Monthly Archives: December 2010

Ringin’ in the New Year With Key Lime Pie

Yesterday I had a hankering to bake something, anything!  I flipped through a couple of the cookbooks I had, looking for a recipe that didn’t require me to buy a lot of ingredients, was not outrageously unhealthy, and wasn’t too complex or time-consuming.  After considering as wide a range of recipes as homemade mac and cheese (too many ingredients, too unhealthy), marmalade muffins (too unhealthy), and Pumpkin Ice Cream (too many ingredients, too time consuming), I settled on Key Lime Pie.  I already had a bottle of lime juice, an expired graham cracker crust my parents cleaned out of their pantry and into mine, and enough eggs to take just the yolks from.  After a quick trip to Kroger, I set out to bake my first Key Lime Pie.

It turned out great, and do you know how easy Key Lime Pie is to make?  My husband and I are making it a New Year’s tradition.

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Winter Wonderland Slideshow

My husband and I were tickled to see snow around Christmas up in North Carolina!  It was so fun to wake up to a winter wonderland on December 26, but we had to enjoy it from the car as we drove south, as work on Monday demanded we come back to reality.

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An Ikea Christmas

My husband and I asked for a few pieces of bedroom furniture for Christmas from our parents, and we are so thankful to have received them!  We put the bedside tables together two nights ago and finished the dresser last night!  The total assembly time was about 6 hours and involved hundreds of screws and nails as well as wordless instructions, but it was well worth it.  The toolbox given to us by Grandma and Grandpa Bowyer for Christmas was vital to our assembly success.  Here are a few photos.

More pictures of our apartment to come!

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Yesterday my friend, Elizabeth, and I baked up a wintry mix of a storm.  It was really great, and we had a lot of fun!  We started with some homemade sugar cookie dough.  While it chilled for an hour, we dipped pretzel rods in melted milk and white chocolate and sprinkles.


Next, we made haystacks, with melted milk, white, and butterscotch!

And, here are some of the sugar cookies!

Hope you all are getting into the Christmas spirit!

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hErbs, Elf, and Eggnog

We had a great Saturday yesterday, and it turned out to be slightly “E” Themed, which is always edifying.

We tried making a recipe in cookbook my friend Holly gave us for our wedding called Chicken and Herb Roast.  It was a lot like it sounds.  We coated chicken drumsticks and thighs in flour, paprika, salt, and pepper and browned them in some olive oil in a frying pan.  Then, we browned potatoes, peppers, carrots, and mushrooms in the pan.  Next, we added rosemary, oregano, chicken bouillon, white wine (first cooking with wine experience!  And, yes, we had a glass as we cooked, making the saying “I love cooking with wine, sometimes I put it in the food” true for us).  Then we let it all simmer for 45 to 50 minutes, while our mouths drooled and our apartment smelled more and more delicious.  It turned out really well!  We will be making it again!

After the clean-up, we settled down on the couch to watch Elf and sip some eggnog!

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Beautiful Star

There is a local theater in Greensboro, NC that wrote and has performed a musical for the past two Christmases called” Beautiful Star.”  I have been listening to the soundtrack lately, so the play has been on my mind.  There are two things I love about it: the broader story of the Bible that points to the coming of Christ and the bluegrass music with excellent lyrics.

First, a little background about the play.  “Beautiful Star” tells different events from the Bible leading up to and including Jesus’ birth as if they were being performed by an Appalachian church as their Christmas pageant.  Ten or twelve Appalachian church-folk characters play all the characters in the different stories, including God, Satan (and the Serpent he embodies in tempting Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), Adam, Eve, Noah, his wife and kids, Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Mary, the wise men, the shepherds, and angels.  The set, costumes, and props are rustic but creative.

It starts with creation and the fall, when sin first entered the world.  It tells of how evil Satan is (one line from the song about this event is “Your faith is his target, and he aims to kill.”  Yes, great lyrics) and how sin ruined our relationship with God.  We could never get back to the Garden of Eden, to a right relationship with Him.  We need someone to make that right.

The musical moves to Noah and the flood, telling of how the world became so evil that God’s justice demanded he destroy it.  But, like all the other stories of the Bible, his compassion and love for his creation is also present: he spares Noah and his family, allowing the earth to continue to have life on it.  There is still hope for humanity.

Then we see Sarah, Abraham, and their son, Isaac.  God calls Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, his only son.  Though he is distraught and confused, Abraham obediently takes Isaac up Mount Moriah to sacrifice him.  Right before Abraham kills Isaac, an angel of the Lord appears and tells Abraham, “Now I know you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:12).  The angel points him to a ram caught in a thicket to use for the sacrifice instead of his son.   This is more than a test of faith; it is an illustration, a vision.  God will give his only son as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of his people, his children.

The story moves to the New Testament and sets up the scene with the shepherds, followed by Joseph and Mary.  We see King Herod and the wise men.  And Jesus is born in a manger in Bethlehem, a humble place for a king.

I love that the musical begins at the beginning, as it were.  The story of the birth of Jesus Christ makes so much more sense and is so much more beautiful in light of the whole picture.

The lyrics continue to flesh the story out.  They put emotions and background to the events so familiar to those raised in the church.  The song for the creation story is called “By his heart and by his hand,” and it reminds me of the power and intense love with which God created this earth and us, his image-bearers.  He has emotions, and we are close to his heart.  during Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem, they play a song called “The Stable Shed” from the perspective of the innkeeper.  This one is mostly funny, with lines like “I don’t know why this inn I keep, a man ’round here can’t get no sleep, ain’t got no rooms, ain’t got no beds, what’s all the trouble in stable shed?”  The next lines record the odd and amazing sight: “And there he saw the baby sweet, the beasts all bowed down at his feet, a barnyard room, a manger bed, Savior born in a stable shed.”  The creative and interesting lyrics make me think about the real people, histories, and emotions behind the Bible stories I know and love.

My hope is this advent season, you and I will more deeply ponder the purpose and depth behind the story of Jesus’ birth.

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Cereal, Lost and Found

After our brief foray into breakfasts of English Muffins and Scrambled Eggs, my husband and I returned to the world of cereal.  After we bought some, along with ingredients for chili (turned out great!), from the grocery store last night we returned to our our apartment only to find we were missing two of the four boxes of cereal we bought.  It dawned on us at about the same time that we must have left them in our cart in the parking lot.  So we raced to the car and sped back to Kroger.  As we screeched into the deserted parking lot, I spotted our lone cart highlighted by an isolated streetlamp pointing down from above.  My husband swung the car close to the cart return, I threw open the door, grabbed the cereal boxes, and hopped back in the car.  The only witnesses were two unsuspecting friends loading their groceries into their car.

Thanks to a bit of luck and a lot of spy moves, we had our full range of cereal choices this morning.

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