December 2013 Beeson Banner



2 December 2013

This morning I picked up the last chunk of ice from dumping the rain barrel and put it into the lemon-grass pot.  It wasn't until it was entirely melted that I remembered that it was the rosemary that was thirsty — so I snitched a couple of ice cubes out of Dave's freezer.    There's still rain water in the buckets, but it's tedious to dribble it in slowly enough that it doesn't run into the gap between the dirt and the pot and go directly to the leak catcher.

Two loads of wash.  I put a turquoise towel into the colored load.

I broke a front tooth Saturday evening — gnawing a bone, so that breaks my record of breaking teeth only on soft food.  I've got an appointment for tomorrow afternoon; I hope he'll tell me I can get away with just polishing up the broken edges, but I suspect that I'll be going back a few times.

And I still haven't made an appointment for the mammogram.

Picked a simple recipe for candied walnuts off the Web:  put half a cup of walnuts and a quarter cup of sugar into a heavy skillet over medium heat and stir them around until done.   I need a good excuse to try this.

A bad excuse will do.



3 December 2013

I've got to get around to making a Sprawlmart tour.  It's become apparent that the only way I'll find the "dressing comb" I bought at Sally's Beauty Supply is to buy another one, and I'm getting tired of combing my hair with combs that are too fine, too coarse, and too short in the tooth.

Perhaps I should buy a second one for my dop kit.

I'm having red jasmine rice for my bedtime snack, with freshly-chopped pecans in it.   Yum!

I think that red rice would make a lovely porcupine loaf, and there is just enough rice left to make one.  I'd use beef broth instead of tomato juice, so as not to overwhelm the rice, but then what do I do for a sauce on top?  I use mashed potatoes to keep dressing loaf from drying out, but potatoes clash with rice.

To my surprise, Dr. Hollar had time to repair my tooth on the spot.

And he and I had our picture taken with my new bike rack.  Nobody else goes there on a bike, but he went to a great deal of trouble to install a bike rack beside the door of the clinic.

So I came by car today.  I was very glad I had when it started raining as I was driving home from Marsh, where I had stopped for milk on the way home.  I also found some smoked pork necks, so we are having bean soup tomorrow.



4 December 2013

I put in too much italian seasoning, but it's good soup anyway.  I made the whole-grain cornbread from the on-line cookbook and we have a little more than half of that left.    I know what's for bedtime snack tonight.  I had pre-seasoning soup for lunch, too.

That was the last of the Great Northerns.

The National Weather Service says that tomorrow will be fit for outdoor exercise, but the only place I want to go is Spring Creek, and that's too strenuous for someone who hasn't ridden much the last few weeks.  I'm trying to convince myself that I want something downtown.  Riding around in circles just for exercise is boooorrrrrinnng.



5 December 2013

Decided to ride around all three lakes.  A little bypassing padded the route out to 24.1 miles.  While combing my hair, I realized that the marked route passes by the store where I bought the comb that I mislaid.  I might up and buy a comb and come home.  I'm taking my wool writing mitts and a pair of wool gaiters to put on as the thermometer drops.

The no-stick spray finally gave out while Dave was making himself an omelette.  It's been empty but still spraying for days or weeks.

Nuttin but a big circle, and all roads I've used before, but a certain interest was added by going the other way.  Anchorage Road is a lot hillier going west.  I bought two combs before crossing 30, and put one of them in my travel kit when I got home.

Followed Anchorage across 30, and started looking for the place to cross 30 and get onto Bell Road.  I was behind the Wong Place (Having turned into a parking lot to take a closer look at the new Goodwill store) before I realized that that was it back there:  I had already been on the correct side of 30.  Turning back was slightly complicated by a fellow measuring from I-didn't-quite-see to the yellow line on Anchorage with an odometer.  I took a rest stop at Walmart, since I thought taco salad at Steak 'n Shake would be a bit heavy.  My notes say I spent a full hour in there even though all I did was eat and put on my woollies.

The street sign was missing at Fox Farm and 200 N, which confused me considerably.  By good luck I was attacked by a dog while I was puzzling over my map.  (Poor confused dog:  hey, I'm barking down here:  aren't you going to run away or complain or at least *notice*?)  And when the embarrassed owner came out to call him off, she gave me directions.  The next sign I consulted had been rotated a quarter turn.  I guess there isn't too much pressure to repair such things now that everybody has a GPS, (We've been thinking about putting MIA on my bike, but I haven't had good luck with handlebar mounts; they tend to throw things onto the pavement.)

