weather – getting to be spring all the time now
nap – not today (so far) <-*** I took a nap for a whole hour. that is 1/5th my normal total sleep! While I was asleep Fi also fell asleep. Amazing
Easter Recovery – 99%
House – fair to good
Diet – up a half pound but that’s ok considering
This past weekend for us was Easter, the holiday that has vast religious implications that we semi-ignore. I always feel a bit bad about that but I also don’t want to go to church 2x a year just for major holidays. Honestly, none of the churches here really work for me and Lars just didn’t grow up with the habit and does not intend to make one.
That paragraph has been sticking in me for 2 days. I can’t just say “happy easer!” because I feel like I do not totally disserve this holiday and I can’t skip it because we didn’t and this is as much about the record of my kids growing up as it is anything else. I heard a stat that the largest religion in the US is non-practicing RC and so that puts me in good company (kinda). I enjoyed growing up in my church but that church does not exist here… In a way there are too many options and zero sense of community – I see the same with the fact that there are 7 elementary schools and you can pick any of them. You can’t just bond with your neighbor because of the schools because there is a high likelihood they choose differently.
Anyway, I took a nap and I feel better about life in general. Getting 5 or less hours of sleep a night is just not good for me. I go to bed at midnight, I don’t need to be up until 8am that should be a solid 7, if not 8, but I get 5 because of constant interruption. I’m not sure how to deal with that issue with this child (I dealt with it in each of the others but both were different). That still does not change the fact that I have religious issues/issues with religion but being tired makes them worse so I’m glad I napped. I am running short on typing time though and I didn’t post yesterday because I can’t post about post easter until I tackle easter….
So here is a list!
- we had friends stay over, they changed the dynamic of the weekend for the good
- one of those friends claimed a distinct love of washing dishes, she now has an open invite forever.
- We took the kids to a local egg hunt Saturday and it was great, Won a raffle and Zoe got a prize egg plus it was well run and fun for all.
- Lars cooked a fantastic rack of lamb, I baked a really pretty cake
- I made a very cool trio of easter baskets
- We hid a puzzle in the eggs and we know we lost an egg because the puzzle is 3 pieces short…
- We found a way to make an IPA good – add 3 beers to a pitcher, add the equivalent of 1 beer of water, add 3-4 tbs sugar and a ‘bunch’ of lemon juice.
- After the disaster of behavior on Friday they were very good Saturday and Sunday
- Ate peeps at 7am
- Did 3 loads of the dishwasher over the 2 days and still had a full load Monday to take care of.
- Our red wine glasses are just a tiny bit too tall for the dishwasher
Yesterday I got the house back in line after the crazy weekend of big meals and house guests and we actually had 9 people over on Saturday too for our ‘normal’ game night. It was fun and tiring and our kids will have a different growing up than I did but that’s ok. They are surrounded by loving people and creative energy and we answer their questions about whatever with honesty including religious questions. Niamh has a girl with a head scarf in school who does not celebrate ‘our’ holiday and I told her that just like there are a dozens ways to add up to 10, there are dozens of ways to believe in god. Maybe knowing that there is a lot of ways to be right will help her as much or more than as a firm grasp of the nuances of the religion she was born into.
And with that all I can say is Cheers! Celebrate how and what you do!
Thank you Miss C for these fun questions. If anyone else wants to join link or comment your answers! The questions are in bold, my answers follow in normal.
Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink? Water. I really really like good water at room temp, too cold is not desirable.
What made you feel good this past week? My very soft bed and making it up for spring.
When you’re alone at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot? Socks in the winter, barefoot in the summer (and half the winter but when I feel cold I hear my dad say “well put on some socks! and a sweater!”)
Would you rather live where it is always hot or always cold? hard one… can’t I have middle or seasons? I do enjoy my fall and spring best but I guess all other things equal I would take always hot since you can go outside more.
Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? Grateful for a community that plans fun events. I’m looking forward to Easter tomorrow and a mellow week and my mom visiting next week!
weather – snow pants in the morning, no coat by the afternoon
house – many things done
Easter prep – 45% we know what we are eating… none is in the house
Last week my mom shared on facebook a picture of Figolli an easter dessert traditional to Malta. While I’m 75% Irish, that other 25% is Maltese and I grew up with my mom’s family who kept many Maltese traditional alive. I even lived in Malta for a semester when I was 13, it was a good experience. One of my aunts made it her mission to make this dessert yearly and I was inspired to try to make it too.
The first step to Figolli (fig-oh-lee) is to skin the almonds. This is maybe why I didn’t make this in the past 20 years… getting the skins off almonds is tedious and I have plenty of memories of being the forced labor to get this done. We took 2 days to get them done but we all pitched in and I finished them up today while on the phone with my mom.
I googled directions and found many places that list them but they all seem to be the same. They also tend to be in metric and vague about method. The first few didn’t even have baking temps?!? In consultation with my aunt she recommended reducing the sugar, baking for 30-45 min at 375 and NOT using almond paste as a short cut.
Here is the recipe, and, my Americanized notes in italic- I’m glad I have a scale!
