Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

I've been meaning post about my first Christmas tree, but I'm just now getting around to it. I've lived in my current apartment for the last 5 years or so and never got around to getting my own Christmas tree. I finally got one for $20 at a local grocery store near where my parents live. I lugged the tree in the truck of their car and drove it back up to San Francisco so I could decorate it.

For those of you who don't know, I'm pretty obsessed with penguins. I'm not sure when it started or why, but I love penguins. They're cute, they waddle, they look cuddly, and they look handsome all the time. People have gifted me penguin ornaments over the last several years and I've put some up on my parents tree every year. This year though I decided to use then on my own tree.

My aunt had some bulbs that were from my grandma from years and years ago so I put those up. They've seen better days, but in a way, it's a nice little remembrance of my grandma since it's our first Christmas without her. The strings of lights were kinda popping out since half the strand went out. My little tree I think has 3 strings of lights on it because I couldn't' be bothered to properly disconnect the bad string with a new string. Then the new string I put on, half the strand went out so I couldn't win. Oh well!

So my little penguin Christmas tree sits nice and happy, even if I'm not spending Christmas at my apartment.

I spent yesterday baking snicker doodles, chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies for our giveaways. Then this morning woke up at 10am (I was so tired from baking the night before) to bake a batch of sugar cookies. I came over to my parents house to eat some tamales and sit on my butt for a while. My niece and nephew were heading over and they were looking forward to baking with my mom, so while they did that I helped my mom do some wrapping so she didn't have to spend all night wrapping.

The cookies are all set out for Santa and I'm sure the kids are ready to doze off any minute now. It's time to get ready for bed and wake up to open gifts with the family. May you all have a very nice, healthy Christmas wherever you spend it and who you spend it with. And for my Jewish readers and friends, may you all have a Happy Hanukkah!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tamale update

I went back home recently to learn how to make our family tamales. Of course my camera battery died so I ended up having to take photos with my phone.

Granted it's pretty darn hard to make tamales in one day. I'm sure you could, but it's exhausting. My dad had cooked the beef and pork the day before. He also cleaned out the chili peppers so we could use them for the sauce. We boiled them and then tossed them into the blender along with with roasted garlic and onions. Once that was done, we strained it so we got the nice, smooth sauce that would be used for the beef and pork. We actually did this with 2 different types of chili peppers. The beef used just one kind of chili pepper and the pork used both.

At the same time we also were making the picadillo filling which is made with ground beef, squash, carrots and jalapeno juice.

After we finished this my mom and I cut up the jalapeno cheese that we use for the cheese tamales. Oh such yummy cheese! By this time I was exhausted and we'd just done the fillings!!

The next day my dad and I went to pick up the pre-made masa. We were aiming to make 100 tamales so we got 2 bags of masa which was about 25 lbs. My dad took out last year's corn husks that we didn't use and soaked them in hot water. My aunt came over to help assemble and we had a tamale assembly party!

It took about an hour and a half to get them assembled and then we put some on to cook. Usually my dad and, uh some other family members start asking 15 minute into them cooking, "Are they done yet?" It takes a while to cook them (steaming), but it's always worth the wait when they're finished.

The verdict? Amazing! I don't know when I'll get around doing it all by myself, but at least it's a start. I took some tamales to my coworkers and then some of my other coworkers said "Heeeeeeeeeeey, where'd the tamales come from?" The tamales get around. I also asked my dad about how many tamales did we make last year? He estimated 900! Isn't that crazy!!! I told him to keep count so we'll see if he actually does when I go home for Christmas. Anywho, it's certainly not Christmas in my family's house without tamales cooking on the stove! Yum yum!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wedding bells

Here are a few new cards that will be posted soon. I figured these would be ideal for newlyweds :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tea time!

I was talking to my sister asking what my niece might like for Christmas this year. She apparently loves to do tea time so I bought her a little tea time set. Here's a few from a tea time inspired treasury I made.

Pink Hand Bag

Felt Sugar Cookies

Natural Stuffed Animal

Tea Party Hairclips

Vintage Teapot Pouches

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

It's been too long since I've posted. I've attacked the tamale making tradition, hit up the aquarium again and a bunch of other stuff over the last couple weeks! So I have to back track a bit ...

I had a really nice Thanksgiving. It was my first holiday without my grandma who passed away in early August so in that sense it was hard. It was probably her favorite holiday because she loved cooking and she would welcome anyone who wanted to join us for it.

To honor her and of course keep to Thanksgiving going, I ended up doing desserts. I ended up asking my best friend to help me because we were going to have my little niece and nephew show up early evening and it's pretty hard to work in the kitchen with little kiddies around.

It took us 7 hours, but we managed to make 4 pumpkin pies, 1 apple pie, pumpkin spice muffins and 1 pumpkin mousse tart. They all came out awesome, well except for the tart. That was too orangy for some reason, it was kinda weird. But everything else was yummy. It was my first attempt to make a pie from scratch (apple) and I gotta say I was pretty proud of myself!

We were exhausted getting things together, but it was totally worth it. The kiddies put on a random show while we ate and they sang about food which was pretty funny.

Overall it was bittersweet, but I think we did my grandma proud. We didn't burn anything, the turkey didn't fall on the floor while taking it out of the oven nor did we drop a pie. Everyone was full which is a prefect way to end a good meal.

If you celebrated Thanksgiving, what was your favorite part?