Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bellevue Pudding

Photo by Beverly Lindemann

My Aunt Bev made this for Christmas this year. It looked wonderful and I wanted to add it to our family recipes, so she sent me the recipe. She found the lovely holly at the lake (Crystal Pond, Eastford, CT) where my grandparents lived for many years. "This recipe is from Floy Meacham Tatem, my grandmother. It was served for every Christmas from my earliest memories. Grandma likely used an old coffee can to steam hers in. I have several molds that I have used. The Sunshine sauce is ladled over all the dessert selections you may have on your plate. The Hard Sauce recipe comes from Dad’s cousin Lib. I’ve never made it," writes Bev. 

Bellevue PuddingFloy Meacham Tatem
1 cup molasses 
1⁄4 cup shortening (original recipe is for oil or crisco, I prefer butter
1 cup milk
2 1⁄4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves (ground)
1 teaspoon salt 
1⁄2 cup nuts (pecans)
1 cup raisins*
  • Butter a mold (put a piece of wax paper into cover the bottom if using a plain can)
  • Sift dry ingredients.
  • Melt butter (or shortening).
  • Add the butter, molasses, milk and flour mixture alternately. 
  • Add nuts and raisins. Mix well.
  • Turn into a buttered mold, cover and steam in another covered container, for 2 hours. Keep water to half the depth of the mold, adding more HOT water as it cooks away. 
  • Cool to handle and turn out of mold onto a plate.
  • Serve warm with Sunshine Sauce. It is also delicious with hard sauce.
*Soak the raisins in brandy for at least 12 hours and longer if you have time. 

Sunshine Sauce, Floy Meacham Tatem
6 egg yolks or 4 whole eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups confectioners sugar
3 cups heavy cream
  • Beat egg whites, separately
  • Beat cream until stiff, separately
  • Beat yolks and 1/3 of the sugar together
  • Add the beaten whites, with 1/3 of the sugar
  • Fold in the beaten cream, with 1/3 of the sugar, and vanilla.

Hard Sauce, Elizabeth Tatem (AKA Cousin Lib)
6 servings
1⁄2 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
  • Cream the butter with the confectioners sugar, salt and rum to taste. 
  • Beat until light and fluffy.

Friday, December 26, 2014

New England Clam Chowder

The Fourth of July was not complete without having Great Grandma Floy's Clam Chowder at the lake. We would have it every year and Great Grandpa Harry Tatem liked it with orange or ginger ale soda. I've been wanting this recipe for a while and was very happy when my aunt emailed it to me. I decided I didn't need to wait another six months to make it, so we had it for Christmas dinner. We didn't have the traditional Royal Milk Lunch crackers, which aren't made any more, but I've heard that Burton’s Rich Tea Biscuits fill in very nicely.

New England Clam Chowder
Makes 4 qts.
¼ lb. salt pork
4 cups diced onions – sautéed in pork fat
4 cans minced clams
12 oz can or 2 - 8 oz bottles clam juice
6 cups diced potatoes
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk (or cream)**
  •  Chill salt pork in freezer for a little while to make it easier to dice. Dice and fry on low heat.
  • Add onions and sauté.
  • Add clam juice and juice from clams into mixture. Set clams aside.
  • Add clams and potatoes. Cook over low heat until tender (not more than 14 min.)
  • Add milk or cream and salt and pepper to taste.
*Grandma cooked the potatoes in clam juice and then added the onion/salt pork mix. I cooked it in all together as I can't imagine that it would make a difference.
**I usually use cream, rather than evaporated milk to avoid the BPA in can liners.

Floy Meacham Tatem
May 10, 1895 - March 18, 1989

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

{Maya and Kanu found toys in their stockings}
{many wonderful books came in the mail from family and friends}

{lighting the Christ candle}

{Malagasi Nativity}

{South Dakota Beeswax Nativity}

{Mexican Nativity}

{the wise men waiting on the side for Three Kings Day}
We had a wonderful Christmas! We decorated our Norfolk Island Pine tree yesterday. I picked it up at Home Depot and am hoping for it to grow into a nice big tree that we can use every year. Last night Pieter came to our bed around 3AM and snuggled back to sleep when I assured him it was still dark. We actually were able to stay in bed until 7AM! They loved the goodies and books they received from family and friends. Grandma sent some traditional gold covered chocolate coins that were a perfect addition to their stockings. Obviously, though, the snorkel sets took the prize. I'm still loving our reusable cloth Christmas bags for wrapping presents. They make wrapping so easy and I don't have to go buy any paper or ribbons year after year. After breakfast we lit the Christ candle and put Baby Jesus with all the nativity sets. The kids were pretty excited about that after waiting all through Advent.

