Merry Christmas

Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! I'll catch you in 2009!

P.S. Now I really want to watch Charlie Brown's Christmas. I wonder if there's anywhere I can walk to buy it?

P.P.S. I leave for my Caribbean cruise tomorrow. So, I need to revel in the snow and Christmas spirit today! I'm snowed in for the 7th day in a row!


Thank You

This weather "event" has brought out the best in people around here, and I've been feeling very thankful for a number of public servants and other individuals:

  • Mail carriers
  • Bus drivers
  • Plow drivers
  • Individuals and businesses who shovel their sidewalks
  • People who help strangers when their cars get stuck
  • Coffee shop and grocery store employees who made it to work through the snow


Snow-day African Peanut Stew

This soup is a general crowd-pleaser. You can substitute the vegetables for whatever you have around (although I think you should always use tomatoes). Last week I used carrots, yams and kale. Sometimes I use frozen, chopped okra instead of zucchini. Enjoy!

African Peanut Stew

1 Onion, chopped

2-3 Garlic cloves, diced

1 t Coriander

1/2 t Turmeric

1/2 t Cinnamon

1/2 t Ginger

1/4 t Cumin

4 sm. Kohlrabies or parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 Zucchini, chopped (In the winter, I buy frozen, chopped zucchini.)

2 Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1/4 cup raisins, dark or golden

1/2 cup Couscous

14 oz can chopped tomatoes, with juice or 5 fresh tomatoes, chopped

14 oz can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup peanut butter

3-5 cups broth or water

Dry roasted peanuts for garnish

Heat about 1 T of vegetable oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic, and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add spices and saute until fragrant. Add fresh vegetables and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Start with 3 cups of water, and add more as needed. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve with dry roasted peanuts sprinkled on top.

A Lovely Walk

We have close to one foot of snow! I had a nice little snow adventure by walking down to Ballard. It's been snowing all afternoon, and it's so beautiful. Everyone is smiling at each other and making the most of the weather.

Miraculously, the farmers market in Ballard is open today! I felt compelled to buy a few things, since these vendors were so tough. But, it's really not sacrificing much to buy my favorite cherry strudel or fresh bread. Here are a few pictures.

The Christmas Tree lot looked extra Christmas-y.

The farmers market!

One of my favorite vendors. They made it here from Colville. Now that's tough.

They skied to the market!

My hill today. There were lots of people sledding.

I'm not kidding when I say that it's steep and very slippery. There was a new sign up today, to warn drivers about attempting it.

Update: You can view all my Seattle snow pictures on my Flickr page.

Snowed In

December Snow in Seattle, originally uploaded by bh88keys.

What do you do when you're snowed (iced) in?

-Sleep in.

-Drink a lot of coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

-Finish Christmas cards and knitting.

-Watch the original Star Wars Trilogy.

-Follow the updates on my neighborhood blog, Cliff Mass Weather Blog and the Seattle Storm Team Twitter.

-Have a girl's night for one - meaning, drink a glass of the pink, girly wine I had sitting around.

-Make soup.

-Go shoe shopping online.

-Take walks in the snow.

-Clean (I haven't gotten to this yet, but I have high hopes for my productivity today.)

-Daydream about the Caribbean cruise I'll be on next week.


Walking in a Winter Wonderland

We are in the middle of "a major snow event" in Seattle. The bus routes around town have been "severely impacted." And I've been watching Hummers and trucks slip-slide down my hill all day. (Who knew people even still have Hummers in Seattle?!?)

My mom woke up to two feet of snow in Spokane. My sister is stuck at school in Pullman.

But . . . the snow is so pretty.

I couldn't make it into work, so I took a little walk up to my neighborhood coffee shop for lunch. I couldn't help singing "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" as I made my way up my hill.

Here are a few pictures.

The view from my window.

My neighborhood.

I mentioned that the street in front of my house was treacherous. I tried to get the police to close the street, but no one answered the phone when I called! Finally, someone took matters into their own hands and put up a sign.

On my way to lunch I saw this man on a park bench with all his belongings, hunched over to try to keep out the snow and wind. It made me very sad, to say the least, thinking about what it would be like to have nowhere to go. I wish we didn't live in a world where this still exhists.

But, all the same, the snow charmed me.

Sigh . . .

** They're also calling it: Snowpacalypse/ Snowmageddon '08. So funny!


December . . .

