So many greetings appropriate to today: Happy new year, Blessed solemnity of the Theotokos, and of course Merry eighth day of Christmas! We've been celebrating our way through the Christmas season here in the Shifflerhaus, but today has been extra special for the solemnity: we went to Mass, had a lovely herbed pork loin with padahae and green salad for dinner, and I sang the Akathist to the Theotokos this evening all the way through. I absolutely love that hymn!
We've also been enjoying some absurdly warm weather all week, which is sure nice after the cold we had leading up to Christmas, but lately it's been too warm; I took the kids for a walk yesterday, and it was 40 degrees out! We don't want the snowpack starting to melt for months yet; the roads will be awful for the rest of the winter if they get icy now. Little Bear, though, has been very happy with the warmth: he's outside playing every chance he gets!
Do you have your 2016 patron saint yet? This year, Jen Fulwiler's saint generator gave me St Honoratus, which made me laugh—he's the patron saint of bakers, and I spend a lot of time baking! I'm looking forward to learning more about him this year.
Actually, I could definitely benefit from his intercession these days. Little Kit and I are still off dairy, and my success/failure record with dairy-free baking has been pretty sharply divided. Sandwich bread, hamburger buns, fruitcake, and Christstollen have all turned out perfectly; all of the non-dairy sweets that I've tried, though, have met an abrupt and inglorious end in the trash can. Well, the disastrous attempt at almond milk tapioca pudding went down the disposal instead, but same thing. Homemade sweetened condensed coconut milk is delicious, we learned, but melting in chocolate chips and letting it set up does not produce what Matt and I had in mind as proper fudge. And the cookies just... Matt finally suggested that we just make a second batch of fruitcake and forget about Christmas cookies this year, so that's what we're doing.
If I was a coffee drinker, though, I think I'd be tempted to make this stuff all the time, it's so good. Decadent. Amazing. We've already established that I do not like it with chocolate, but I might have to come up with some other way of drinking it (without drinking it straight, though that sounds delicious) so I can justify making some more. And it's so easy:
Pour one can of full-fat coconut milk into a small pot with a quarter cup of whatever sweetener you want—I used honey—and bring it to a boil over medium heat for five minutes. Then reduce the heat and just let it simmer until it reduces by half. Mine probably took closer to an hour than to 45 minutes, but I imagine different sweeteners and different stoves could change cooking times, so keep checking it once you pass a half hour.
On Christmas Eve, Matt let Kit play with the rim of his water glass, and ever since, any time one of us picks up a glass while we're holding her she lunges for it, both hands grasping the sides, and tries to pull it to her mouth. She makes the funniest faces and sounds, burbling conversationally as she gnaws on the rim, trying to stick her tongue in to reach the water, but sometimes I just want to drink from a glass that's not full of baby drool, you know? But she's so cute, we usually wind up letting her play.
I suppose I've skipped over the obligatory acknowledgement that we had a lovely Christmas Day, which we did, and are continuing to have a jolly Christmastide, which we are. I hope all of our Christmas morning photos are on Matt's phone, because I don't seem to have any! This is a fair example of what most days since have looked like, though: Little Bear and Kit playing together. So far he's been very good about sharing with her, and she's very enthusiastic about watching whatever he's doing.
Blessed solemnity, happy new year, and a merry rest of the Christmas season to everyone! You can find more quick takes linked up at This Ain't The Lyceum.