I am not a crafty person. I nearly flunked out of the adult ed sewing class I took when I was nineteen, am just passable at other needlework, and was a dismal failure at scrapbooking four years ago.
Every Christmas the kids and I do our version of gingerbread houses. I tried actual gingerbread one year, but it was a nightmare. Using graham crackers stuck to boxes with gluey icing works much better. In past years I've been a bit obsessive about these houses, worrying over the placement of every gum drop as though they were going to be graded. But no more. This year I pretty much just left my kids alone and didn't much worry about my own small contributions. We had a great time!
Pomegranate did a hotel:
Bengal did a version of the farm scene we did last year, complete with sugar cone trees--there was one more tree, but Hrothgar snarfed one before I caught him at the table.
Now, I know that the word "Fruitcake" strikes horror into the hearts of many. And given the sodden bricks that pass for the stuff, I'm not surprised. I felt exactly the same way--that is until I had my mother-in-law's fruitcake. It's basically pound cake with fruit and nuts. It's heaven. After eighteen years of marriage, I finally asked her for the recipe. The recipe came to her by way of P's godfather's wife. I share it with you in hopes that it will redeem the spirit of fruitcakes everywhere. (Angioplasty not included.)
FRUITCAKE FOR PEOPLE WHO HATE FRUITCAKE
1 pound butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 oz lemon extract (don't even think about using imitation!)
4 cups flour
1/2 tea. baking powder
1/2 pound dried cranberries (soak in warm water for 1/2 hour, then drain)
1/4 pound white raisins
1 pound shelled pecans
1/2 pound candied pineapple (they no longer preserve it in formaldehyde, so it's okay--you can use the dried/sugared variety as well)
Preheat oven to 325. Grease a tube or Bundt pan, plus a loaf pan.
Cream butter and sugar in mixer. Add eggs and lemon extract. In separate bowl, stir together flour and baking powder.
Chop nuts and pineapple. Mix fruits and nuts together.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture a cupful at a time. Add fruit and nut mixture. Mix well.
Bake pans on center rack in oven. Put a pan of water on a lower rack as well.
Test loaf pan doneness with a toothpick or cake tester after 1 hour. Baking time for both will be around 1 and 1/2 hours for both pans.
I hope your holidays are full of blessings and that the New Year brings you and the ones you love peace, prosperity, fulfillment, and contentment. Thank you so much for sharing your time with me.