Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Birthday and a Kitchen Floor

Yesterday was my daughter's 22nd birthday. She's the one in law school. She's also my number one cake decorating assistant, so I had no alternative but to decorate it myself.

Did I ever mention that I really don't like decorating cakes? It's something I started years ago, and now just have no way out. This one was a lazy mom effort, using the "flower tip" and some green lines to act as vines.

In case anyone ever needs a lazy person's way into a fancy cake, here's how to make a marble cake: use a yellow cake box mix (I use 4 eggs instead of 3 to kick up the flavor a bit), and hold about 3/4 cup of batter out of the pan. Stir in 3 tbsp cocoa powder, and a few drops more water if needed to make the consistency right. Drop the chocolate concoction in random spots across the cake, swirl into the yellow batter with a table knife, and bake as usual. Instant marble cake! People will think you worked a lot harder, and you needn't wise them up!

And since a couple of you reminded me, here's my finished and beautiful kitchen floor.

The tile is very similar to what was there originally, but since my son reinforced the sub-floor, it should no longer flex, and I shouldn't end up with cracked tiles. This was one of the better ones; I could actually lift pieces out of some of them. Count me as a happy camper!
Of course, my son plans to rip out the breakfast room floor next week and start putting down this maple flooring. It'll be another long week in paradise, but at least I won't have Christmas breathing down my neck, and my cooking room will be completely usable!


This is a little late for Christmas, but maybe you want eggnog for New Years Day. Or maybe you just like it. Next year, I'll be trying a couple of different recipes, since after I had gone through the effort of making this, I discovered an article which stated that if consumed the same day, uncooked eggnog is safe, since only 1 in 20,000 eggs carries salmonella. This was good. I tripled this recipe, and had enough left over to make a batch of eggnog ice cream (thanks, Lori, again!) by just adding a bit more sugar, because ice cream can never be too sweet.


6 well beaten eggs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar

Cook the eggs, milk and sugar until it thickens, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Don't let it boil, so the eggs don't scramble. Cool, preferable in a sink of ice water, to room temperature, and stir in the rum, bourbon and vanilla. Cool for 4 to 24 hours. Whip the cream and 2 tbsp sugar until soft, but not stiff, and fold into the egg mixture. Add grated nutmeg to taste (I used about 2 tsp), and serve immediately.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Standing Rib Roast and Yorkshire Pudding

Christmas dinner was standing rib roast. I had no idea what it was when I ordered it, but it was a last choice when my supply house said that neither goose nor duck were available. Anyway, my trusty old Reader's Digest cookbook, of garage sale fame when I was 15, helped me out. "Roast the standing rib roast using the second method and serve with Yorkshire pudding." Ack! One of those British puddings again, which are not custard, as we Americans think of pudding. But, hey, I was up for trying something new, and I knew that on Christmas Day, no one would give me a hard time.
Anyway, I was told to rub dry mustard, salt and pepper into the beef and let it stand on the counter for an hour. The second method of roasting is to roast at 450F for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350F for the balance of the time, 15 minutes per pound. Mine was a 16 pound roast, and it was pretty. However, my dearly beloved decided that I couldn't lift the pan out of the oven alone, so he hauled it out and cut it before I got a pretty picture of it. He hacked it into pretty good chunks (so much for attractive slices), so, sorry folks; my photos are not that attractive.
The Yorkshire Pudding was surprisingly easy and good. Although the recipe called for spreading the batter around the roast and cooking it, I just couldn't bring myself to do so. I als
o wasn't as knowledgeable as Peter, and didn't know I could put it in muffin tins, so I put it in a pretty oval shaped baker to cook. It tasted like an egg bread; try it sometime!

Yorkshire Pudding

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

2 eggs

Beat the eggs until they are thick and light in color. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt, and whisk the milk into them until smooth. Beat the milk & flour combination into the eggs, pour into the baking pan of your choice, and bake at 450F for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350F for 10 minutes, until the pudding is a lovely golden color. My Yorkshire Pudding is next to my chunk of beef on this plate; I'll certainly make it again the next time I make beef (but I probably won't cook it in the beef pan then, either; I can't have my food touching each other).

Hope you're all recovering well from your holiday!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is always hectic, and this one was no exception. My son cleaned the grout debris off the floor, and, suddenly, a new, clean, shiny kitchen floor appeared! You all know I was thrilled!

