12.17.2014

Christmas Around the World - Brazil

When most of us think of Christmastime, visions of hams, turkeys, rolls, cakes, pies, and other goodies dance in our heads. And while many Christmas traditions take place outside the dining room, the festivities almost always revolve around food. We've found this to be the case no matter where you live, so take a moment to share in holiday traditions and favorite recipes from Church members around the world.

Brazil

Feliz Natal! Down in Brazil, the Christmas season is in the summer. Papai Noel, or Father Christmas, comes from Greenland and wears silk clothes because it's so hot outside. On Christmas Eve, children leave out their shoes, and Papai Noel comes during the night and fills them with small gifts, and leaves other gifts hidden around the house.

Because Brazil used to be Portuguese colony and has a strong influence from other European immigrants (like German), they take many European Christmas traditions, like the Christmas dinner. Although it is unusual for a summer day, they eat a large dinner with turkey, ham, rice, beans, and fresh fruit. Many families have a midnight dinner.

Many Brazilians celebrate the Christmas season until Three Kings Day on January 6. This day celebrates when the Magi brought gifts to Baby Jesus.

Feijoada (Brazilian Meat and Bean Stew)
  • 1 pound black beans
  • 1 pound pork shoulder
  • 1 pound smoked sausage
  • 1 pound carne seca or beef jerky
  • 3-4 strips smoked bacon
  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 small or 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • Hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Wash the beans and soak them overnight. Next day, put them in a pot of new water and boil until they are tender; this will take at least an hour. As the beans are cooking, put pork shoulder, sausage, carne seca (available at Latin markets), bacon, and pork chops in a pot of water and boil for 1 1/2 hours. Cut the onions and garlic in small pieces and cook them in oil until they are a bit golden. Add them to the meat. Add the cooked beans to the meat, then add the bay leaves, hot pepper sauce, and salt and pepper. Cook for another hour until all the flavors are mixed together. Remove the bay leaves and separate the meat. Cut the meats in slices and put the beans on the middle of a platter with the meats around the sides. This is best prepared while listening to good Brazilian music and best eaten with friends and family. Makes 12 servings. 

Feijoada is the traditional dish of Brazil. Everyone has a different favorite version; the exact ingredients are not as important as how you eat it. You should be celebrating something - anything - when you eat it with your family and friends. This is especially good for celebrating Christmas with all the people you love.

In Brazil we celebrate often - it doesn't matter what - and so we eat often. Part of the celebrating is the wonderful Brazilian sounds of music and conversation and happiness. It is all part of this delicious celebration. You can change the ingredients according to what's available and what you like best. Whatever you choose, remember that Feijoada is about more than just eating. It is about celebrating!

Leontina Van der Ham de Silva
Alameida Ward
Partenon Stake
Porto Alegre
Brazil


Recipes and experiences excerpted from Worldwide Christmas Cookbook by Deanna Buxton. Copyright 2009, Covenant.

12.15.2014

12.10.2014

Christmas Around The World - Japan

When most of us think of Christmastime, visions of hams, turkeys, rolls, cakes, pies, and other goodies dance in our heads. And while many Christmas traditions take place outside the dining room, the festivities almost always revolve around food. We've found this to be the case no matter where you live, so take a moment to share in holiday traditions and favorite recipes from Church members around the world.

Japan

Merii Kurisumasu! Even though it's not a national holiday, Christmas is still a big hit in Japan. They decorate with Christmas trees and give each other gifts. The Japanese Christmas Cake, much like strawberry shortcake, is one of the most prominent traditions. Since only 2 percent of Japanese people are Christian, the focus of the holiday is helping others. Many families spend the day in service.

In Japan, there is a kind old man called Hoteiosho, who is like Santa Claus. He carries a huge pack and is said to have eyes in the back of his head, so the children behave if they ever think that he is around.

For Japanese Latter-day Saints, the holiday is a special time when they can draw together and celebrate Christ. "Every Japanese ward has a spiritual celebration in the chapel," says Yoko Ikegami of Himeji City. "We then eat together, and everyone brings a food to share. Sometime on Christmas Eve, we go caroling in front of the train station where there are many people coming and going. Some people stop to listen and enjoy the singing."

Japanese Christmas Cake
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk, warmed
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • various fruits (such as strawberries, peaches, cherries, oranges)
Whisk eggs in a bowl. Place the bowl over warm water in another large bowl and continue whisking. Add 2/3 cup sugar a little at a time. When the egg mixture becomes light yellow, sift flour and add to the bowl. Mix the flour lightly into the egg mixture. Mix butter in warm milk; add to batter and stir gently. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8-inch cake pan with waxed paper. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool it on a rack. Cut the cake in half horizontally. Mix heavy cream and 4 tablespoons sugar in a bowl. Whip the cream well. Take half of the whipped cream and mix with chopped fruits. Place part of the cream on top of a round cake slice. Place another cake slice on top of the cream. Spread the rest of the whipped cream on top of and around the cake. Decorate the cake with colorful fruits and Christmas decorations. Makes 6 servings.

Yoko Ikegami
Himeji Ward
Kobe Stake
Himeji City, Hyogo-pref, Japan


Recipes and experiences excerpted from Worldwide Christmas Cookbook by Deanna Buxton. Copyright 2009, Covenant.

12.08.2014

Music Monday

12.03.2014

Christmas Around the World - Great Britain

When most of us think of Christmastime, visions of hams, turkeys, rolls, cakes, pies, and other goodies dance in our heads. And while many Christmas traditions take place outside the dining room, the festivities almost always revolve around food. We've found this to be the case no matter where you live, so take a moment to share in holiday traditions and favorite recipes from Church members around the world.

