Friday, December 21, 2012

Not Exactly Temple Square

Living in Provo, Utah we are very close to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Temple Square is so lit up during the Christmas season that many make the trek there to take in the lights. It is truly a sight to behold. I was curious to see what they did here.
This is it. There are some lights wrapped around the stable but no where else. Just this humble little display. I suppose that is appropriate.

When we were out walking we noticed this planter that had been filled with poinsettias.  We are in summer here and these plants love it. I think of how I had to shield the ones I would buy from the cold just to get them home. We did see a poinsettia tree the other day but I didn't have my camera with me.

I must admit that with the really warm (if not hot) weather I have a hard time wrapping my head around Christmas. I think that is a good thing since I am not yearning to be home. It just doesn't seem like Christmas, therefore it is not.

I have been talking to the natives and it seems that the average person does not spend as much money on Christmas here as they do in the states. The stores do not have Christmas decorations for sale. We couldn't find any wrapping paper. Imagine Walmart without that stuff. I think the people here are just making due. The Christmas gifts that I have seen (being marketed) are boxes of food staples; rice, beans, sugar, flour, etc. Not doing any Christmas shopping has certainly made my life easier.

I went looking for a calendar for my Christmas gift. I found a lot of them that were imported from the states. $35.  I decided I would print off months from my computer and use that until I go home for a short visit in March. I am not that desperate for a calender with pictures of quilts or doggies. After checking out stuff we decided to forgo presents this year. Heck, that really isn't any different from any other year.


Around the middle of November these big displays started showing up in all the grocery stores. The displays had boxes and boxes of panettone.

This display was at the entrance of the store. There were walls and walls of these cakes.

There are many different kinds of panettone. Some with bits of dried fruit, some with chocolate chips, some with filling of Dulce de Leite, some with a filling of chocolate pudding. They range in price from around R$5 to R$35.

One day I was talking (very limited) to a sister in the temple and I asked her what they were. They are Christmas Cakes. She said they were very good. She was surprised to know that they were not available in the States and that I had never heard of them.

The next week she brought me one. It is really more like a sweet bread than a cake. They are very tasty. Better than fruit cake as we know it. I later sampled one with Dulce de Leite filling. Now that was a slice of heaven.

It is now a few days before Christmas and most of these cakes are gone. I am amazed at how many are sold. Definitely, they are a very popular Christmas treat.

Thanksgiving Brazialian Style

I figure I had better write about Thanksgiving since Christmas is almost upon us. The North American missionary couples usually get together and have a Thanksgiving dinner. This year it was held the Monday after the traditional holiday. Due to circumstances that got really out of control we went from six couples to 17 couples. We had Brazilians, Portuguese and Americans. It truly was an international affair. Mike and I were in charge of organizing the dinner. We took on the meat assignment. We found turkeys are very expensive. They are smaller than what I am used to and according to the locals are dry. They ran about $3.50 a pound.

It was recommended that we use Chester. What the heck is a Chester? After a little research I learned that a Chester is a carefully bred type of chicken that has a very large breast and large thighs. These are available around Christmas and they are more expensive than turkey. We found we could buy roasted chickens for the same price as frozen turkey, but all the work was done. So we used those.

The tables were decorated in a fall theme. It is hard to see the chili plant in the center with folded napkin turkeys and some nut cups.

Everyone brought a dish to share. We had the usual mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls, and of course pumpkin pie. The sweet potato casserole was a big hit with the Brazilians. They wanted to know how it was made. We had empanades, a strawberry/chocolate pudding, and a chocolate cake. No one went away hungry.

It really was a fun evening. I met new people and connected with others who I don't see often.

It was a lot of work as all big dinners are but it was a success. Everyone visited with each other and a good time was had by all.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Fragrant Walk

The end of spring and the beginning of summer is here. Gardenias are in bloom and are so wonderful.

There is a hedge that grows all along the sidewalk that runs the length of the temple. It is over 100 ft. long. As we walk along the fragrance is absolutely wonderful.

These flowers remind us of Mike's mom. She would of loved this. She was a gardener and loved flowers.
It is fun to see what nature has to show off.