Thanksgiving in Rolla

Ludi and London
Ludi and London

This year it worked out that I didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving. So we headed to down for a two-day celebration at my brother Justin’s. My youngest brother Jon still had to work Thanksgiving, but he and his wife Brittney were able to join us Thursday evening.

It was fun to have everyone together. The kids had lots of fun playing, we busted out the Jaguar for an NBA Jam tournament, we ate a lovely meal, we watched the Cowboys pull off a win, and we all got home safely again.

I’m thankful for such a nice Thanksgiving.

I didn’t photograph exhaustively, but here’s a slideshow of a few fun moments:

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Cider and a hike

There was a lot to do on this Saturday morning: it would be the final Ferguson Farmers Market, plus a “Homecoming” at the Little Creek Nature Area.

Yoli made waffles for breakfast, and then we hit the road for the market. Jadzia and Ludi decorated pumpkins; Yoli, Josie and Joseph listened to the live music; and I bought lots of goodies — apple cider, peppers, fresh ginger, garlic, ground beef, and green beans.

Then it was off to Little Creek. We have visited there many times over the years — it is a frequent field trip destination for preschool and elementary school kids in the Ferguson-Florissant school district.

But this time offered some new experiences. We got to drink nice, hot apple cider and eat some baked goods. Then a high schooler took us on a long hike around several of Little Creek’s trails. We got to see the pond and the actual creek, sites I had never seen on any of my previous visits. Along the way we gathered various items for a scavenger hunt for the three girls.

Ludi had been the one begging us to go to Little Creek in the days leading up to the event. As it turned out, the somewhat chilly hike was too much for her, and she was whiny for much of it. But then we went into the educational building to try some hands-on activities and she perked up. She got even more excited when we headed back to turn in our scavenger hunt bags and pick up little prizes.

We took a look at the apple cider press. We lamented that we had missed an earlier demonstration of how to make cider. And one of the Little Creek workers kindly put on one more demonstration, even though it was noon and the event was technically over. All the kids got to try crushing the apples, and then Jadzia and Joseph took turns with other children turning the press to squeeze out the liquid.

All in all, it was a fun morning. Here are some photos:

Syllabub

Today Yoli made a concoction called ‘syllabub’. It’s heavy cream with juice from 2 lemons and 1 orange, white grape juice and a half cup sugar. You whip the cream and add the other stuff.

This recipe came from the American Girls Felicity cookbook.

It was tasty!

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A menu fit for a princess

Jadzia’s most recent Scholastic book order form included a title called “Disney Princess: Royal Recipe Collection.” Just as the Disney marketing machine hoped, Jadzia was immediately intrigued.

Rather than purchase this book, Yoli checked to see if the library had a copy. They did, so we requested it.

This morning we began cooking our first recipes from it. Our breakfast was “Fairy Godmother Wands” (aka sliced French toast). The girls were eager to help prepare it, but quickly became “tired” once they started assisting. The toast was accompanied by an orange dipping sauce.

Later for “dinner” (our meals were way off their normal times today) we had “Get Your Work Done Smoothies” (a reference to Cinderella’s stepmother). We followed those with one of my recipes — black jewel popcorn topped with butter and freshly-grated parmesan.

The princess recipes we had today were decent, but overall I’m not especially enthusiastic about this book.

In contrast, tonight at the library I found a Felicity cookbook, from the colonial-era character in the “American Girls” series. The recipes are far more authentic and the book is more educational. We’ll probably try a few in a few days.

When cakes don’t come out right

Yoli wants everyone to know that her cakes don’t always come out right. Usually it’s because she forgets to add a key ingredient. Such was the case last night as she was baking a special cake for Valentine’s Day.

Yoli forgot to add sugar, but didn’t realize it until after she pulled the cake out of the oven and saw it had not risen very much. So she had to bake another one, this time with all the ingredients.

You can see a comparison of the good cake (left) and the messed-up one (right) in the photo above.

Fortunately, we have girls whose palates are not particularly discerning, especially when it comes to pastries.

Yoli offered them some of her “bread” and they have been happily chowing down on it ever since.