I was getting a little saddle sore by this point, and by the time I was halfway down 350 W, I was hungry even though I'd eaten a six-inch BLT with provolone on whole wheat in Walmart's Subway.  Eating the ration bars I'd brought along didn't appeal to me, and eating them while standing in a cold wind *really* didn't appeal to me, so after crossing the Chinworth Bridge, instead of turning right to go south of the lake by way of Parks-Schramm, I turned left and went to Penguin Point by the shortest route.

Google Maps says that this cut my ride down to 19.6 miles.  That was just as well, because when I got home yesterday's paper was lying on the freezer (we forgot to bring it in last night; apparently Dave remembered after I left) and when I tried to read the funnies, I couldn't:  I was too tired.

At Penguin Point I was about to order a two-piece lunch and a side of cole slaw when I noticed that the three-piece dinner, which comes with two sides, cost little more than the price of a side more than the two-piece lunch.

So I got that, sacked up the roll, the butter, and two of the chicken pieces, and had supper taken care of.  Dave had a salad and my leftovers, and I had toasted cornbread with butter and honey.  And the remaining half of my cole slaw, which was much improved when I added a few drops of vinegarette.  It wasn't good slaw at all; it was ground instead of shredded, and I couldn't detect any dressing.  I might have been more impressed if I hadn't eaten Alice's slaw so recently.

Peeked into the window of the cigarette store; I think someone has salvaged some of the merchandise since I last did that.  But parking my bike led me to notice that the walk in front of the burned buildings is still covered with broken glass.

Thence home by the shortest route; I was tired enough to resent the jog around the school on Fort Wayne Street.  And I almost crossed Harrison instead of turning onto it.  (I'm nearly always on my way to Owens when I'm at that intersection.)



7 December 2013

I knew that buying a new comb would find the old one!  Dave dropped a spring and had to move the file cabinet, and there the comb was on the floor under the cabinet.  I figure that I had it in a shirt pocket and bent over the file.  I do put it in my pocket so I can braid my hair, if I comb outdoors while wearing a jersey, and tend to forget about it.  And less than half will go into the pocket, so it would fall out very easily.

Dave bought flannel-lined jeans.  The flannel is very thin, but the jeans are a lot warmer than his slacks.



9 December 2013

I just turned the first half-dozen cakes out onto a cooling rack.  Shouldn't we eat one cake from each batch, just as a check on quality?



12 December 2013

Also rejected a cake from the date-nut cakes, but yesterday I made a small extra cake for the figgy puddings.  Only four cakes in the batch; a whole one would be too big a percentage.  We have a piece of date cake and a crumb of figgy pudding left.

I made a four-shop tour today, foraging for more butter, fruit and nuts.  Warsaw Health, Owen's, Aldi, and Aunt Millie's Outlet.  While I was in Owen's, I saw a one-pound bag of shredded cabbage and carrots, and bought it to try Alice's slaw recipe.   I used one tablespoon of mustard seed, one tablespoon of white sugar, and two tablespoons of cider vinegar.  That was too much mustard seed; we'll have to wait until tomorrow to judge the other ingredients.  I suspect that I should have used three tablespoons of vinegar.

I'm glad I bought a roasted chicken at Owen's.  It was after two before I started my nap, and I was still in bed when Dave started wondering where his supper was.  So we had salad and chicken — Dave warmed his; I ate mine cold.

I also bought some hamburger to make porcupine loaf out of the remaining red rice.  Come time to make the meatloaf, I didn't feel like it, so I washed the rice and put it into a refrigerator dish with a can of beef broth; that might work out better than making the meat loaf ahead of time.  Well, I plan to make it ahead of time too.

I think I'll make honey-apricot cake tomorrow, now that I've got candied pineapple.  I bought an extra box of yellow raisins, too.



13 December 2013

While throwing papers into the recycling bin, I found the ultimate gift for Alice:  "Dot Marc Jacobs" — eau de parfum in a bottle decorated to look like a ladybug.

(That's "gift" in the German meaning, of course.)

No fruitcake today, but I made meatloaf.  Froze enough raw meatloaf for two more meals.

