Traditions & Forbidden Rice

29 Wed, 2010 § Leave a comment

On Christmas day, one of the first items on the agenda was taking a family photo.  We had to document what a beautiful family we have before the little ones could even think in terms of getting messy.  This is becoming sort of a tradition — my mom is set on updating our photo often it seems — which I think is nice.

The second priority — ok, maybe it was farther down the list after food & exchanging gifts — was a “family activity” like decorating gingerbread houses.  That was a little more involved & wasteful than I wanted though.  I was set on these cookie trees by Nienke but could not find the right star cutters.  World Market was my best bet, but then Dave spotted a paint-your-own tea set.  I immediately agreed with his sentimental, “aw…look…for Daiqri.”

With my hands covered in Daiq’s mess paint, I didn’t get photos of the creativity in action — even with a professional photographer in the house!  [I should have bribed for his services.]  Sometimes a girl just gets caught up in having fun with her niece & let’s the blogger in her hibernate a moment.

Even with one spill incident, I think mom’s carpet survived for the most part; & it was fun to veer from the traditional for a few minutes Christmas day.  Plus with all the goodies around, it’s a good idea for me to keep my hands as busy as possible for as long as possible…but not too long.

Before we left for our holiday weekend, my hands were busy with something else: playing with my current spice obsession.  You will figure it out if you haven’t picked up on it already.

I spotted my stash of forbidden rice in the pantry [I wonder if I can find it in AZ] & wanted to try something a little different.  It’s a nice, sticky rice, & while it is not necessarily my favorite rice, it lends a dark, pretty purple to the plate for a fun change.

Forbidden Rice with Saffron

  • 2 T Earth Balance butter
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin, ground
  • ½ tsp saffron, soaked in a little milk or cooking water from rice
  • sea salt to taste

Cook rice according to directions.

When the rice is about 20 minutes from being done, melt the butter in a small sauce pan or skillet.

Remove from heat & stir in the other spices.

Cover & allow to steep 15 – 20 minutes.

When rice is finished cooking, pour the butter mixture over the rice, cover & let sit ~10 minutes.

Fluff rice & stir to mix spices.

I love the complexity of saffron & usually keep the rest of the meal pretty simple.  This paired really nicely with diced butternut squash, carrots & cauliflower roasted in olive oil, salted & peppered [a little basil also goes well with saffron].

The orange & purple really popped when we added bright green edamame pods to the meal.  I figured out the best way to cook frozen ones, which I will share when we make them again.  For leftovers the next day, I sprinkled bee pollen over the rice & laid out a green mat to give you a sense of the pods.  Now I really want edamame again.


What fun, reoccurring or newly created, traditions did you enjoy this season?

Out of Paint

24 Fri, 2010 § 8 Comments

When Dave & I were preparing for our first Christmas together, I was really set on finding actual knit stockings…until we spotted these at our favorite import store.

We fill each shoe with small gifts on Christmas morning.  They are fun & different than stockings, but our favorite part about these are the stories they tell.

Each winter solstice, before our night hike, we paint our shoes.  We each commemorate a signifying aspect, memory or overall theme for that year through our painting.  In the end we may end up with a neatly-tied-together scene or a fun, mish-mosh collage of our life stories.  There is no way of telling, but the making of our stories is sure fun — in every aspect.

My [2007]star & [2008]tree were more symbolic, telling of new beginnings & finding harmony & balance through nature’s example.  2009 is a more literal image of our expanding family as Bodhi chases a recently adopted Eisley [she was our early Christmas last year].

Dave’s book is a year of introspection, reading & sharing information between us.  We learned a lot about each other & ourselves that year.  His joined “bands” & holly represent his Christmas Eve proposal to me that year — he was very sneaky because he painted that before he proposed.

From our three weeks together in Thailand to our desert wedding to moving to Arizona, how do we portray 2010?

Before our hike on Monday, we turned on Christmas music…pulled out the brushes…got our shoes ready…had our visions in mind…then realized we had left the paint in another box that was still at Christine’s.  😦 boo.

Looks like our shoes will be accompanying us to my parents’, so we can borrow mom’s paints & create on Christmas Eve — wait, if you are reading this now, then that is tonight!


I hope you are already enjoying your holiday celebrations!

Do you have a similar tradition of “journaling” through art or craft [it doesn’t have to be during Christmas]?

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