Thursday, December 06, 2018

Tis the season... to GAIN WEIGHT!

I don't get too excited about Christmas these days, or anything else, for that matter.  When I force myself to go for a half-hour walk in the pasture, though, as I watch Gabe running at top speed, stopping to sniff anything and everything, enjoying his moment of pooping without a leash restraining him, I remember what enthusiasm and excitement used to feel like; through his joy at running free, I am able to vicariously enjoy it along with him.

The main thing I truly enjoy this time of year is the holiday food, made from recipes dating back as far as my childhood.  In recent years I haven't always tried to make every single one of my favorites because the weight gained in a one-month duration seems to take me four months to lose.  It takes even longer for Cliff.  I don't want the weight, and yet at my age there can't be too many Christmases left, and I want to taste Christmas while I can.  I've been dipping a lot of pretzels and peanut-butter-and-crackers in chocolate or almond bark ever since Thanksgiving.  It's easy, and we both love that stuff.  And we seem to be able to limit how many of them we eat. 

I can't say the same for cranberry bread, though.  It's very hard to limit.  I bought some cranberries before Thanksgiving thinking I might make my mom's dessert-like cranberry salad.  For whatever reason, I decided there was plenty of food without it and left the bag of cranberries languishing in the rotter crisper drawer.  Today I remembered them.  I can't make cranberry salad right now; I'm the one who loves it so much, and usually end up eating two-thirds of it all by myself.  There's too much good food ahead of us for me to go around the bend this early in the season.  I got the bag out and checked them and found out at least three quarters of them were still usable.  That's plenty for a loaf of cranberry bread.  As I was breaking the nuts and mixing the dry ingredients, I got to thinking about my sister's daughter-in-law, Debra, who introduced me to this treat.  

Debra's Cranberry Bread

2 cups flour                              1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder         1/2 tsp. soda
1 cup sugar                              1 tsp.  grated orange rind
1 egg, slightly beaten              3 tablespoons melted shortening
3/4 cup orange juice                1/2 cup nuts
1-2 cups fresh cranberries, cut in half   

Mix dry ingredients.  Combine egg and liquids.  Combine dry and liquid ingredients.  Fold in nuts and cranberries.  Don't mix too long.  Put in greased loaf pan and bake 1 hour at 350.

Creamy glaze:
melt 1/3 cup real butter in saucepan.  Blend in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Add two to four tablespoons of hot water till the glaze is of proper consistency.  Drizzle over bread.  

You can often find that same recipe on the bag of cranberries, and also many websites, the only difference being it doesn't have the glaze, and the cranberries are chopped instead of halved.  Once I got hold of the recipe, I decided it was quicker and easier to chop the berries rather than painstakingly cutting each little fruit in half.  At one of our Christmas gatherings I told Debra about chopping the berries.  She said, "Oh, it really doesn't take that much time, and the bigger pieces of cranberry look so pretty in the bread.  And Larry (her husband) usually cuts them in two while I'm doing something else."  

Oh well, different strokes for different folks.

But today I remembered Debra saying that, and just because she's such a nice person, I decided to celebrate her by doing things her way.  After all, I had to check each berry for softness anyhow.  May as well cut them while I'm at it.  

When the bread was cool, Cliff and I each had a tiny piece.  Oh, it was so good!  And guess what?  You get more tartness with the larger pieces of cranberry, the sort of tartness that goes perfectly with the sweet bread and the icing.  By the way, I personally wouldn't call that topping "glaze" because it's thick, like frosting.  But it sure is good!  I think we'll each have a piece for breakfast tomorrow.  



The Feminine Energy said...

Oh, that cranberry bread looks soooooo good, Donna. Yes, I used to love all the Christmas treats made from the recipes of old. So many I have, on little index cards in my Mother's (RIP) handwriting. But alas, I'm diabetic now so I don't indulge in any of it anymore. But I remember how delicious each and every recipe was. I still make them but now get my own enjoyment from watching my family partake. Lovingly, Andrea xoxo

The Feminine Energy said...

PS~ What a glorious, glorious, GLORIOUS place you have to walk, Donna! I don't think I'd ever come indoors if I had such wonderfully flat land to walk on. Our land is nothing but ravine, streams, fallen trees, yada, yada, yada. Lovely to look at but not worth *anything* to walk on. XOXO

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I so agree life is too short not to enjoy the tastes of Christmas! That recipe sounds wonderful and all the more so because it came from your mom. Brings back some good memories too.

Margaret said...

That cranberry bread looks so moist. I'm sure I would love it! In photos of Cliff and you, I think you both look great; is the extra weight awful for your health? If not, I wouldn't worry about it as much. If so, splurge sometimes, while keeping to a healthy diet as much as possible.