Then the baking began. I started with cakes and banana bread. Meanwhile, my fourth son disappeared, and came back about half an hour later, toting a supermarket bag filled with 10 boxes of cranberry bread mix. "Not to worry, Mother," he said, "I've got this one!" He then proceeded to make 5 loaves of cranberry bread from the mix, using all the bread pans I have, including removing the previously made banana breads from their pans and washing them; when they were done, he devoured one hot from the oven with his brothers.

Christmas Eve dinner was the traditional shrimp with spinach and penne. I spent many years making shrimp scampi every Christmas Eve, but after my dearly beloved began developing a wicked case of the hives every time we had garlic, I had to develop a new game plan.

Fortunately for me, two giant elves who looked suspiciously like my third and fourth sons appeared around 1AM to assist Santa in setting up for Christmas morning.

And Paula's stocking had a place of honor on top of the mantle. Since it's marble, we must use stocking holders, and I don't have a spare one. No matter, it looked grand!Buffet breakfast ready for everyone to get up, awaiting only the arrival of the Christmas punch.
And that arrived when the people did.

Don't you love Dan's hat? He ran a string of battery operated LCD lights around it to be festive. Only he would think of such a stunt.
You know they were annoyed by the demand for a photo before diving into the loot.

Today, I can't even look at baked goods. It was my great good fortune to receive a nice mini skillet from Jeffrey for Christmas, so I made myself some sunny side up eggs for breakfast.
They slid right out of the skillet. And I didn't make any for anyone else.
Tomorrow I'll write about my Christmas dinner. Hope you all had a great time!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mary Christmas

No, this is not a misspelling. My name is Mary Christmas, and while I don't admit to my age, Marjie's grandmother, who was a phenomenal artist, made me as part of a window dressing in a fancy department store in Boston in the early 1950s. My face is sculpted from cornflake crumbs, my dress handstitched from the finest velvet and fur, and I even have proper unmentionables and shoes from the 1890s, a beautiful and glorious era for ladies' couture, indeed. These days, I spend my time in a mirrored curio, with a doll stand to support me when these shoes pinch my feet too much.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Punch

I need a break from cooking and wrapping.

For anyone looking for a special Christmas morning drink, I thought I'd give you my easy, g-rated punch. Feel free to "kick it up" for adults. My kids look forward to this all year, and have even hauled in enough ingredients to talk me into making 2 bowls of it for Christmas Eve dinner.


12 ounce can thawed orange juice concentrate

12 ounce water
1 bottle cranberry ginger ale (I use diet)
3 sliced bananas
1 pound frozen strawberries, still frozen
2 to 3 cups whipped cream

Pour the orange juice concentrate in a big punch bowl, and stir in the water. Carefully pour the ginger ale into the bowl, dribbling it down the sides so it retains its carbonation. Toss in the fruit (frozen strawberries act as ice cubes, keeping it cold for quite some time). Last, float whipped cream on top of the punch. I whip my own, but cool whip wo
rks fine if you're into it, and something like redi whip will make cute little pyramids on your punch.

This picture is last Christmas morning, one son getting a cup of punch, and another holding a cup, along with the way I keep the savage beasts from awakening me for presents too early!

Christmas Planning

While I wait for my new kitchen floor to be grouted, so I can put plastic over it and get to work, I am happy to say that my appliances are largely back in place, although some are being leveled.

I ordered my Christmas food, and while they didn't have goose or duck lef
t, I ordered a standing rib roast. Now, I'm not exactly certain what a standing rib roast is, other than beef, or how to cook it, so I will need to begin reading cookbooks, perhaps tonight. Or maybe I'll send some of the boys to hunt duck (in the supermarket - I'm not plucking and cleaning those fools!), and cook the roast when I have time to think.

Thanks to Cathy's posts about Christmas gifts of food, I did put together a nice basket of healthy breakfast foods and snacks for my mother in law, who is a problem. She's 89. Her doctor put her on a "Mediterranean Diet" to lower her cholesterol and lengthen her life.
Did I mention that she's old? And she's been a widow for over 20 years? And is waiting for the Good Lord to take her? So why deny her the foods she loves now? Ah, well, I baked her a couple of mini maple nut breads anyway. Off to Connecticut they go. UPS Overnight is going to love the bill for this box. Yes, I found those cute little loaf pans; if anyone wants to know how to make just 2 cute little mini maple nut breads, let me know.

