Friday, 19 December 2014

Santa's Balls

We're down to the final posts for Caker Cooking and if you take anything away from this blog, I hope it’s this: cakers love balls. I’ve featured more ball-shaped food on here than any other shape. (Triangles being a distant second.) Some may wonder why, but I say, "Don’t analyze. Just eat."

When I saw this recipe for Christmas Fruit Balls, two thoughts came to mind: 1) more balls and 2) it’s nice that maraschino cherries are considered “fruit.” So I set out to make them. And while I was tenderly rolling these balls in my hands, I had another thought: these balls deserve a better name.

So I’ve christened them Santa’s Balls. Let’s just say the sprinkling of shredded coconut sealed the deal. Picture it: there you are in your apron and knitted slippers on Christmas Eve, announcing to your guests that you’ll be serving Santa’s Balls shortly and would anyone like a top up on their Kahlua? Talk about memorable holiday moments!

Speaking of memorable holiday moments, my Caker Christmas party is tomorrow night! I have no idea what my Eye-talian guests are bringing. This terrifies and excites me. Come back Monday when I post all the carnage.

½ bag white miniature marshmallows
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
½ cup red cherries, halved
1-15 ounce can Eagle Brand milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
Mix altogether, chill overnight. Shape into balls and roll in coconut. (See note.) Store in covered container in the refrigerator.

Note: The mixture was pretty, er, hard when I took it out of the fridge. Let it warm slightly before attempting to roll Santa’s Balls in your hands.

Source: From the Lakeshore Ladies Kitchens

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Cardboard Tube Christmas Tree

It’s a fact. I can’t wrap presents to save my life. I cut the paper all crooked, the scotch tape always gets stuck in my hair (that's after using it on my nose like a Biore strip) and just try writing out someone’s name on one of those teeny-tiny gift tags. Especially if that person’s name is Mephistopheles.

The upside to wrapping presents? You’re left with all those cardboard tubes. And when you have cardboard tubes, you have the makings for another wonderful caker Christmas craft. We don’t let anything go to waste. Cakers are the original recyclers.

Why, just look at this majestic Christmas tree. I bet you'd pay close to $20 for this at Sears. But I made it for mere pennies. You can decorate it any way you want. Just be careful when using the X-Acto knife. If you think wrapping presents with ten fingers is hard, just try wrapping them with nine.

Come back Friday for my final holiday recipe. Then it's my Caker Christmas party round-up on Monday!

Instructions:


1) Cut the cardboard tube into 1-inch pieces.









2) Watch your fingers or else you'll end up like this!









3) Glue the pieces together in the shape of a tree, spray paint the crap out of it and decorate with balls, ornaments, hair, whatever you fancy!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Heavenly Angel Cake

Do you hear what I hear? Is it my imagination or is it the heavenly sounds of a church senior choir in rehearsal for Christmas Eve service? I just hope they don’t sing that “Hark are the bells merrymerrymerrymerry Christmas” song because it’s very difficult to master and the only time I’ve heard it done right was when barking cats covered it.

Speaking of heavenly things, put down your Suzy Shier bags and take a break from holiday shopping with this Heavenly Angel Cake. Talk about simple pleasures! You’re only a box and a can away from making it. If you manage to screw this up, there’s little hope for you in this world, my caker friend.

True, it’s a little on the chewy side, but it's moist and what more can you expect from a two-ingredient cake? I got a little Martha Stewartson with mine and put a poinsettia in the middle. If you do the same, make sure you tell your guests not to eat the poinsettia. They may look good, but they leave an awful aftertaste. Trust me on this one.

Hey! Are you ready for another caker Christmas craft? Get out your cardboard tubes and meet me back here on Wednesday.

340 g pkg angel food cake mix
540 ml can crushed pineapple
1 large angel food cake pan, ungreased

Set oven to 350°. Disregard directions on cake mix box! Pour cake mix and pineapple into large bowl. Stir together until all cake mix is moistened. Pour into large angel food pan. Bake 1 hour or until tester comes out of cake dry. (See note) Invert on rack until cool.

You can either ice cake or serve plain with ice cream. Berries on the side are good also.

Note: Mine was done around the 50-minute mark.

Source: 75th Anniversary Cookbook, Paterson Memorial Presbyterian Church, Sarnia, Ontario

(This was the church where my mom got married. Mad props to The Caker Queen!)

Friday, 12 December 2014

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Next Saturday night, I’m hosting my annual Caker Christmas party. I invite Eye-talians over and everyone brings a caker dish. I usually assign the recipes but this year, I’m throwing caker caution to the wind. “Bring whatever you want,” I said to them. “So long as it's caker.”

Why do I have a feeling I’m going to regret this? I’ll post all the gory details on Monday, December 22. If I survive.

Until then, help yourself to a big wedge of this Crustless Pumpkin Pie. I was hoping it would turn out like Impossible Pie, where all the layers separate to create a top layer, middle section and crust. It didn’t work out that way. I guess the crust was in there. Somewhere. I brought this to my work potluck and got a mixed reaction. Some people liked it. Others felt crust-robbed.

