"Commentary from the Countryside"
Thoughts on current events,
history, homesteading, preparedness, real food, and anything else I find interesting, from a cranky, middle-aged woman's common-sense perspective.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Blessings

Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love the music, the lights, the get-togethers with family and friends, the extra special church services, the cookies and Uncle Johnny's ham, I love all of it.  Usually my family doesn't do a whole lot of 'big' gifts; we tend to practical things, or make a gift of a 'day', where we all get together to help with a big project.  But this year my family surprised me with the gift of a stand mixer!  I had been wanting to get one for the longest time, but the finances just weren't there, so I looked and dreamed and planned, hoping to get one some day in the future when I found a new job.

I have to say that I was rather overwhelmed when I opened the package; there are some embarrassing pictures of me with my mouth open and my eyes all teary, don't look for them to be posted here!  It was an unexpected bonus on a day already wonderful with family about and little nephews to cuddle.  By noon the next day the mixer had pride of place on my counter, and a fresh batch of cookies were cooling on the table.  (Not like we needed anymore cookies, but I couldn't help myself.)  I'm just so amazed at my wonderful family! 

Sometimes it seems the smallest annoyances can be the most, well, annoying.  The more I have been working in the kitchen, with all the slicing, chopping, stirring, and so on, the more my hand and wrist have been bothering me.  Nothing earth-shattering, just an achey numbness and weakness that makes simple jobs Not Fun.  The new mixer has already made such a difference for me!  Now beating the butter and eggs until creamy is effortless, and mixing a heavy cookie dough has gone from fifteen minutes to two, with no aches!  I'm looking forward to getting the vegetable processing attachment and just flying through the salsa making next summer.  Fun!

Here's one of the recipes that are so fun to do with the mixer:

Never Fail Banana Cake
Pre-heat oven to 350.  Either two layer pans or one square pan may be used; pans must be well-greased.
Cream together 1/2 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and two eggs.
Add 1 cup mashed banana and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.  Sift together 2 cups pastry flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt, and add to the butter mixture alternately with 1/2 milk.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  I have found that using rotten bananas yields a moist and flavorful cake.  This cake is the traditional birthday cake in my family and I do it as a layer cake, with frosting and fresh banana slices between the layers, and strawberries stuck in to the frosting on top.  For non-birthday occasions, I make it as a simple square cake with cream cheese frosting.

Well, this post is a little late due to a close encounter with some cold germs (I swear Daughter actually likes it when I lose my voice!) but let me take a moment here to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  May the good Lord bless you and keep you this year, and give you strength and faith to overcome any difficulties with grace.

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