Here we are!

Here we are!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

International Food

Prior to a couple of years ago, I had never really ventured into the Indian food arena. Our previous pastor traveled to India and came back with stories about food and eating with your hands. The recipes didn't seem to appeal to me. The most I had ventured out was traditional Thai and, later, fusion Thai and was intrigued by the counter-balance of flavor: the sweet vs. sour, spicy vs. cool, texture differences in the same dish. Then, after our current pastor suggested Indian food for a staff meal, I was on a quest to try out these recipes. I made a dish for our family, but the boys did not like the spicy and complex taste. There were so many new and exciting recipes to try: butter chicken, chicken korma, curry a million different ways!

I volunteered to make a dish once a month for InterVarsity's International Student Fellowship, a group of international college students that meets every Friday night. The guidelines for making the meal suggested that spicy dishes that could be served over rice were popular. Cool! Automatic guinea pigs for my cooking! After trying several recipes from my favorite cooking site,, I moved to uncharted territory. I quizzed my Indian friends and bounced ideas off them. They gave me suggestions and instructions. After a few tries, the best dishes that turned out were the ones that balanced the texture, the spiciness, and the flavors. Here is the recipe I made yesterday for the World Welcome Party:

Crockpot Coconut Chicken Curry

4-5 lbs chicken
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
whole bulb (head) of garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (28 oz each) crushed or diced tomatoes
1 lb carrots, chopped or sliced
1 lb red potatoes, cubed
2 cans coconut milk
Bag of frozen peas
Fry Gosht spices (or use garam masala, turmeric, curry, chili powder, etc.)
Salt to taste

In large crockpot, place chicken, onions, ginger, garlic, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and spices. Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir in coconut milk. If sauce is too thin, uncover and switch to high (I had to transfer to a stockpot to cook it down). When consistency is good, add the frozen peas (do not add sooner or peas will be mush). Serve over rice. You can also make this on the stove top.

A few notes: in this recipe, it worked good to coarsely chop the onion and finely chop the ginger and garlic. Minced garlic would be okay, but the "balance" of chopped ginger and garlic worked better. You could also puree the onion and canned tomatoes in a blender. I've done this when I serve to my boys, but otherwise the larger size onion pieces add a nice "bite." My Indian friends told me about this Fry Gosht spice mix you can get in the store; add more or less to taste (I thought it was a mild-to-medium spiciness, but that is highly subjective.) I have also successfully thickened a dish like this with instant potato flakes; add 1/2 cup at a time until desired consistency. You can make a different dish by omitting the coconut milk and adding 1/2 cup of butter instead.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The tooth finally came out!

Here is what it looked like when only one tooth was missing.
This is still before that tooth could be pushed almost horizontal with his tongue.

And here is what it looks like after the tooth came out.

Daniel is saying "5" with each hand because he has lost his 5th tooth!

Compared to Michael, he is virtually a whole year earlier than Michael in losing those 2 front teeth.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Just a clarification on the previous post that I do NOT play the Wii Fit with a fritter in one hand and the Wiimote in the other! But, thanks John, that is a mighty fine idea! I've got some stashed away in the freezer and I hear that you can reheat them but they aren't quite as good as fresh. (The fritters, not the Wiimote!) I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I think I've recovered from the fritters. I lost count after eating about "four" and decided that I didn't need to eat anything for a few days. Well, at least not for dinner anyway. Our family has been having fun on the Wii Fit. It is so stinking hilarious! Blocking soccer balls with your head while avoiding the cleats being thrown at you is really fun. And the tightrope walking is fun, too! I have become a Yoga Master and I've only done two days of it. Jogging is the easiest form of exercise as well; you just shake the wii-mote and it thinks you're running! The boys found out that if you run faster than your guide, your mii will fall down. Funny! Tim likes the ski jump but I can't seem to get very much distance. I'm sure in 10 years The Simpsons will be mocking this fine gem of electronic gaming, but for now it's brought our family closer!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!
I made New Year's Cookies (Raisin Fritters) for the first time today. Mmmm. Just like the MCC Sale! I found out that there are as many different recipes for these as there are Mennonite women. The one I chose was a good one, and I didn't even have to call Grandma Betty for advice. Here's the one I used, but make sure you have lots of neighbors, friends and family close by!

2 packages yeast
1 C. warm water
3 tsp. sugar
2 C. milk
1/2 C. butter
2 tsp. salt
6 eggs
2 C. raisins
8 C. flour
Oil for frying
Sugar for rolling

And here's a translated poem about it:


I saw your chimney smoking,
I knew what you were making,
You were baking New Year's cookies.
Give me one, I stand still.
Give me two, I start walking.
Give me three, four, five at once,
Then I wish you the Kingdom of Heaven.
Christmas Day

Christmas Day was pretty relaxing. The boys didn't get up early (considering they were up past midnight the night before). I warned them that I got them new pajamas that they had to wear. Michael was eager to and loved his pajamas. Daniel was very reluctant and only wore them because I told him he had to long in advance. Of course the next day he wanted to wear his "soft" jammies again. After opening presents, we went to Reedley in the afternoon. We always have green pancakes made by "Grandpa" for Christmas, and this year was no exception. We had so much food! Green crepes with fruit and whipped cream, baked omelet, cinnamon rolls, jello salad, green salad, fruit salad, and pie for dessert. Good thing I got a Wii Fit for Christmas!

We were at Disneyland before Christmas and had lots of fun. On the way down, we had to stop at Ikea to get some more shelves to complete our office. Plus it was dinner time so we had to get some meatballs while we were there. We stayed at Desert Palm and Suites this time. We had trouble finding any hotels with vacancy even back in November, so I called Ares Travel since they are recommended by Mouse Savers. They got us some great rates and were easy to work with since we needed four rooms. Daniel's "new" rides were Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, and Mulholland Madness. Michael's "new" rides were California Screamin and Matterhorn. Day 1 was raining. Like raining all morning. We braved the storm with ponchos brought from home. The parks were really empty and even when the rain stopped in the afternoon, people stayed away. Day 2 was beautiful weather and crowded parks. Day 3 was forecast to be stormy, but it never rained and the parks were empty. Tim and Michael rode Space Mountain four times in an hour. We drove home on Christmas Eve and it took us six hours to get home. It was bumper to bumper all the way from Anaheim to the Grapevine. Then it rained on the Grapevine. It's a good thing we got a dual screen DVD player for the car! The boys watched three movies on the way home.