German Christmas Bread (Stollen)

My mom used to make stollen each year for the holiday. I haven't made it in a long time, but this year, being a bit more homesick for family and friends in the USA, I decided to make it again.

I found a great recipe at allrecipes.com. (Old Fashiioned Stollen) Below is my rendition of this recipe. This recipe calls for three risings, but it is excellent and well worth the effort! I put frosting on top, too!!! YUM!!!!!!


Ingredients

* 1 1/2 cups milk (or 1 1/2 cups water and 6 T milk powder) * 1/2 cup sugar * 1 1/2 teaspoons salt * 2 teaspoons lemon flavouring or pineapple flavouring * 3/4 cup butter * 1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast (or 1 T yeast) * 1 teaspoon white sugar * 1/4 cup warm water * 2 eggs * 2 egg yolks * 5 2/3 cups all-purpose flour * 1 cup raisins I've been adding one cup candied fruit like my mom used to add, along with one cup of raisins. I've been leaving out the nuts - they are expensive here) * 1/2 cup chopped nuts * 1 egg, beaten

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, heat milk until hot, but not boiling; mix in 1/2 cup sugar, salt, lemon zest, and butter. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. In a small bowl, mix together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 cup water; stir into milk. Beat in 2 eggs and egg yolks. Mix in 3 cups flour. Cover, and let rise in a warm place. 2. Mix in the raisins and nuts. Gradually mix in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Place dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover, and set aside to rise. 3. Divide dough into 3 balls. Roll each ball out into a thick log, braid, and tuck the ends under. Place on a large cookie sheet, and set aside to rise one more time. 4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Brush beaten egg over the dough. It gives a shine to it. 5. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Reflections on Books

I am currently reading several excellent books!


Randy Alcorn's book "Money, Possessions and Eternity" has me rethinking how I use what God has provided for us; how best to build for eternity by helping those in need here on earth; how to be better in showing hospitality to others; and how to raise my kids to realize that each deed done here on earth is building for eternity - whether good or bad. This is an excellent read and I highly recommend it.


"Conformed To His Image" by Kenneth Boa is about 12 facets of spiritual formation. This book is actually a college text book but not dry or boring in any way. This book helps develop a fuller, holistic Biblical foundation for our lives.


I just also started reading "Intimate Allies" by Dan Allendar and Tremper Longman III. It's a book about God's design for marriage and becoming soul-mates for life. It seems to me that marriages have seasons they go through. And some seasons require more committed work to keep the friendship, love and passion going than other seasons. (But don't worry - thought Kurt and I have walked rough paths in our marriage, we are doing well - there is always room for improvement and we are working toward that end. Another great book is "Hold Me Tight" by Dr. Sue Johnson!) [ I want to learn all I can about being a better wife and friend to Kurt - - especially when reflecting that marriage is a type and shadow of Christ's relationship to us, His church!]

So, if you need a book to read this holiday season, I recommend these!

Package Arrival

We always enjoy getting a box from the states.
One recently came with Christmas gifts in it!


Kurt gets a good workout carrying it up the stairs to our house!


'The guys' cutting through the tape to get to the contents!


A cute Christmas decoration we put on display on top of a book
shelf in the sala (living room).

Reading cartoons from the State's Sunday Paper is a big hit!

James and Jerard enjoying new toys!

Most of the contents were wrapped to be opened on Christmas
Day, but there were some things to be enjoyed immediately!
Kurt and I enjoyed some Starbucks after the hub-bub of
excitement over the package arriving calmed down!

Christmas Day Joyous by John Victor
Joy we behold on earth and in Heaven
Wonderful Yuletide, blessings from Him,
Joy everlasting gladden all hearts now
Bring to the world peace, goodwill to men--
Bring to the world peace, goodwill to men.

I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas...

A few days ago we had a "White Christmas" Party with some friends.
It's a tradition we carry on here in the Philippines that our pastor and his wife from our sending church in Michigan do every year. You invite some friends over.

Wearing of silly hats is a part of the fun.

Serve chili, chips and Christmas munchies.

Play the movie "White Christmas" - the 1954 film with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney.

It is a fun evening. Not many people actually watch the movie! We enjoyed talking with each other!

"God bless the ruler of this house, and send him long to reign,
And many a merry Christmas may live to see again;
Among your friends and kindred that live both far and near--

That God send you a happy new year, happy new year,
And God send you a happy new year."

Everything Will Be All Right

"Christmas is the promise that the God who came in history and comes daily in mystery will one day come in glory.
God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be all right.
Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive.
Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death;
he simply stated that the Kingdom of God would conquer all these horrors,
that the Father's love is so prodigal that no evil could possibly resist it."

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4

-from "Reflections for Ragamuffins" by Brennan Manning; 1998.