This was a super busy weekend for being the last shopping weekend before Christmas. We also saw record rainfall here in Kern County. We broke the record last set in 1931!! Unbelievable! Unfortunately we aren't prepared for that much rain and right now we have a lot of flooding and fear of the Lake Isabella Dam bursting...so everyone is really very concerned. We hope the rain ceases soon even though the weather reporters predict it will last through Wednesday.
On Saturday my cousin David's family threw him a surprise birthday party. He was really surprised and we all had a really great time. We cousins all grew up together and it's not often we all get together, so it was so special to be able to see each other again.
Here's a picture of Cousin David and his family. David is the one with the ball cap on. His brother Steve is to the left of David, his sister Elpedia is beside him in yellow. His mom, Casi (my mom's sister) is in the long blue trench coat, then his other sister Mary Helen. Behind Mary Helen his brother Art (the oldest) and then the baby of the family, Hector. Isn't it wonderful that all his brothers and sisters were there to help him celebrate? I love you all so much!
The next day was my own dear mom's birthday. We had already planned to make Biscochos that day. Biscochos are a small, crispy cookie that we all grew up with. Our Tia Nico, my mom's sister would spend days and days before all holiday's making these cookies. She would then store them in empty coffee cans and no one left with empty hands, each family took home a coffee can filled with these delicious cookies. These probably aren't as wonderful as hers or maybe the memories of childhood can never match the present, but these are biscochos.
That's 20 cups of flour and 4 cups of sugar and 6 cups of shortening and 6 eggs plus lots of other spices and cooking ingredients. I'll share the recipe with everyone in a separate post tomorrow.
Since it was my mom's birthday we had a full house to help with the making of the Biscochos, so I'd like to share some pictures.
My job was to cream the shortening and the sugar. Last year my poor sister Lisa and I did it by hand. I forgot I had this beautiful pink Kitchen-Aid Mixer in the closet because my generous daughter April had given it to me for Mothers Day and I had never unpacked it! This mixer is the greatest! I just stood there watching everyone else work while the mixer did it all for me.
The harder job went to my sister Lisa and her youngest son Isaac (my Godson). Their job was to sift the dry ingredients and then blend the dry and wet ingredients by hand.
Here they are sifting. Isaac refused to wear an Apron! I think next year I'm going to get him a Bobby Flay manly apron!
Here Lisa and Isaac are blending dry and wet ingredients. My brother Fred is in the background, he was admiring my Kitchen-Aid Mixer.
Here Isaac is doing what we in spanish call "Amasando" (in English kneading). With 20 pounds of flour this is very labor intensive!
Isaac did a really good job, and before you knew it, it was time to start rolling out the dough! Everyone got a chance to come and roll out some dough and cut some cookies with a giant pizza cutter. They then placed them on the cookie sheets and my sister Lisa was in charge of baking them in the oven until they were that perfect golden brown. (A few batches were that perfect golden burnt color, but several members of our family love the burned ones, go figure!)
First up...Isaac under the watchful eyes of his Nana (grandmother).
Then he and his mom made some together. See the little rolling pin? I scoffed at it when I saw it because it was such a tiny little one while the other one in the picture is mine. It turned out that everyone preferred the little one which belongs to my sister Lisa. Kudo's to you Sis!
I didn't want to be left out, so of course I had to come and get in on the act. Don't we look like real cooks with Aprons and everything? Mine was a gift from my sister-in-law Connie and I love it! The one my sister is wearing was sewn by my mom, many, many years ago. She gave one to each of us girls for Christmas one year. The boys I believe received hand-made bathrobes that year.
Here I am again...I'm a Biscocho making machine!
Next up to make a batch of biscochos? Looks like it's my other brother Jaime and his daughters. The baby, Clarissa and the oldest Sarena.
Here's Jaime showing Clarissa and Lisa his technique. Jaime and his kids actually cook together quite a bit. Last year he and Clarissa made homemade scented soaps for everyone as Christmas presents. They were heavenly!
My sister Lisa and her nieces Clarissa and Sarena. I think Sarena's already sampling the first batch...she looks happy so they must be good!
Next up...my baby girl April had to make her batch too. Now April, that's a rolling pin...not a baton!
Ok, now she's down to business! Now she's got the hang of that rolling pin. She's a natural!
Biscocho making wasn't the only thing going on. We had lots of other activities happening. People would just float from one to the other.
We had some game playing going on in the living room, on the coffee table, under the Christmas Tree. That precious puppy Chorizo loved all the attention she was getting from everyone! I don't know who was winning this game of Sorry but here's Clarissa, April, my sister-in-law Connie (the gifter of the apron mentioned earlier) and my nephew, Clarissa's brother Gabriel.
The birthday girl, my mom also had some gifts to open! Here she is with my brother Jaime and Clarissa.
So what did you get mom? Let us see. Ohhhhh, how pretty, an Angel! Good job in picking this one out Jaime, Connie, Sarena, Gabriel and Clarissa!
There was also some visiting with Cousin David who had to come by to wish his Tia Tome (his Aunt Tome, my mom) Happy Birthday! Thanks for coming David! (His mom, pictured in the first picture on this post in the blue trench coat is my mom's sister.)
We also did a lot of picture taking so we could have the memory of this day forever! Here's my mom and her son's; my very handsome brothers, Fred and Jaime. Love you Bros!
My mom and her beautiful daughters :-D My sister Lisa.and me!
My mom with her daughters and her sons.
My mom with some of her grandchildren. Missing were my brother Fred's children who came over later and my son who was AWOL for the day and my sister's son Sean who came over later and will be in a picture a little later in the post. Pictured from left to right, Gabriel, Isaac, April, Sarena, Clarissa and their Nana!
They insisted on taking a silly picture as well. . .they are kids after all :-D
My sister Lisa had purchased some miniature chocolate bottles filled with various liqueurs. I had one with Orange flavored Russian Vodka. Oh my gosh these are so good, but so rich you can only eat/drink one so no danger of getting drunk on these! If you compare the bottle to the little crystal twinkle light you can see how really miniature they are.
Here's Jaime and April both enjoying a chocolate liqueur. Don't worry, even though he's my baby brother and she's my baby girl, they're both way over 21!
My sister's son Sean was working but came by during his lunch hour to wish his Nana a Happy Birthday.
We ended the day by singing Happy Birthday to my mom and taking a group picture with her. We had to do this one is two shots. I'm in this one sitting in the chair.
And my sister Lisa is in this one sitting in the chair. I really need a tripod! Santa...if you're listening?
I can't imagine Christmas Day topping this day. What? Oh yeah, well yeah...true, there will be presents. But c'mon...this was the bestest day ever! Thank you all for making it so special!
Thank you Ale, Bebe, Little Fred and Adrianna for coming by later and spending time with Nana and for bringing that precious little Melissa to give her Nana a birthday hug before the day was over. I love you all so much!