Great Britain

Happy Christmas! Many Christmas traditions in America (like hanging mistletoe) come from Great Britain, but the country still has unique differences.

Like children in the U.S., British children often write letters containing what they would like for Christmas. Some put the letters in the post, but traditionally they throw the letters into the fireplace to be carried up by the draft. Father Christmas receives these letters and leaves gifts in the stockings hung by the fireplace. The gifts aren't usually opened up until mid-day on Christmas because of church.

The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day; historically, the name comes from collecting money for the less fortunate in clay boxes, and then when they were full the collectors would break them open. Boxing Day today is known primarily as a shopping and sport day, though it still includes giving to those in need.

Christmas traditions in Great Britain continue until January 5, which is Twelfth Night. These twelve days between Christmas and January is where the "Twelve Days of Christmas" comes from.

"For Christmas lunch in England," says Anna Buttimore of Thundersley, England, "we always have roast turkey with all the trimmings - cranberry sauce, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, chipolatas, and this Bread Sauce. Traditional Christmas desserts, such as Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, contain lots of dried fruit, which I don't like, and often contain copious quantities of alcohol. So I look forward to eating my chocolate Yule log instead as the children play with whatever Father Christmas left in their stockings and Hubby Dearest eats mince pies and watches the Queen's speech."

English Mincemeat Pies
  • 1 1/4 pounds round steak, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 4 tart apples (Granny Smith), peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups dried currants
  • 2 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1/2 pound candied mixed fruit peel, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 16-ounce jar sour cherry preserves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (16-ounce) can pitted sour cherries, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9-inch double-crust pie
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
In a heavy pot, combine steak and apple cider. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until meat is tender. Stir in chopped apples, sugar, currants, raisins, fruit peel, butter, and cherry preserves. Add ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Let simmer, uncovered, over low heat until mixture is very thick, about 90 minutes. Stir in cherries and remove from heat. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for at least a week before using. Preheat oven to 350° F. Put filling in unbaked pie shell (or make 3-inch tarts the way we do) and place pastry on top. Crimp edges and poke several holes in top pastry. Brush top with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 1 whole pie or 6 to 8 3-inch tarts.

Growing up, mincemeat pies were part of our family Christmas tradition. Normally, they would be brought out as a sweet course at the end of our main meal; we would eye them lovingly, questioning whether there was room to eat anything else.

Roderic Buttimore
Southend Ward
Romford England Stake
Thundersley, Benfleet Essex, England


Recipes and experiences excerpted from Worldwide Christmas Cookbook by Deanna Buxton. Copyright 2009, Covenant.

12.01.2014

Music Monday

11.17.2014

Laughing


11.15.2014

Prayer


10.31.2014

10.25.2014

Healthier Cookies

 
 Ingredients
3 mashed bananas (ripe)
1/3 cup apple sauce
2 cups oats
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup raisins or nuts
1 cup good chocolate chunks
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Cool and Enjoy!

10.18.2014

Chicken a la King

1/4 cup butter, melted
3 Tbsp. four
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
2 cups cooked chicken, cut up
Pepper to taste
Chopped carrots and peas

In a medium saucepan, blend the butter and flour. Slowly add broth and milk. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the sauce is thick. Add salt, pepper, vegetables, and chicken; heat through. Serve over rice, patty shells, or baked potato.

10.13.2014

US Navy Birthday

10.11.2014

Easiest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 package spice cake mix
1 15-oz. can pumpkin (not pie mix)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*

Mix cake mix and pumpkin with nothing else added. Add chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet (I use Silpat sheets). Bake at 375ºF for 12 minutes.

*Try substituting butterscotch chips or adding bacon...

9.27.2014

Pumpkin Pancakes

1/4 cup pumpkin purée1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
pinch of nutmeg 

Whisk pumpkin and egg together until smooth. Add in remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Fry batches in a cast iron skillet for a tasty fall breakfast treat.

9.20.2014

Winning Apple Crisp

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

4 cups chopped peeled apples

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla ice cream, optional

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half into a greased 2-1/2 quart baking dish or 9-inch square baking pan. Cover with apples.

In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thick and clear. Pour over apples. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.

Bake 60-65 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm, with ice cream if desired. Yield: 8 servings

Nutritional information: 
1 serving (1 each) equals 426 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 31 mg cholesterol, 127 mg sodium 79 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 gr protein.

Originally published as Apple Crisp in Taste of Home Country February/March 1993, p 47 

9.18.2014

Easy One-Pan Dinner

In a 9x13 pan, cut 3 chicken breasts in half, add 2 cans green beans on one side and cut up red skin potatoes on the other. Sprinkle a packet of zesty Italian dressing mix over the top. Drizzle a stick of melted butter over it. Cover it with aluminum foil and bake at 350º for 1 hour.

9.02.2014

Tuesday Tips & Tricks

If you kids are afraid of monsters, make some anti-monster spray. Squirt it under the bed, in the closet, etc. and everyone can go back to sleep!!

8.21.2014

Working on "OLD" Together

Three sisters age 92, 94 and 96 live in a house together.
One night the 96 year old draws a bath, puts her foot in and pauses.
She yells down the stairs, "Was I getting in or out of the bath?"
The 94 year old yells back, "I don't know, I'll come up and see."
She starts up the stairs and pauses, then she yells,
"Was I going up the stairs or coming down?"
The 92 year old was sitting at the kitchen table having tea
listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says,
"I sure hope I never get that forgetful." She knocks
on wood for good measure. She then yells,
"I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see
who's at the door."

8.19.2014

Tuesday Tips & Tricks

Need a place to put your kid?
Make a hammock with a blanket tied around a table.

Christmas Countdown