Every year for Christmas we drive up to Sacramento and stay with my Mom for the holiday. We always make tamales on the day before Christmas Eve, but this year due to unforseen circumstances we stayed home. I still wanted to continue the tradition of making tamales and my daughter insisted on it! I've never made them on my own, Mom had always done all the preparations and the rest of the family assembled the tamales and she steamed them in her big pots. Well, I was up for the challenge; I cooked the beef, shredded it and made the sauce, went to the local Mexican market and bought prepared masa (I did try to make it from scratch, but that's another story!), and my daughter and I assembled them. Oh, and another thing, I didn't have a tamale steamer, what was I thinking! So I rigged up one with a huge stock pot, one of those small vegetable steamer and a pie plate punched with holes by my husband who does not eat tamales, but knew how important it was for my daughter and I to make them. It all worked out, we made them on Christmas Eve morning and shared some, froze some and had them with our turkey dinner on Christmas day. We didn't make alot as most families do, more like 50 and they are of random sizes, but they tasted delicious. I'm looking forward to making them again. Oh yeah, I'll make sure I have a real tamale steamer! Here are my "first tamales".
Well, that's what I planned to bake today, but when I mixed the dough it seemed too dry and I thought maybe they forgot to add an egg to the recipe. Yeah, so I added an egg, still did not seem right so I added another one . . . well, I already knew that this was not going to work. So I wrapped up the dough into a couple of logs and decided that I would just slice and bake. It did turn out to be a very tasty cookie.
I wasn't planning on baking this Christmas season. But since I love to bake and have been inspired to do so by many cooking programs on tv, food blogs, websites and magazines that I have this urge to rattle my baking pans. Oh, which should be interesting because my oven is not working, but I have a toaster oven and a convection oven.
I'm not going to bake alot, but I've been wanting to bake a few cakes and cookies. Of course, I have to make Gingerbread Men cookies, that is a priority. Since we are a small family and don't usually like to have alot of sweets around the house, I'll be sharing them with his co-workers and my children at work. I have been putting a short list together that keeps changing. I'll do my shopping today and get started tomorrow morning - nothing planned this weekend, yay! Plus he has a potluck planned with his Monday night class, so I'll need to put something together for that. I'll try to post some pics. I want to start taking notes and pics of some of the recipes I have been collecting through the years, I think putting them here is a good start. You know, just trying to get organized. Today I threw away piles of recipes that I printed from the internet since the 90's and it was all to confusing, even though I also keep copies in Mastercook and I know I wasn't going to make them all! I can be crazy sometimes!
Believe it or not, I was able to put up our Christmas tree today! Okay, some people may have chopped their tree down and already have it up and decorated, but I'm the type that is so disorganized that it takes me awhile to get it together. Well, it's not a real tree, the weather is a little too dry for us to have a real tree, but I'm sure many So. Californians will disagree and have one with no problem, but we are the paranoid types. I love real trees, I grew up having a real tree for Christmas, my husband did not. I love the smell of a real tree, it brings back childhood memories. So after having real and artificial throughout our marriage, we are back to an artificial tree -- I'm over it. Anyway, it's not decorated yet and I still need to sort out the lights, but the tree is up and most of the lights are working. I spent the afternoon cleaning and rearranging the living room furniture. I'm so excited that I have it up! I still have the house to decorate and need to put away all the Autumn stuff, but I'm just glad I didn't wait until a week before Christmas to get started.
As soon as we arrived home from Sacramento, I was already playing Christmas music. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is my favorite. I'll never get tired of it.
I'm just back from our "Parent's Night Out" gig at work. That's when we keep the kids until 10pm and wonder why? No, actually it's was a fundraiser and we made close to $200. Not bad for 4 hours extra work and we had fun, too! Our kids are great and they were very excited that we provided such an event. Anyway, one of our activities for the evening was making a Chocolate Mud Cake in the crockpot, which was easy to prepare and delicious. Especially good with vanilla ice cream. This recipe (and photo) is from FamilyFun.com