Thursday, December 13, 2012

Baking Up a Storm

Right after I finished the last blog we went shopping for some more inside decorations for Christmas, and most especially for New Years Eve.  Every year we have 24 people coming for what we call our New York New Years Eve party.  Our house will only hold 24 people.  It is pretty fun, actually,  and all the same people come each year.  The only way we can invite anyone new is for someone to either move away or die, as everyone is invited for each New Years until either Dick or I die.  One of our friends lost his wife  last year and another one lost her husband, so that left two that we could invite, so we invited Jim and Sue Pike.

 So far everyone is coming.  It is pot luck and every year everyone brings the same thing, so our menu never really changes.  Everyone really looks forward to this party each year, so nothing ever changes with everyone coming unless they get sick. 

We eat at exactly 6:00 p.m. and after we are through eating, everyone helps with moving all the tables away and then we have circle time, which we borrowed from Sue.  We ask everyone a fun question and after Dick and I have had our turn, everyone all around the circle answers the question. This year we are going to ask a question that will have all of us laughing, which should be fun.  It also gives us a chance to know something about everyone that we have never heard before.  I hope it will be a success and you will  know all about it in my first post after the New Year.

This is the main table which seats only eight.  This photo was taken in 2010

Looking across the main table to two of the four card tables we set up

This is the main table that we had last year 2011

Setting up for circle time

A shot of our decorated coffee table from last year

I have actually been very busy this month, which is why I haven't posted before.  I was quite amazed when I found out that I hadn't posted at all this month.

The first week in December was a very busy one.  Monday night was a High Priest party at the Pikes.  Tuesday was a birthday luncheon at the church for all the birthdays in December.  I was going to be smart and bake something on Monday for both parties, so I baked a choco brownie cake for the evening party and a cheese cake for the Tuesday luncheon at 12:00 noon.  I don't know where my brain was but I forgot to put the timer on for the cheese cake and promptly forgot about it.  When I suddenly remembered that it seemed like a long time, I went to the kitchen, looked at the cheesecake and it was way over baked!  I was so mad because I didn't really have time to bake anything else, so knew I was going to have to do it Tuesday morning.  The choco brownie cake turned out beautifully, as it always has.  I am going to bake one tomorrow morning and divide it into two 9" cake pans.  I think I will give you the recipe as it really is a wonderful chocolate cake:

Choco Brownie Cake:

1 cube butter at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
3 1/2 Tablesoons cocoa
l cup water
Cook the above ingredients in saucepan on medium just until it comes to a boil.
Then pour over 2 cups flour and 2 cups of sugar which has been sifted together and placed in large bowl of mixer.

Mix well and then add in order given:
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda just sprinkled into other ingredients
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pour into either a greased and lightly floured 9x 13 pan or two 9" round cake pans, that have been greased and lightly floured
Bake for 25 minutes @ 400 degrees.

Icing for above:
1 1/4 cubes butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
Cook in the same pan as you boiled in above.  When it comes to a boil, pour into large pan that you have put 1 lb pkg powdered sugar.  Mix thoroughly with mixer and add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup chopped walnuts.  You should ice cake while it is still warm.  I usually take it out of the oven and put it one rack if I am baking it in the one large pan, or on two racks it I am doing it in the round cake pans.  Then I ice the one large cake with all of the icing, or if doing two small cakes, I divide the icing in two parts.  If I am doing two small cakes, I put them on large dinner size paper plates or if I do the big one, I just ice it right in the pan.  Of course if you want to do a big round cake you ice the whole thing in the regular way.  I always use the same mixer for both the cake and the icing, so of course I have to wash both the mixer and the pan before I make the icing.

On Tuesday I just made my brownie recipe (from scratch, of course) and iced it with the above icing.  Both affairs were really nice, but I was almost too tired to really enjoy them.

I had really decided to rest all of Wednesday and I completely forgot that we had promised a couple of friends of ours who had asked us if we could take them over to Palm Springs to see the Festival of Lights.  This couple has lots of problems.  He has fallen lots and the last time he fell he broke his pelvis, so it has been a slow recovery.  He is almost 91, and she is quite blind.  The doctor has told him that he cannot drive anymore.  I felt so bad when she called us to see what time we were going to pick them up.  I was really too tired still, so we pomised them we would have them over for dinner on Monday and then we would drive them over to see the lights.  This guy that has these lights every year but he has a big huge gate around his whole place and the things to see are really   inside.  He has 4 acres and he had a lot of Santas and robots plus other types of decorations.  Do you know that just about 5:00 when they were supposed to have come for dinner, she called and said she wouldn't be home until around 8:00.  She had gone to Loma Linda for her husband's medicine and she had asked her next door neighbor if she would drive her.  Her neighbor had a lot of other towns that she had to go to and Rosemary just had to go along.  So we tried to got Don to come over for dinner anyway.  We had the table all set for them, but he decided to wait for Rosemary, so they came the second night and had lefovers with us.  Our left overs were pretty good though.  We had left over roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, and choco brownie cake for dessert.  Then we went to Palm Springs.  The gates were all lighted all around the property and we could see the tall Santa and a huge lighted pole from the front gate, which was also beuatifully decorated.  I don't quite think it was worth the drive, but we did stop on our way over in Cathedral City where one street is always decorated each year.  They call it candy cane lane and of course even the streets are decorated with the candy canes all lighted up.  They are the size of the street lamps.  It really is worth the trip over and we always go there each year.

Wednesday we went visiting teaching and I had to make two carrot pineapple cakes to take with us.  Then this morning I had to make two more carrot cakes to give one to another lady we visit and home teach and then the other one went to some friends of ours who had previously brought us some cinnamon rolls.  We stopped there and had a piece of cake with them and then went shopping.  We did manage to find a beautiful wreath for our front door that we will try to put up tomorrow.  We came home and I made another oatmeal thing with some left over pumpkin which I think Dick was cutting to flash freeze when I made him come and post the pictures we took last year of our New Years Eve party.  That pretty much brings us up to date.  You can see why I am tired and tomorrow we are baking 12 Danish Pastry tea rings which take almost all day.  I am also baking another choco brownie cake.  All this stuff is for our family.  Saturday we will be delivering a big box to our oldest daughter, Nancy.  She also works a good half day and we will be taking it early Saturday morning to her office in Anaheim.  At least we won't have to take it to her home which is in Huntington Beach.  We will stop at one of our favorite resturaunts in Riverside on the way home.  Sunday Dick will be at the church all day long doing some last minute tithing settlements and Monday morning about 5:00 a.m. we will be leaving for Sue's in Saratoga for Christmas.  After a couple of days in Saratoga we will go to our third daughter, Nikki's in Oak Park, which is near Agoura Hills.  We will barely get home sometime Saturday, to set up for our New York New Years Eve.  It makes me tired just reading this.  I'm finall finished, yes I am...........with love to all, ..........................Darlene