Preparation and Looking Forward

by Bella Rum

I decided about my menu yesterday and went to the grocery store for everything that was not perishable. I ordered a cake for two birthday parties. No, that’s not right – it’s for one party but two birthdays. Two of the grands have birthdays within a few days of Christmas (I know I”ve mentioned that before). We celebrate the heck out of December around here. When January comes, we’ve wrung December dry.

I’m not doing all the traditional recipes. They don’t care for certain things, but I’ll make stuffing/dressing. H and I both love it, and what is Christmas without it? And there will be mashed potatoes. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about that.

I made my not-so-famous sock-it-to-me cakes for a few neighbors, cut them in half, wrapped them in plastic wrap with ribbons on each end, and stuck a label with our names written in red and green on them. They were so pretty sitting there on the kitchen table. I meant to take a photo, but H delivered them to the neighbors before I even had a chance to spin around three times and say, “Elves are freaky.” He said that half of the neighbors (mostly men) had a kid in one hand and a dog in the other when they answered the door. That sock-it-to-me cake is such a good cake for baking, giving, and eating. It turns out beautifully every time, holds up well for delivery and is delicious (if I do say so myself).

The kids will arrive on Thursday. I can’t believe it’s almost here. Yesterday was my grandson’s birthday. We called him to wish him a happy day, and he said that he got sick at school and came home early. He said, “I’m nauseous and have a headache.” Poor fella. I told him he better feel better before Christmas. There’s a good time waiting here for him.

So we’re waddling (literally) toward THE day. January better come soon. I’ve been looking at severely healthy recipes to try. healthy-bowl

Have you heard about these “healthy” bowls. They have another name, but I can’t remember it so I’m calling it healthy bowl. Please tell me if you know the other name. It’s another trend, like the mason jar meals. You put a bunch of healthy stuff in a bowl, make it pretty and it tastes better. I love the variety, but it takes time to make all that. See that. My laziness is showing.

Is it just me or is 2016 zooming toward us? Zooming, zooming. Or do you only start thinking of it after the holidays? Usually I can only see the holidays until it’s all over, then the New Year falls over me like a soft blanket. I know most people do not like January, but I love it. It’s so relaxed, and there are books and fun projects that take place in January… and  maybe snow instead of these weird seventy-something days. Beautiful but eerie and not right in a creepy sort of way.

I just heard the train whistle. We only moved five miles from our other house, and I can still hear it in the distance. There’s a longing to it, but I like it. It’s reliable and comforting in a strange way. I’m here, all safe and sound, and it’s out there and so wistful.

Okay. That’s it. When I start babbling, you know I’m awake in the middle of the night. So good night, or good morning to you. It’s all the same here on the horse pasture.

Sock-it-to-me Cake

Preheat oven to 325 F

Ingredients

1 box Duncan Hines Butter Golden cake mix

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened in microwave

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 pint (8 oz. or 1 cup) sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

4 eggs

4 teaspoons brown sugar

4 teaspoons cinnamon

For Glaze:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

small amount of milk (until it reaches the consistency you desire)

Directions

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together with a fork or pastry blender. Set aside.

With electric mixer, mix together, 1 stick softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 pint sour cream, vanilla. Add one egg at a time and mix until incorporated. Add cake mix and mix until incorporated.

By hand, gently fold in 1 cup of coarsely chopped pecans. Pour half of this mixture into a prepared (buttered & floured or sprayed) tube pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over the batter in the pan. Top with remaining batter mixture. Bake at 325F for 70 minutes. You should check at 65 minutes; if it springs back at the touch, remove from oven. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove it from the pan, and allow it to cool on a rack until it is cool to the touch.

Glaze

Gradually add a tablespoon or so of milk to 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar. Go slowly, making sure you don’t get it too thin (I like mine kind of thickish so it doesn’t run off the cake.) Drizzle this mixture over the cooled cake. I immediately put it in the fridge for about ten minutes. This stops the glaze from running off the cake. Then remove from fridge.

 

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