Thursday, December 28, 2006

You Be the Judge

The Temple of Gingerbread and Doom

The Palace of Confectionary Excess

The Swiss Chalet de Fructose and Corn Syrup

The Bungalow of Bliss and Sticky Sweetness

Christmas Eve brought sugary goodness to our home in the form of some lovely, creative and adorable (or not) gingerbread houses. You decide for yourselves which one should receive the "Hansel and Gretel Award" for 2006. And before you judge too harshly, bear in mind that some of the building supplies were lacking in quality, although the work crews did labor with integrity and diligence.

Let the voting begin!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"That's What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown"

Sean portrayed a very humble and faith-filled "Joseph," while Christian portrayed a shepherd who was in search of the Christ child in our ward's youth's presentation of the Nativity story. The night was frigid cold with snow in abundance, but the young men and young women were very sincere and earnest in their parts. We were touched by the simple story and came away feeling a little closer to the true spirit of Christmas. Thank you Sean and Christian for reminding us of what Christmas is truly about.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

That's My Boy!

Christian showed up the other day with a nifty certificate, some cool swag and the news that he has been selected as "Student of the Month" for the eighth grade class at Mountain Ridge Junior High. By my reckoning, only nine eighth grade students receive this honor during the entire school year, and gee whiz, I am ding dong darn proud of Christian! The process of selecting the student of the month falls to the teachers who nominate a student for the honor and then they collectively decide on the student of the month.

Just indulge me a moment (this is like payday for mothers--and no taxes are taken out of the paycheck!) as I share a couple of comments made by Christian's teachers about him: "Christian is an excellent student and a fine person. He is one who comes to class and does all the work that he should. He does an excellent job on his work. Christian is one who others really like. He is fun to be around and is a person with good ideas. He is aware of others' feelings and is a great person to have in class."--Jacque Peterson; "Christian is a top notch student. Before I got to know him better, I thought he was in ninth grade because of his talent and abilities as a percussionist. It's unusual to see an eighth grader play percussion as well as he does. Christian works hard, is a great example to all those around him and is a great asset to the band."--Mr. Bateman.

Can you blame me for being as proud as a peacock?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

. . . and a DIET Sprite with that please

Just in time for the holiday festivities--a pumpkin pie to beat all pumpkin pies. Please take special note of the "trans-fat-free shortening" called for in the recipe. I appreciate the author of this recipe looking out for my health by including the "good" kind of shortening, but call me crazy when I hesitate to jump to the conclusion that it will make any difference among the rest of the artery clogging goodness within. But then again, I'm not a dietician so I may be wrong. Check it out:

3 cups flour
1 cup trans-fat-free shortening!!! Yea!
1/4 t. salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 T. white vinegar
6 T. ice water

. . . and now for the fun stuff . . .

Chocolate layer
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 T. butter
3/4 t. vanilla
3/4 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

. . . keep going . . .

Cream cheese layer
1 8oz. package cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1 egg, beaten

. . . and then . . .

Pumpkin layer
1 15oz. can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups melted vanilla ice cream
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. ground nutmet
1/4 t. ground cloves

. . . oh, here is some more . . .

1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
1 T. confectioners' sugar
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 cup sugar

. . . not done quite yet . . .

Chocolate drizzle
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1 T. butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup crushed macadamia nuts

Holy moly! Just when you've gotten to the end of the recipe, SURPRISE! There is yet another 1500 calories to add to the previous layer. And just think of how fat ladden this would be with "regular" shortening! Luckily, the macadamia nuts, whipping cream, vanilla ice cream, blocks of cream cheese, chocolate and a small mountain of sugar won't even count.