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Chevette Girl
12-02-2011, 01:26 AM
It's December, who's got holiday plans and want to share while they procrastinate actually acting on them ;D?

We're heading off to Sudbury for a couple weeks with the in-laws. I must bring my jogging shoes because my mother in law puts out such a spread I'm lucky to get out of there only 5 lb heavier than I arrived.

I have made a completely unreasonable list of things I want to bake to give as Xmas presents. I've already spent almost $200 on ingredients, so baking is what everyone's getting under the tree! Along with wine, mead, jams and jellies and maybe even some homemade cider vinegar.

I've got a few gluten-free things for my mom, a few sugar-free things for the various diabetics in the family, and I'm keeping a list and checking it twice so I can tell people what's milk-free, what's nut-free, what's soy-free, what's palm and coconut free... OMG why does everyone have to have dietary issues... oh well, I enjoy the challenge. I'm trying a few recipes I haven't tried before (including Turkish Delight), I'm going to make a bunch of the usual suspects (sugar cookies, gingerbread, date balls, rice krispie squares, peanut brittle, almond brittle, pecan brittle, rumballs, orange-cranberry-dark chocolate cookies, traditional Scottish shortbreads, chocolate truffles and Stollen).

So far I've got some dough in the freezer (oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, orange-cran-choc cookies and I'll probably get the peanut butter cookie dough done tonight too), but I don't want to bake cookies yet, I'll do that halfway through December so they haven't sat around for a month... I'll do the nut brittles next week, they're OK for a few months so it's not too early, I have another day of jamming to do (maybe Sunday, I pay extra for electricity during weekdays :rolleyes:), and then

OK, enough procrastinating, back to the kitchen with me!!

<cracks the whip>

wildoates
12-02-2011, 02:05 AM
I'm both broke and not very energetic this Christmas, but the kids are coming from Norway so I hope I GET some energetic going! My brother's family has removed themselves from my Christmas list, that helps. :). Still not sure exactly what I'm getting people, jewelry for the ladies for sure.

Ooof, it's this month, isn't it?!

Chevette Girl
12-02-2011, 02:11 AM
Well, I'm broke too but I figured I'd spend way more than that if I did anything else, and there are a few things (ok, a LOT of things) that nobody else makes anymore and I like to eat but I don't want the whole batch, so making huge quantities, enjoying my little taste and then giving it all away is sort of the guilt-free way for me. I'm giving away my time. Of which I think I should have lots but somehow it never works out that way :p So even though I suspect my physiotherapist is trying to kill me, I'm thankful I've got my energy at a decent level so I can get stuff done, I hope things get better for you soon!

Vance G
12-02-2011, 06:09 PM
Could you possibly share the scottish shortbread recipe? I will owe you big time. We used to do the big time Christmas baking but the kids are grown and gone and we are old and fat, so much less of it needed laying around after the holidays. My geneology includes Cruickshanks, Todds, Smileys, Comstocks, Swains, and Galbraiths to name a few, so I like a little of that tradition. On the bee forums there are several beeks who claim Sudbury as home. You need to go honey hunting while there.

chams
12-02-2011, 07:48 PM
Sounds delicious Chevette Girl!
Somehow though, I don't think you'll be jogging in Sudbury Dec. 25. ;)

Loadnabox
12-02-2011, 08:04 PM
I'm heading to phoenix for the holidays. We're taking the train to flagstaff and driving to the tempe area. Last chance for a happy all together Christmas before my brother comes out to our parents and we both get disowned. Him for being trans and me for standing by his decision.

Will. Be a very mixed vacation.

My family also had four babies born in 2010 and all of them will be together which is cool!

Chevette Girl
12-03-2011, 03:23 AM
Could you possibly share the scottish shortbread recipe? I will owe you big time. We used to do the big time Christmas baking but the kids are grown and gone and we are old and fat, so much less of it needed laying around after the holidays. My geneology includes Cruickshanks, Todds, Smileys, Comstocks, Swains, and Galbraiths to name a few, so I like a little of that tradition. On the bee forums there are several beeks who claim Sudbury as home. You need to go honey hunting while there.

Funny, I asked my in-laws to take a look and they came up null. Of course, they don't do internets. At all. Maybe a little research before we leave might be a good plan :)

I've got Stewart (not Stuart) in my heritage but it was a lady of German descent married into Kay/Hay/Gordon families who shared the shortbread recipe.