This is our tree skirt. Superbowl Sunday 2002, the girls and I started work on our tree skirts for the following Christmas. I cut four quarters of white cotton, and gave one to each of the three girls, telling them to embroider whatever they wanted on their quarters, just so it reminded them of Christmas. Mine is the Christmas Tree quarter, and it wasn't my original design. I sewed them all together, pressed interfacing to the back to stabilize the whole thing, added a fluffy ruffle and bow, and, Voila! Tree Skirt!

And here's our tree. No presents yet, because Thor thinks he should eat wrapping paper that's abandoned for more than a couple of hours.

Tomorrow I'll show you all Mary Christmas. Now I'm going to run around like a crazy person for the next 12 to 14 hours, before grabbing 4 or 5 hours sleep and starting over. Hope you all are better prepared than I!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kitchen Update

Day 5 in the kitchen and we are coming into the home stretch.
Yes, my refrigerators are still blocking the kitchen.

Yes, that is one stove out of place. But about 2/3 of the floor is now retiled. I expect to be able to cook tonight. It needs to be done, because my holiday food shipment comes tomorrow morning, and you know everyone wants their shrimp on Christmas Eve and yet-to-be-determined Christmas dinner. Yes, my house is so muddled up that I don't even know what I'm cooking this week (sigh).

I will give you a picture of the finished kitchen, but I'm afraid you have to be here to fully appreciate the joy of a floor that's not all cracked up. (Someone cut through a support joist, probably 50 years ago, to move a sink, and that's been causing the floor to flex under the tile. Guess what? Tile doesn't like to flex!). This was a lot more work than my son or husband bargained for.

On a much more cheerful note, my friend Paula sent me a Christmas stocking! Just for me! I pulled the cooking magazine out of it - how could I resist? - but I'm going to be a good girl and put this beautiful stocking on top of the mantle (which is marble, so I can't put nails in it), and wait until Christmas to find out what else is in it.
Thank you, Paula, I'm touched by your kindness.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Days and Birthdays

Snow Friday, and again this morning. I could hear a flock of geese or ducks (hey, they were up in the sky, give me a break!) making loud noises as they flew overhead in a V formation as I took this picture. They're there, in the trees, but probably hard to pick out.

Patrick's birthday was Thursday. Larry the Lobster adorned his cake. Yes, that is random. But the cake had chocolate frosting, and to the sister who decorated the cake, it made sense, because Thor is brown and so was the cake.

Patrick and his parents. This is a puzzle box, with a hidden key, keeping his birthday present from him.

Sunday entertainment: Brother and Sister crossword puzzle. Brother was not that helpful: "Too many letters? Just write small!" and "Punishment for child? Beat!" An hour of solid amusement.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow for Christmas

It was not snowing at 8AM today. It started around 9.

This is what I see looking in 2 directions off my back porch:
I guess Paula sent her snow to me. We're scheduled for more on Sunday and Wednesday.

Thor and the little boys are outside playing with the boys next door, so at least Thor's not being terrorized by the pounding in my kitchen. Happy snow day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oh, My Aching Kitchen

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except Dan and his father and their hammers (motto: "I have a hammer the right size for this job").

They're repairing the subfloor and replacing the tile in half the kitchen. It does need to be done, since about half the tile are cracked at least once, and many have lovely spider webs throughout.

Just what I wanted to see 7 days before Christmas. None of y'all have any real problems after all, now do you? At least they won't be taking apart my breakfast room until after the New Year.

Poor Thor is hiding in the mud room, behind closed doors, because the banging made him cry.

Thor's Shopping Trip

Once again, it's Christmas season, and time for Thor's annual shopping trip. Yes, he's gone to Petsmart once or twice, but he's confused by the very small animals hanging around - Thor only has two guinea pigs, after all, and no one puts them on a leash - and evidently some animals are, ahem, less than mannerly in the store, which upsets Thor.

But he does like to go to the tree farm.

Thor gets really excited when we get his harness out for him. Yes, folks, it's a pony harness. What else would a dog wear?

