Life on Regal-Hill: Dec. 9, 2009

Now that the decorating is done here at Regal-Hill, it is time to write out the Christmas cards. In the past it has been a big job as I sent 60 plus cards. According to the 2009 Christmas Shopper, the start of sending Christmas cards began in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. It seems he was inspired by examples of Valentine’s Day cards that had been popular in England.
Artist J.C. Horsley was asked by Cole to design the picture for his first card. The picture was a set of three illustrations, the center one being a picture of a jolly party of adults and children with plenty of food and drink. Underneath the picture was the greeting “Wishing a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you.” Either side panel represented good works. It wasn’t until 20 years later that the idea caught on to become what it is today.
This year, for several reasons, I plan to cut back to nearly half as many cards to write. One reason is the cost of cards and postage, but also time. Another reason I like to send cards is to hear from folks I don’t normally hear from; last year there were a number that I never heard from so why spend the money and time if they don’t care whether they hear from us or not.
For someone who is a shut-in and isn’t able to write out cards anymore, or can’t afford to buy cards and postage, I can understand. I still like to send them a card so they know someone is thinking of them.
As I work at cards every year I like to write a few sentences about what is going on here on the farm or about the family. I don’t write a book, just a few sentences of what I hope is of interest to the reader.
Hopefully by the time you read this I will have my cards all finished and mailed so they will be on their way to their destination.
Breads are popular for making, giving and eating during the holidays. Perhaps these recipes will interest you if you are looking for a new recipe.

Spice Bread with Maple Butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Butter:
1/2 cup butter softened
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flours, baking powder, spices and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Fold in walnuts.
Transfer to a greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near
center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Beat butter ingredients until blended; serve with bread.
Yield: 1 loaf (12 slices)
Taste of Home February/March

Kelsey’s Favorite Cranberry Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cold butter
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
Streusel:
1/3 packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons cold butter
Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons orange juice
In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, orange juice and peel. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cranberries and raisins. Transfer to a greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan.
Combine brown sugar and flour, cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
For glaze, combine confectioner’s sugar and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over bread.
Yield: 1 loaf (12 slices)
Taste of Home October/November 2009