Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Edibles Christmas Angel

With bazaars cancelled again this year, I’ve been serving up bazaar craft ideas and classic recipes all month long. Sadly, we’ve arrived at the final post. But I’m leaving on a high note.

When I was growing up, all drugs had a bad rap. And kids who did drugs wore lumberjackets, smoked Player’s Filter and kept their eyes hidden under a fringe of hair. They also carried switch blades and were named Mitch. 

 

But since becoming legalized in Canada in 2018, there are now more recreational cannabis shops than Starbucks. On my street, anyway. And there’s only so much a Pumpkin Spice Latte can do to take the edge off. In fact, nothing is more relaxing than taking an edible on Saturday night, putting on an Anne Murray LP, doing some crafts, and watching the unicorns prance around the living room to “Daydream Believer.” 


No comment about the mess. I'm an artist, after all.

Originally, this craft idea, taken from my 1976 copy of "Woman’s Day: Best Ideas for Christmas," was called a Candy Carrying Angel. But I’ve decided she needed to catch up with the times. So allow me to introduce you to the Edibles Christmas Angel. Fill her box with goodies and I guarantee this will be your most chill holiday season ever. 



To make your Edibles Christmas Angel, simply roll some cardboard into a cone, cover it with wrapping paper, make a Styrofoam ball head, add some wings, attach her arms, glue a box to her hands, and voila! (Okay, she wasn’t that easy. The arms were a pain to get right. But you’ll figure it out. Eventually.)



Set her in the middle of the buffet table and I guarantee the Edibles Christmas Angel will be the most appreciated – and popular – guest at your holiday party. And yes, Mitch would approve.


Come fly with me.

In terms of a recipe, I recommend Cocktail Meatballs. Don’t let the grape jelly/chili sauce combo scare you. These lil' balls are addictive and perfect for your impending munchies. Just don’t swallow the toothpick. I’m speaking from experience. Get the recipe here

 


Thank you to everyone for joining me for this special Caker Cooking reboot! I wish you both the best for a safe, happy and vitamin-free holiday season. We’ll see you next year at a bazaar knit table. I’ll be the one crying tears of joy and buying a pair of ill-fitting knit slippers. 



Craft source: Woman's Day Best Ideas for Christmas. You can see their version of the Candy Carrying Angel on the cover. But I think we know whose angel reigns supreme. 

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Paper Bag Holiday Cards

Bazaars may be cancelled for another year, but I’m keeping the spirit alive with bazaar crafts and classic recipes all month long!

When did greeting cards get so expensive? The other day, I was buying a Get Well Soon card for myself and it was almost seven dollars! It wasn’t even one of those musical ones that play “Roll Out the Barrel.” Sorry, Hallmark, but your prices are making me “return to sender.” LOL!


So when I saw the idea for stationary made from paper grocery bags in my 1976 copy of “Woman’s Day: Best Ideas for Christmas” magazine, I thought, “Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours.” Besides, what says “I care (and I also have a lot of paper bags)" more than a handmade holiday card? 


This looks like a space ship. But it's the envelope pattern.

At first, I was a bit nervous as the instructions said to iron the paper bags to get the creases out. I didn't want to burn my house down. But then I remembered I once made Paper Bag Apple Pie and survived. So I figured it was safe.


These can be a bit complicated in terms of the measurements. As someone who failed Grade 10 math, I’m not ashamed to admit there were some tense moments while making the envelopes. But I persevered. A little rum and eggnog helped, too. 


This has that minimalistic look. I wouldn't recommend it.

For the cards, cut them out and then fold over the long edge. Decorate the cards with a gay ribbon or some leftover Christmas wrapping paper. I also accented my envelopes to match my cards. And look at these professional results!



No doubt these cards will be tear-stained as soon as they’re opened by my family and friends. “That Brian,” I can just hear them sighing. “So thoughtful. And so darn cheap.


I only made five as that's how many friends I have.

The best thing about these handmade cards is that you can personalize them with a message that’s unique to the receiver. No more of that generic “Wishing you the best of the season” crap. Now you can really tell someone how you feel. And isn’t that what the holidays are about? 








