Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Macaroons

A holiday favorite! The maraschino cherries give the macaroons a festive look and this year I added some white chocolate chips because I didn't have enough semi-sweet and they were delicious!


1/2 c. chopped maraschino cherries
2 eggs
1/8 t salt
3/4 c. sugar
2 t vanilla
1/3 c. flour
2 c. flaked coconut
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Extract as much juice as possible from the chopped cherries ( I use a strainer and spoon and then paper towels)

2. Grease baking sheets (they are pretty sticky if you skip this step) and preheat oven to 325 degrees

3. Beat eggs and salt until light

4. Beating constantly @ medium speed add sugar 1/4 c. at a time, beating well in between additions

5. Beat until thick, pale ribbons form (around 5-10 min)...gets a little exhausting!

6. Fold in vanilla, flour, coconut, chocolate chips and cherries!

7. Bake 15-19 minutes or until golden brown, cool on racks

I like them a few minutes after they come out of the oven, but they'll keep fresh for a few days or you can freeze them for later. Watch out...they go fast!

Calico Beans

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This recipe is full of beany goodness! Be careful not to over-indulge! You can make it in a crockpot or over the stove. I brought it as a side to a family Christmas party, and left the hamburger out to make it a little lighter.


1 large can of Pork and Beans (32oz)
1 can of kidney beans (16oz)
1 can of lima or butter beans (16oz) - I prefer butter
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp mustard
2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 lb hamburger
1/4 lb bacon

Brown hamburger, bacon and onion
Drain grease
Add beans (drained with little juice)
Add the rest
Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours or in crockpot

Callahan, Walker, Hoogestraat Christmas

We had a fun get-together this year for Christmas at Patty's house. We stepped it up a notch and had some ice breaker like games. The first was having to guess what was written on a piece of paper on your back by asking yes or no questions. Of course, all the questions were "farm related." I had the hardest time guessing "electric fence." I guess I'm a city-slicker. There was a coloring contest as well. Jennie won with a psychedelic coloring scheme...not sure what her farm was growing! I brought Calico Beans and made Cherry Chocolate Coconut Macaroons. I'll post both recipes in another post. Some highlights - playing Hoity Toity (and losing...again), making my cookies, seeing some old pictures of Grandma and Grandpa that Kara had used in a scrapbook, watching the dogs entertain us all with their wrestling, playing apples to apples, staying late to talk with Patty, Kara and Kelson. It's too bad we don't have more get-togethers...they sure are fun.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Gift - Summer Tote Bag

I made a simple tote bag for my Mom and Kendra this year. I hadn't sewn a bag before, but found this pattern simple and easy to follow. The bag is perfect for carrying school papers or groceries and I like it because you can wear it on your shoulder or you can carry it in your hand and it doesn't brush the ground. Lucky for me I had time to make them during the snow days before we left for California! Of course, I chose bright summery prints...thinking it would be a great bag to take to the beach! I made the two simultaneously and it took me only a few hours (and I'm pretty slow!). I think to improve the bag for carrying groceries I would make that base a bit wider and add something to maintain its shape. If you're interested in making one for yourself, I found the tutorial at the Sew, Mama, Sew blog (one of my favorites!). I'm already dreaming of warm summer days...rain, rain go away!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Slideshow

"Our Deepest Fear"

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others

I heard a modified version of this passage again today when watching Akeelah and the Bee (a rental from the library, which I highly recommend!)

Memorable quotes for
Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

Akeelah: [quoting Marianne Williamson] Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Dr. Larabee: Does that mean anything to you?
Akeelah: I don't know.
Dr. Larabee: It's written in plain English. What does it mean?
Akeelah: That I'm not supposed to be afraid?
Dr. Larabee: Afraid of what?
Akeelah: Afraid of... me?

This quote always seems to get under my skin. I hear its truth, but am unable to respond to it. Fear has always been my greatest enemy.

A little more information:

Our Deepest Fear Is Not That We Are Inadequate...
This widely acclaimed poem is actually not a poem at all, but an excerpt from A Return To Love, a book by motivational speaker and author Marianne Williamson. The passage has such inspirational power that it is now a stand-alone mantra for a generation of exceptional individuals who wish to motivate themselves and others to live up to their fullest potential.

The words "deepest" is often replaced with "greatest" in reprints of the passage, although the original uses "deepest", as seen below. "Our Deepest Fear", as it is best known, is a cultural phenomenon as it is quickly becoming one of today's most well known sagacious quotes from an author who is still living.

Merry Christmas!

