Holiday baking

8:00 p.m….Well, the dressing is made, the fudge is made, and the pie crusts are mixed. And I made supper. I just have to roll the crusts out, fill them, and bake them.

6:00 p.m….WoohooWe are under a severe thunderstorm warning because we have a cold front coming through!  The high is only supposed to be in the 50’s tomorrow. The lows will be in the mid 40’s all weekend. We’ve been in the 80’s for highs. That’s just not Thanksgiving weather.

Here’s the radar.

I keep going back to Rachael’s site just to watch the video again, of their anniversary dinner. I like it.

3:15 p.m…..Per Jill’s request, I added 2 different microwave fudge recipes in a comment at the bottom.

You have to see the Indians and Pilgrims.

desert heart stone tiny 2     desert heart stone tiny 2     desert heart stone tiny 2     desert heart stone tiny 2     desert heart stone tiny 2     desert heart stone tiny 2     desert heart stone tiny 2     desert heart stone tiny 2     desert heart stone tiny 2     desert heart stone tiny 2

I’m wishing a very happy Thanksgivng to all of you….especially those in the big sandbox.

I need to get an address for Ethan in the sandbox (hint, hint again  )

I started out the day cooking. I’m making dressing, 2 pumpkin pies, 2 pecan pies, and a batch of fudge. The cornbread baking, along with the 4 candles I have lit, makes the house smell good. The candle scents are Hazlenut Creme (2 of them), Holiday Baking, and I forget what the other one is.  Two of them have a pretty little glass chimney on them, so nobody can spit on them  Come to think of it….that hasn’t happened in a LOOOONG time…..(but I won’t forget it!)

I got another email from that sandbox this morning with a link to a very good article. I told Ethan it was going in today’s post. I agree with the idea in this article. But I also told him it’s hard, knowing that waiting puts him in more danger. I’d rather he be back in the states where he’s relatively safe, but I am proud of him for doing what he is doing. And somebody has to do the job he does. So I pray constantly. This article can be found HERE.

Front-line lessons from the Iraq surge 

Be Our Guest

While American politicians bicker among themselves from eight time zones away about whether the surge led by Gen. David Petraeus is working or not, I returned to Iraq to see for myself.

This trip – from which I returned this month – was my fourth reporting stint in the country since the conflict began. And this time, what I saw was overwhelming, undeniable and, like it or not, complicated: In some places, the surge is working remarkably well. In others, it is not. And the only way we will know for sure whether the tide can be turned is to continue the policy and wait.

I know that’s not what many Americans and politicians want to hear, but it’s the truth.

On my first stop, I embedded with the 82nd Airborne Division in the Graya’at area of northern Baghdad. There, the soldiers live and work in the city 24 hours a day. Their sector has been so thoroughly cleared of insurgents that they haven’t suffered a single casualty this year. I walked the streets without fear and met dozens of genuinely friendly and supportive Iraqi civilians, who greeted the soldiers like friends.

The hitch is that Moqtada al-Sadr’s radical Shia Mahdi Army has infiltrated the Iraqi Army unit that shares the outpost. American soldiers are training them while their comrades kill American soldiers elsewhere in the country.

Meanwhile, Shia militias are expanding and consolidating their rule in other parts of the capital. American soldiers patrol the Hurriyah neighborhood, for example, but many locals credit the Mahdi Army with being the real peacekeepers in the area.

Progress in Baghdad is real, but it is not, or not yet anyway, the kind of peace that can last.

It’s worse in Mushadah just north of Baghdad, where I also went with American soldiers who are training Iraqi police forces – which have been infiltrated by Al Qaeda. The area is so dangerous that the police refused to leave their station until an American woman, Capt. Maryanne Naro from upstate Fort Drum, showed up and shamed them by going out herself.

According to Naro, our convoys are hit with improvised explosive devices every day. I was ordered not to leave my vehicle for any reason unless something catastrophic happened to it.

Elsewhere in Iraq, though, progress is extraordinary and unambiguous. I spent a week in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, which just four months ago was the most violent place in Iraq. Al Qaeda had taken over and ruled the city through a massive murder and intimidation campaign. Even the Marine Corps, arguably the least defeatist institution in America, wrote off Ramadi as irretrievably lost last August.

Then, local tribal leaders and civilians joined the Americans – and helped purge the city of every last terrorist cell. Violence has dropped to near zero. I have photographs of Iraqis hugging American soldiers and of children greeting us with ecstatic joy, as though they had been rescued from Nazis. The Marines are even considering going on patrols without body armor.

What worked in Ramadi might not work in Baghdad. The Mahdi Army’s relative moderation, compared with Al Qaeda’s brutality, prevents it from being rejected by the entire society. But this much cannot be denied: There are powerful winds of change in Iraq, and not enough time has passed to determine how they will transform the country.

Want to know if the surge will succeed or fail? There is only one thing to do: Wait.


7 thoughts on “Holiday baking

  1. Jill, I kind of cheat in making this fudge. I don’t really cook anything.
    3 – 12 oz. packages chocolate chips
    2 – 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
    The chocolate chips can be semi-sweet, milk chocolate or a mixture. That’s what I usually use. This time I bought 2 bags of milk chocolate and one semi-sweet. Sometimes instead of one semi-sweet, I’ll put one bag of peanut butter chips.
    Melt the chips in a bowl in the microwave. It will probably take 4-5 minutes. You have to stir them to see if they are melted because they will hold their shape even when soft. Then add the cans of sweentened condensed milk (NOT EVAPORATED MILK). After they are mixed, spread in a large foil or waxed paper lined pan. I use a 11 x 15 ” cake pan. The smaller the pan, the thicker the pieces. Place in the refrigerator till hard. Turn it out on the counter and cut squares.
    I also have another microwave fudge recipe that takes a little longer…….
    1 lb. powdered sugar (abt. 4 cups), 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa, 1 stick butter, 1/3 c. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 c. chopped nuts if desired.
    Combine cocoa, milk, vanilla and butter in microwave bowl. Microwve on high about 3-1/2 minutes. Stir well. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring well between each cup. Bet sure to stir out all the lumps. Drop by tsp. on foil covered cookie sheet. Refrigerate till firm.
    This can also have variations: I sometimes add 1/2 c. peanut butter. I’ve also added 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal. It makes it slightly crunchy, kind of like a Nestle crunch bar. Or you could add coconut or Rice Krispies.

  2. The fudge is so good! The thunderstorms always happen when the cool weather gets down this far. It hits that warm wet air.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all your family, Melissa! :heartbeat:

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