4 cups flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 lb unsalted butter
1 cup instant-dissolving sugar (the superfine "fruit" sugar or put regular granulated through the blender)
1 egg

Official recipe as I was taught: Measure flours into a pile and blend. Make a separate pile of sugar and knead in the butter. Gradually blend in some of the flour (a few handfuls), then make a hollow in the butter mixture and crack in an egg, knead in egg and keep adding flour until dough is pliable but cracks when squeezed, you may not need all the flour or you may need a bit more. Sprinkle a shortbread mould with rice flour, press 1/4 dough into mould then turn out into straight-sided pan. Mark dough with thistles and heather (toothpick or skewer for steam vents). Chill overnight. Bake at 300F for an hour or so until dry. Best done in a cold kitchen when you're chilled enough that your hands are cold, if they're warm enough to melt the butter, this won't work properly for you.
Modifications - I work on a double-layer teflon cookie sheet with a big icepack underneath it after turning down the heat for a couple hours and sitting around in a t-shirt when everyone else is wearing sweatters. I use a flat-bottomed steel bowl as a form and use 1/6 or 1/8 of the dough per shortbread (I have several sizes) and I flip them onto a foil-lined cookie sheet, leave in the garage overnight, and I bake at 250F for 2 hours. I usually make three squiggly lines from the centre (dividing it into thirds) for the heather stems and then use a toothpick pressed sort of sideways to make the leaves, then in between the heather, I make approximately thistle-shaped vent holes using toothpick pricks down to the bottom.


Sounds delicious Chevette Girl!
Somehow though, I don't think you'll be jogging in Sudbury Dec. 25. ;)

Actually, I probably will. They're European and celebrate everything on the 24th, so by the 25th I'm dying to get out of the house to do something other than eat or play cards or board games! I got out for a jog or a walk at least every other day last year. It didn't go down to -20C till the day we left.


I'm heading to phoenix for the holidays. We're taking the train to flagstaff and driving to the tempe area. Last chance for a happy all together Christmas before my brother comes out to our parents and we both get disowned. Him for being trans and me for standing by his decision.


Well, good luck with that. Something similar happened in my in-laws' family... They're at least not hostile, which is about all we can hope for... most of them just honestly don't understand at all. At all, at all, at all. Don't get it... won't get it. But for the person in question, well, after dealing with his "testosterone poisoning", she's a much happier person and off the anti-depressants, she's starting to lose some of the extra weight he'd gained... if you need to unload after all is said and done, email me or FB message me, I'll be leaving around the 18th and probably back before New Year's...

Soyala_Amaya
12-03-2011, 11:48 AM
Oh man, most of my Holiday prep for the family is done (presents), still need to wrap and ship things that are going out of state (oy I'm running out of time on that). Plus I have a few more houses to hit up for my Care Packages I'm donating to the local military base, they're sending a huge lot of them overseas next Wednesday...and still need to bake the cookies and breads for those, then vacuum seal them.

Today I'm working on that charity auction, heading out in about 20 minutes to set up and decorate the venue, hopefully we'll finish that in time for us Auction Babes to run out and wash up afterwards. Next week I'm volunteering at the same military base as they wrap up Toys for Tots donations.

Somewhere in there is my company Christmas Party, my Kindred Yule, my family's Christmas, and my boyfriend's family's Christmas.

Sleep? What is sleep? ;D I love the holidays, I really do!

TheAlchemist
12-03-2011, 01:49 PM
I'm heading to phoenix for the holidays. We're taking the train to flagstaff and driving to the tempe area. Last chance for a happy all together Christmas before my brother comes out to our parents and we both get disowned. Him for being trans and me for standing by his decision.


Wow. Bon Courage (as we say in French) to you and your sibling. Enjoy the kids!

Thanks for the recipes, CG. I've been enjoying experimenting with the pumpkin custard. I liked the brown sugar variation best so far.

Chevette Girl
12-03-2011, 07:10 PM
Thanks for the recipes, CG. I've been enjoying experimenting with the pumpkin custard. I liked the brown sugar variation best so far.

Another fun one? Try brown sugar in tapioca pudding ;D

I will be being a complete fool and driving a 29 year old Chevette 500 km loaded down with xmas presents, bunny and husband, when I know the engine's down half a cylinder... and the steering is a little loose, again... <sigh>

Chevette Girl
12-03-2011, 07:52 PM
I just had a weird thought - what happens if you make Turkish delight with wine instead of juice??

TheAlchemist
12-04-2011, 10:48 AM
I just had a weird thought - what happens if you make Turkish delight with wine instead of juice??

I feeeeeel your "To Do List" getting loooonger...

Thanks for the Chevette Report...I was wondering how she's doing. Safe travels to you (and what's your back-up plan?).

Chevette Girl
12-04-2011, 02:07 PM
I feeeeeel your "To Do List" getting loooonger...

Thanks for the Chevette Report...I was wondering how she's doing. Safe travels to you (and what's your back-up plan?).

To do - make a new to do list.

...dangit...