For my recipe pairing this week, I’m sticking with the paper bag colour scheme and serving up the recipe for Eggnog Dessert. Yes, it looks like a giant blister. But that shouldn’t stop you from “popping” it into your mouth. Get the recipe here. And speaking of eggnog, check out the massive Eggnog Taste Test I did last year.

 


We have one more week to go! What will be my final bazaar craft? Here’s a hint: I guarantee this craft will have you “flying high.”












Craft Source: Woman's Day Best Ideas for Christmas

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Pill Bottle Ornaments

Bazaars may be cancelled this month, but Caker Cooking is here to the rescue with bazaar craft ideas and classic recipes to celebrate the holiday season.

This week’s craft idea comes from the book “Don’t Throw It Away!” by Vivian Abell, published in 1973. Vivian’s book is a good reminder that one person’s trash is another person’s artistic statement. Mind you, I think she crosses a line at times. For example, her Wishbone Ornament is exactly what you think it is. Same goes for the olive pit picture frame. 



But when I saw Vivian’s instructions for turning prescription pill bottles into dazzling Christmas ornaments, I realized this woman is a genius! All you need are some empty pill bottles, miniature figurines, buttons, ribbon, and a vision.



I found these miniature figurines at the dollar store which proves there aren’t nothing you can’t find at the dollar store. I named the ones below the McGillicuddy girls. Although, judging by their facial expressions, they look a little disturbed. I suppose that’s understandable, given the prospect of ending up inside a pill bottle for all eternity. 



I chose the priest figurine because he reminded me of Richard Chamberlain from the TV miniseries, “The Thorn Birds.” Now that was some high drama 80s television.



To make your ornament, simply add a bit of fluff to the inside of the lid, glue on your figurine, put the lid back on, turn it upside down and jazz hands it up with some gay ribbon, felt and buttons.

But why stop at pill bottles? I found an old urine sample bottle in my cupboard. It was my dog’s, and yes, it was unused. I think. Suffice to say, the McGillicuddy girls look really disturbed now.



While I was at it, I also made a snow globe out of a honey jar and used an old-timey reindeer ornament that I found at a bazaar a few years back. Adding a few teaspoons of glycerine thickens the water, so the snow falls more poetically. Speaking of snow, use finely crushed eggshells like I did. Warning: You’ll have to eat three hard-boiled eggs if you do. This wasn't a problem for me.



I’m pairing this week’s craft with the holiday classic, Green Bean Casserole. You should never feel guilty about eating this. It's loaded with vegetables: green beans, cream of mushroom soup and French-Fried onions. You can get the recipe here.



Save your paper grocery bags and we’ll see you back here next week with another craft idea and recipe.











Craft source: Don't Throw It Away!

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Pretzel Christmas Ornaments

Even though bazaars aren’t happening this year, Caker Cooking is back! Every week throughout November, I’ll post a bazaar craft that you can make at home. I’ll also pair it with one of my favourite Caker Cooking holiday recipes from years gone by. 

I don’t know about you, but, as a kid, I always thought pretzels were the most boring snack ever. Even more boring than dry-as-dust Melba Toast. Pretzels didn't come in different flavours, like chips, they were overly salty and no prizes ever came in the bag. But since coming across this Christmas craft idea in my 1978 copy of McCall’s Christmas Bazaar magazine, it’s time for me to rethink my pretzel prejudice. 


The Bugle one would make a nice broach. So long as you're not averse to grease stains.

To make these elegant ornaments, you need an assortment of pretzel shapes and sizes as well as Honeycomb cereal, Ritz Crackers, Cheerios and Bugles. The original instructions called for balls of cheese, but can you imagine how those ornaments would smell in a few weeks? That’s one way to keep the relatives away this holiday season! LOL! So I opted for Corn Pops. Because when in doubt, always opt for Corn Pops. 

 

The best thing about this craft is that no talent is required. And there’s no wrong way to do it. Create as many different shapes as your artistic spirit moves you. Just try not to eat too much of your supplies as you’re making them.  