There was a lot of inspecting of trees to be done, along with visiting the reindeer to remind them who's the superior being. One large WOOF suffices for this. Note: It was raining out, and there was no way I was tromping around outside, in the rain. I stayed in the barn.
It's really good to visit a retail establishment where the employees unders
tand that they must truly communicate with the customers. This guy has two Saint Bernards, and evidently speaks fluent Big Dog.

While Thor's hind end has to be lifted into the 4WD Suburban, he hops right out. Hey, no laughing. He may be a big dog, but the floor of that car is a good 3" above the top of my knee. And a guy with a bum back leg needs a little help now and again.
In the end, the joke was on poor Mark, whose brothers convinced him he had to hold the bundled tree upright in the family room until they got the stand, so the branches wouldn't get wrinkled.

Yes, you have permission to try to pull this off on one of your family members.

Happy Dogs on Thursday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Steak with Milanese White Wine Sauce

Because I've been asked, yes, I cook dinner every night. Friday night is always pasta in red sauce, Saturday night can be soup or stew with bread, or grinders, or tacos, or even quiche. Sunday night is always turkey breast. I make bread 4 to 5 nights per week, and dessert every Sunday through Thursday. Some 15 or more years ago, my husband criticized the fact that I didn't serve dessert every night like his mother did (and that was the only thing that he ever said was great about his mother's cooking, so I'm not whining because I feel so inferior to my mother in law - I don't). So it's his fault if any of you out there are claiming that my dessert recipes are causing your clothing sizes to increase!

Anyway, I needed something interesting to do with steak last night. Yes, it's my sacreligious statement that "Steak is Boring!" This came from James Beard, although I think he was looking for pan braising of the steaks. Of course, I don't follow directions well, so here's my take on the whole thing.


4 pounds steak, cut in 3/4" wide strips
5 tbsp butter
1/2 cups minced leeks or shallots

2 cups beef broth
3/4 cup white wine
2 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp cornstarch

On the stovetop, melt the butter in the bottom only of a broiler pan. Add the leeks and saute until soft. Arrange the steak strips on top of the leeks, and broil for 3 minutes. Turn the strips over and broil the other side for 2 minutes. Remove the steak strips from the broiler pan to a plate, and cover to keep warm. Put the broiler pan back on the stovetop, and whisk the corn
starch in with the butter, pan drippings and leeks. Whisk in the beef broth, lemon juice and wine, and cook until thickened and somewhat clear. Return the steak strips to the pan, along with any juices which have dripped onto the plate, and put it back under the broiler for a minute to reheat the meat. Serve with rice and a green veggie. This fed 8 of us, so you might want to cut back a little on my ingredient list.
And aren't my Christmas plates great? The week after Christmas 1989, when I was in Eckerd Drug to pick something up, I saw sets consisting of 4 each plate, cup and saucer on clearance for $4 per service. There were 3 sets left, so I snagged them all for $12. 19 years later, 11 plates survive. Luck is with me! (And, no, I don't think I'd have spent more than one dollar per plate to be used for 5 weeks per year; I just couldn't make myself do that!)

Tomorrow: Thor's annual shopping trip!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cranberry Ice Cream/Sherbet

Winter is a strange time for ice cream, isn't it? I figure that since I have central heating, I can crank the thermostat up and enjoy my ice cream. I didn't think, yesterday, about the fact that some of you might not know the term "package store". We called them that in Connecticut. Here, they're the "state run store", and in Virginia they are (or used to be) the ABC store. So, yes, that's the liquor store.

I love cranberries, although you probably deduced that after cranberry bread, cranberry muffins and homemade cranberry sauce. After reading Pam's post about cranberry sherbet a while back, I really wanted some. But not enough to cook the berries and all the rest of it. However, while perusing my "new" Fannie Farmer cookbook, I found an alternative. I believe Mr. Fannie Farmer must have written the intro:

"This sherbet can also be served as a side dish with a chicken or turkey dinner."

OK, that just screams "Man!" to me. Not that sherbet with dinner wouldn't be fun, just that I wouldn't be thinking of it!

This is a good use for leftover jellied cranberry sauce. Of course, if you don't buy it in number 10 cans, as I do, you probably don't have much left over. OK, so just buy another can! You'll thank me later.


1-1/2 cups jellied cranberry sauce
1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice

1 cup heavy cream, or 3 egg whites, whipped until stiff

Whisk the first three ingredients together well and freeze until slushy. Whisk in the whipped cream or egg whites, and freeze until hard in a large, flat container. Or just do what I did, and use the ice cream maker.

