22 December 2008

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

My plan today was to bake cookies.

Well, I certainly did, and now my back is telling me stridently about it.

The problem was that I didn't just bake cookies.

It started out with the wine bottle. I couldn't get the gosh-danged cork out. Last year I fractured the darn thing and I had to filter the wine because it had cork chips in it. After tugging unsuccessfully and even calling James to see if he had a tip, I took a chance and screwed the corkscrew all the way in and then use it to pivot the cork—really what looked like a piece of plastic—and it did come out without falling apart.

Now when I expressed concern last night if we had baking powder, James checked the pantry closet for me to answer in the affirmative. But this morning when I measured out the flour, I discovered I was short a half a cup needed to make the second batch.

Since I was out of yogurt anyway, I decided to go to Kroger. I put on "Holiday Traditions" and bopped over to the store. I bought the flour, the yogurt, and a few other staples.

James and I had a few toys we wanted to donate to the Toys for Tots program. We'd been planning it for weeks, but first we didn't know where to go (unless we wanted to drive downtown). Finally I heard on the news that they were taking donations at Publix and we had planned to drop them off there over the weekend. Since that fell through, I wanted to get them there today.

When I got there they said the donations had already been collected. Arrgh!

Anyway, I took the groceries home and went to the Toys for Tots webpage and found a number to call. The lady who answered the phone said that the Steak'n'Shake restaurants had Toys for Tots barrels and that they wouldn't be picked up until late this afternoon or tomorrow.

Late this afternoon? It was only a little before one, so I jumped back into the car and drove toward Steak'n'Shake. Since Michaels was on the way and I needed more bows, I stopped there for a few minutes to get some, then went on to Steak'n'Shake.

The Toys for Tots people had just picked up their donation box!

However, there was a gentleman at the takeout counter who said they had a donation box at the LA Fitness a mile down the road. So it was back into the car.

Success finally! The woman took the bag of toys from me and I was finally able to get home and start baking.

I made two batches of wine biscuits. The wine was very dark and the dough turned a nice purply color, although the first batch was rather dry. I kept adding wine to it, but I was afraid of getting it sticky, so had to fight with the dough a bit. The second batch of dough was perfect. I think I made about 70 of the wine biscuits.

James doesn't like wine biscuits, though, and I thought I would try another of my mom's recipes for him. I had bought some almond extract at Kroger and I halved my mom's almond bar recipe since I didn't know how it would come out.

Julia Child I ain't. First it was too dry (I added a little more oil and the rest of the egg that I used to glaze the wine biscuits). Then it got sticky, which was correct, according to a printed version of the recipe. Oh, boy, was it sticky. It was so gummy that I didn't really get a chance to shape it; I just laid it in a long, pseudo-loaf shape on the wax-paper lined cookie sheet and put it in the oven. Minutes later it was spreading sideways like an bumpy-looking amoeba.

I cleaned up while it was baking and finally took it out of the oven when it looked brown enough. The directions said to cut it while it was still warm and a bunch of it crumbled, but...there it is. I tasted it, and it actually tastes pretty good, even though it looks funny! :-)

By then my back was screaming in surrender, so I took Willow out for her walk, picked up the mail, and then swigged two Tylenol and sat down to do what I'd wanted to do this afternoon: watch some Christmas shows! I've been through the 1958, 1960, and 1961 Lassie Christmas stories and am feeling a lot better...even if I still have ten more gifts to wrap!

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