You know…for being retired and not going on any hikes this has certainly been a busy month. Friday we spent the day wrapping Xmas presents for each other and in the evening we had the Xmas Pot Luck here at the park. Everybody brought a dish to share…Neil made the same potato casserole he’s taken to the last 3 (4 now) pot lucks since it always disappears. Boiled potatoes mashed just a bit. Mix them with some crispy fried bacon pieces and caramelized onions, add a little cream and cover with cheese and Panko bread crumbs for crunchiness. Quite yummy. Others brought ham, roast beef, salads, pulled pork, and some really yummy meatballs. Here are a couple of snapshots from the party; the last one is of the carolers that came in to serenade us. Patti on the right is a workamper here at the park and the remaining ones are her family who live locally. Connie remarked on the way home that after singing carols many times at the Old Folks Home back before we left Fairfax that she never thought she would be the one getting serenaded!
Saturday was cold (well, cold for Florida)…there were two bowl games on TV…and Connie’s knee hurts so we pretty much stayed home. Sunday morning we got up and her inner ear/vertigo problem flared up pretty badly. She’s been staggering around like a drunk the past 2 days but doubled up on her ear drugs and hopefully it’s getting better. Between that and her knee that she sprained or something a couple of weeks ago going down our stairs she hasn’t been up to much. Neil woke up this morning with a cold and sore throat but we went ahead and did laundry anyway then he went on a run and we had lunch followed by a little nap in the early afternoon.
We also made some dessert to go with our dinner tomorrow. We had these date nut balls at the pot luck the other night and got the recipe which I’ll put below in case you want to try them. These are really good so Neil decided to make them and we’ll warm them up in the nuker tomorrow and put some caramel ice cream on top of them.
Tonight is midnight Mass at Saint Andrews parish…we need to be there at 2300 for the pre-Mass caroling…Connie is singing both a solo (In the Bleak Mid Winter, one of her favorite Xmas carols) and also a duet with her friend Terri from the choir (Oh Holy Night)…she’s singing the Soprano rather than the Alto part since (a) Terri is the queen bee of the Alto section and (b) can’t sing high enough to hit the notes in the Soprano part anyway.
Tomorrow’s dinner is going to be grilled Rosemary marinated Lamp Chops, baked Sweet Potatoes and a corn casserole that Neil hasn’t invented yet along with a bottle of Merlot we got from Winn Dixie the other day along with dessert as I discussed above.
Anyway; here’s the recipe for the Date Nut Balls…I’ve included both the original recipe as well as the modifications we had to make since we had to wing it a bit on the ingredients.
Date Nut Balls
1 c butter
2 c sugar
1 lb chopped dates
1 c chopped walnuts
4 c Rice Krispies cereal
Mix all but the cereal in a pan and bring to a boil; cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in cereal. Let cool until it’s tool enough to handle and then roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Put on wax paper to cool and when cool roll in confectioner’s sugar then put in an airtight container to store. Yield about 50. Will keep for a week or so as long as it’s cool.
Neil made a couple of modifications. First he cut the amount of each ingredient by a factor of 4 since we only wanted a dozen or so of them. Second; we don’t eat Rice Krispies so (since amounts were quartered) he needed 1 cup of cereal. He used 1/2 cup of granola cereal we keep for mixing with yogurt and 1/2 cup of plain quick cooking oatmeal. The final consistency turned out more like a really dense oatmeal cookie then the original ones; but we all think they taste better. Third; he added a little salt; taste the mix when done cooking and add a little salt if it needs it. Fourth; we don’t generally keep real sugar on hand but we do keep Splenda no cal sweetener on hand. Splenda swaps one for one with sugar and worked fine for us.
Quartering the recipe works just fine; so one could also halve or double it depending on how many of these little balls o’ goodness you need to make.
The recipe also says to bring to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes; we mixed everything together in the pot and it was way too stiff to boil so perhaps leaving the cereal out until the end will make it boil. Be careful it doesn’t burn.
That’s about it for now; got to go and think about dinner so Connie can have a little nap before she needs to get ready to go to church.