I used beef broth instead of tomato juice, but the ruby-red rice was overwhelmed anyway.  Next time I make a meatloaf, I'll use plain old brown rice.

Instead of putting tomato juice on top to cook down into sauce, I put runny mashed potatoes on after the meat got good and hot.  One cup of potato flakes, two cups of water, a quarter teaspoon of salt.  This didn't work well; it did cook down thick, but the texture was slimy — and I don't think the top of the loaf actually needed protection anyway.  Not bad as long as nobody tells you it was supposed to be mashed potatoes.

I might buy some more ruby-red, cook it in broth with seasonings, and add some browned ground beef at the last minute.  That would probably also be a good recipe for the Black Japonica I bought at   . . . Marsh, I think.



15 December 2013

I think I'll steam the two frozen meatloaves in the rice cooker instead of baking them.  Or at least the first one.

I goofed up my steamed cornbread.  When it was time to put the butter in, I thought that a whole stick for two cups of flour was ridiculous, and put in half a stick.  With a ridiculous amount of butter, it's yummy; with a merely large amount, it's just barely edible.  I brought most of it home.

Together with a meaty ham bone.  I don't think I've *ever* made bean soup with a real ham bone; I'm planning to buy Great Northerns for the occasion (having used up the last of the previous package making soup with smoked pork necks), and regretting that I haven't seen marrowfat beans for sale in decades.

I got the middle sized bone.  Bill froze the big one and the broth to make a pot of soup for our next homeless dinner; Elaine said "I'll take the small one because there are only two of us." I responded "But there are only two of *us*!" But she was planning potato soup and I'm planning bean soup, so I guess the division was right.

And I brought a few cookies and half a slice of chocolate pie to Dave.

When I got home from the Winona Lake Free Methodist Church Christmas party, I told Dave that I'd had entirely too much fun, but I didn't realize how tired I was until I woke up from my nap with my legs aching.  It was five-thirty, and Dave had just finished toasting fries and half a sandwich left over from his lunch.  I snitched one of his fries and polished off the gelled crushed pineapple, then zapped bean puree —the bean soup gets thicker every time it's warmed over— and nibbled relish plate and assorted other foods found here and there.

There's about half a serving of bean soup left.

And I'm sleepy again.



16 December 2013

The lake was all white when we got up this morning, but had large blue patches the next time I looked.  They are gray patches now.

I forgot to take aspirin before going to bed, but my legs weren't sore any more.  Slept solid (except for taking my three a.m. pill at six) and woke up at eight.

I've got a load of whites that I plan to bleach soaking in the washer.  It will be time to add the bleach in five minutes and twenty-three seconds.



17 December 2013

The lake is white again, except for a streak at the mouth of the creek, and a dotted line where it flows south along the shore.  I think this will stick until Friday's rain.

If I had sat down with a print-out of the mailing list, a ball-point pen, and twenty-five envelopes when we started trying to figure out how to make a computer address envelopes, I'd have been done an hour ago.

And when we do figure it out, we'll have to walk from the computer to the printer and back for each address.  Aren't modern conveniences wonderful?

I told Dave to shut everything down and I'd use the ball-point, but he's determined to win this battle.  You may well receive this Banner before you get your Christmas card.



20 December 2013

Shortly after I wrote the above, he did figure it out, and it went fast because there were two of us, and we quickly settled into a routine of "ready"  "ready".   The printer jammed now and again, but that wasn't a problem after I learned that I must stick an envelope in before it finished making reset noises to keep it from printing the missed address on plain paper.  And the new printer is a lot faster than the old one.

When I was folding the cards, walking from the printer to the computer was a plus:  I had it print three sheets at a time, and two of them were printed by the time I got back, so there was no delay except the walk that I needed to avoid back trouble.  Cheated and asked for more than three on the last printing, though.  The old printer didn't print sheets near as fast as I could fold them.

(I missed Evelyn all through this process.)

Putting the printer on the cedar chest in the parlor was brilliant:  there was plenty of work space beside the printer, and because we stacked the cedar chests, the height was just right for working while standing up.  But Evelyn's chest is still up for grabs.  We have one cedar chest too many, and I want to keep my hope chest.

Perhaps I should try offering the chest to my side of the family.



20 December 2013

Yesterday, when I found a sore spot on the inside of my left knee making me limp, I thought I'd sat on my leg or something, but this morning it's even more sore.  What hurts off to the side of a joint?

