St. Mikulás Dayby Angie

6 Dec 2007
10:12 pm

ShoesJaquie and her new mouseSt. Mikulás visited our house and – since we have been very good children – left our shoes full of presents! We got DVDs and popcorn and hot chocolate and candy, and Jaquie got new toys that she adores. Her favorite is a set of three catnip mice – Jim detached one little mouse from the cardboard and she went crazy playing with it, and a few minutes later was trying to get the other two mice out of his shoe, where he had set them aside! We got a picture of her attacking the mouse, but when we tried to get a video of it, she stopped and walked away in a huff.

We had our Mikulás Feast last night because tonight we had choir rehearsal. I made cider and soft ginger cookies to share with everyone, in honor of it being St. Mikulás Day, and we got to tell everyone about the Hoffmans’ traditions and background. Everybody was pleased with the treats and very grateful, and I enjoyed doing it but…note to self: don’t try cooking big meals and treats for 60 people two days in a row. I am exhausted, and my poor kitchen looks like a whirlwind waltzed through it.

Mikulás Feast (and Try-Me-Night!)by Angie

5 Dec 2007
9:12 pm

Today was wonderful! I spent – literally – most of the day preparing for this evening’s Mikulás Feast. We invited our friends, the Bradleys, to join us and I planned to make five dishes – three of which, I’d never made before! Jim’s favorite part of the traditional feast is the Ham Stack, so I had to go to a specialty meat market this morning to buy ground ham (because a regular supermarket butcher is not allowed to grind both raw and cooked meats). The gentlemen at Kelly’s Meat Market were so helpful and pleasant! Anyway, besides that, I already had all my shopping done, so I could go home and get right to work. Here was our menu:

Our Mikulás FeastA 16-layer Ham Stack – Alternating layers of palacsintas (kind of like crepes) with a mixture of ham in bechamel sauce. I’ve helped with this one in past years, so it was familiar. I made the ingredients and Jim stacked it up.

Voros Kaposzta – Red cabbage, braised in butter & vinegar. Kristyn took over for me on this one and it turned out great! Well, those who like red cabbage thought it was great.

Kathy’s Goulash – Beef in a sour cream red sauce over hot buttered pasta. This is a regular favorite at our house, especially because it cooks in the crock pot all day and is super easy.

Krumpli Nudli – Potato noodles rolled in breadcrumbs. These are a lot of work! I know, I was forewarned . . . but Jim loves them, so I thought I’d give them a try. By the time I was done rolling the noodles, I thought my arms were going to fall off! They tasted wonderful, though, so I’m afraid I’ll be making them again in the future. 🙂

Hungarian Stuffed Peppers – Bell peppers filled with meat, rice, and aromatics. This was not one of the traditional dishes Jim grew up with, but I wanted to try it. This link goes to the original recipe, but (of course) I played around with it a bit. Instead of ground meat, I used kielbasa (polish sausage) and it was delicious! The recipe also calls for “paprika gravy,” which looked pretty strange to me, not to mention huge…so I changed that a lot. I left out the anaheims, only used 2 cups of beef stock (instead of 6), and a few tablespoons of corn starch (instead of 3/4 cup flour). I ended up with a tangy, creamy paprika gravy that we used on our peppers, with plenty left over. It was also great on the krumpli nudlis, actually.

The Cooks of the Mikulás Feast!

After dinner, Jim read us the Mikulás chaper from Kate Seredy’s “The Good Master.” Kathy will be gratified to know that the very same parts that always make her cry got Jim a tad choked up, too. When he finished, we discovered that Mikulás had left treats in the Bradleys’ shoes, which we had set out on the windowsill! Their two-year-old daughter, Emily, loves toy cars, so that was her present. She played with them while Jim & Justin played Guitar Hero and Kristyn & I played with little Maddie (and chased Emily around). When it was time to go, Emily was pleasantly surprised to learn that she really got to keep the cars and take them home! All in all, it was a wonderful evening. I’m glad our first Mikulás Feast was such a great success!

Thanksgiving Feastby Angie

23 Nov 2007
10:11 pm

What a Thanksgiving Feast we had today! We wanted to eat at about 1pm, so we all started pitching in this morning. Kelly already had the turkey brined, Kathy woke up early to start deviled eggs, and while I started toasting bread for stuffing, my sweet husband made me scrambled eggs for breakfast. He also looked up napkin-folding online and directed the folding of the cloth napkins to help make the table look lovely. We all spent the next few hours cooking, cleaning, chasing children, and asking Kelly for directions about her kitchen. We had additional guests over for dinner: Joseph & Kelly’s Bishop and his wife joined us and stayed into the evening for pie and treats.

After dinner, we shared things we were grateful for and all helped in cleaning up. Kathy, Jim, Jon, and I made a run to the store to pick up more firewood and some marshmallows, which we brought home and put to immediate use. We talked, played games, ate some more, and cleaned some more, until we were all plum tuckered out… which brings me to now. It’s only 10pm, but it’s been a long day, so I think I’ll say goodnight. Here’s hoping everyone had a wonderful, delicious Thanksgiving!

Portlandby Angie

22 Nov 2007
7:11 pm

Here we are in Portland, visiting Joseph & Kelly (Jim’s brother and sister-in-law) for Thanksgiving. It’s a big Hoffman family gathering, since Jim’s parents and brother, Jon, are all here to celebrate with us. Jim and I left at about 7am, and were met at the Portland Airport by Jon and Roger, who had just flown in from Utah as well. Here at Joseph and Kelly’s house, we spent the afternoon cooking, chatting, and taking turns with the little boys (Isaac and baby Eli). As Kelly and I were making dinner, we sent the men out to gather firewood, so this evening we could enjoy a fire in their old-fashioned wood-burning stove.

Dinner was… Jambalaya! Ok, I’m teasing. Well, we did have jambalaya for dinner, but that’s because we’re going to have our traditional Thanksgiving feast (read: “turkey”) tomorrow, when we’ll have the whole day together to prepare it. Now that we’ve eaten and cleaned up dinner, Jim and Jon are working on our cozy fire.

Despite our delayed feast, I’d like to end my Thanksgiving Day post with some of my most precious blessings: I am so grateful for my wonderful husband, my amazing family (on both sides!), and for the gospel that has blessed every day of my life. We’ve been so blessed, in this new phase of our lives, to have a job and a fair amount of security, and a wonderful ward and new friends to help us along.

Happy Thanksgiving!