Oh my goodness; this month is flying by. A few highlights and inspirational moments from the month are below.

I'm trying to learn to like cooked greens. I had some leftover kale from my CSA box and made this. So good! And easy. And healthy.

I went to Urban Craft Uprising and met the lovely ladies who create Cakespy and Posie Gets Cozy.

I made my first cheese ball. I received rave reviews.

I decided to give handmade and homemade gifts this year, which is nice in theory but is causing me a good amount of stress. I have a lot of knitting to do! I'll post pictures after Christmas.

I just got back from a work trip to DC, and I stayed through the weekend to visit with my dear friend Kristin. We had an incredibly fun, inspiring and educational weekend. My favorite kind!

First, we visited the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and its incredible section of American Folk Art - which I just love! All these people who had an artistic gift and expressed it using everyday materials and mediums. How could they ever know that the dress or windmill they made would end up in the Smithsonian? We also enjoyed the Frank Gohlke photo exhibit and an exhibit showcasing the parallels between Ansel Adams and Georgia O'Keefe.

We also visited the National Portrait Gallery, which is kind of fascinating. We saw an exhibit of portraits of influential women. As someone in advertising, I especially enjoyed the Posters as Portraiture exhibit. Here are a couple favorites:

We saw the movie Milk. I highly recommend it. Such a moving tribute to an incredible man and his story, and so many parallels to events happening today.

On Sunday morning we went to the National Cathedral to attend church. I was so impressed by the organ music, the choir, the pastor and, of course, the architecture and stained glass windows.

But even more uplifting was the forum beforehand with Tavis Smiley. I’m a huge fan of his now – such a positive, uplifting message. If you have some extra time I highly recommend listening to the forum online. (FYI – The National Cathedral is totally embracing technology. So cool!)

A couple other highlights from DC:

- My cute latte and doughnut cupcake (why hasn't anyone thought of this before!?) from Baked & Wired in Georgetown.

- A Chocolate Salty Oat Cookie from Teaism
- A Noreo and Cowboy Cookie from Sticky Fingers, a vegan bakery in Columbia Heights
- A Chorizo Empanada from Julia's Empanadas

**Sorry about the funky formatting. I just can't figure out blogger sometimes.


The Holiday Season

Personally, I love the holiday season. It's family and faith, mixed in with snow and a little bit of childhood magic. I love giving gifts and baking for people. I love all the Christmas hymns in church. And I love a simple Christmas morning with my family. We drink coffee, listen to Christmas music and watch as each person opens presents. We take time to thank each other, pass gifts around and model gifts of clothing.

I've always felt grateful that the focus of our holidays and birthdays was not on expensive, over-the-top gifts. Our gifts were always given with love and thoughtfulness, and many times were homemade. And I remember always being very happy and grateful after holidays and birthdays.

But I know that often it feels like this holiday is all about shopping . . . buying . . . stressing. I read a post today by a blogger that set a nice tone for the season. Here's part of it:

On Friday morning, a 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death as a mob of shoppers broke down the door to the store to get a jump on their holiday shopping. Hundreds of people stepped on another human being's body in order to save some money on gifts that may be forgotten within a few days or months of being given . . .

But I'm wondering. I'm just wondering what this all means. What does it say about joy and festivity and generosity and our economy and humanity? What does it mean when people just buy things because they're there -- just because they can -- or that a man can be stepped on by hundreds of people without their noticing?

I don't know what the answer is. It's more complicated than one -- or many -- mothers saying, "buy less, do more" through the voices of blogs. But we could start there. We could start with our own homes, and on our own websites, and we could buy less. We could commit to handmade gifts, or we could just commit to simplifying one aspect of the holiday. We could pause before buying something and just ask if we really want it, or if the recipient will like and use it. I'm not calling for a "hard times" Christmas. But I really do think -- I really do believe -- that simple can truly be just as wonderful and magical as elaborate, and that a few carefully-chosen gifts can be much better than stacks of packages to open just for the sake of opening them.

You can read the entire post here.

Soup of the Week: Leftover Turkey and Rice Soup

What else would I make this week? And, actually, my mom made the soup. But she won't mind if I claim credit.

I doesn't really warrant a recipe. She just used chicken stock, leftover turkey, a mix of wild rice, carrots, celery and maybe some onions and herbs. Yum!


Did anyone else have a rough start to the week? I've been tired and just generally in a bad mood. But this video made me laugh today, which lifted my spirits a little.