Boiled Custard

Many are familiar with egg nog being a popular Christmas beverage (picture Eddie on Christmas Vacation with his black dickey on under his white sweater and a reindeer punch glass), but my family grew up with the tradition of boiled custard. It is really hilarious to me, because I have concluded that you have to grow up drinking boiled custard to like it. NONE of the in-laws in my family like boiled custard (including my mother who would be considered a Bills in-law). But the bloodline loves it. I have very fond memories of my Great-Granny (Ruby Bills) bringing the boiled custard for Christmas every year. I was blessed to know her and to grow up in the same town. She is no longer with us, but her legacy of boiled custard certainly lives on, right Collin?

Boiled Custard

2 quarts of milk
1 3/4 c of sugar
6 whole eggs beaten well
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat milk almost to boiling point (in double boiler), add a quart of milk to the egg mixture (with sugar added), return back to the rest of the milk stirring constantly for about 10 minutes or until it coats a wooden spoon. Take off of burner and add vanilla.

Boiled Custard

Christmas Eve Shrimp Gumbo

A McKinzie tradition is to eat shrimp gumbo on Christmas Eve night.  Greg and I decided to let the tradition live on here in Arequipa for this McKinzie family.  The only difference is we have to use fresh shrimp because we are only 1 hour from the coast. Bummer. 😉

Christmas Eve Shrimp Gumbo

2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup flour
2 cups onion chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup parsley, chopped (optional)
¼ cup green onion tops, chopped (optional)

Mix oil and flour together in pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until light brown. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until brown. About the color of a penny or a little darker. Add onion, celery, garlic, parsley, green onion tops and bell pepper and saute about 2 min.  Add 1 ½ quarts hot water, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine then add 2 pounds raw, peeled and deveined shrimp and 1 can crab meat.  Simmer for at least 2 hours. It is better if you can make it the day before.

Christmas Eve Shrimp Gumbo

Mi Ultimo Dia de 2008

I have completed my last day of Spanish class for 2008! What a great feeling. It feels like I am on Christmas break now. I plan to continue with a private tutor after Christmas, but for now I will enjoy having days without class and homework due for the next day.
Many people ask, “So how is your Spanish?” I don’t particularly like answering this question, because I get tired of explaining that I have a long way to go. But for those of you that have studied Spanish or know anything about grammar, I have successfully completed all of the major rules of grammar, structure, and tenses. I have a long way to go on knowing all the vocabulary and verbs or perfecting my use of irregular verbs, but it is a good feeling to be able to check the list for grammar and structure.
Just to prove to you that I have covered them all, I will share an exercise that my teacher uses for me to practice all of the above. She gives me a verb, I have to conjugate it into all the tenses, and then form a sentence using that verb in each tense.
descubrir = to discover
descubro, descubres, descubre, descubrimos, descubren
Descubro nuevas cosas todos los dias en clase.
I discover new things every day in class.
descubri, descubriste, descubrio, descubimos, descubrieron
Cristobal Colon descubrio Las Americas en 1492.
Colombus discovered the Amicas in 1492.
Preterito Imperfecto
descubria, descubrias, descubria, descubriamos, descubrian
Mientras Cristobal Colon descubria tierras y mas tierras, sus provisiones se agotaban mas y mas cada dia.
While Columbus was discovering land after land, his provisions were depleting more and more each day.
Preterito Perfecto
he descubrido, has descubrido, ha descubrido, hemos descubrido, han descubrido
Has descubrido algo que ayude a mucha gente–a curarse del cancer.
You have discovered something that helps many people–a cure for cancer.
Pluscuam Perfecto
habia descubrido, habias descubrido, habia descubrido, habiamos descubrido, habian descubrido
Cristobal Colon y sus hombres habian descubrido tierra y mucha gente nueva que habian vivido en Las Americas.
Colombus and his men had discovered land and many new people that had lived in the Americas.
decubriria, descubririas, descubriria, descubririamos, descubririan
Descubriria algo que no quiero ver si voy alli.
I could discover something that I don’t want to see if I go in there.
Futuro (I have covered all of them, but I am only recording one tense of future)
descubrire, descubriras, descubrira, descubriremos, descubriran
Descubriran muchas nuevas cosas acerca de ellos mismos despues de que se casen.
They will discover many new things about themselves after they marry.
Now for the fun part… Subjuntivo!
descubra, descubras, descubra, descubramos, descubran
Ojala que los doctores descubran una cura para el cancer pronto.
I hope that the doctors discover a cure for cancer soon.
descubriera, descubrieras, descubriera, descubrieramos, decubrieran
En el supuesto de que el descubriera la cura para el cancer, mi amigo no se morira.
Supposing that he discovered the cure for cancer, my friend will not die.
Preterito Perfecto
haya descubrido, hayas descubrido, haya descubrido, hayamos descubrido, hayan descubrido
Pueda que hayas descubrido la cura si tu hubieses sido un doctor.
You could have discovered the cure for cancer if you had been a doctor.
Preterito Pluscuam Perfecto
hubiese descubrido, hubieses descubrido, hubiese descubrido, hubiesemos descubrido, hubiesen descubrido
Mucha gente no creen que otra persona hubiese descubrido Las Americas antes de Cristobal Colon.
Many people don’t believe that another person had discovered America before Colombus.
So, does that qualify 3 months of studies? If your answer is “no,” you need to come to Arequipa and try studying for yourself. 🙂 I look forward to working on different things after Christmas. I want to become more fluid with my speaking and better at reading out loud. We just started reading some stories this week, and we plan to use the Bible after Christmas. I am very excited about my break and reenergizing myself for next year’s lessons. Que tengas un buen dia!
Mi Ultimo Dia de 2008