I used cream, which is why mine is bright pink instead of cranberry colored. It tasted like a light ice cream, really not suitable for use as a veggie, Mr. Fannie Farmer's suggestion notwithstanding. My pickiest eater, Patrick (yes, he of pineapple rum fame), reluctantly took one scoop, took one bite of it, and immediately came back for 2 more. This was all gone that night, but at least I got one scoop. Enjoy it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Eggnog Ice Cream!

A while back, a fellow Calvert Homeschool mom, Lori, wrote that she had found eggnog ice cream in the store. This, of course, made me want it more than anything in the world, except possibly an invisible housekeeper, warmer weather, and a better metabolism so I'd never again have to worry about my weight. Well, we can't have everything we want, but we can have eggnog ice cream!

I do love eggnog. I probably learned this love from one of my grandm
others, who was allergic to eggs, and thus made her own special concoction called eggnog (which I despised, but had to try the real stuff after having hers, to see what the fuss was about). As near as I can remember, and we're going back to when I was about 8 or 9 here, folks, she softened vanilla ice cream and added rum and brandy, stirred it up, and gooped it into people's glasses. Yes, even mine. So, yes, I hated it, because the booze wrecked the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream. But I did love the store-bought stuff, and would drink it year round (and have a butt the size of Toledo) if I could.

Round one of eggnog ice cream was "G Rated", because I found Crown Royal, Johnny Walker Red, Smirnoff's, Jack Daniels, Drambuie, Creme de Menthe and Creme d
e Cacao in my liquor cabinet, but no rum. My dearly beloved dubbed it "almost right". Well, I never got to the package store for rum, so after a while, I sent Patrick, with explicit instruction that I needed rum for eggnog. He consulted a sales clerk, he consulted a bartender's book at the counter, and he decided that the recommendations in the book were to entice people to buy the pricier booze. So Patrick came home with pineapple flavored rum. (In case you wonder, it smells very much like pineapple, but still tastes like rum.) His rationale was that it was cheaper and, after all, "just a cooking ingredient". Arghhh! Well, that being all I had, I tried it, and my dearly beloved declared that it still wasn't quite right. What a surprise! Pineapple in eggnog is not good!

After a trip on my own to the package store, I finally had the right rum, which is any rum without extraneous flavorings, for anyone who might want to send a young, non-cooking guy to the store, and the whole batch disappeared in one dessert. My dearly beloved declared this to be perfect, and all is right in my little world. Now I finally present you with Eggnog Ice Cream, with both the original directions, and my somewhat easier and speedier directions.


3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) rum
2 tbsp brandy

Original directions:

Combine the cream, milk and sugar in a saucepan, and heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot, 5 to 8 minutes. Slightly beat the egg yolks in a separate container, whisk about 1 cup of the cream mixture into the egg yolks, then whisk this mixture back into the hot cream mixture. Stir and cook another 6 to 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon (at least 160F on a candy thermometer, if you want to be fancy). Do not let the mix boil, or the egg yolks will scramble and separate. Remove from the heat and cool for an hour on the counter, then whisk in the vanilla and nutmeg. Cool in the refrigerator until very cold, then process in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions, or freeze in your freezer, whisking every 30 minutes or so until it's solid. When the ice cream reaches the soft serv
e stage, stir in the rum and brandy, process another 1 to 2 minutes, the put it in the freezer for 3 hours or up to 3 days (ha!).

Marjie's method:

Whisk together 1 cup cream, the milk and the sugar in a large microwavable container. Heat in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, until the sugar dissolves, stirring every minute or so. Meanwhile, put the rest of the cream in the freezer, so it gets colder while it waits to join th
is delectable treat. Beat the egg yolks slightly in a separate container, add half of the hot mix to the egg yolks, mix well, and return to the hot mix. Heat in the microwave until it thickens, stirring every 30 seconds or so, about 4 to 6 minutes. Do not let the mix boil! Remove the last 2 cups of cream from the freezer, and whisk into the hot mix along with the vanilla. Chill. (I put it in the freezer for an hour; it worked fine and was a whole lot better than waiting the recommended 6 hours for the refrigerator to do the trick). Process according to your ice cream maker's directions. When it reaches soft serve stage, add the rum and brandy, let it process a minute or 2 longer, then put it in the container in which it will be stored, and freeze at least 3 hours.

