Cracking Eggs...and Breaking More Chains
The girls and I have spent the day cooking and baking - our first Christmas doing these kinds of projects together.
We put together the egg casserole for tomorrow's post-gift-opening brunch, which is now "soaking" in the fridge (to be baked tomorrow morning). It's actually my mother-in-law's recipe and is great to use if you want a substantial, fancy-looking entree that is very simple to make (see recipe below). The girls helped with measuring and pouring and - best of all to them - crumbling the bacon.
Then we baked and decorated Jesus' birthday cake...which has so many sprinkles that we may all need to schedule emergency dentist visits for Friday. :^) And, as if that were not enough sweet stuff, we also made almost four dozen cut-out sugar cookies!
Since the girls' very first Christmases, I've made Jesus' cake each year, and they have helped to decorate it for the past couple of years. But this is the first year we actually made it together - with the girls cracking eggs (most of which got into the bowl!), pouring water and oil, trying desperately to hold onto the electric mixer without flinging batter all over the kitchen, and figuring out how to get more frosting on the cake than on their fingers.
We've never done other Christmas baking together – in fact, this is the first year that I've ever made my own cut-out cookies (so the icing is an experiment that I hope turns out!). But I knew they were ready and eager to do so. And so, as I write, they are slathering the cookies with icing and frosting as only a 6- and 7-year old can.
As for cooking, they have helped me here and there with various parts of dinner, and they often ask to help more. So now I've seen with today's endeavors that they can, indeed, do more.
As we watched one batch of cookies through the oven door, they asked if I baked with my mother. They were not surprised to hear that, no, the idea never even came up. They know just enough of my childhood to know that it was "hard," and each has a child's empathy for me, along with incredulity that a parent could be "mean." And for that I am forever grateful to the Lord...because it means He's enabled me to break generational chains enough - despite my "crabby mommy" moments – which has been (and continues to be) my primary mission as a momma.
We've decided we will continue all these traditions next year. Today, we put the egg casserole together from scratch and I mixed up the icing (using a recipe I found online), but the cake batter and frosting were courtesy of Pillsbury, and the cookie dough mix was made in the grocery store's bakery. Next year I think I'll try to make at least one or the other from scratch. And, who knows? Maybe I'll yet become really comfortable in the kitchen.
But that's not my goal in all of this. Rather, I delight in knowing that the girls have stored up some happy memories of this Christmas Eve day...and that we'll make more good memories in years to come.
2 c. croutons
1 c. shredded cheese
2 c. milk
1/2 t. seasoned salt
1/8 t. onion powder
4 eggs, beaten
4 slices bacon
Mix together croutons and cheese and place in a greased 6 x 10 pan. Combine remaining ingredients except bacon. Pour over croutons and cheese. Brown bacon and crumble over everything. NOTE: This must be refrigerated overnight. Bake at 350 for one hour. Serves 6.
May easily be doubled or even quadrupled.