Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hello and Happy New Year, Crushers!

Steve and I are blessed with having so many friends and family nearby that we got to celebrate seven Christmases. Yes, seven! We host a friend Christmas party every year. This year we decided we were going to have a Hawaiian-themed party. My sister made pineapple iced tea, which was a hit. We also had some Hawaiian steamed pork dumplings (which I bought), BBQ ham balls (I just couldn't make Spam meat balls), coconut shrimp from and lots of other fun treats. I think next year we're going to go for "Fleece Navidad" and combine Mexican foods with an Ugly Sweater party.

We spent Christmas Eve with my family after going to church. This is my absolute favorite Christmas service because all the kids from the school put together a program (or their teachers do) and they recite passages and sing carols. It's wonderful. My favorite part will always be when they recite the passages from Luke 2 just like Linus in "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown." They do a fantastic job leading the service.

Sadly, it was very difficult to get there because a police officer had been shot and a lot of roads were closed in my hometown where things like that hardly ever happen. We were all able to say an extra prayer for her and the poor kid who fainted and broke a tooth right after singing "Silent Night". It was a rough Christmas for a lot of people in various ways, and I don't mean that flippantly. I hope that yours was much happier with family and friends.

After spending some time with my grandparents and opening gifts with my parents, we were 2 down and 5 to go. My grandparents really enjoy holiday parties with everyone so they rallied and stayed up extra late! At my parents' house, I got a... drumroll please... KITCHENAID MIXER! I kid you not, I hugged it. See?
What to make first?
My grandpa on my dad's side is kind of hard to shop for, but there is one thing that he loves to get and that is food! My mom made him a big platter of Christmas cookies, so I tried making homemade rosemary bread since he's a big soup and sandwich fan. I found this recipe and it was super easy to make. See?
Bread finished with a nice egg wash ready to be gifted.
Note: there are no preservatives so if you aren't going to eat it right away, you should keep it in the freezer
Christmas #3 and 4 were on Christmas Day first at Steve's parents' house, to which I brought a no-bake cheese cake, and then at my sister's house, to which I brought a cranberry Jell-O salad. We had such a nice time at church and then at home with everyone!

Although it seemed to be the year of the sweater/kitchen stuff, I got one gift from Steve that should not be used in the kitchen: snowshoes! Please pardon my crazy outfit, but those were really warm pants. My sister said that I looked "like an adorable Christmas Elf." Ha! All of my other snow-wear was in the wash since we did a lot of cross country skiing, too.

After spending Christmas #5 with my extended family, to which I brought an antipasto salad, and singing carols for Grandma, we spent Christmas #6 with Steve's dad's side of the family. There was lots of babies to hold, kids to play with and carols to sing. I was losing my voice! We spent some time up in Green Bay, where I got to see the Packer Hall of Fame for the first time. We ate some really amazing cheese curds at Curly's Pub (named for the Packer's first coach, Curly Lambeau, who is also the namesake for the stadium) and watched the Packers, gulp, LOSE (!!!!) to the Minnesota Vikings. There was a lot of yelling going on in the pub. Fortunately, we are forever fans and have a lot of hope for this weekend where we (pfft, I say this like I'm going to be on the field) take on the Vikings in the first round of the playoffs.
At the Hall of Fame!
Christmas #7 was spent with Steve's mom's side of the family with more caroling and more food! Phew! What a whirlwind!

In case you aren't sick of holiday dinners with ham, here's the BBQ Ham Ball recipe. It sounds weird, but it's really, really good.

BBQ Ham Balls
Ham Balls
1 1/2 pounds ground ham
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
2 cups Cracker crumbs (I used Ritz)
1 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten

1 can tomato soup
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard

Mix ham, pork, cracker crumbs, milk and eggs in a large bowl. Use 1/3 cup of mixture and form into balls. This is also about the size of a tennis ball. Place in a 13 x 9 pan. Bake for one hour in a 350 oven. While baking, mix glaze ingredients in small bowl.  Pour glaze over balls, and bake an additional half hour to glaze. Serve with roasted veggies.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

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