From the English usage newsgroup:  "We call ourselves anglophones, but we are really saxophones."



21 December 2013

Grumble, gripe, snarl, snap.  The whole point of going on a major shopping tour on such a grungy day was that we were running out of milk.

I forgot to buy milk.

I don't think the tour did my knee any good.  Doesn't seem to have aggravated it either.  I took the cane, but it made me move stiffly, which stressed the knee, so I left it in the car.  I did use shopping carts as walkers.

I think that a spot on the inside of the knee is warmer than the corresponding spot on the other knee.

I finally retrieved the eggs that have been cluttering the church fridge ever since Thanksgiving.  They floated, so I put them on the compost heap, feeling rather wroth that they hadn't been put into two of the Thanksgiving baskets.

I also left off the apron that I brought home on Saturday and washed on Monday.  The stains didn't come out, but there is no longer dried batter on it.  I didn't look too closely at the red aprons.

I bought another bag of shredded cabbage and carrots.  This time I put in one tablespoon of mustard seed, two tablespoons of sugar, and four tablespoons of cider vinegar.  I think it needs another tablespoon of vinegar, but I've started making the last of the cider vinegar into spiced vinegar for the salad I'm going to make on Wednesday, so if I add more it will have to be malt vinegar.

Tonight I made honey cake with tart and sweet cherries in place of the raisins, and added a pint of chopped walnuts with the flour.  Dave says it's my best cake yet.

I'm planning to top it by using a cup of frozen cherries instead of extra water to make up for using two cups of cherries in place of one cup of raisins.

The first honey cake I made was rather overwhelmed by the honey, so I used half a cup of honey and half a cup of fructose in this one.  I've also been substituting fructose for half the brown sugar in spiced cakes.

We have lots of fructose — Dave didn't know I'd put his stash at the bottom of the meat bin under the hard candy, cough drops, brown sugar, and syrups, so he thought the bag he was using was the last one, and sent another order.  And it was a very large order considering that his dose is one teaspoon per day.  So far, I haven't even made much of a dent in the bag he is using.

The sore spot is definitely warmer than the other knee now:  I put a rice bag on it.

My rice bags are filled with popcorn — we happened to have some stale popcorn to get rid of when I made them.



22 December 2013

The lake has probably been free of ice since soon after the rain started, but now that the rain has stopped, I can see that the ice is gone.

Also the puddles on the sidewalks, so I don't have to wear shoes to church.  I forgot to put moleskins on before the major shopping tour, and got a corn from just that one day.  Once corns get started, moleskin doesn't help a lot, because the lump concentrates what the moleskin spreads out.

I'm ready to step off fifteen minutes early, but it's still food bars while walking for breakfast — I didn't take my levothyroxine until after nine.  I got up at three to take it, but it was still in the box this morning.

I didn't notice my knee until I was half dressed, but it's going pretty good now.  It seems to be turning that stresses it.

During my nap, my *other* knee hurt.  Simple overuse, I think.  I carried my cane, intending not to use it except for curbs and steps, but while climbing Sunday Lane I noticed that it had automatically synchronised with the bad leg, just tapping lightly for balance.  Couldn't do it on purpose, though.  I heated the small rice bag and tucked it into my knickers, and re-heated it just before going up to the service, and again before walking home.  I think that helped.

I was so pleased to get the two dozen eggs out of the fridge even though it was by throwing them on the compost heap.  While cleaning the fridge this morning, I discovered that there are four or five dozen *more* floating eggs!  I put them back in and will stop by the next time I go out by car.

I also marked three or four other packages to be thrown out by New Year.  Those all appear to still be edible.

Times I wish I kept a sig file:  from alt.usage.english:  "proofreading is much easier *after* you hit "send"."



23 December 2013

Drat.  The partly-sunny day has been postponed to Thursday.  But we aren't driving very far — when we were five years younger, we could walk it.  Tomorrow is supposed to be clear and cold — dast I wait until then to buy greens for my salad?  I'd better get them today when I go out for milk.

The last turquoise towel is in the washer.  The vast heap in the laundry bin was only three towels —they are very thick— but I put them in only when I had space left over.

Now I've got a pile of fluffy towels in the parlor.  I don't want them out bad enough to make a trip to Goodwill.

I *have* been confined this week — there was only one pair of socks in the wash.

