Sunday, March 28, 2010

taste and see: Easter story cookies

We don't have many traditions in our family. Routines, yes. Mild obsessions, sure. But traditions, not so many.

I love how hands-on, kid-friendly, and tasty these cookies are. They are super simple to make. But my favorite thing about these Easter story cookies is that, with the addition of each ingredient, you read Bible verses that relate to certain parts of the Easter story.

My kids loved this activity and each gravitated to a certain part of it. One liked the Bible reading.

The other liked the tape.

My only complaint is that the cookies are little devils to remove from the cookie sheet and it took all of my self-control to not use profanity (in front of my children, on a Sunday morning). Maybe next time I'll use some trusty PAM. Other ideas?

UPDATE: a reliable source suggested I try using parchment paper instead of wax paper to line the cookie sheets. Anyone wanna test this for me?

To be made the evening before Easter.

You will need:
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon

1) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

2) Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1 - 3.

1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face.

3) Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28 - 30.

28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

4) Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10 - 11.

10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

5) Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.

27A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.

6) So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

7) Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 - 15 minutes until stiff peaks are forms. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1 - 3.

18 "Come now, let us reason together,"
says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

3In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

8)Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheets. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57 - 60.

57As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,60and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.

9) Put the cookie sheets in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.

10) Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65 - 66.

65"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." 66So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

11) GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

0I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

12) On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1 - 9.

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm having an affair with PAM.

Please, don't tell anyone, but I can't stay away from Pam.

Or her friends.

I really meant to stay loyal to the olive oil pump.

Less waste. Less propellant. Less to add to the grocery list.

But then there's Pam. Looking at me. Whispering "I'm so convenient. I work so well. Think of eggs. Think of cakes." And I find myself reaching for her. Or one of her friends that's on sale.

And the olive oil pump shuffles back to her spot in the back of the cupboard, waiting for another day, another chance to prove herself. "Later," I assure her. "When we're having sweet potato chips. You're really good at sweet potato chips."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

sushi tutorial, part 1

Hopefully there will be a Sushi Tutorial, Part 2, that includes actual ingredients and recipes because not even the author of this post could recreate this amazing sushi with such sketchy instructions as these.

It all started one snowy day when I cornered my friend Mari and demanded that she invite me over and teach me to make sushi. She appeared delighted.

I brought the carrots and sesame seeds. She had the rest waiting for us when we arrived. Our four (combined) daughters played together, zipping in and out of the kitchen, while Mari patiently showed me how to lay the ingredients and roll everything up.

It goes something like this:
1) Make the rice. Cut in some vinegar (don't stir or mash the rice) and fan with a tupperware lid to help some evaporate. (see, this is very technical)

2) Fold and snap the nori sheets in half. Line one of those cool bamboo mats with plastic wrap and set a nori sheet on it. Scoop out some rice and lightly spread it over the nori sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

3) Flip this over and lay the ingredients of your choice in the middle of the nori sheet (she had steamed carrots, steamed asparagus, lettuce, sliced avocado, and even sliced hotdog to choose from). Spread a thin line of drained tuna mixed with mayo and onion along the middle.

4) Expertly wrap the bamboo mat so the sushi roll is tight. Set aside and make several more rolls.

Here's Mari herself. Doesn't she appear delighted?

5) Slice all the rolls into cute, little, one-inch sushis. Try not to pop them repeatedly into your mouth. Set on a dish and serve plain or with soy sauce.

We ate these immediately for lunch. I tried not to hog them all. Mari was so gracious and sent me home with a plate of sushi for Music Man. He ate them between the front door and the dining room table.