Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas! 

our Christmas update:

     We have had a fairly uneventful 2012 and that is a good thing!
     Christopher & Brett are a part of our farming/ranching business.  Christopher has also added a feedlot to his business.  Brett would like to get into the farming enterprise, but has yet to find any land to rent.  It is nice to have them with us. 
     Christopher & Paige live in Donnybrook.  Paige works in Minot as Ward County Extension Agent focusing on the agriculture areas.  
     Brett lives with us, though he can’t wait to get rid of us.
     Annette’s parents are doing pretty well.  Dad turned 85 on the 18th.  Mark & Annette along with a few other family members made some surprise visits to Arizona.
     Mark’s mom was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2011.  It was extremely hard on her knees.  She now has two new knees and we hope this will help her considerably. 
     That is about all for our year.  We look forward to hearing from you.

       Wishing you a healthy and wonderful 2013.

                             The Rockeman Family

Here is one of the treats that I made for Christmas goodies this year:

Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.
Note: This dough must be prepared in advance. Pasteurized eggs are recommended for food safety reasons. The Swedish cookies are also known as Choklad Biskvier. Our 2011 winner is from Beth Jones of Owatonna, Minn.

For cookies:
• 2 (7-oz.) tubes almond paste, cut into small pieces
• 2 egg whites
• 1/2 c. granulated sugar

For filling:
• 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
• 1 c. powdered sugar
• 2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 2 pasteurized egg yolks (see Note)
• 4 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

For chocolate coating:
• 10 to 12 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate
• 2 to 4 tsp. vegetable oil or melted butter

To prepare cookies: In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat almond paste and egg whites until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a small scoop, form dough into balls (or drop by heaping teaspoons) and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Moisten the flat bottom of a glass with water, dip into granulated sugar and carefully press prepared glass bottom into dough balls, flattening dough; repeat with remaining dough. Bake until lightly brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare filling: Line baking sheets with wax paper.
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolks and cocoa powder, and mix until smooth (scraping down sides of bowl as necessary), about 2 minutes. Using a small knife, spread about 1 tablespoon filling on top of each cookie, making a rounded top. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To prepare chocolate coating: Break chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler over gently simmering water (or in a microwave oven), melt chocolate. Whisk in 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (or melted butter), adding more to reach desired consistency. Let mixture cool for a few minutes, then dip tops of cookies into chocolate mixture, holding onto almond base. Return cookies to prepared baking sheets and refrigerate until chocolate hardens, at least 30 minutes. Store in refrigerator and serve chilled.
SOURCE:  Star Tribune  28 Nov 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A week of surprises in Arizona

My Dad just turned 85 years old.  It was time to give him a few surprises!! 

My eldest brother and some of his family flew to Apache Junction, AZ on Thursday, Dec. 13.  They had lined up a ride from the airport to Mom & Dad's winter home.  My niece knocked on the door and Grandpa could hardly believe his eyes!!  They took Mom & Dad on a couple of little tourist outings and returned to Minot on Sunday, the 16th. 

Mark & I, along with my sister and her daughter, boarded that same plane and headed to AZ.  Again, the granddaughter knocked on the door and surprised her grandparents!   Oh, it is so fun to pull off surprises like this!!  We were in Apache Junction for Dad's birthday on the 18th.  It was fun to celebrate with him and Mom and some of their friends.  We returned home on Thursday the 20th.

Dad & Mom

This niece is attending North Dakota State University (NDSU) majoring in Architecture.  We took time one morning to tour the Arizona home (Taliesin West) of Frank Lloyd Wright, a well known architect.  It was amazing to see the futuristic work of this man. 

(click on the photos to see them better)

Entrance to Taliesin West
entrance into the house (from the south)

looking northwest at the house

Metal Sculptures by Heloise Crista

Friday, December 14, 2012

Winter Wonderland

We have had numerous days of snow and/or fog.  As I look out the window I see many images resembling Christmas Cards.  My guys remind me it might look nice from this angle; however, it is cold outside! 

Here are some photos of what we can see...

looking south from our mailbox

This photo is a macro of some snow.  After I loaded the pictures onto my camera and noticed that the little bit of sunlight we had was lighting one individual snowflake.

After our vehicle sat outside through a couple of snowy, windy days I got into the driver's seat and found this view!  I liked the layers and imperfect lines.

Frost on our kitchen window