For the pastry:
- 400 grams butter or margarine – I used butter, this is 3.5 sticks
- 800 grams flour – I used bread flour (higher gluten) and it is apx 6 cups
- 200 grams sugar – I reduced! I used 184g that equals 1 cup
- 3 egg yolks – 3 egg yolks **I actually messed up and added the whites of one
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind – 2/3 of a lemon for me
- Water to mix – I used 2/3c
For the filling:
- 400 grams sugar – used same reduction to 1c
- 400 grams almonds – I didn’t get a different measure on this, just used the g setting.
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water – this is orange juice!!!
- 3 egg whites – 3 egg whites
My method is extrapolated from their scant directions, my recollection from 25 years ago, an aunt who replied to texts, and, general knowledge of baking. The idea is to make a big filled cookie so think ‘cookie dough’ for the pastry and ‘filling’ to get consistencies right.
- Cut butter into flour – I used my ninja blender.
- Add sugar, yolks, lemon. Mix well and slowly add water.
** I ended up mixing using my hand at the end to fully blend. This might have been easier in the kitchen aid.
- Set aside dough to rest while making the filling – I chilled
- chop almonds fine – I used the ninja blender. *warning! do in batches for 10 seconds or less or it turns to paste, you want chunks*
- Whip egg whites – there were no directions on how much so I did a quick mix to a froth
- Mix almonds, eggs, juice and sugar
Roll out the pastry in matching sets (top and bottom). I used sugar instead of flour to keep things from getting too sticky. I also rolled on parchment paper for easier transfer.
Add the filling to the bottom cookie and then put the top on and seal around the edge.
Put in the oven and hope for the best! While this was cooking the smell triggered so many memories I knew I had it right
Once it is firm and slightly brown it is done.
Allow to cool and decorate with royal icing~
(I wrote above this yesterday, this part today) While I was baking yesterday I decided to REALLY bake. I started my bread first and took the 2 hours of rise time to finish blanching the almonds. While the bread baked I did all the mixing so this is actually a quick recipe once you get the dumb almonds blanched. Then I still had a bunch of filling so I tossed it into a batch of breakfast muffins – to balance the recipe I added an extra cup of oats and cut out the oil. So by the end of the day I had a loaf of bread, 4 figollis, and 2 dozens muffins (and by the end I was putting things on the floor since I ran out of counters)
Today I cleaned it all up and I have a feeling Friday I’ll be doing another big kitchen day with easter eggs, decorating the figolli, and maybe some other fun things!
It is a picture post type of day. Outside is gloomy, the house is messy and it is way more fun to
waste use my nap time on picture projects 🙂
Cee gave a list of options this week and I’m choosing the unsung hero – the trash can. We have the big cool trucks with forks on the side that tip the trash into the truck and roll on by. It is the highlight of our Monday to go see the big truck.
Finding a picture with a trash can in it is easy! They sneak into all my pictures in the side yard. I give them credit, they have held up for 10+ years and we almost never fill-um up. Lars feels like it is a bit of magic in our lives – we put our problems into a can and Monday rolls around and someone takes them away. Personally I feel a bit of guilt on the waste but we do our part being careful.
In this picture series of the trash can he is willingly playing along with the easter egg hunt, hiding that egg in plain sight – thanks trash can!
E for easter how easy is that! Like they planned it…
Easter and all the religious holidays kinda get me. I grew up religious, went to church and catholic school, and luckily enough the combo of educated enlightened family AND a progressive intellectual pastor meant that I didn’t run away screaming from the hypocritic nature of the church etc. Lars… not so much. He believes in higher power and being a good person but church just does not appeal so as we grew in our life together it has taken a path away from formal religion of any sort. Long story short, not going to church on a church holiday for me makes the holiday seem like a bit of a failure. On the other hand, going to church 2x a year with an unwilling husband and shades of unwilling/ignorant/crazy kids is also a failure. It would be much easier for me if I actually rejected the church or had some real reason for not going but it boils down to me not being strong enough to do it myself (and that bothers me). So we end up with a mish mash of celebration that makes me feel guilty for doing anything because we are not doing everything. (My brain is not the most rational place)
On top of that, we are in the situation where we don’t have any family to celebrate with. Most of our friends have family that they go see on holidays and that leaves us doing it solo and that makes it even harder to ‘do’ it right. The kids still would prefer a bag of cheetos to any fancy hordoves or food that is not nugget based. Forcing them into a ‘fancy’ dinner ends up with nobody all that happy so this year we just gave them a regular dinner and we had the most perfect rack of lamb dinner ever when they were in bed. Friends dropped by for dessert and it really was a good day if I don’t dwell on the parts that didn’t happen. Seriously, I’m not sad every day that I didn’t win the lotto – I’m happy for what I DO get done in a day. Just need to get myself to apply that theory to religious holidays.
I am working on getting the girls on board with church, they know prayers and some general outlines and we might go see about the local megga church near by that Niamh has gone to with a friend and she was excited about. its a slow road of waiting for them to get old enough to understand, and, that I can bring them solo. I comfort myself that in 20 years I’ll have grown my own full table and hopefully there will be brunches and egg hunts and people to appreciate my love of making bunny shaped cake and .
Easter, regardless of religious meaning, is the time for rebirth of spring and looking forward to all the things to come. Tomorrow is Niamh’s birthday and nothing says rebirth like a real birth (or 3). It is a hopeful time of year and I’m glad to be in it~ To that end, here are the positives of Easter