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Tuesday Recipe Club: Chewy Noels, Coffee Cake and Progressive Parties

November 13th, 2006

Hola! ?Como estas? Have you ever held a progressive party in your neighborhood? Yeah, me neither. But five of our neighbors and the Wacky Family are going to go for it, New Year’s Day. For years we’ve been talking about a summer block party, but, you know. Some of us don’t get along as well as others of us. That is, some of us like to dance around naked and happy, and others like to spit at everyone as they walk by and criticize the way they park. More on Evil Neighbor — if you park in front of her house, she will waddle out her front door and she will tell you, “You need to move your car. You can’t park there.” It is a public street! Yet people are so scared of her evil eye they move their cars. No progressive party for Evil Neighbor. We may invite guests and encourage them to park in front of her house, though.

We thought a wintertime fete might be better, so we don’t have to get her buy-in on closing the street for a block party.

And for those of you who have been requesting an update, Wacky Nekkid Neighbor is hugely pregnant. And extremely happy. (To me, it seems like she’s been pregnant about three years now, but supposedly it’s only been eight months.) Also, they are doing this “thing” where they refuse to find out “boy or girl” and IT IS MAKING ME CRAZY! I HAVE TO KNOW! But they are in charge, not me, so what can you do?

Also, we go to church together now! What the hell, me going to church? Yes, I know. It’s a Unitarian church — you can be agnostic and accepted there. No one tells me I’m going to Hell. I appreciate this. Anyway, Wacky Nekkid Neighbor is extremely gorgeous and glowy. She had a “blessing way” ceremony on Saturday and I am irritated that I had to miss it. (Flu.)

It’s not a baby shower, it’s a deal where you bring something special for her altar — a flower, a candle, a pack of condoms — whatever means “birth” and “motherhood” to you. (I considered condoms, then decided on a journal, a pack of pens, and animal stickers for Wacky Nekkid Mini-Neighbor. Hockey God kept a journal for me while I was in labor. It was sweet of him. Tracked my contractions, what happened when he had to fire one of the nurses, what we said when we first saw the baby, that kind of stuff. It helped later when I could not remember where those 65 hours went. Yeah, I was in labor 65 hours. Jealous? Not something I’d like to repeat, or wish on anyone else, thanks.)

My point is: Nekkid Neighbor will have a one-month-old baby at the time of our progressive party, so for a “welcome baby” gift I offered to clean her house before people come over for the party. Why is it so much easier to clean someone else’s house than it is to clean your own? She and her Wacky Nekkid Duck Husband (go U of O!) are going to do the soup course — cream of butternut squash — and bread. I thought we could maybe start with drinks at one of the houses, then someone could do a salad course, then an appetizer or two (maybe a main dish, maybe we’ll stick with appetizers), and we’re doing the dessert course at our place. Wacky Girl wants everyone to land here at the end of the night. My girl does not like the party to end.

If anyone has hosted one of these things before: How do you do it? So the people whose turn it is to host don’t miss out on the fun? How long do you stay at each house? Anyway, if you have any suggestions or advice, please e me or leave it in comments. Thank you very much.

An update on a couple of things: Did I mention that I’ve lost 16 pounds? Yes I have. Turns out all you have to do is 1) stop eating candy and crap 2) NO MORE TACO BELL 3) drink a hella amount of water. Wow. Now the trick will be avoiding the eggnog and fudge during the next six weeks. Also, I quit drinking booze a loooooong time ago. (So no rum with the eggnog, alas.) It’s been four months or something? Three? I don’t know. Hockey God kept me drunk on raspberry mojitos and watermelon mojitos all summer and I about needed a liver transplant midway through summer. Now, with no booze, my liver isn’t achey, and I’m not as grouchy! I am telling you, all you people who aren’t 40 yet… What the old-timers say is true. Your metabolism really does trip out once you hit 40. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, whippersnappers…

Recipes? OK.

Here’s one from Zip’s mom, who says, “Delicious and quick. I double this recipe and make it in a 9 x 13 pan.” This is a family favorite of theirs, and we have adopted it as a favorite here, too:


(Set aside 2 tablespoons butter and powdered sugar.)

Mix well:
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon soda
1 cup crushed nuts (I use walnuts)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter in 8-inch square pan. Pour batter into pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into squares when a little bit cooled; roll in powdered sugar while still warm.

And one from my family:
My Granny, oh I love my Granny! She likes to make everything “scratch from a mix.” You know what that means? Packaged this and that, but “spiced up.” Here’s her all-time favorite “company cake.” This is verbatim from her:

350 degree oven.

Mix and set aside mix:
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (any kind you wish)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cocoa (dry)

1 yellow cake mix (I like Betty Crocker)
1 package lemon pudding (3.4 oz.)
4 eggs
3/4 cup water (I use milk)
2/3 cup oil

Mix in order given. Put half the batter in ungreased 13 x 9 3/4 x 2″ pan. Sprinkle half the mix on top. Add the rest of the batter. Sprinkle other half of the mix on top. Bake about 35 minutes but until it’s brown on top and toothpick comes out clean.

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