But, as Mother always says, “You can please some people most of the time, but you can’t make friends none of the time.” She’s wise beyond her years, that one. Anyways, don’t forget to serve this under an avalanche of Cool Whip.

¾ cup sugar
½ cup Bisquick
2 tablespoons butter
1 large can evaporated milk
16 ounce can pumpkin (see note)
2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat together until smooth. Pour into greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake 50-55 minutes at 350°.

Note: The can I bought wasn’t 16 ounces, so make sure you measure it out. If you care about accuracy. If not, toss the whole thing in there.

Source: St. Mary’s C.W.L. Crafton Cookbook, St. Mary’s, Ontario

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Egg Carton Christmas Ornaments

I was shopping for holiday ornaments on the weekend and was shocked by the prices. Good lord! What are decorations made of these days – eighteen carrot gold? There’s no reason to spend that kind of money on objects that will only come crashing to the floor when your uncle puts on the felt reindeer antlers and stumbles into the Christmas tree after one too many rum and eggnogs.

These egg carton ornaments are great because they’re cheap and give you free reign to express your creativity to its fullest.

Sort of.

I bought a package of letter beads at the dollar store, thinking I’d spell, “Best Wishes for Eternal Peace and Everlasting Hope to You, Mother.” But I was shortchanged on letters! There were no r's, s’s or t’s! There were four c’s, but what word has four c’s in it? Honestly, I was so mad.

Anyways, the best I could come up with was “May Xmay” which I’m sure means something. To someone. In another part of the world. I don’t have my Christmas tree up yet, so I had to go outside with my camera and take photos in my neighbour’s bushes. I had a lot of explaining to do when the cops showed up. LOL!

Instructions:

1. Get an egg carton.









2. Cut two of the pockets out and trim them. If you want to paint the inside, do it at this stage.








3. Cut triangles into the sides and glue together. Then decorate! You can paint them, put things inside the cups and hang beads off them. The sky’s the limit! (Unless you buy alphabet beads from the dollar store.)


Monday, 8 December 2014

Stuffed Mushrooms

If you’re like me, you’re in the throes of planning your holiday party. Lucky for me, I’m a caker. And that means I take Easy Street and have a potluck. Just think – people show up to your party and bring you food. You don’t have to do anything except answer the door. And maybe sprinkle some Love My Carpet around.

If you’re feeling generous, put out a few appetizers. Usually, I set out a bowl of Ruffles and Lipton Onion Soup mixed with sour cream (still in the container, of course!) And, if my allowance cheque from Mother doesn’t bounce, I might opt for a shrimp ring. But only one. I’m not responsible for feeding the entire neighborhood, for heaven’s sake! LOL!

I came across these Stuffed Mushrooms and thought they’d make great appetizers. Mushrooms are cheap and you don’t even have to use real bacon. I bought the simulated soy kind which tastes more like bacon than bacon, in my caker opinion. As far as quantities, if you’re having 20 people over, make five of these and quarter them. People are always watching their calories over the holidays. They’ll thank you.

Save your egg cartons and come back Wednesday for a timeless holiday craft!

Whole mushrooms
Bacon bits
Shredded cheddar cheese
Mayonnaise

Wash and remove stems from the mushrooms. Mix equal amounts of bacon bits, cheese and mayonnaise. Place cleaned mushrooms on a cookie sheet. Fill with the mixture of bacon bits/cheese/mayonnaise. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes approximately.

Source: Our 20th Anniversary Cookbook, Lambeth, Ontario

Friday, 5 December 2014

Five Minute Fudge

The holidays don’t officially start until I’m in my Snuggie, watching The Fireplace Channel and trying to figure out where the loop happens. I’m usually eating fudge while I do this. For those cakers who have yet to make it, fudge can be tricky because most recipes tell you to take its temperature. The first time I made it, I grabbed the thermometer out of the medicine cabinet. The bad news? The thermometer exploded. The good news? Mercury fudge soon became a family favourite.

You don’t need a thermometer for this Five Minute Fudge but you do need time. It took me 19 minutes and 22 seconds to make it! That’s not counting the time it took me to put on pants and lipstick, get in the Chevette, drive to the No Frills, buy the ingredients, stop for a double-double and a Boston Cream and come back home. Needless to say, I was tempted to send a letter of complaint to the Lambeth Co-operative Playschool for false advertising.

But then I tasted the fudge and I did a 360. Or is that a 180? Anyways, it’s good. Leave this out on the table for Santa on Christmas Eve and I bet he leaves you an extra present. Mainly his teeth. Sadly, fudge has its side effects.

2/3 cup Carnation milk, undiluted
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 cups (4 oz) miniature marshmallows (16 medium diced marshmallows)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chopped nuts
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon salt

Mix milk, sugar and salt in saucepan over medium heat. Heat to boiling. Boil for 5 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add marshmallows, chocolate chips, vanilla and nuts. Stir 1 to 2 minutes, until marshmallows are melted. Pour into buttered 9-inch pan. Cool and cut into squares.

Source: Our 20th Anniversary Cookbook, Lambeth, Ontario