Be careful if you use a glue gun because I burned myself repeatedly. Let’s just say I uttered a few choice words that should never be overheard across the knit table at a church bazaar. The good news is that my skin is slowly starting to grow back.

 

Add a gay ribbon to string them up and you're all set. The nice thing about these ornaments is that they’ll last forever, thanks to the preservatives.


You'll have to nibble on a few to get the right shape.

In terms of a recipe, I’m pairing these pretzel ornaments with a Caker Cooking holiday classic: Santa’s Balls. 

Hold these balls gently. Never squeeze them.

I made these back in 2014 and they’re really tender. As if Santa’s Balls would be anything less. Just don’t forget to roll them in shredded coconut to lend that air of authenticity. You can find the recipe here.

Come back next week for a "prescription" for the happiest holiday season ever!



Craft Source: McCall's Christmas Bazaar 

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Important Caker Cooking Public Service Announcement!

It’s November 2021. Sadly, it looks like church bazaars won’t be happening for the second year in a row. (Goshdarn you, COVID-19!) But I’m here to the rescue. I’m resurrecting Caker Cooking for the month of November. 

Each week, I’ll feature a bazaar Christmas craft that you can make for yourself or give to a friend as a way of saying, “Hey. I care. I’m also frugal.” Talent is not required for these crafts, just a glue gun and your creativity. And some paper towel rolls. I’ll pair each craft with a classic Caker Cooking holiday treat, like a wine tasting where you get a cube of Velveeta. 

The fun starts Thursday, November 4 with a craft that will have you seeing pretzels in a whole new way. 

See you then!

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Chicken Mousse

Well, we made it. The final recipe of my Caker Cooking 2020 revival. And what a revival it’s been! We’d laid a few eggs, munched on some wieners and chowed down on damp muffins. It’s been a lot of work – and a lot of saturated fat. But it’s all been worth it. Sorta.

I promised I’d save the worst caker recipe for last and, as the Eurythmics asked, “Would I lie to you?” Most of us know there was a dark chapter in the ‘60s and ‘70s when people thought mixing Jell-O with bad things was tasty. Like olives. Or salmon. Or tomatoes. I don’t know if people were downing too much Contact C or inhaling Aqua Nehair spray fumes, but clearly, something went wrong. Very wrong. 

This week, I give you the jiggly horror that is Chicken Mousse, taken from 1963’s Joys of Jell-O. A warning: there is very little joy here. Only misery. This recipe comes from the bowels of hell. 




Check out these ingredients. It reads like Jason Voorhee’s grocery list: 

1 package Lemon Jell-O
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups boiling chicken broth
Dash of cayenne
2 tbsp vinegar
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup diced cooked chicken
1 cup finely diced celery
1 tbsp chopped pimento

Dissolve Jell-O and salt in boiling broth. Add cayenne and vinegar. Chill until very thick. Whip the cream, then fold cream and mayonnaise into gelatin, blending well. Fold in remaining ingredients. Pour into 1-quart mold or individual molds. Chill until firm. Makes 4 servings.


Just look at this picture! Have you ever seen more dissimilar things standing next to one another? I considered submitting it to Awkward Family Photos.


I’ve never been more disappointed to see whipped cream in my life. It even looks like one of those hurricane radar images on the news. Gird your loins. There’s a Category 7 caker catastrophe headed this way LOL!


Everyone had an aunt who served these unholy Jell-O salads at family functions. Now that I think about it, it might have been a clever ploy to ensure no family ever came to visit you again. Looks like Great Aunt Millicent was more strategic than I thought.


I tossed out all my old Jell-O molds when I wrapped up this blog back in 2014. And given that the ol’ Val Vill is currently closed, I had to go with the best thing I could find – mini loaf pans. Granted, they’re not as pretty as a mold. Then again, I’m making Chicken Mousse, so…

The problem was that the portions ended up looking like bricks. So I’ve renamed this recipe The Devil’s Bricks. I think it’s more appropriate. 


But how did Chicken Mousse actually taste? Well, you might be surprised to hear but…not bad! The saltiness of the broth was the perfect marriage to the citrusy sweetness of the Jell-O and the chicken added – oh, who am I kidding? It was HORRIBLE!!! I literally shuddered every time I took a bite. And if you know anything about me – and this blog – that says a lot.


