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CHRISTMAS SPICE CAKE

*From Barb Packard

Mix together, and boil for 5 minutes:
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups hot water
2 tbsp shortening
1 tsp salt
2 cups raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves

Cool.

When mixture is room temperature add:
 3 cups all-purpose flour
 1 tsp soda dissolved in a very small amount of hot water

Add:
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup drained and chopped maraschino cherries

Grease loaf pans, and bake at 325 º for 45 minutes; be sure and preheat the oven.

Linda’s Note: If cherries are not wanted, just add extra of the raisins and dates to make 1 cup. This recipe is so close to my Grandma’s, I am going to leave it as is. Enjoy!

APPLESAUCE FRUIT CAKE

*From Margaret Disrud

3 cups applesauce
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
4½ cups sifted flour
4 tsp soda
1 tsp nutmeg
2-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1½ cups chopped dates
1½ cups raisins
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
Candied fruit, if desired

1. Combine applesauce, butter and sugar in saucepan and boil for 5 minutes or till butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

2. Mix flour, soda, salt and spices. Dredge fruit in flour mixture. Add to applesauce mixture.

3. This recipe makes two large and one small loaf pans; fill each 2/3 full. Bake in greased and wax paper-lined pans.

4. Bake at 250 to 300 degrees for 3 hours, or till done. Small pans take less time. You can add more dates, raisins etc, as desired.

LINDA’S NOTE:  As said, these recipes are like my Grandma’s. She also used a piece of clean, dampened, cloth or dishtowel to put around the cooled loaf, and then in foil (plastic will work good nowadays), she did this to keep her loaf moist. Of course, she kept this in the refrigerator. Oh, It is sooo good!

EASY OYSTER STEW

1/4 cup butter 
1 pint shucked oysters, undrained 
2 cups milk 
1/2 cup half-and-half 
1/2  tsp salt 
Dash of pepper 
Italian parsley sprigs, if desired 
Red bell pepper strips, if desired

1. Melt butter in 1½-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in oysters and juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until edges curl.

2. Heat milk and half-and-half in 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat until hot. Stir in salt, pepper and oyster mixture; heat until hot. Garnish with parsley and bell pepper.

Linda’s Note:  I checked with my 98-yea-old daddy, Clarence Majerus. He said they always had this during the holidays, even during the Depression.  He said they never used parsley or red pepper strips, but the rest sounds right, and the milk should be whole milk. They also bought canned oysters if need be.  Grandma Majerus fed eight people on a dime through the Depression, and my dad is the last here to tell about it. I am so grateful for his memory!

HEAD CHEESE

6 fresh ham hocks 
2 pounds veal shank 
salt to taste 
1/4 cup white vinegar 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Place pork hocks, veal shank and salt in large kettle. Cover entirely with water. Bring to full boil then reduce heat to slow simmer. Cook until fork penetrates meat easily. Periodically rearrange meat so it doesn't stick to bottom of kettle. Skim off scum that forms on top of water. Keep adding boiling water to keep meat covered until done.

2. When meat is done, place on large cookie sheet for cooling. Strain remaining water into another kettle to remove any small bones and other matter; set aside strained water. Place meat on tray and cool. Remove all fat and bones. Dice remaining meat, skin and soft gristle. Add diced meat to strained water.

3. Bring to full boil and reduce to very slow simmer. Add salt to taste at this time. Periodically test mixture to see if it sets by pouring a small amount in a bowl and putting in freezer. Mixture is set when it is the consistency of jello. Add vinegar and nutmeg and remove from heat.

4. Ladle into bread pans making sure to distribute meat evenly. Fill pans no more than 3/4 full. Leave at room temperature until cool then refrigerate overnight. Next day, unmold onto plastic wrap and double wrap in foil. Refrigerate until ready to use.

5. To serve, remove any fat from top of loaves and cut into chunks. Some prefer more vinegar and salt added at this time.

PINEAPPLE CASSEROLE

2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
20 oz can crushed pineapple
5 slices white bread
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Stir together the eggs, sugar, flour and pineapple. Pour into casserole dish.

2. Toast bread, take off crusts and spread with butter. Cube the bread. Pour over the top of the pineapple mixture.

3. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

PEANUT BUTTER CANDY BALLS

1 cup powdered sugar 
½ cup creamy peanut butter (name brand)
3 Tablespoons butter, softened 
1 pound candy coating, white chocolate

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, peanut butter and butter; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls, and place on a waxed or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

2. Melt the white candy coating in a microwave safe bowl (defrost at 30 second increments) until smooth.

3. Dip balls, and place on lined cookie sheet to harden.

4. Store covered in a cool, dry place.

Linda’s Note:  Chocolate coating can also be used.

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