For G-Rated eggnog ice cream, just leave out the rum and brandy. Now, please, eat plenty! And serve it in pretty glasses; you'll enjoy it ever so much more!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beef Stew for Homecoming!

Saturday was the day my 3 were scheduled to return home from WVU, and I was hopeful for no delays. You see, my son is an RA this year, and stayed late at the beginning of Thanksgiving break so he'd have no set return time at the end. Of course, this means they must go through all rooms, and make sure there are no fire hazards, nor people trying to remain in the dorms even though they're closed. So there were 2 teams, one of girls, and the other my 6'5", red pony tail sporting son with a "skinny little guy". Sure enough, the girls found 2 guys who were refusing to leave, so they called "Big Red" for backup. After a quick stop at the supply closet, my son's team showed up to help the stragglers find their way out. The first one said it would take him a few hours, because he hadn't packed anything, to which my son responded, "No problem. Get your wallet and keys, and I'll help you pack," pulled a couple of trash bags out of his back pocket, and dumped the contents of a couple of drawers into them. Tying a knot in the top, he handed the 2 bags to the kid, said, "Look! New matching luggage for you!", and steered him to the exit. The process was repeated for the second straggler, and the RA teams were out only 2 hours late. Fortunately, there was no need to provide anyone with new matching luggage before Christmas, and at 6PM the call came that they had just hit the highway.

"Beef stew will be waiting!" I chirped.
"We'll be there at 11:45!" they promised.

At 11:27, they stormed in, having made no pit stops, and having filled the 40 gallon tank in my Suburban the week before, explaining that they just LOOOOVE beef stew!

I'd give you my guidelines, because calling this a recipe is absurd, but when I got to the part where you need 6 to 8 quarts of beef broth and/or water, you'd all laugh at me. What does make my stew spectacular is that I grate potatoes, about 3 per pound of meat and half gallon of water, which dissolve and thicken the broth over the course of the 4 to 6 hours cooking time. Sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, barley and celery round out this delight. I usually ad spinach to it 15 minutes before serving, but I had none, and wasn't going out in 19 degree weather for it. Parsley was a poor substitute, but I need green in my bowl! Choose your bread product; we usually opt for baking powder biscuits.

Tomorrow, we present the eggnog ice cream, with a humorous Patrick story to go with it. See you then!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Awards and Cooking Failures

Yeah, it looks like I make all kinds of great foods. But we don't really want to admit to our failures, now, do we? Once, after 4 days of Thanksgiving leftovers, I made a turkey pot pie. It was good; however, since I've never been a casserole person, and my kids therefore don't understand "one pot surprise," they were clamoring for permission to find a rope and tree to use on me. Thankfully, their father declined permission. This happened 12, maybe 15 years ago. Sometimes stuff overcooks, usually due to one minor crisis or another requiring my attention outside the kitchen, although I've doubtless been guilty of negligence. But the turkey pot pie is the one thing that everyone mentions when they are trying to prove that I'm not a pretty decent cook. Well, we all have things we can never live long enough to escape.

So I thought I'd give you another example. Within the last week or 2, I found what should have been a great recipe for a "Holiday Nut Cake" in an insert in my paper called Rel
ish. If you also found it, save your money, because it's a pricy recipe, calling for 1/2 pound butter and a pound of nuts. It was absolutely lovely. It had a pretty good flavor. It was dry and crumbly. Marjie was greatly displeased. So, here's a picture of half of the cake. If you really want to try it, I suggest at least 3 eggs and less flour, and fewer nuts. That might save it. But I'm not sure I'm a brave enough soul.
Now, surprisingly to me, I've recently been given two more awards. You can both feel free to rescind them after this cake failure.

From everyone's favorite storyteller, The Blond Duck, I have been given the Uber Amazing Blog Award. Well, Duckie, I think you are uber-amazing, and am grateful that you think likewise of me. I will pass this on when my brain will function better, but it's late.

Katherine has presented me with the Proximity Award. This award means:
"This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!" Katherine, thank you so much. If I still lived in greater Knoxville, I'd come give you a big hug for this. I am to pass this on to eight bloggers, and, again, once I have my brains back around me, I will.

Good night to all my "imaginary friends", as Duckie so eloquently puts it, and have a lovely weekend!