bird. Who knows.

*Special thanks to HOF for flying out to be with us - and doing all of my dishes!*

Green Apple Salad with Maple Dressing

This is probably my new favorite salad. Green apples with dried cherries, nuts and dressing made with real maple syrup. Go here for the recipe. I subbed pecans because I'm avoiding walnuts for the Boy and red wine vinegar because it's what I had. Oh, and I used olive oil. The dressing made at least twice as much as we needed but having leftover dressing is awesome. Thanks for sharing JL!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Jesse Tree

I've spent a lot of time in the last few weeks thinking about and working on a Jesse Tree so I thought I'd post on it in case anyone's interested. I had never heard of it before but I read about it on a few other blogs (here and here) and I loved the idea. Basically, you trace the lineage of Christ (stem of Jesse) to see how the way was prepared for Him. Which ends up meaning that you go thru most of the Old Testament bible prophet stories and wind up at the Nativity.

I brainstormed a bunch of ideas of how to make all the ornaments and loved this felt tree but it seemed like too much work for me this year. And I didn't want to just print something out (like you can do here). While musing over my options one baby-induced-sleepless night, I realized that I had a ton of craft buttons that could work for the stories. So I gathered those together, painted buttons for the ones I was missing, and hot glue gunned hooks on the ones that were missing loops. The Monkey got to pick out the $5 mini craft-tree to hang them on. And she loves her 'Jesse Tree'. Not sure how well you can see the buttons even on the close-up but here are the devotionals in order:

First row:
earth (Creation), apple (Adam and Eve), rainbow (Noah), grandfather (Abrahamic Covenant), baby (Sarah), poodle (supposed to be a ram for Isaac), ladder (Jacob's ladder), coat (Joseph's coat of many colors), worm (supposed to be a snake for Moses's 'look to God and live')

Second row:
red spool (for Rahab's red rope), leaves (for Ruth's wheat), stem of Jesse tree (Isaiah 11:1-5), crown (Samuel annoints David), house (watchtower from Habakkuk 2:1-3), altar of fire (Elijah), fishbones (Jonah), coin button (Esther 4), shaggy dog button (for Daniel's lions)

Third row:
glasses (Ezekiel's scroll), rose (Isaiah 35:1-2), small white button (for seed of faith with Zechariah and Elizabeth), honeybee (John the Baptist), angel (Annunciation), hammer (Joseph), heart (Mary), city (Bethlehem Micah 5:1-5, Luke 2:1-5), yellow button (for the Sun being blotted out - Helaman 13:2-4, 14:2-4 and 3 Nephi 1:8-14), treasure chest (Wise Men)

For the last night, I also have a small wooden Nativity ornament and the star for the top of the tree. And since I took the picture, I decided to use a tiny key ornament for living prophets that testify of Christ - using The Living Christ as the reading. Because I'm LDS, that's a really important tenet of my faith that I didn't want to leave out.

Anyway, we're only on Day 5 but it's already been a really meaningful experience. It's a fun way to teach the Monkey more Bible stories. I keep the devotionals short and sweet (5 min or less) because she's three but she asks really great questions and we've had some sweet moments already.

In general, I do a good job keeping our Christmas traditions simple, but adding this in seems to really be increasing our Christ-centered focus for the Season.