...at least the Xmas to-do list is finite and has a deadline! Although the orange-lemon Turkish Delight didn't come out that flavourful, I'll see how the raspberry goes today, if it's not much better I'm not going to bother with further experiments, my candy thermometers are conspiring against me again. The peanut brittle is going to be so much fun :rolleyes: I always have a glass of cold water standing by for drip tests to make sure my thermometer isn't lying to me again after it ruined my batch of fudge two years ago.

Back up plan? Depends on the mode of failure. If the engine doesn't get much worse, I'm going to drive it like this till spring when I can get the spare engine in. NOT DOING IT in winter. Just NOT. I'm getting too old for that crap, cold-weather automotive work really, really sucks. This of course is presuming the spare engine's still any good, gotta go do some research about what I should do to improve its chances :p. If it's worse than that, we'll pull some money out of our savings and get a used car. Been thinking about semi-retiring the Beast anyway, it'd be nice to be able to take her out of service for an engine overhaul or a paintjob but still be able to get places (public transit and walking are fine for groceries but where I work and where my horse lives, there are no buses).

If the steering gets appreciably worse, I'm going to have to go crawling to a friend of mine with a field of half-dead Chevettes and put yet another one out of its misery (could maybe get an engine too if my spare one has not fared well in storage). I'm hoping I can just get by though, my mechanic says the steering thing's very concerning but looking at its mode of failure, the worst it should be able to do even if the rubber part that's dying totally disintegrates is 1/8 of a turn of the steering wheel before the front wheels are affected (in turn of course, the wheels can turn without the steering wheel, but given that I'm used to getting buffeted around by wind in that car anyway, I don't even notice I'm making the little corrections).

Soyala_Amaya
12-04-2011, 10:36 PM
You are braver than I am lady.

On a secondary note of my Christmas plans, my auction raised almost 6,000 dollars for the domestic violence shelter, and I have 14 dozen hand made cookies baked and vacuum sealed, ready to be mailed out to our troops. The mead baskets were a big hit at the auction too, lots of geeks who go very excited! Yay mead!

Chevette Girl
12-04-2011, 10:45 PM
Glad to hear your auction went so well!

I'm going to go canvass my street for the March of Dimes in January but if it's anything like when I went for the Arthritis Society last year, I'll be lucky to get $20. Turns out I'm not the only one out of a job.

... I'm just glad most of our troops are back home...

So the orange and lemon Turkish Delight did in fact work out well, as soon as I get these stupid wild raisins dealt with and turned into jam, I'll be making raspberry Turkish Delight tonight.

kyger
12-04-2011, 11:15 PM
That is great to hear. I know when I was deployed over the holidays care packages were a life saver!

Loadnabox
12-05-2011, 10:27 AM
@Soyala: Thanks for helping the troops! I know how much it means to them!

@CG: You just need a friend with a two car garage. An engine swap should only take a full day if the replacement is a fully assembled long block and you have a hoist.

Buy a $50 electric radiator heater from Wal*Mart and you can keep the garage warm enough while working (not toasty, but not freezing your tuckus.

Chevette Girl
12-05-2011, 12:50 PM
I only have a one-car garage and am not "allowed" to work in my driveway (condo regulations), my mom won't let me use her two-car garage and neither one's got a high enough ceiling for the hoist (garage door and opener etc), I know this because we did the last two engine transfers there and had to stick the hood out the door... And it takes a day if you have ALL the tools AND don't break anything important... first time (http://www.chevettes.com/imagebrowse.php?section=na&chevnum=1470) when we were taking the good engine out of my old red one and putting it in the new blue one which I painted purple, we broke an engine mount and the exhaust bolts and something shorted out the starter connection, second and third times when that engine finally cacked around 320,000 km) we had the added bonus of having to remove the transmission first (not supposed to with a Chevette, good thing I've got small hands and a set of knuckles for my socket sets because the transmission was welded in - another story) and the second time, somewhere between when I bought the engine and when we started it up, one of the piston rings went and it wouldn't even start, so we had to do it all over again next weekend, but then I didn't have all the tools (my friend who had some tools I didn't couldn't help me two weekends in a row) and I let my husband help replace the oilpan gasket and he overtightened everything and the gasket bulged out of place... so that was leaking, and the water pump went and I couldn't get the exhaust nuts on tight enough without my friend's long-barrel sockets, although despite leaking two kinds of fluids and sloud enough to wake up the neighbourhood, the third time was in fact the charm, I did drive it under its own power to the mechanic's the next day to fix up the bits we couldn't get, as opposed to the previous two times which involved tow trucks...