The main issue is that there’s just too much going on. You get the sweet Jell-O, then the tang of the mayo, then the creaminess of the whipped cream. And then there’s the celery…and the chicken. Every time I bit down, some new horror awaited. 

Worst of all, I think I invoked an evil spirit by making this. The other day, a bunch of black flies swarmed my kitchen window (more than usual, I mean), my Ronco Inside the Eggshell Egg Scrambler went on the fritz and every time I eat, I get fiery pains in my stomach (more than usual, I mean). Call me paranoid but look at this picture and tell me an exorcism isn’t needed!


Before I get on the phone with Father O’Connor, I want to thank you for joining me on this revival. I hope you enjoyed some of these new caker recipes. And should the world find itself in need of another casserole in the days ahead, I’m only a can opener away.

Until then, continue to stay home, stay safe and never, ever make Chicken Mousse. 

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Tang Dessert

When I revived Caker Cooking last month, I promised dieticians across the country it would only be for a limited time. And I’m a caker of my word. With things starting to get back to normal (Kinda? Sorta? Maybeish?), it seems like my work here is done. So, to wrap up this 2020 edition, I’ve saved the best – and the worst – caker recipes for last. Get ready for a bumpy – or is that burpy? – final two weeks.

Like most children who needed dentures by the age of 10, I grew up drinking Tang for breakfast, alongside a bowl of Strawberry Shortcake cereal swimming in Nestle Quik chocolate milk. I still remember the day when I first learned that orange juice actually came from an orange, not an envelope. It was more shocking than when Mother told me about the Easter Bunny. A.K.A. the worst 18th birthday ever.


This recipe for Tang Dessert, taken from the Knox United Church cookbook in Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, got me all juiced up. The last time I made something with Tang was Tang Pie, which was damn delicious. Would Tang Dessert prove to be a worthy successor?

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
Filling:
2 small packages orange or lemon JELL-O
2/3 cup white sugar
2 cups Tang juice
15 oz chilled evaporated milk (see note)

For the crust, mix everything together except for ½ cup crumbs. Press into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. For the filling, combine JELL-O, sugar and Tang. Heat until dissolved. Chill until partially set. Whip milk (must be chilled) and fold in. Spread on cooled crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top. Chill until set


I couldn’t find Tang at the grocery store at first. Turns out it’s been downsized, like a Tide Pod. I know we live in super-concentrated times, but I missed tearing open the package, dipping my finger in and licking the powder off. On the plus side, I wasn’t walking around with Orange Finger Syndrome for the remainder of the week.


Can we all take a moment to appreciate the glory that is the graham cracker crust? It's often  overlooked, but it’s been the foundation of desserts since time immemorial. Personally, I think the graham cracker crust is the best part of any dessert. In fact, I’d just as soon eat a pan of graham cracker crust. Hold on – I think I just invented something: Graham Cracker Crust Squares. Someone call Dragon’s Den!


This recipe gave me a chance to whip out my Eaton Viking electric beater. I got it a few months ago at Val Vill for only five bucks. True, it emits a musty odour when it’s turned on, but I’m a middle-aged homosexual. I’ve smelled mustier things in my day LOL!


So, what was the verdict for Tang Dessert? No point in sugar-coating anything. It was freaking delicious! It’s easily one of the best desserts I’ve ever featured on this blog. In terms of taste, it was light, foamy and squishy with a subtle orange flavour. AND HOW ABOUT THAT GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST?!? Just make sure you chill the evaporated milk so it whips up nice and light.


You need to make Tang Dessert. Like, immediately. You can thank me later. I’ll accept boxes of Cap’n Crunch as tokens of appreciation. 


This can only mean we’re left with the WORST caker recipe. What horrors await? Tune in next week for the final, gruesome reveal. It’s more disturbing than hair on a mole.

While we’re on the topic of Orange Finger Syndrome...


Until next week, stay home, stay safe and make Tang Dessert. Really.

Note: I bought two regular-sized cans.15 ounces is just a bit over one can, so I think you could likely get away with just one.