Friday, December 23, 2011


He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.

He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter's shop until He was thirty. Then, for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never had a family or owned a home.

He never set foot inside a big city.

He never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place He was born.

He never wrote a book or held an office. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness.

While he was still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. His friends deserted Him. He was turned over to His enemies, and went through the mockery of a trial.

He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had-- His coat.

When He was dead, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave.

Two thousand years have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for much of the human race.

All the armies that have ever marched and all the navies that have ever sailed and all parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that have ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this

One. Solitary. Life.

Merry Christmas!

**Reprinted from a Christmas program. Author unknown, but it's not me.

See Y'all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2011 Christmas Letter

Landaker 2011 Christmas Letter

This year we have watched our kids transform before our eyes from dependent little homebodies to real ”big kids”. Quartz is leading the big kid revolution as he learns to curl ribbon, makes contraptions with LEGO motors, and does home science experiments. Onyx has entered kindergarten and is learning to read, and has been working on building from every LEGO instruction booklet every published. Sapphire is old enough to make her own dinosaur chicken, paint pictures, and go to her ”Growing a Scientist” class with mom. Andrea has enjoyed their kids' new independence and interest in big kid things, as well as her own projects at home. At work, Wes lead several projects, and at home he set up amateur radio equipment.

We wish you a joyous season, and a happy new year!
The Landakers (Wes, Andrea, Quartz, Onyx, and Sapphire)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sunday Supper: Revival Edition

I just broke a fingernail into the quick and tripped over the computer cord which would normally render me useless for the rest of the evening, but I've decided to persevere.

I am one day of grading exams away from total liberation and full-on holiday jubilation!

So, tomorrow I'll layer on the polar fleece, sit myself next to the Christmas tree with a box full of exams and threaten to shoot anyone who talks to me with the Red Rider BB Gun.

Oh yes, we absolutely have one, and don't think I won't use it. Just ask the dang rabbits that ate my tomatoes this summer. And the moles. And the owls. And the foxes. And the coyotes. And the possum. And the annoying little black dog that runs through here every morning.

I have lovingly named the summer of 2011 The Summer of the Wild.

Aaaaaah summer. When my yard looked like this...

And we ate things that were growing on a vine mere minutes before they were in our mouths. I'm already dreaming of Summer 2012; I'm also planning a garden expansion; Coach will be thrilled.

Speaking of summer, late in the summer Coach and I went to see his college roommate, B. Mac, at the Tomato Fest in Nashville.  He was cooking Jambalaya, and his parents were here from New Orleans.  The first time I met his momma I fell in love with her, and honestly, that is why I wanted to go; I'm not big on trying new foods. So we went.

Coach offered me a bite of the jambalaya.  I didn't want to be rude, so I partook.

Y'all.  Y'ALL.  It changed my life.

I told him we needed to do a video cooking segment for the blog, but he has three kids, a wife, a job, a dog, and an impressive addiction to LSU athletics.  So, obviously he's having a big year, and I've been swamped with Momsense here which has prevented any Creole cinematography.

So, instead, we went to their house the very next day, kept all three kids from napping and forced B. Mac to write the recipe down while he tried to eat his lunch.  I'm not even kidding.

Now, I need to tell you a few things.  Apparently B. Mac and his momma make two different types of Jambalaya.  B. Mac makes the hoity-toity Creole kind with tomatoes and butter, which from what I understand, is very controversial to the Cajuns, who make a more countrified type of cuisine. 

And Cajun is how Mrs. Bonnie makes her Jambalaya. (I have her recipe too.  I need to ask her if it's okay to make it public- if it is, I'll post it.)  Rumor has it that sausage is also a controversial ingredient- and some use seafood.

I don't care if they put dirt in it, this stuff is a game changer.  Anyway, I made a slight tweak in B. Mac's recipe, and I feel like I need to confess that now in case his head blows off when he reads this.  (I'm not a Louisiana native and certainly not well-schooled in NOLA cuisine.)  His recipe calls for 1 pound of "ham seasoning" cut up, but I used bacon. 

You can never go wrong with bacon.  I don't think. 

My personal belief is that any dish that combines two different types of smoked pork product is blessed by the Lord Himself, but just in case I broke some Cajun cooking law, I wanted to take responsibility so that B. Mac's street cred isn't questioned because of my naivete.

Another disclaimer-  This recipe will make enough Jambalaya to feed the LSU football team.  Seriously, our family of five eats it for dinner and we put away two LARGE Rubbermaid containers full.  You could easily cut it in two and still feed 6-8 people easily.  I make the full batch because we have a 15-year-old and Coach. 

B Mac's Jambalaya
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1" pieces
2 pounds andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 pound bacon diced (this is a deviation from B Mac. He says use "ham seasoning")
1 large onion, diced
6 ribs celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2-3 bay leaves
4 cups white rice

In a LARGE stockpot (at least 7 quarts), cook bacon until done. Remove bacon, but leave drippings. Add sausage and brown in batches. Don't crowd the sausage. (I don't know why it matters, but B. Mac and Julia Child agree on this one, so it must be important.) Remove and brown all sausage. Repeat process with chicken.

When all meat is browned and set aside, add the butter to the drippings. Then add the onion, pepper, and celery and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook another couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. TASTE. Add more seasoning as you see fit. I always see fit with the cayenne.

Add the bay leaves and chicken stock and return to a boil. Pour in UNCOOKED rice and return to boil.

Then add meat back in, stir thoroughly, and lower heat to a simmer. Let simmer 20-25 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Remove the bay leaves.

Now, go make yourself some and eat until your sick! 

See Y'all!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

TMI Quotes

Fun at the Library

Q: "I love my burp when I just had brown sugar oatmeal".
O: "I don't want to do my chore but I'm doing it anyway."
S: "What if there was a googol o'clock?"
A: "Biscuits, we eat them for our dinner // Biscuits, we eat them for our lunch.  Biscuits, they won't make you any thinner // Please eat them up, because I made a bunch."
W: "I need to wash my hands because I was playing with the kids.  You know, because you're supposed to wash your hands after handling raw meat."