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It’s Christmas time

It has been snowing intermittently the past days, but sadly, the snow has been melting as soon as it hit the ground until this morning when we woke up to a blanket of snow on the ground

Such a wonderful sight and brings with it all the Christmas feels.

We put up our Christmas tree earlier this year. Last year it was up the first weekend of December, but this year we decorated early November. It has been a good reminder to the girls that Santa Claus is coming and they have to behave and be nice to each other.

And we have Christmas songs on repeat! Becca is always requesting Alexa (the virtual assistant of Amazon) to play O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) and Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer over and over and over. 

God help us.

With winter here, the sun has been rising later each day, and waking up each morning to get Becca to school is becoming more difficult. Thankfully, we have Advent Calendars to entice her to get up so she can open her gift of the day. This year, we got both girls Schleich calendars, with Becca getting a Horse Club one and Sarah getting a Farm World One. I got Tobi a Lego Avengers calendar and he got me a fruit and nuts one.

Chart and Bing Motus with Sarah in Dec 2019; right, our 2021 Advent Calendars*
The farm in front of our home*

We didn’t have Advent Calendars growing up so when I first got together with Tobi, of course I didn’t get him one. For one, we were not kids anymore but he surprised me with a Lindt chocolate calendar that I had to rush to the store to buy him one too. One day late, but at least.

With the Yule season upon us, I get nostalgic for Christmas time in the Philippines. I miss completing Simbang Gabi, eating sweet fiesta ham for breakfast and the various reunions with friends and family.

The last time we were in the Philippines for Christmas was in 2019, just as the pandemic hit. We were home for the wedding of my youngest brother, Ikito, which thankfully fell around Christmas time so it was a trip that killed two birds with one stone. The wedding and Christmas with the family.

Becca still talks fondly of our trip and her favorite memory is the chick lolo Ike gave her. “It’s lila Mommy” because Lolo Ike dyed the head purple. Sarah, of course, cannot remember anything as she was only 1 year old. But she has pictures and Becca can reminisce for the both of them.

We also miss getting together with Tita Chart, Tito Bing and family for New Year’s Day. That had been our tradition, Christmas and New Years’ Eve with the Golezes then New Year’s Day with the Ferrer- Motuses. 

One of my favorite things to eat at the Motuses was champorado. Tita Chart or Tito Bing made it differently, it was soupier than ours. I always thought that they made it from scratch, so when I finally remembered to ask for the recipe a couple of years ago, Denise, their eldest and my cousin, laughed and sent me a picture of the SAME BOX of store-bought champorado we make at home.

But I seldom find that box here in Switzerland.

So, if I am craving for champorado, I have to make it myself.

And since my kids still haven’t learned to enjoy it, I have a recipe for a single serving as well as for 2 to 3 persons. This is easily doubled and adjusted to taste.

Champorado with cheese and powdered milk*

Champorado Recipe:

For 1 person:

¼ c glutinous rice/malagkit

1 ½ c water

2 tbsp (20 g) minimum 60% dark chocolate, chopped

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

Pinch of salt

For 2 to 3 persons

½ c glutinous rice/malagkit

2 – 3 c water (depending on the final consistency you want)

¼ c (40 g), minimum 60% dark chocolate, chopped

1 ½ tbsp (12 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tbsp brown sugar

Pinch of salt

Topping choices:

Tuyo (dried fish)

Cheese

Condensed milk

Evaporated milk

Powdered milk

Non-dairy milk

Place the water, rice and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil (around 5 minutes.)

Add the chocolate, cocoa and sugar. Mix well.

Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice is translucent and done to your liking. Around 20 minutes. Serve with toppings of choice. I like mine with cheese and powdered milk.*

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