Thursday, December 27, 2007

Take the Test: How Creative are You?

You Are 79% Creative

You are beyond creative. You are a true artist - even if it's not in the conventional sense of the word.
You love creating for its own sake, and you find yourself quite inspired at times.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fruitcake that's Not Scary!

No joke—this fruitcake is one you’ll actually want to eat! I've always been a little afraid of fruitcake myself. Rick, however, is a fan of fruitcake and says this is the best he’s ever tasted! There are no icky lime peels or lemon pieces in this fruitcake. No dates or raisins either. This recipe came from the moderator of a Yahoo! Group that I belong to: Christmas to the Max. Thanks, Melody!

(One day I’m going to post a recipe in the manner of The Pioneer Woman. She’s one of my favorites!)

Candy Orange Slice Fruitcake
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
2 c. sugar
2 c. applesauce
4 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 pound candy orange slices (chopped)
2 c. chopped pecans
1 1/2 c. candied cherries (chopped)
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided
1 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the applesauce, eggs and buttermilk.

In another bowl, combine the chopped orange slices, pecans, cherries and 1 cup of flour; toss to coat.

Combine the baking soda, salt and remaining flour; add to the buttermilk mixture. Fold in orange slice mixture.

Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 3/4 hours to 2 hours or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

What I Did:
Well, first of all, I didn’t have quite a pound of orange slices, so I added a few extra cherries.

I used Butter Flavor Crisco instead of butter or margarine. When you use BFC, you are supposed to add 6 teaspoons of water per cup of shortening to make up for the moisture that butter has and shortening doesn’t. Water sounded boring so I used the 6 teaspoons of the juice from the cherries instead.

I didn’t have pecans, so I used walnuts.

Can you tell that I’m all about substitutions?

I think I undercooked my fruitcake, too. It’s very moist, but this one was exceptionally moist. Next time I think I'll make it in an angelfood cake pan. Since the pan separates, it might make it easier to get the cake out of the pan. The bundt pan that I used was just a tiny bit small, in my opinion. Rick thinks the cake is perfect though.

Try it…you just might like it!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Candy Cat-astrophe!

Yesterday was spent making the candies and cookies for gift tins. I made coconut balls and Katie and I had dipped them in chocolate and put sprinkles on them. The were on the kitchen table on waxed paper waiting for the chocolate to set up. of the cats hopped up on the table (a BIG NO-NO!), hit the waxed paper, slid across the table, and onto the floor. Of course the candies ended up face-down on the floor in a big blob! UGH!

Have you ever tried to clean partially-set chocolate off linoleum...or a cat??? :-)

Needless to say, I'm not working from the kitchen table any more!

Here's the recipe if you'd like to make your own coconut balls.
Coconut Balls
1/2 cup cold mashed potatoes
1/2 cup softened butter
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups coconut
12 ounce package chocolate chips
2 T shortening

Mix mashed potatoes and butter together. Add in powdered sugar a little at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add in vanilla and coconut. You may need to stir it with a wooden spoon at this point. It gets stiff.

Roll into small balls. Refrigerate until firm. (The original recipe said to freeze them for 4 hours, but I don't think that's necessary.)

In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt chips and shortening together, stirring until smooth.

Roll balls in chocolate and place on waxed paper to set. We put sprinkles on ours, just for the fun of it!
My mom reminded me that when she makes Coconut Balls, they're actually Coconut Squares. She pats the mixture into a 9"x13" cake pan and cuts then into squares before dipping them in the chocolate. There's a reason for this. She makes Buckeyes (or Peanut Butter Balls, as we call them) and you can't tell them apart unless the Coconut Candies are square. Smart woman, eh?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Have a Heart

Five years ago today I was in the hospital.

I'd had a heart attack.

I was only 38 years old. We'd been married just over one year. I had gone back to school and we were hoping for a baby in the near future. It just wasn't meant to be.

On December 17th, 2002, I had cardiac bypass surgery. Five vessels on my heart were replaced with five from my legs. After spending 11 days in the hospital, I got home at around midnight on December 23rd--just in time for Christmas.

Please know that the signs and symptoms for a heart attack in women are not the same as for men. I had a tight feeling in my neck and chin. I took an aspirin before going to the hospital and it probably saved my life according to my cardiologist.

After a long recovery and several weeks of cardiac rehabilitation, I'm almost good as new. Well, in most ways I'm now better than new! There are a lot of people walking around with clogged arteries who have no idea. At least mine have been fixed.

Please, please, please see a doctor if you have a family history of heart problems, suspect you may be having a heart attack or stroke, or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The life you save will be your own!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

You Know You're in a Rural Area When....

I did my second craft show yesterday. I wish I could say it went as well as the first one. Another live and learn opportunity.

This show was held in a rural charter school. In fact, the name of the school even has the word "Rural" in it. Everyone with the school was very friendly and it seemed like such a family atmosphere. (If we wern't homeschoolers, this would be my choice for the girls' school.)
Anyway, my booth was across the hall from the cafeteria where they were having a cookie walk ($5/dozen, your choice) and three raffles: a teepee, a quilt, and....a processed hog. Where else but a rural area would you find those three raffles together??? I had to take a picture of the sign, just for the quaintness of it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Is it a Secret?

Katie curled up in my lap last night and asked me to tell her a secret.

"I love you very much..." I whispered in her ear.

"That's no secret!" she exclaimed.

That was the exact response I needed to hear!

Monday, December 3, 2007

First Craft Show!

I did my very first craft show last Saturday! My booth featured woven headbands, all sorts of hairbows and clippies, and "Picasso Pockets" that I blogged about here.

My dad was kind enough to come out in the wee hours of the morning to help me get everything into the gymnasium. Set-up for this took longer than I thought it would. Live and learn.

Hair accessories sold well, but the Picasso Pockets were, by far, the best sellers! I'm scheduled to do another show this weekend. I'm hoping it goes as well!