I trust everyone had a great Thanksgiving and are almost back to normal now. Of course, we never seem to be normal this time of year. The brave (or young with energy) did a lot of holiday shopping the evening and day after Turkey Day. Of course, I am behind, as usual, and have nothing done in the way of getting ready for the festive season. There has been a lot of time checking out new recipes that look interesting to use, but no time spent trying them out to see if they taste as good as they look.
We were blessed on Thanksgiving Day by being invited to dinner at our son's house. Our daughter-in-law had cooked a GREAT meal and the fellowship was wonderful. I made dressing, but not the usual Oyster recipe as they don't like seafood, so it was just ordinary dressing. She had given me a recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole that was especially for diabetics. It used Splenda Brown Sugar substitute and was very good. No one could taste any difference than when made with the regular brown sugar. The substitute does cost more, but is a blessing for anyone who must cut down on regular sugar. Trying the cookies and cake recipes are next.
When December starts, we know that we should start thinking about how we can improve ourselves in the New Year. In December, even if it is a very busy month, we need to look at anything that needs taken care of before the next year starts. I can just look around me and see away too many things needing correction, both with me and with the house. Maybe there is just one or two that can be handled in the time left in this year. There always seem to be projects that are needed but never get completed. If the saying that one stays on earth until their job is finished, than I must be headed for at least two hundred years! Anyway, start thinking about the future as you make that eggnog or wrap those presents. It might help to say a little prayer for that future, too, the way things seem to be going.
After the election, some of us got to really looking at the results in our area. It seems that not only here but in several states the results favored the big cities and not all local areas. The way the electoral works seems to me to be unfair to many areas. It is all or nothing in many states instead of being divided percentage wise. Our valley's vote was definitely not represented in the final tally. If someone lives entirely on government give-aways and pays no taxes, I think it is a conflict of interests for that person to have a say in how much he or she should receive. It is teaching young people to let someone else take total responsibility to provide for them. Whatever happened to being rewarded for one's labor? Hopefully, those in Washington will remember who pays them and act in a way to safeguard a decent way of life for all of us. Enough of my concerns.
The recipes today are for some treats for the season. Even though we all try to limit our calories this time of year, we do like some special things, just because it is the holidays. Just keep the recipe for "Skinny Soup" ready for January. Take time to enjoy each day as you prepare for Christmas and don't lose sight of what we are celebrating. It would be so wonderful if all the world would embrace the feelings of love, joy and peace that we feel at this season. God bless you all.
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Four eggs, separated
One-fourth cup plus two tablespoons sugar
Two tablespoons water
One teaspoon vanilla extract
One-fourth cup plus two tablespoons sugar (second measurement of sugar)
Three-fourths cup all-purpose flour
One teaspoon baking powder
One-fourth teaspoon salt
Two to three tablespoons powdered sugar
One tablespoon rum extract
One-third cup chopped pecans
Grease a 15x10x1-inch jellyroll pan with the vegetable oil, and line with waxed paper or parchment paper. Grease paper lightly with vegetable oil and set pan aside. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored; gradually add one-fourth plus two tablespoons sugar, beating well. Stir in water and vanilla. Beat egg whites (at room temperature) in a large mixing bowl until foamy; gradually add one-fourth cup plus two tablespoons sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in egg yolk mixture. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; mix well, and fold into egg mixture. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake at preheated 375-degree oven for 15 minutes. Sift powdered sugar in a 15x10-inch rectangle on a linen towel. When cake is done, immediately loosen sides of pan and turnout onto the sugar. Peel off paper. Starting at wide end, roll up warm cake and towel together. Let cake cool completely on a wire rack, seam side down. Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread rum extract evenly over cake. Spread with Mocha Filling and reroll. Diagonally cut a four-inch piece of cake from the roll. Place rolls on a serving plate, positioning cut edge of short piece against side of longer piece to resemble a tree branch. Frost with Chocolate Frosting and lightly score with fork tines to resemble bark. Press chopped pecans into frosting on each end.
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One-fourth cup sifted powdered sugar
One tablespoon cocoa
One teaspoon instant coffee granules
One cup whipping cream
Combine powdered sugar, cocoa and coffee granules. Mix well. Beat whipping cream until foamy; gradually add sugar mixture, beating until soft peaks form. Enough filling for one Yule Log
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Two (one-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
One-fourth cup butter
Two-and-one-half cups sifted powdered sugar
One-fourth cup milk
One-half teaspoon almond extract
Melt chocolate and butter over hot water in top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and cool. Add powdered sugar and milk to chocolate mixture; beat until smooth. Stir in almond extract. Enough frosting for one Yule Log.
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(This makes a smaller batch of candy than the Million Dollar Fudge)
Two-thirds cup evaporated milk
One-and-one-third cup sugar
One-fourth teaspoon salt
One-fourth cup butter
One-fourth pound (16 large) marshmallows or one jar (five to 10 ounces) marshmallow cream
One-and-one-half cups semi-sweet chocolate pieces
One teaspoon vanilla
One cup nuts
Mix first five ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in vanilla and nuts. Spread in foil-lined 8-ch square pan. Cool until firm.
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EASY ADULT CANDY
One-half stick butter
Two to three tablespoons bourbon or rum
Enough sifted confectioners' sugar to make a workable fondant
Dark chocolate for dipping
Hazelnuts (or pecans)
Knead butter, bourbon and sugar until smooth and the right consistency to make candy centers. Take about one teaspoon of the fondant and wrap around a hazelnut (filbert) or pecan half. Make certain the nut is completely enclosed. Place on waxed paper covered cookie sheet and let stand for about an hour. Melt dark chocolate candy coating. Dip the centers in the chocolate and let harden in the refrigerator. FOR ADULTS ONLY!
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Patty Christopher is a longtime columnist for The Parkersburg News & Sentinel. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org