I'm on a quest.  For scarves.  I recently had thyroid surgery and am not comfortable with the idea of being out there with my battle wound just yet.  My daughter let me borrow one of hers (thanks, Anne!) and I've found a few at Walmart but they're not great.  I'm looking for colorful, lightweight and inexpensive.

I'm not extremely fashion oriented, so this is a challenge for me.  My idea of dressing up is to wear a newly washed pair of my favorite jeans and a sweater.  A friend of mine always looks very nice - I noticed her shoes.  I don't know why I look at people's shoes.  I've always been jealous of women with average feet.  You know the ones that wear size 7 and can find racks and racks of shoes in their size.  Me, I'm an 11.  Maybe a 10 1/2 on a good day with my toenails clipped short.  Payless Shoes doesn't like me.  Shoe Carnival is much better.  At Payless all the cute styles stop at 10.  Oh sure, I can find some of the same styles in an 11, but I don't want three inch heels!  And seriously, some of those size 11 and 12 shoes are actually three and four inches high.  Who makes these shoes?  Don't they know that most women who wear big shoes are generally taller than most?  I'm 5'10" and I'm not thrilled about walking around being 6'1".  If my husband was 6'3" I might, but he's 5'11".

Anyway, about my friend's shoes...I asked her how she kept them so neat and polished.  She just shrugged.  I said, "I'll bet you don't garden in them."  I do.  And then I wonder why they look the way they do.  I have a hard time finding shoes that are comfortable so when I do, I live in them.

Wait, this post is about scarves!  What am I doing?  Where was I?  Oh yeah, fashion.  So I went looking around for scarf ideas and came across this youtube video showing how to tie scarves.

This really helps.  But finding scarves that I like is hard because I'm cheap.  So I had this brilliant idea to go to the fabric store and make some.  I'll let you know how that goes.  Tomorrow is New Years Eve.  Maybe there will be a great sale.  And I have a coupon.  Yessssss.

Eggnog cake...mmmm.

Gary and I were walking the aisles of Costco and wandered past this beautiful eggnog cake. "No, we can't." "It's too much money and too fattening." "But, it's Christmas after all." "And we could use it as a comparison for my eggnog bread..." "That's right - let's consider it research!"

Well we've researched the heck out of it.  The eggnog cake is almost gone and now I know what I want my bread to taste like. Only problem is, I'm making bread and this is cake. It's like comparing apples to oranges.

So I went ahead and made another batch of eggnog bread but this time I completely left out the baking soda.  I used only 3 cups of flour, and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg. And yes, it was really nutmeg. And yes, I remembered the butter.

I think it turned out pretty well. The flavor isn't as strong as the cake and the texture is more like a muffin. So for those of you who might taste it, feel free to take this quiz:

A. I'd crawl a mile for another bite
B. It was pretty good
C. Um, thanks?
D. Don't ever try a stunt like that again!

Merry Christmas!


Eggnog Bread Experiment #2

So I tried the eggnog bread again.  This time, I used 1/2 cup of melted low fat spread, which I know isn't great for baking, but hey, its all I had.  You know me, I like to improvise.  I also increased the nutmeg to 2 teaspoons.

It was more moist, probably not as much if I had used butter or oil, but it wasn't dry.  It had an interesting flavor.  I took a piece up to my husband and asked him what he thought.  He said it was a little salty but he wanted another piece.  That's a good sign I guess.

I gave my daughter, Erica, a piece and she wanted to know what new spice I used.  Just a little more nutmeg...

She said, "Well, something is different.  Let me smell the nutmeg".

We went to the spice cabinet and pulled out the "nutmeg".  Oh crap.  Cumin looks a lot like nutmeg if you think you have the right spice bottle.  No wonder it tastes different.  Not bad, its actually pretty good, but it doesn't taste like eggnog.

Several years ago I was making zucchini bread and reached for the oil.  Did you know that back then, the pine sol bottle was the same shape and color as vegetable oil?  Well, I do now.  I realized what was happening as I was pouring the pine sol into the batter.  I gasped in horror, grabbed both bottles and stared at them for what seemed like an eternity and then threw out the pine-scented batter.

You think I'd learn!  I'm having my thyroid removed and will be out of commission for a while so attempt number three will be hopefully next week.  I want to get this right before Christmas is over!

Eggnog Bread

I don't know about you but I love eggnog.  Its probably a good thing its only sold during the holidays, otherwise it would be a staple in my fridge.  I've had really good eggnog bread, but finding a good recipe is tricky.  And I'm a hostage to  When the Internet goes down like it did today, and all my favorite recipes are online, I'm lost.  Here's to writing them down and keeping a copy somewhere.

So I went to my Joy of Cooking cookbook that I've had since time began and searched for a recipe.  Nothing for eggnog.  I can improvise.  I found a poppy seed bread recipe.  That's sort of close.  It wants me to use the Irish American Soda Bread recipe, but use a little more buttermilk and sugar.  I can use eggnog instead of buttermilk...

3 1/3 cup flour
1/2 c sugar (instead of 1/4 cup)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg (instead of the caraway seeds)
1 cup chopped candied cherries (instead of the raisins)

Blend the dry ingredients and in a separate bowl whisk together:
2 large eggs
2 cups eggnog (instead of the buttermilk)
1 teaspoon rum extract (because I wanted to)
1/2 cup melted butter (Crap!  I left out the butter.  No wonder its a little dry.  I'll bet its awesome with butter)

Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Spoon into greased pans - either 2 loaf pans or 5 small foil pans (the kind you use to give as Christmas gifts) and bake 30-40 minutes.  The small pans took 30 minutes.

They're really good!  Except for the fact that there isn't any butter..........................grrr.
I would add a little more sugar next time.  I think I'd like the loafs a little sweeter.

I'm excited to make more treats for Christmas.  I've got an Apple Ladder Loaf from Taste of Home thats wonderful.  And I'll try cinnamon rolls from  My friend Rebecca Taylor gave it to me and I'm dying to try it.
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