Went to Martin's for the milk, because I like their salad better.  Noted that the cap on the bottle was red, reflected that the Prairie Farm's color code was odd, got home with whole milk.

I'll say that I did it to celebrate Christmas.

I picked up the bad eggs on my way out:  a two-and-a-half dozen flat and part of another, and a dozen-and-a-half carton and most of another.  Very carefully unloaded them into a bucket, then gently emptied the bucket onto the compost heap.  No crows so far.



25 December 2013

I'm dreaming of a light-gray Christmas! 

It didn't snow enough to cover the grass during the night, but it's still coming down.  Not fast, just enough snow in the air to make the far side of the lake fuzzy and make me glad we're not driving south today.  The forecast doesn't stretch to New Year, but the radar suggests that there will be a clear period longer than the snowy one.

The lake is frozen again, except for a pond at the mouth of the creek.  A flock of geese appears to have spent the night there; while I was checking the weather, another flock flew over and inspected them, then turned south.

I boiled all but six of my "medium" eggs yesterday, covered the bottom of a small casserole with peeled eggs, and dumped a can of pickled beets over them.  Damaged the whites of two, and put them into the box of chicken salad, planning to chop the eggs and the left-over chicken breast today.  That still left seven unpeeled eggs.

But I don't have any standard eggs for making fruitcake.  One "medium" is too little and two is too much.  Well, I never tried two — perhaps I should.

The syrup stage of making fruitcake would make a really-yummy sauce for bread pudding.

I washed my feet in the sink this morning and didn't remember that I have a sore knee until I was done with the associated foot.  I still don't know what's wrong with the knee, but I appear to be getting over it.


26 December 2013

There's a large blue-gray area out there that is rippled when seen through binoculars.  The lake appears to be frozen from the south end to our house, then a strip of ice on this side narrows from here to MacDonald Island.  I've no clue as to what is going on in Little Eagle, the bay in front of the Hotel, or along the island.

I had to DuckDuck the name of MacDonald Island; you'd think I could remember it.  I don't have any trouble remembering Rattlesnake Island (pardon me, "Isle View Estates").

As far as I know, the official name of the island in the swan pond is "the small island with a statue on it".

And the statue ("the student") reminds me of an old joke:  After a graduation ceremony, a newly-minted PhD with his head in the clouds walked out of the auditorium and into the path of a truck.  The trucker braked frantically, managed to stop just in time, and yelled "Watch where you're going, jerk!"

The PhD waved his diploma and yelled back "That's *Doctor* jerk!"



27 December 2013

The geese are walking in places where they were swimming yesterday, and when I got up there was a grayish streak that might have been new ice running down the middle of the open water, but it's gone now and all is white or bright blue on the lake.

It's a glorious day out there, sunny and not at all cold, the roads (near as I can tell from here) are clean, and I need a carton of large eggs for making cakes.  And also some small eggs to devil next Tuesday.

I'm going by car.

It's good that I chickened out of riding:  my knee hurt while I was walking around.

Bummer.  Tomorrow is predicted to be just as pleasant as today, and the "pop-up shops" in the old BMV building are holding their closing sales.  I wanted to do a Tour d'Warsaw.

Typical:  I looked around for them each time I went downtown, but didn't think of looking in the BMV building until I read the notice that their season was over.  The story made it sound as though I didn't miss much.

I might park at the library and walk downtown.



28 December 2013

Which, Google maps tells me, is a loop of about two miles — but the "satellite" view reminds me that both the old BMV and the flea market have parking lots.

When I looked out this morning, the frozen streak looked thawed and the open streak looked frozen.  But binoculars showed geese standing on the near edge of the "thawed" streak.  Nothing conclusive about the newly-frozen(?) part of the lake.

Parts of what was frozen when I got up is thawed now.  The geese sitting on the ice farther out are lined up along the boundary with the newly-frozen(?) area, which suggests that it, if it had been frozen, has also thawed.

It ought to seem peculiar to me that the creek freezes over, but keeps a patch of lake open.  After all, the current slows quite a lot at that point.  But somehow it seems perfectly expectable.

It's quite warm out, and a perfect day for a walk.  Assuming that the sidewalks are clear.  I'd better take my cane.

Most of the sidewalks were clear, and when they weren't, I could cross over to the sunny side of the street.  I was still glad I took my cane.