As long as it doesn't get much worse, I'm OK driving it like this. It's only down half a cylinder, and that one was 25% lower to begin with so it's not as drastic as it sounds, it's not even losing more oil than it did before. Before transfers #2 and #3, Purple was down to 2.5 cylinders. But she still drove. And I'm used to driving patiently because I'm used to gutless. Chevettes only had 68 hp brand new! ;D

Chevette Girl
12-18-2011, 07:48 PM
The quadruple batch of oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies are baked. As are the peanut butter cookies wrapped around Hershey's Hugs and Kisses. Did the Molasses Crackle cookies last week plus a dozen Scottish shortbreads, half a batch of sugarfree shortbread, half a batch of gluten-free shortbread and the cookie part of the Nutmeg Logs, after supper break, I'll heat the oven back up for the orange-cranberry-dark chocolate chip cookies and after that I have to get out the rolling pin for the gingerbread and sugar cookies. Then when all that's done, I want to make meringue cookies, I still haven't gotten to the truffles or the rice krispie squares or the eatmore bars. Guess we'll see how late I stay up tonight! :)

...oh, and on the Chevette front, I got its signal lights all straightened out, burnt bulbs changed, undercoated for winter, all that good stuff. The engine actually feels pretty good, the wobble indicating the crappy cylinder isn't getting worse althoug it was AWFULLY grumpy about starting when we had a cold snap the other day.

TheAlchemist
12-19-2011, 08:10 AM
Sign me up for a batch of the orange-cranberry-dark chocolate chip cookies! I bet your home smells lovely!

jlerner
12-19-2011, 11:50 AM
Sign me up for a batch of the orange-cranberry-dark chocolate chip cookies! I bet your home smells lovely!

Seriously!!! Your treats sound delightful - I'll bet you could have a very successful online gourmet goodie store!

Chevette Girl
12-19-2011, 12:08 PM
;D Hehe, as much as I love baking, unfortunately my stove isn't very consistent so I'm always burning or undercooking one thing or another... and it wouldn't be as much fun if it were a job :) Instead of going out and buying stuff, everyone gets cookies. Lots of cookies. And then I probably won't bake again for a month!

Today, the to-do list includes chocolate truffles (from a recipe I clipped from the paper ten years ago about a local chocolatier, who started practising Aikido at my dojo about 5 years ago!), bake the gingerbread, rice krispie squares, icing for the nutmeg logs, roll the rumballs, and pack up the ingredients for coconut macaroons for my hubby's Xmas present and lemon squares to add to my mother in-law's copious spread of edibles...

Josh's Orange Cranberry & Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour (I've done this with gluten free flour and it works out fine)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bakinig soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
zest of one orange (2-3 tsp)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I take a hammer to Neilson's Dark Buds)

Preheat oven to 350F, line baking sheets with parchment paper
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, instructions call for electric mixer till it's fluffy but I do it by hand. Beat in egg and organge zest. With mixer on low speed, add flour gradually, stirring until only just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons (1-1/4" balls) onto prepared cookine sheets, bake 9-12 min until edges are lightly browned. Cool 3-4 min and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

TheAlchemist
12-19-2011, 12:52 PM
Thanks Bunches for the recipe!

Chevette Girl
12-19-2011, 01:03 PM
It's a good one, back when I was still working, we used to do cookie exchange every year, and Josh made damn good cookies! :)

Vance G
12-20-2011, 01:41 AM
I thought cadbury bought them and ruined the chocolate! Myall time favorite candy bar is a neilsens burnt almond bar. Ya know if you got a couple bee hives, you just couldn't be stopped!

Chevette Girl
12-20-2011, 12:20 PM
I dunno who owns who anymore. Not familiar with that particular chocolate bar, sounds like a Skor? I know they sell vastly different things between our countries... here, Smarties are like big flat M&M's and I understand over there, it's a chocolate bar?

And my morning comics (http://www.gocomics.com/getfuzzy/2011/12/20)amused me...

wildoates
12-21-2011, 03:48 AM
No, here Smarties are small round chalky disks that come in a cello-wrapped cylinder...they're a sadder version of Sweet Tarts. I've tasted your Smarties and while they're similar to our M&Ms, the chocolate's not at all the same.

I think all the shopping is done, the kids are on their way from Oslo, the last package is on its way to England, and most of the food is in the fridge. I still have some sewing to get done tomorrow, though, and a lot of wrapping. Whoo hoo! I love Christmas!

Vance G
12-21-2011, 11:50 AM
No CG, I had to get that bar in Canada, I lived most of my life within a few miles of the border to Ayeland. Merry Christmas.

Chevette Girl
01-01-2012, 01:32 PM
Vance, I'll keep an eye out for that. And don't you mean, "Eh-land"? :)

I've even found the odd chocolate bar made with chocolate that tastes like what's in smarties... but it's definitely different from M&M's, I think there's a bit of peanut butter in M&M chocolate.

I spent two days solid baking cookies before we left for Sudbury, but I got it all done and we only forgot one or two important things. Oops.