A Walker/Hoogestraat Christmas get-together. We had fun sipping lattes and eating delicious desserts!
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Friday, December 26, 2008


Luke and Kendra gave me the gift of Italian cooking this Christmas - A cookbook by Giada de Laurentiis, called Giada's Kitchen. Her style is described as "Italy meets California," which in my opinion, you can't go wrong there. Immediately upon opening the book, I came across a recipe for Pomegranate and Cranberry Bellinis, which sounds like the perfect addition to the holiday table. I was particularly drawn to the recipe because they contain Prosecco, a light Italian sparkling wine that I remebering enjoying with Emily at a quaint wine bar in Venice. Lucky for us Red Apple was open and so my dad and I were able to pick up almost all of the ingredients! Unfortunately, they didn't have any mint or pomegranate seeds to use as garnish. We made it work though and the drink was delicious (Kendra and I loved it at least!) and it looked beautiful on the holiday table!

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

This was one of the books I checked out from the library to read over break and I have to say, it is filled with interesting information about what happens when you donate your body to science after you die. Each chapter is on a different topic, so I've been skipping around in the book, reading the parts that interest me. The chapter I found most fascinating was the one where they studied the decomposing cadavers to find information about the rate of decomposition to use for forensic investigations. However, I don't find it interesting enough to work in the field for a living.

The whole book got me thinking about what happens to our bodies when we die. I knew that we decompose, but I really hadn't ever considered how that happened. The book reminded me of all the bacteria living on and in us and as soon as we die, we can't keep their populations in check and our tissues become the ultimate feeding ground.

It is a catchy book written for anyone interested in learning about the life of a cadaver...I recommend it (as long as you don't have a queasy stomach!)

Here is a brief synopsis of the book:

An oddly compelling, often hilarious forensic exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers--some willingly, some unwittingly--have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery, cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way. In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries--from the anatomy labs and human-sourced pharmacies of medieval and nineteenth-century Europe to a human decay research facility in Tennessee, to a plastic surgery practice lab, to a Scandinavian funeral directors' conference on human composting. In her droll, inimitable voice, Roach tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

More details
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
By Mary Roach
Published by W. W. Norton & Company, 2003
ISBN 0393050939, 9780393050936
303 pages

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

3 Snow Days and a Trip to LA

LA Trip

Click on picture to view album

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Seattle has been a Winter Wonderland the past week and I have reaped the benefits! School was cancelled Wednesday through Friday last week so I am now in the middle of a two and a half week break...although we will have to make-up the days feels great right now to have a bit of extra time off before Christmas. Of course, I made pancakes one morning to share with my roommates and took walks in the snow. It also gave me time to finish making Christmas presents and pack for LA.

Luke, Kendra and I left Friday afternoon to spend the weekend in LA with my Mom and Dad. My Dad was helping out at a basketball tournament in Anaheim and so we flew down to meet them. I was a little sad to leave the snow, but didn't mind the sun and mid-60's temperature! We went to Universal Studios on Saturday and Disneyland on Sunday. I wasn't that excited to do the theme park thing until I got there! Disneyland really is a magical place, especially at Christmas when everything is decorated. Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of the castle at night or the fireworks because the camera batteries died. sad. Space Mountain was scary...and made me a bit dizzy, but so worth it! Splash Mountain was wet. I was in the front and I got soaked down to the undies...we had to go back to the hotel and was that bad! Universal was great too...the theme was we saw some Who's and the Simpson's ride was pretty much amazing. We also went to a Waterworld show...where they acted out part of the movie. It was incredible! A plane crashed, people jumped off tall buildings into the water, jet skis were all over the place and there was fire! Hollywood is pretty cool.

All was well, until our flight was cancelled Monday due to snow at SeaTac. We weren't able to get on any flights over the next two days so we decided to road trip it in the rented mini-van. Dad and Luke drove the entire way, Kendra called her mom for road updates and hotel information, Mom and I sang Christmas songs in the back and I ate absurd amounts of candy! We stopped at In-N-Out for dinner and stayed the night in the Relax old 50's motel in Yreka! All in all it was quite an adventure and besides ice on the road in Salem it was pretty smooth sailing. Oh, except for the part when I got home first, followed by Mom and Kendra and we had to shovel out the driveway so we could get three cars in! The girls did most of the work before Luke and Dad showed up! (I think they planned that out purposefully!) I'm just so thankful to be home for Christmas. It was a crazy adventure, but one I would do again!

LA Slideshow

House Elves!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

You definitely need to check this out and send to friends and family!


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