Holiday gift recipes came from my sister’s heart. Today would have been Ardice’s birthday. Although we lost her over a year ago, her memories will forever stay with us. She was born in 1930 and was only eleven months older than Sister Shirley. They were very close and so were their children. Ardice’s children were Jack, David, Keith and Gloria Joyce.
(Ardice's three son's with sister shirley's son upper right pictured below)
Like the rest of the family, Ardice was born with the cooking basics. She could cook anything from simple recipes on budget cooking to the most elaborate meal. As in most of our kitchens, much was cooked in the old cast iron skillets. As you may have read on my website, she is the one who helped me get started cooking. When I was very young, she helped me make her best cake recipe and icing recipe decorated for my teacher’s birthday. After that I knew I could do anything.
The last meal I had at Ardice’s home was for Thanksgiving. She was excited about preparing all her holiday gift recipes as a gift to all of us. Cooking for a crowd was never a problem for her. All her cooking was large quantity recipes. She loved cooking with spices and everything was so flavorful. When we arrived, she was in her kitchen cooking a turkey and preparing all her Thanksgiving recipes. Her delicious mashed potatoes recipe and favorite vegetable recipes came with every one of her meals. When all the other family came and added their dishes to her large spread, needless to say, it was fit for any king.
I was able to spend time in the hospital with my sister before she passed. As very often, nothing tasted good to her so she would not eat. I made her some stew with beef, vegetables and quinoa dumplings, which are high in protein. Ardice loved this stew and told all the nurses how delicious and healthy it was. This was like one of my holiday gift recipes to her.
Cook small pieces beef with onion, celery and garlic until very tender. Add small pieces of carrots, potatoes and asparagus and cook until tender. Add a little beef stock to make a good beef flavor. Process in blender until fairly smooth and set aside to keep warm. Add eggs to “quinoa flour” until dough is consistency to drop from spoon. Drop by small spoons into boiling water. When dough has cooked remove to warm beef mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Like most of us, we have our favorite holiday recipes for each holiday. In the fall Ardice always made the best popcorn ball recipe. These are holiday gift recipes for Halloween and sometimes Thanksgiving and Christmas.
POPCORN BALL RECIPE
Butter sides of a heavy sauce pan. In it combine sugar, water, salt, syrup and vinegar. Cook to a hard ball stage 250F degrees on a candy thermometer. Stir in the vanilla. Slowly pour over the pop corn, stirring to mix well. Butter hands and (could be hot) carefully shape into balls. Wrap in wax paper and tie with ribbons. (Orange for Halloween or tie with red & green and hang from Christmas tree)
Ardice was very talented in making Easter candy recipes. Of her holiday gift recipes for Easter were homemade Easter eggs. She would cook fondant, shape it like Easter eggs, coat them with chocolate and then decorate them. They were beautiful and tasted so delicious.
FONDANT EASTER EGGS RECIPE
Place whipping cream, milk and corn syrup in a large heavy saucepan. Add sugar and salt. Cook stirring consistently until mixture comes to a boil.
Cook, stirring constantly until candy thermometer register 235 to 236F degrees.
Remove from heat and pour into a large pan to cool. When the bottom of the pan feels cool then the syrup is ready to beat. Add the marshmallow cream, flavoring and optional item if desired. Beat until creamy and it loses its gloss. Shape and coat with chocolate.
CHOCOLATE FRUITCAKE RECIPE
This recipe is one of the easy but delicious holiday gift recipes.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees; grease and flour Bundt cake pan.
In large bowl combine cake mix, sour cream, whiskey and eggs.
Beat mixture on low until moistened then on high speed for 2 minutes.
Stir in pecans, chocolate chips, maraschino cherries, pineapple and raisins.
Pour batter into prepared pan; bake 50 to 60 minutes until cake springs back slightly when touched.
Cool 20 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.
Wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight.
Before serving brush with corn syrup and decorate with additional cherries.
As I said earlier, Ardice will always be in our memories and so will be her holiday gift recipes.