Pieter also received a kayak paddle to use with the kayak that Papa fixed up for him these past few weeks. We packed up the car and drove to the beach. The non-existent waves were perfect for swimming and kayaking.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve at Plaza Colón

{Plaza Colón named after Cristóbal Colón AKA Christopher Columbus}

{dancing around one of the bronze ladies from Barcelona}

{upside down Christmas tree}
We spent Christmas Eve downtown looking at the lights on Plaza Colón. They were beautiful and they amazed the kids. Again and again I am amazed at Pieter's energy. He ran around the Plaza without stopping for at least 20 minutes. When I see him do this all I can think of is energetic puppies that run and run. They just loved the fountain and danced to the very loud music. We went over to the Mayor's Hall to see the nativity scene before leaving. All through the hall there were upside down Christmas trees. I have never seen this before. Ben is up on this, though. He said he read in the news that they are all the rage right now. Who knew?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Winter Solstice

We celebrated the Winter Solstice with a feast and fire at the beach. It was a beautiful night with friends and family. After dinner we gathered around the fire for a ritual to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new. If you are developing a Solstice ceremony, it is nice to see what others do. I gathered some prayers from online. Below is the text that we used.*

During Advent, we are called to settle into the exquisite darkness, to hibernate, rest and restore. This cycle was given to us at the Beginning. For years upon years, generations celebrated the changing of the seasons. At the winter solstice when the darkness shrouded the world and daylight waned to but a few grim hours, families and tribesmen would venture out into the bleak and bitter cold winter to harvest the yule log. They’d light it afire, beckoning the return of the sun on the darkest day of the year

We are invited to face the darkness in our own lives and in the world around us. The prophets assure us that the darkness will not overcome us. They call us to watch for the light, notice the Light, and be warmed by its rays. We are called to wait, to hope, to trust in promises made. As we make this Advent journey, we claim we come alive in both the light and the darkness. 

There is a winter in all of our lives, a chill and darkness that makes us yearn for days that have gone or put our hope in days yet to be. Seasons are created for a purpose. Spring is full of expectation, buds breaking, frosts abating and an awakening of creation before the first days of summer. The sun gives warmth and comfort to our lives, reviving aching joints, bringing color, new life and crops to fruiting. Autumn gives nature space to lean back, relax and enjoy the fruits of its labor, mellow colors in sky and landscape as the earth prepares to rest. Then winter, cold and bare as nature takes stock, rests, unwinds, sleeps, until the time is right. 

An endless cycle and yet a perfect model. We need a winter in our lives. A time of rest, a time to stand still. A time to reacquaint ourselves with the faith in which we live and breathe. It is only then that we can draw strength from the one in whom we are rooted, take time to grow and rise through the darkness into the warm glow of springtime, to blossom and flourish, bring color and vitality into this world. 

From the rising of the midwinter moon,
may darkness and light dance together, O Shining One.

In this season, make us short on grumpy thoughts,
long on sharing of words of gentleness.

Make us short on being rushed,
long on attentiveness.

Make us short on seeing what’s right before us,
long on peering into the horizon.

Make us short on out-of-control to-do lists,
long on savoring kindness.

Make us short on overlooking the dark sky,
long on gazing at the twinkling stars.

Make us short on tradition as a habit,
long on re-owning and re-creating.

Make us short on ignoring the hungry,
long on making a delicious meal. 

Make us short on rushing,
long on wondering and pondering.

Make us short on walking past those sleeping in the cold,
long on sharing blankets and hot tea.

Make us short on longing for what’s next,
and long on savoring the darkness.

Leave Behind
It is a time to think of something you wish to leave behind. Once you know what you want to leave behind, throw the leaf into the fire.

Hope for the Year Ahead
Our next leaf symbolizes wisdom and all that we hope for in the year ahead. Take a moment and think of the positive things you wish to focus on in the year ahead, then thrown in the leaf.

May the sun, moon and stars glow on you like a great fire.
May you rest and hibernate in the exquisite darkness.
May you and the whole of the planet be yoked to new life through God’s holy light and holy darkness.

Ring the Bells
Close the ceremony with a ringing of the bells.
*Much of this comes from Exquisite Darkness: A Winter Solstice Liturgy created by Ashley Goff and Rob Passow, Church of the Pilgrims (PCUSA) in Washington, D.C.
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