Deborah’s Chicken Salad (Greg’s fave)

My oldest brother, Pat, chose a wonderful woman to marry.  We love Deborah for many reasons, but a great plus is the tradition of cooking that she received from her family.  Her family is made up of wonderful cooks and bakers.  Deborah’s mom, Donna, is actually the one that made my wedding cake.
Well, this is one of many recipes I need to add to my files.  We have left over roasted chicken from Thanksgiving, and this is a great way to use up the leftovers.  Deborah always serves her chicken salad over her homemade sourdough bread (a taste I am defiitely missing here in Peru).  Greg LOVES this version of chicken salad.  I plan to make it for my first time tomorrow.  Wish me luck…
Deborah’s Chicken Salad
This is one of those recipes that my sister-in-law just throws together.  She doesn’t really follow a recipe.  So if you try it, adjust it to how you want it to be.
1/4 –1/2 c mayo for every half cup of chicken (add chicken last)
celery salt or fresh celery (finely chopped with some salt, drain as much of the liquid as you can) 1 Tbsp of the fresh
onion powder or fresh onion—same as celery 1 Tbsp of the fresh
pepper to taste
Combine the above in a food processor and pulse until well-blended.
Add chicken last and pulse until well-combined but not pureed.  Take out and stir in chopped pecans, sliced grapes, or sliced apples.  Add lemon juice if you need to thin out the mixture.
Best served on homemade sourdough bread!
Deborah’s Chicken Salad (Greg’s fave)

Christmas is Coming

It is December 1, 2008, and I am enjoying sitting in my living room with our first family Christmas tree. Our family decorated together for Christmas for the first time this evening. What a special time. I had already put up the tree, but Ana “helped” place ornaments on the tree and Greg arranged the lights. I am listening to a Christmas medley of Martina McBride’s Christmas, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Kenny G, and the Mannheim Steamroller–all music that reminds me of Christmas in the states. We are, however, creating brand new McKinzie Christmas memories in Peru for Ana and any children we may have in the future. I am not exactly sure what all of those traditions will look like, but it is exciting to know that our first family Christmas is this year, and it will be in Peru.

Christmas is Coming