Happy Winter-thing you celebrate!

The holidays are upon us and, like the busy beaver I am (while working two jobs for a grand total of 50 hours a week), I've started Christmas things early, especially since fruitcake takes about two months grand total to prepare.

Three weeks ago, I began the fruitcake starter. Brandy, sugar, a mixture of fruit and a glass bowl. Stir twice a week for three weeks. Then drain the fruit, put the liquid back in the bowl and add fruit 10 days at a time with sugar. This takes 30 days to candy the fruit. Then you make the bread.

I've started the candying process. I've been doing friendship bread starters for a few weeks and have made a kickass banana bread recipe from it. I've also made the traditional version and a cranberry almond. All of them are super good. I began my own bread starter and have been freezing everything as I go along so I can make loaves for a friend's bake sale. I've also made some kickass zucchini nut muffins and I have plans to make cranberry orange muffins.

Just today I put vanilla beans into a mixture of brandy and vodka to soak for vanilla extract that will go in my fruitcake. Super excited about that.

And since I'm talking about super awesome food, I'll share the websites I pulled my recipes from.

This is a link to the friendship bread starter so you can make your own if you don't know someone who has already made some. This is also the site I've modified my recipes from. My warning is to use half the oil and substitue the other half with unsweetened applesauce to make a little lighter bread. Also, you can use pureed banana in place of the eggs. That's how I made my banana bread.

For fruitcake, the friendship fruitcake starter came from Victoria's Cornucopia. The candied fruit came from there as well. I'm using a different recipe for my fruitcake using the friendship bread starter. We'll see how it turns out. I'm modifying the original recipe and including candied fruit. It should be spectacular. I might incorporate the cream cheese in mine based off Victoria's recipe because, let's be honest, it looks amazing.

I'm also making a variation of her fruit spread to use the fruit from the starter. I hate wasting anything and I have to say, it's freaking amazing. Cinnamon sugar, lemon and the fruit. Cook, mash, boil until set. Yum.

And tonight for dinner, I made buffalo chicken pizza. Mama Mary's deep dish crust, two to three tablespoons of Alfredo sauce, a tablespoon of Frank's hot sauce spread over the crust. The edge brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with a little onion powder, garlic powder and powdered Asiago Romano cheese. Add chopped chicken, cover with pizza cheese and bake 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler to brown the cheese. It's freaking delicious.


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