Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Zeke's First Christmas

Written by: Dr. Robert Darnell, Elizabethtown, KY

Final Segment

So I stood there stinking and laughing at my canine friend as she tried to escape the skunk's retribution. She wallowed on her back; she put both paws on her nose and blew repeatedly, sending puffs of powdery snow and skunk smell all over the clearing.

I really got tickled and laughed so hard I slipped and fell slap down in the clearing with her. She climbed into my lap for some comfort and began licking my face. I gave her a stinking hug and clambered to my freezing feet. Somewhere in the melee, the skunk had made a strategic retreat and waddled off to recharge his devastating weaponry and, presumably, rejoin his nestlings.

"What in the world are you laughing at?" came my wife's voice through the woods.

"We've been skunked!" I called back laughing.

"Merry Christmas!" Constance replied in her beautiful contralto. "Now come up here and let me wash you off. You can't open your presents smelling like a skunk."

That year, I opened my presents smelling like a skunk wearing tomato juice and ivory soap and lots of cologne. It was Zeke's first Christmas and one of my fondest.

Skunk Odor Remover

1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide

1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

1 tsp liquid soap or dish detergent

Mix these together and bathe the spray victim thoroughly.

*Be sure to use this mixture immediately, it is unstable.

Rinse with tap water afterward, and repeat if necessary.

For spray in the eyes, flush with water as soon as possible.

Merry Christmas to all! And, to warm your tummies on Christmas morn, the following recipe for cinnamon rolls is the only recipe I use because the dough is made the night before. The rolls are tender, cinnamony, and just plain delicious. Originally the recipe called for a powdered sugar icing, but we prefer a cream cheese frosting.

Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls

Serves: 24


2 packages active dry yeast

2-1/2 cups luke warm water (105-115 degrees)

1 tsp sugar

1 pkg (2-layer size) white cake mix

6 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg

1/3 cup cooking oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

4 tsp (heaping) ground cinnamon

1 cup (generous) dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins, currants, chopped apricots, or a mixture of the above, optional

1 recipe cream cheese frosting (below)


1. Four dough, in a large mixing bowl, stir the yeast into 1/2 cup of the warm water; add the sugar. Let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes or until foamy.

2. Stir the cake mix, 1 cup flour, egg, cooking oil, salt , and remaining water into the yeast mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 3 minutes, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the remain flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

3. Cover and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.

4. Next morning, lightly grease two 13 x 9 x 2 baking pans. Set aside. Remove dough from refrigerator, punch down. Cover and let rise again until doubled (about 1 hour because dough is cold). Punch dough down again. Divide in half. Turn 1 part of the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Turn to coat lightly with flour. Roll the dough into a 12 x 8 rectangle. Brush with half of the melted butter.

5. For filling, in a small bowl, combine the 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, and dried fruit, if using. Sprinkle half of the filling over dough. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting from one of the long sides. Pinch along edge to seal.

6. Cut crosswise into 12 pieces. Arrange, cut sides down, in a prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining dough, remaining butter, and remaining filling. Cover loosely; preheat oven to 350. Let dough rise in a warm place until nearly doubled (about 45 minutes).

7. Uncover pans. Place a baking sheet under each pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown and rolls sound hollow when lightly tapped.

8. Invert onto serving plates. Using an offset spatula, smear cream cheese frosting over warm rolls. Serve warm. Delicious reheated the next day, if you actually have any left over.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 8 oz. pkgs regular cream cheese, room temperature

4 cups pwdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

3 TB or more of milk, if necessary

Beat cream cheese in a medium bowl with an electric mix until loosened. Gradually mix in powdered sugar until fully incorporated. Mix in vanilla. If needed, stir in enough milk to make a fluffy frosting, be careful not to add too much milk which would make the frosting runny.

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