Friday, December 22, 2006

The Makin' Bakin' Holiday Thread

Just 3 more days til Xmas and I've got some bakin' to do now that I've finished my holiday shopping (having successfully avoided the insane indoor racetrack known as the modern day shopping mall). My final consumerist experience was at one of my favourite stores - Ten Thousand Villages. That's one store it actually feels good to shop in and I emerged from there with some Xmas spirit - finally. I just hadn't been able to muster any (what with my Crochet Sweat Shop nightmares plaguing me to this point). My bus driver this time was a woman who managed to get her holiday shopping done in 3 hours. We should all be like her!

I have managed to get some bakin' done this week: shortbread cookies that one friend rated an 8 out of 10. I would have gotten more points if they didn't look like they'd been thrown onto the cookie sheet in a mad rush to get them done. My years of carefully adding sprinkles and candied cherries are long gone. As long as they're edible and don't kill anyone, that's good enough for me. I also made some of these last nite. I have a 30 year old recipe but they turned out kind of weird last year (cheap peanut butter, I think) so I thought I'd find another recipe for a change. Caution: those squares are very addictive.

Today, I'm off to the kitchen wonderland to make butter balls, which I've been making since I was about 9 years old. The recipe is from an old kids Co-op cookbook and includes instructions like 'rest' and at the end 'then eat'. So, I do. I also have someone hunting down tart shells. You'd think stores would stock up on those suckers since they tend to disappear as soon as they're in the store freezers and I am not going to make my own pastry. Last year was the first time I tried the lazy baker's way of using those frozen shells and I'm hooked (and tired and in a hurry). On the menu: mincemeat and possibly butter tarts if my back holds up. It's been 'achin' bakin'' this year. Standing is a bit of a problem and my propensity for dropping things on the floor - a common kitchen experience for me - has increased. You should have seen the flipping flour flying when I made the shortbread cookies! Could I possibly be having any more fun??

I must have been a bit nuts last year because I also made carrot cake (from scratch) and a couple of other things. It was quite the bakin' production line. But I give baskets of bakin' to people who are once removed from the official holiday shopping list because it's cheaper and saves buying crap that they don't want.

( can I prolong writing this post so I can avoid the dreaded kitchen...?)

If you want a bit of a flashback from Xmases (is that a word?) past, check out The 10 Most Dangerous Toys of all Time for a good laugh. We were brave little children. None of this 'product safety' stuff that is so rampant these days. We wore our toy wounds proudly (and some of us still do).

I sent a toy recall notice to my offspring herbette a couple of weeks ago involving the dangers of swallowing little magnets. She, the ever wise one, chimed back with 'well, if you actually watch your little ones when they're playing and don't give them toys with tiny parts that they might choke on in the first place, you don't have to worry about every little recall'. I think that's called 'common sense'. But it's my job as a Grandma to forward things that like to her so she'll keep getting them (smartass that she is...she must get that from her dad).

Anyway, without further adieu and bitchin', I'm off for a while and will report any major kitchen incidents if they should arise (and they usually do).

And a belated Happy Winter Solstice. The days will now begin to get longer again. Hallelujah for that. Winter, however, sucks.

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