I meant to park at the BMV, but when I saw that I was passing the flea market, I pulled in there.  This was pretty close to parking at the library — I walked past the library on the way back.  Google Maps says I walked exactly one mile.  I should have taken a detour or two.

I didn't see anything at the flea market, art clearance, or dollar store, but I bought four books at the gimcrack store on Buffalo.  All from the bargain basement:  a dollar a book.  One was _The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual_.  I also bought _Mother Tongue:  English & How It Got That Way_, a Sector General novel, and a collection of Stanley G. Weinbaum's short stories.



29 December 2013

Vurra interesting.  According to _Mother Tongue_, "roundabout", which we recently imported from Britain, was coined by an American.  Before that coinage, they were called "gyratory circuses".

Oops.  I mistook the box of dried cranberries for dried sweet cherries, and had dumped a generous cup of them into the egg-and-sugar mix before I realized my mistake.  So I dumped in the sweet cherries too.  It will be a very fruity cake, but it won't be three-cherry cake.

And that was nearly all of the dried sweet cherries, so I can't try again — there isn't time to go shopping for more.



30 December 2013

The lake is at least as thawed as it was yesterday evening, and the ice blown into the south end looks smooth and wet.  Predicted high is twenty-one degrees, but the wind is keeping the surface churned.  Predicted to be ten mph all day and rise to ten or fifteen tomorrow, with gusts to twenty.

Crows have discovered my stash of bad eggs.

I inadvertently set the washer for "hot"; I don't *think* there is anything in the whites that will be injured by that.

"Inadvertently" is a wonderful press-release word.  It means "because I wasn't paying attention", but looks like a variant of "accidentally".

When you are cooking for two people, you don't buy a bone-in ham, so today was the first time I ever made bean soup with a real ham bone.

Oh, yeah, it *does* make a difference!

And spiral cut ham is particularly good for the purpose, because the meat that cooks off the bones is already cut into little pieces.

I'm pretty sure that I've got the bones of two hams in there.  That makes a difference too.

I baked the cherry-and-cranberry cakes today.  The sample cake is yummy.  It is also mostly nuts.

There is nearly as much nuts on the bottoms of the cakes as in them.  I opened a four-cup bag of walnuts, measured out two cups to put into the batter, then chopped nuts to put into the bottoms of the pans to make the cakes unmold all in one piece.  (A generous layer of butter holds the nuts in place while I pack the thick dough into the pans.)  When I finished, there wasn't much to put back into the bag.

I've got to make at least one more batch.  I looked at the cakes cooling on the table in front of the salts and peppers, and realized that I've never made a spice cake with black pepper.

Do I substitute it for the cinnamon and cloves, or add it?

But tomorrow is New Year's Eve, and I don't feel like boiling up cake syrup tonight.  It has to cool before you put the flour into it, so I usually boil it in the evening and bake in the morning.

The recipe:

1 egg
1 cup fructose or 1/2 cup fructose and 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
cut-up dried fruit ad lib.  Use at least one cup; if you use two or more cups, also add a cup of frozen fruit or a little extra water.
1 teaspoon cinnamon (omit if fruit is delicate in flavor)
1 teaspoon cloves (omit if fruit is delicate in flavor)
1 cup water
2 cups hard white-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
two cups walnuts, slightly chopped (omit if making figgy pudding)

Mix egg and sugar well, add dried fruit, butter, cinnamon, cloves, and water.  Chop up the butter with the spoon.  Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Allow to cool.

Stir in flour, baking powder, and soda.  Bake cup cakes at 350°, loaves at 300°.  Loaves take about forty minutes.



31 December 2013

The lake was mostly frozen this morning, a promising start to the new year.  A prediction of snow for tomorrow is less welcome.

I didn't put enough black pepper into the black-pepper fruitcakes.  I should have ground the pepper into a bowl instead of directly into the pot — when set to grind flour fine, our peppermill grinds very slowly.  And the scent of the fine particles makes one think one has put in quite a lot.

It doesn't taste of cinnamon and cloves either; just generically spicy.  I have enough fruit and nuts to try again, but after tomorrow I'm fresh out of excuses.  Just have to hold that thought until next December.

I used about half a bag of fructose.  The layer of fructose bags at the bottom of the meat bin will probably still be there when I start next year's cakes.

If you didn't get a Christmas card from us, go to   to read the letter that was on the card, and then send me your snail address for next year.