Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas goodies and Christmas flowers

We've been swimming in eggs lately. All our young hens are now laying, and we're getting between eight and a dozen eggs a day. They tend to add up quickly.

Besides giving a bunch away, what better way to use a whole lotta eggs than by making homemade Irish Cream?

I found the recipe for Irish Cream in the wonderful book Cheaper and Better.

Irish Cream only has six ingredients: eggs, sweetened condensed milk, instant coffee, chocolate syrup, vodka, and cream (in that order). I tell ya, this recipe is better than Bailey's! I multiply the recipe by ten in order to have enough on hand for friends and neighbors, which uses up twenty of my eggs. Instructions for making Irish Cream are here.

With a 10x batch like this, I start off using my largest mixing bowl...

...and finish up using my biggest stock pot.

The bottles must be dark for the Irish Cream to ripen properly. But here's the thing -- I ran out of dark bottles. So...

...I recycled two of the three empty vodka bottles. But since the bottles are supposed to be dark, I wrapped them in duct tape. Don called this "Redneck Irish cream." Clearly these won't be gift bottles -- we'll keep these for ourselves and toast in Christmas with the contents.

For our non-drinking neighbors (and we have many LDS neighbors), I make giganto-batches of shortbread cookies. Here's some of the mess.

By the way, the paperwork you see on the table is Older Daughter's application for nanny school. We submitted the paperwork on Wednesday evening (by email), making her eligible for a small financial scholarship.

Here's the first batch of cookies. I still have many more to make to have enough for friends, neighbors, and some service people in our community.

Oh, and my Christmas cactus is blooming. Read this to understand why this little plant is so significant. Just had to throw in a photo.


  1. Dear Patrice,
    I'm all about that "RedNeck Irish Cream"!!
    I enjoy your column every day and wish you a very Merry Christmas.
    Here's a beautiful Christmas song - please enjoy.

  2. Girl you're gettin' your Christmas on!

    I'm not a drinker, but I have no doubt that making up some of your Irish Cream recipe would make me phenomenally popular in these woods. Talk about spreading some holiday cheer....!

    o/t: I can't remember if you've ever written about making powdered eggs.
    Have you done either? How about water glassing or mineral oiling them to preserve the extras?

    Great news about NannyDaughter's application. You can see how confident I am in her upcoming success. I've already 'changed her name.' :) Go kid!!

    OK. Time for me to get busy in the kitchen.

    A. McSp

  3. We have made your recipe many times and it is very good. However, the last time we substituted the vodka for Jameson Irish Whiskey, making the batch more costly but really good. Thanks for the reminder that we need to make some more. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of your family. Rebekah

  4. Love the Christmas cactus--my mother had a huge one. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  5. I have this Cheaper than Dirt book and love it!!!

  6. You live in Northern Idaho and I live in Northern North Carolina. How come you're getting so many eggs with the shorter days? My hens have just about stopped laying. I get at most one a day now from seven hens.

  7. Mmmmm cookies! (Like I need moooooore cookies!)

    My wife went on a 2 week trip back East. She forgot to remind me to water her plants, and the plants didn't say anything either. So most of them aren't doing too well and are in the ICU - except for that Christmas cactus. It seems to love the abuse and is popping out buds all over. It'll be in full bloom next week!

    And congratulations to OD for getting that application in to Nanny School. I say a prayer that she gets the scholarship money. Every bit helps!

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

  8. You really must use whiskey to make Irish cream. I buy off brand (idaho gold Canadian is great!), and it's delish!

  9. You might want to look at one other option for too many eggs. The blog spot, 5 Acres and a Dream, has a write-up on dehydrated scrambled eggs. It's dated December 6, 2014.

  10. My daughter works as a nanny. She learned it all by life, though. She's the oldest of our 5 children and has lots of experience not only with siblings, but helping out many families. She does not live in. She is very blessed to work only 2 miles from home. She's been caring for a sweet little boy, who will turn 2 next month, since he was 4 1/2 months. A little sister is to join the family in March. She is very much a modern day Mary Poppins!

  11. When I have too many eggs I like to make a Cold Oven Pound Cake or a Custard.

  12. If you still have eggs left over, the other way to use them all up is... angel food cake - takes a dozen at a time!

  13. We sell our eggs to friends. The amount we sell pays for the feed and that's about it. Our profit is simply the eggs we use ourselves. Works well for us.

  14. Have you ever tried pickled eggs? They can be stored a long time. You boil the eggs to get "hard boiled", peal them and then pickel them. You can give jars as Christmas gifts.

  15. When I read this article I went right to Amazon and ordered the Cheaper and Better book. Used in good condition was .04 cents plus $3.99 shipping. Next day I told a friend about it and it was up to over $7 dollars for the same book. Checked today and it was over $13 dollars for the same used book. I was just wondering if your article may have caused a rush on the book. Glad I got mine when I did.

  16. I just made a batch of this with vodka and am wondering if you age it in the frig or on a pantry shelf? Next batch I make I think I'll use some whiskey to see which folks prefer :)

    1. I age mine in a cabinet. The fridge should be fine, but wherever you put it, it should be dark.

      - Patrice

    2. OK, thanks for the quick reply. I think I'll keep it in the fridge then. Can't wait for the week to pass so I can try it :)Nannie