Wednesday, December 15, 2010

So all my best laid plans fell flat yesterday.  I learned once again that I really don't pay attention very well.  As I prepared to make Baklava I discovered that I had purchased puff pastry and not Philo dough--which is what I needed.  There is no Philo dough in our town.  So we made a dinner quiche instead, which filled up my skeptical husband (along with salad and french bread). 

Then we made a three layer peppermint bark that is making a believer out of me.  I don't like white chocolate.  This recipe is amazing.  It's from Orangette (a food blog).  The recipe is here toward the bottom of the post.  

My kids helped me coarsed chop the peppermint by smashing the candies with cans (it was fun and they didn't quit until I made them).  Then I spread each layer.  Mowg unwrapped 17, 1 ounce squares of chocolate--we're going to use the wrappers for snowflakes.  The kids helped sprinkle the peppermint on the 2 layers it went on.  They would have been a little more involved, but they were busy playing hide-n-seek with Dad.  The tiny girl gives a big thumbs up.  Mowg doesn't mind the peppermint candy.  Dad thinks it's quite good as well.  If I can find more white chocolate we'll make another batch.  I bought out the only store that had any white chocolate with cocoa butter in it.  I only bought 3 packages.  So I'm not hopeful.

Now for recommendations.   As I was gathering our Christmas Books to put in a basket (I've never done that before, but it's working pretty well).  I noticed a strong trend in secular books there and a pretty miserable offering with regard to religious ones.  This is in my own library mind you.  That's not to say there were none, just that there weren't many.  Part of this is that I have my favorite telling of the birth of the Savior in picture book form already. My dearest gave me Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki last year.  I love the ethereal nature of the water colors in it.  I have a few others that I like, but I want a few more that focus on things of a little more strongly religious nature.  I wondered what kind of story to look for.   Then it dawned on my that 2 of my favorite Christmas carols would make wonderful books.  So I started looking and it was slow going.  I did find 2 that I can say I really like.  The Friendly Beasts with illustrations by Tomie dePaola.  Normally I am not a big Tomie dePaola fan.  I just don't like his illustration style that much.  I love this book.  This illustrations are simple.  The text was hand lettered by the artist.  The beasts (do you know the carol?  "I said that Donkey, shaggy and brown...") have expressive faces.  I love the layout of the book.  Each animal has it's own two page spread where it's verse is written.  Almost as if it really is telling you what it did for the the baby Jesus.  Then you turn the page and the next 2 page spread the animal is doing what it just told you...or providing what it said it did.  No words.  Just the pictures.  I also love that that babe's presence is implied by Mary and Joseph and the manger rather than his face until the last 2 pages of the book.  It's wonderful!

The other one is Good King Wenceslas.    There are several versions out there and I just took a wild stab at this one: Good King Wenceslas.  Since Amazon has no pictures of this one here are a few from my book: 
A 2 page spread:


 I love the bleakness of the landscape and the contrast between the building interior and exteriors.
 You can't really see the "forest fence" in my picture of this, but it looks really cool in the book.
 Closer in...same as above.

Do you have any suggestions of favorite Christmas books?


mia said...

We read the book Good King is beautiful. I liked to get lost in the pictures and pretend I am there. =)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your Blog Chickie! You make me want to buy the books you talk about! You make them sooo apealing.
Merry Merry Holidaz to you, Moug, Tiny and your dear one....from the far north country;: "We LOVE you ALL"!