I have debated with myself for weeks about today's Friday Five.
Self 1: It should be deep and theological.
Self 2: But it's almost Christmas, it should be fun and warm and sweet.
Self 1: But your last Friday Five was sort of silly. You should show your more serious side.
Self 2: You worry WAY too much!
So after consulting with my fourteen year old daughter, we're going playful, pals o' mine! I love stories, so I hope you'll tell some about your favorite Christmas memories.
What was one of your favorite childhood gifts that you gave?
Gee, I dunno...that was a long time ago! But this year we've taken a child's table and chairs that were Ben's when he was a child, painted them (apple green with blue and purple polka dots!), and are passing them on to Jamie the Exceptional One.
What is one of your favorite Christmas recipes? Bonus points if you share the recipe with us.
Hmmm...this is like giving away a family secret. But here goes. Ben's favorite meal is my cranberry glazed pork loin roast with macaroni and cheese (also homemade, thank you very much) and green beans. So here's a two-fer:
Cranberry Glazed Pork Roast
Melt one can of jellied cranberry sauce (no berries) in a small saucepan with about 1/2 cup orange juice. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute. Remove from heat.
Salt and pepper both sides of a 3-3 1/2 lb boneless pork loin roast and place in roasting pan. Spoon cranberry glaze over roast, and cook uncovered in 350 F oven until internal temperature reaches about 160-165 F. Remove from oven and allow to rest. Top with more cranberry glaze. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.
Macaroni and Cheese
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp pepper
2-1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp Margarine or butter
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded American or Cheddar cheese, divided
8 oz. Mueller's Elbows (about 2 cups), cooked 5 minutes and drained
In medium saucepan combine corn starch, salt, dry mustard and pepper; stir in milk.
Add margarine. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Stir in 1-3/4 cups (425 ml) cheese until melted. Add elbows. Pour into greased 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
Bake uncovered in 375 degree (200 C.) oven 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
What is a tradition that your family can't do without? (And by family, I mean family of origin, family of adulthood, or that bunch of cool people that just feel like family.)
Being together. As long as I can remember, I've been able to have Christmas with my mother, my sister, and often my dad (the 'rents have been divorced for 30 years...I don't always see him Christmas Day, but usually I do). This year, there will be Mom and Dad, Sister and brother-in-law, me and Ben...and Jamie! It can't get any better!
Pastors and other church folk often have very strange traditions dictated by the "work" of the holidays. What happens at your place?
Not much. Because we're both clergy, we're often juggling ridiculous numbers of services. Case in point: last year, between the two of us, there were 9. When we can, we try to take part in one service together. This year, that will be 11pm candlelight worship at his place.
If you could just ditch all the traditions and do something unexpected... what would it be?
Rent a house in the mountains. No gifts, except for Jamie. Just us, and some great movies, a hot tub, maybe skiing for the intrepid, building a snow person, popcorn and hot cocoa and pork roast. Mmmm.