Christmas week is here! Hopefully, the cookies and cakes are baked and the candy is made; Christmas dinner is under control: the presents wrapped and cards all sent; decorations all in place; and now you have time to sit down and admire your handiwork. If you are lacking in any of these things, just sit down anyway, fix a cup of tea, and not tell anyone what you didn't do this year. They won't know the difference if you don't tell them! That is what I'm going to do. Things don't always work out the way one has planned and crying over spilled milk never helps, so just enjoy the next few days and be thankful we live in a country that is mostly peaceful and where we can still celebrate the things that are important to us. As this is written, we don't know if we will have a white Christmas or a muddy one, but whichever it is on Christmas, celebrate, rejoice, and be thankful. Sing a carol, light a candle, and hug your little ones.
Go to Church and pray for peace.
Christmas is a time for family traditions and it is that tradition that I give husband Norm that for which he has asked - repeating the poem I wrote several years ago. I hope all of you enjoy it.
THE MOUSE THAT STOLE CHRISTMAS
"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
No one was sleeping because of that mouse!
Stockings which had been hung by the chimney with care,
Had holes nibbled in them - held nothing but air!
The dogs had all smuggled all snug on my bed -
No thoughts of mouse hunting had entered their heads.
And Norm in his PJ's and me in my gown
Had just turned off the news of Parkersburg town,
When out in the kitchen I heard a pan fall,
And ran to the door to look at it all.
I ran to the counter; I saw a grey flash.
I knew in a moment it would be a clash!
The sugar that spilled looked like new fallen snow,
While cookies lay broken and crumbled below.
Then what to my maddening eyes did appear
But a beady-eyed mouse with a menacing sneer!
With whiskers that twitched and movements so quick,
I knew in a moment he wasn't St. Nick!
More rapid than rabbits, the dogs, here they came.
In pure frustration, I called them by name.
Now Alex! Now, Klingon! Now, Heidi! Now, Fats!
If you don't catch that mouse, I will trade you for cats!
As flour in a mixer on the counter will fly,
So went the cookies and candies right up toward the sky.
Up on the counter, they pooches, they flew,
Then down on the floor went the cakes, too!
All of my work; the cooking, the kneading,
The dipping in chocolate, the Christmas bread seeding,
The money spent for flour and yeast -
Now all destroyed by that mouse's feast!
I might have relented and said, "He enjoyed"
If he hadn't pushed it too far in what he destroyed.
The candy I made just for myself
And hid away back there on the shelf.
He tasted each one, knocked them on the floor,
Then he scurried away, right under the door.
The screaming and yelling and barking so loud
Destroyed "Peace on Earth" in this family's yard!
Here's a note to that mouse, "Better stay out of sight!
Or you'll be a treat on this Christmas night.
I'll hunt you and catch you here on the mat,
And dip you in chocolate as a gift for the cat!"
Merry Christmas to everyone, even Mouse!
Dad, Carl Semon, being of German descent, loved Christmas and celebrated it with gifts, decorations, food and drink. Some of these recipes are the ones he made for friends and family.
One-fifth brandy (Christian Brothers)
One pint dark rum
One dozen eggs
One-half gallon whole milk
One pint whipping cream, slightly whipped
One-half cup sugar
Nutmeg for garnish
Separate eggs and whip whites stiff. Whip yolks until thick and add sugar to them. Combine all ingredients except egg whites and nutmeg and mix. Fold in egg whites. Serve with a dash of nutmeg (fresh ground is best).
Left over eggnog can be stored in the refrigerator, but it is best when freshly made. This is strong, and should be consumed with moderation!) ADULTS ONLY!!!!
TOM AND JERRY
Two pounds confectioners' sugar
Beat eggs very well (thick and yellow). Add sugar and beat together well,
FOR EACH SERVING:
One jigger rum
One jigger brandy
Put into large mug. Fill with HOT water. Add 2 tablespoons egg mixture on top. Add a dash of nutmeg. (Also adult only refreshment!)
Two cups brown sugar
Two quarts water
Two to three cups rum
Six whole cloves
Four sticks cinnamon
One-half cup butter
Pour ingredients into crockpot. Put on high for two hours, and then low for 8-10 hours. Serve in mugs. Keep leftovers at room temperature and reheat to serve.
PATTY'S PRIVATE STOCK
One-half stick butter (no substitutes)
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 one hour. Melt dark chocolate candy coating. Dip the centers in the chocolate and let harden in the refrigerator. Candy for adults only!
To make a version for everyone, use a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of the bourbon or rum.
1 1/2 cups almonds, blanched
Three-fourths cup butter
One cup sugar
One-fourth teaspoon salt
Five tablespoons water
Milk chocolate, melted
Toast almonds lightly in oven. Put half through food chopper. Split remainder into halves. Melt butter. Add sugar, salt and water. Stir until sugar dissolves. Cook to hard-crack stage (310 degrees F). Stir constantly. Add split almonds. Pour into oiled pan, 7 3/4-by-7 3/4-by-one-half inch. (8-x-8-inch square pan works great.) Spread chocolate over top; sprinkle generously with ground almonds. Cool. Turn toffee upside down on waxed paper. Spread this side with chocolate and sprinkle with remaining ground almonds. When it is cold, break into pieces.
Hint: line pan with oiled foil - extend foil up over sides to make it easy to lift harden candy out so it can be turned over and the chocolate spread on other side.
One package good yellow cake mix
One-fourth cup vegetable oil
Three tablespoons sugar
One teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Combine cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl and mix until well blended. Form dough into balls about the size of a large walnut. Roll in the sugar mixture and place on a greased cookie sheet (or one with parchment paper) about two inches apart. Flatten balls with the bottom of a glass, dipped in sugar so dough doesn't stick to glass.
Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Time depends on how flat you make the cookies.
Cool for a couple of minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES!
Contact Patty Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org