Thursday, December 22, 2011

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

11Dec22rusty Yowza! I’m finished work for the rest of the week! Holidays always mean extra hours (none of which I get paid for). I’m finished for the week, which means I have three days to relax and think about Christmas. Actually, two days because tomorrow is our Christmas Bird Count and I’m sort of committed to being there. But that isn’t work. It isn’t making Christmas cookies either, though. Oh well. We have other ways of putting on calories.

11Dec22terry11Jan13a I’ve finished off two of three Christmas presents.I just can’t schedule time to work on my own projects because I work when I have to work, and that is most of the time. The pictures are of this year’s presents with last year’s presents to the right. I’m hoping that this year’s presents look better.

11Dec22lee 11Jan13b Can’t complain because it’s always been that way. I’m grateful to have a decent job and a steady paycheque. And that’s what I try and remember to tell myself each and every day.

11Dec22anne I started a few Christmas presents over two months ago. Work just keeps getting in the way. I managed to finish three of the five. I have pictures of three –two that I finished and one that will be a New Years present. People keep asking me if I’m ready for Christmas. I say Christmas 2012? Yah, sure. I’m all over it!

If I was smart, I’d start on next year’s presents right now. But, alas, I’m easily distracted, and the best laid plans of mice and men…

My Christmas wish for myself would be two weeks (minimum) of sewing as I pleased. But it’ll be many years until I retire, I expect. Until then, I have to steal a few minutes here and there.

I haven’t had any time to do any Christmas baking yet this year (as  if!), but here are a couple of my favourite fruitcake recipes. I’ve been making them for years:

Christmas Cake

1¼ C granulated or fruit sugar    ½ lb red & green cherries
1 C butter                                    ¾ lb glace pineapple, diced
5 eggs                                        ½ lb mixed peel or citron
1 C flour                                     ½ C orange juice & brandy
1 tsp salt                                    ¾ C all purpose flour
½ tsp mace                                ½ lb toasted almonds
1 lb raisins candied ginger

Night Before – Add liquid to fruit and let stand overnight, covered. Stir occasionally.
Next Day – Make batter by creaming butter and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each. Add the 1 C flour, salt and mace slowly until it’s gone. Mix in the three-quarter cups flour to the fruit and nut mixture.
Pour into greased pan and place a pan of water in the oven while the cake is baking. If the top browns too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil. Bake at 300 for 3-3½ hours.

Applesauce Cake

½ C butter                                     ½ C candied cherries, chopped
1 C sugar                                      2 tsp baking powder
1 C dates, finely chopped             ½ tsp salt
1 C raisins (soaked in 2 T. rum)    ½ tsp cinnamon
1½ C unsweetened applesauce   ¼ tsp ground ginger
2 C flour                                        ¼ tsp ground cloves
½ C chopped walnuts or pecans  

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease one 8x4-inch loaf pan. Double recipe makes 5 mini loaves.
In saucepan, blend applesauce, shortening, and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and ginger. Add nuts, raisins, dates, and cherries to the flour mixture.
Add cooled applesauce mixture and mix well. Pour into prepared pan(s).
Bake in 275 degree F (slow) oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until cakes test done. Cool 20 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and place on rack to cool completely before slicing. Wrap and store tightly covered.

Until next time,

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