Friday, November 21, 2014

What's in a name?

I haven't thought about the meaning of my children's names, well, since we named them.  Wm was named after two great grandfathers.  We chose Patch's name because we had already picked the middle name (Wyand) because he (sort of) shares a birthday with his great-grandmother - and we liked the sound of the two names together.  By the time Ian rolled around, we had an English and Irish name, so we figured Scottish was the way to go.  (And, let me dissuade you from following that logic to think that a son named Llewellyn is on the way.  Three Ponkin boys are plenty.)

The last two weeks have been all about deciphering what Vietnam will mean for our next move.  Always good to talk about moving, is our philosophy, because then it's less jarring when it actually happens.  Wm has a friend at school of Vietnamese heritage, who has told Wm that he should pick a Vietnamese name - and the best way to do that is to figure out the name of your English name, and see how to say that in Vietnamese.  Thus, this week, we determined my children will become:
Mạnh (strong; the word for "protector" was too hard to say)
Cao quý (noble)
Qua tặng (gift; again "gift from God" was a little long)

As I thought about their personalities, it seemed to fit.  Wm is definitely strong-willed and protective of his brothers.  Not sure Patch is "noble" in his jokes (little boys love those potty jokes!), but he is definitely gracious and giving, which surely are "patrician" traits.  And, well, for Ian ... he was an unexpected gift from God for which we're (almost always :) ) happy.

Maybe there's something in a name after all.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dinner recipe - Chicken & Rice and Roasted Squash

I couldn't resist posting on FB how pretty this dinner looked - and how delicious it was.  Sadly, I didn't save the blog that I copied the chicken casserole from, so I can't give proper attribution.  But, here's my copy:

Toast 1/4 cup pine nuts
Mix together: 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 c. heavy cream, 1/2 c. sour cream
In baking pan, mix: 1 c. uncooked rice, 2 c. chicken stock, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 c. chopped/shredded cooked chicken, 3 c. broccoli
Sprinkle pine nuts on top of chicken-rice mix
Drop cheese mixture on top in spoonfuls
Bake 30-45 minutes at 400

PS - we roast a chicken one week, then use the left overs for something the next week.  I'm always on the hunt for good casserole or yummy left-over-roast-chicken recipes.

Roast Squash, courtesy of Real Simple:

Toss 3lbs kabocha or acorn squash (cut into 1 inch wedges, skin on) with 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp ground coriander, salt and pepper on 2 large rimmed baking sheets.  Bake at 425, turning once, about 25-35 minutes until tender.
Serve over 1 c. plain yogurt.  Top with 1/2 c. pomegranate seeds, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar, and 1 c. fresh cilantro.

Note - the first time I made this, our supermarket didn't have any pomegranate, so I used craisins. Yum.  Trying again this week with pomegranate!  And, I mixed the topping together in a bowl first, before putting on top of the squash.  Finally, I saved some squash plain roasted, for picky little boy eaters who aren't into "fancy" vegetables.  

Handshake Monday

I've spared you the drama of the "middle school dance" antics (as a few FS friends have called it... and as has been taken up by a blog that I can't find right now, but will post a link when I do) of our bid process.  It will all hopefully come to an end on Monday, when we can receive a "handshake" for our next assignment.

Our bid countries ended up being (in alphabetical order): Bangladesh, India, Mozambique, Nepal, the Philippines, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

Since Wm is reading now, at a friend's suggestion, I went to the library to see if I could get some kid books on those countries.  I couldn't find one on India (some school must be doing an India-related thing... every single India book was checked out) and figured I didn't need one on the Philippines for obvious reasons.  I came home with four of the remaining six.  Not too bad for a local library (and, sorry, Africa?  You weren't as well represented on the stacks as Asia.  Indications are that an Africa posting is unlikely anyway.)