First Advent Sunday – Trim the Tree

As most of you already know from the annual Catholic Seder posts, and the First Communion posts, we are a Roman Catholic family. Advent is a special time, it the time to start anticipating the birth of Jesus. Much like nesting syndrome in pregnant mothers, it’s a time to prepare your home to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

I realize that for a lot of people, it’s all about shopping. I don’t have any problem with wanting to save money, that’s a good thing. I have a problem with people not remembering what Christmas is about.

I love what my wonderful friend Maria said in explanation to Spane:

  • It’s not Santa Claus’s birthday
  • It’s not Rudolf the Reindeer’s birthday
  • It’s not Alvin and the Chipmunks’ birthday
  • It’s Baby Jesus’ birthday

When Spane and I were living on Elk, I had three boxes of Christmas ornaments, one of which Marissa had been given me for Spane’s first Christmas. All the seasonal decorations were in a little storage area behind the apartment, and on moving day, I completely forgot about it – the next day, they were gone.

God has blessed me, I am a very fortunate person. My friend Amber is the manager of an apartment building. One of her tenants had left behind box with a Christmas tree, lights and skirt. She gave it to me a few months ago. I also had boxes of decorations that I had collected, mostly from garage sales, and occasionally, the side of the road.

I am most fortunate to have a friend like Maria. She did the most amazing job of draping the garland on the tree, and the lights. Then Maria led us for the Advent prayer for the First Sunday of Advent. It was really a joyful time.

Last year, on the way to school one day, I found a bag with some Nativity figures in it on the side of the road. I took it home and put it in storage. Later that week, I was talking to my 93 year old neighbor and she told me that the set I had found had originally been stolen from her. When I said I would return it, she said, no, that Spane would appreciate it, and I should keep it. I am very grateful to her for doing that. The set is lovely!

I found another of the Lenox Baby’s First Christmas for 2003 for Spane on Ebay, I found a special angel ornament for Maria (with her name on it), and I even found an ornament for Rolo.

Below are pictures of our tree, the Nativity, and our ornaments.

Pirate Party Appetizers

Recipes in This Post

Fruit Boats

Here, for your pleasure and review are pictures of some of the food served at Spane’s eighth birthday party. There will be pictures of the actual Birthday Boy soon.

Pirate's Balls with Sauce


These Caribbean meatballs were quite the hit. Spane asked me to make them again. Recipe for Caribbean Pirate Meat Balls

Fruit Boats

These just looked so lovely. My original intent was just to have the banana slice and orange quarter, and Douglas came back from the store with these lovely red grapes. They made the dish!

Recipe: Fruit Boats

Ingredients

  • 4 oranges
  • 2 Bananas
  • 12 grapes
  • Toothpicks

Instructions

  1. Cut the oranges into quarters. Make twelve banana slices, each about 1/2 inch thick. Put a toothpick into the top of each orange quarter. Put a banana slice, and top with a grape. Serve on a nice, festive plate.

Quick notes

Red grapes look best.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegan

Number of servings (yield): 12

Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

Copyright © The Good Plate.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Skull Cheese Ball

This cheese ball was very simple to make. It’s a good way to get rid of little bits of cheese, nuts and dried fruit you might have laying about.

Pirate Cheese Ball

Ingredients

  • 1 package Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 lb Gorgonzola
  • 2 tablespoons Shredded Parmesan 1
  • 2 tablespoons Shaved Parmesan 1
  • Dried cranberries
  • Walnuts
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Pringles 2

Instructions

  1. Reserve 2 walnuts to make the skulls teeth.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine the cheeses, cranberries and remaining walnuts. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Cheeses in the mixer

  4. Put strips of wax paper on a nice serving dish to keep the dish clean. You will be removing it after decorating the skull.
  5. Shape the cheese ball into a skull, making impressions for the eyes and mouth.
  6. Pour black sesame seeds carefully into the eye sockets. Use the remaining walnuts for teeth.
  7. Remove the wax paper. Stick toothpicks about a quarter of the way into the cheese and cover with plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then remove the toothpicks and put Pringles around the skull to look like waves.

Quick notes

This is a great way to use up bits of cheese in your refrigerator.

Variations

2Plain Pringles look like waves when placed around the skull. They are optional. The chips are not sturdy enough to be used for the cheese, but are there for decoration only.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Number of servings (yield): 12

Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

Copyright © The Good Plate.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Rum (Cannon) Ball

These were a take off on the Oreo Rum Balls I made, only these used white creme cookies, and had spice flavorings. Here is the recipe.

Cucumber Boats

This is probably my favorite. In all the time I was thinking to myself, what could I stuff those cucumbers with, and then I thought egg salad would be good. As I removed the egg yolks from the whites, I realized that the whites would make proper sails, and the black olives were the Jolly Rogers.

Jolly Roger of Rack Rachham

I have a whole post about making this cake. It was really fun and everyone loved it!

Jolly Roger Cake of the Pirate Rack Rachham with Cannon Balls

Recipes in This Post
Jolly Roger Pirate Chocolate Cake

Jolly Roger of Rack Rachham

I just love marzipan. It is so forgiving, easy to work with, and delicious. As a child living in Germany, I remember every year at Christmas time, the bakeries would put out a nativity scene made from marzipan, with the structures made from gingerbread. These were true artisans. So, when I decided to make a Jolly Roger cake, I wanted to do something in that tradition.

Originally, I was going to make large cannon (rum) balls for Spane’s pirate themed party, but I soon realized that I could not put a candle on them the same way I could a cake. I still made the rum balls, and they turned out wonderful as well.

Making the cake was easy. I used my standard chocolate cake recipe, using Hershey’s Dark Cocoa, with the addition of a little Chipotle powder and Saigon cinnamon. Black food coloring made for an intensely dark chocolate.

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Cucumber Boats

Cucumber Boats

Recipes in This Post

I made these for Spane’s eighth birthday party, a pirate theme. I’m not much for egg whites, and this is a unique way to enjoy deviled eggs. The ground sumac really gives this appetizer the zip it needs.

These little boats are so delicious and festive looking that they could be the star of any holiday party. They are very easy to make, and would be wonderful to use up the colored eggs at Easter time. Children like them as a snack.

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Pirate Party Menu and Recipes

Jolly Roger

Jolly Roger of Rack Rachham

We’re going to have good pirate themes food for Spane’s Eighth Birthday Party on November 19, 2011. Just as I did for Spane’s seventh birthday, I have loaded up my Lotus Organizer and started my recipes and grocery list. I thought I would share the menu and recipes. Note that all of these recipes can be used for other occasions.

Pirate Party Menu

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Yo Ho Yo Ho – It’s a Pirate’s Life For Me

Jean Lafitte

Spane and his father, Douglas went to the store yesterday to get party supplies for Spane’s birthday party on November 19, 2011. I didn’t go along. They decided on a Pirate theme, so they got pirate party hats and pirate blowouts. They also got purple gift bags, and some fun party gifts. This morning, when I saw what they had gotten, I was a little taken back, but, now, I’m really getting into it.

So far in my searching, I have found out some interesting things. Did you know there is something called International Talk Like a Pirate Day? I didn’t, but now I do.

I’ve been having fun on Youtube downloading songs for the party. I’m listening to them as I type this. Here’s a link to it if you want to listen, Pirate Party Playlist.

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