Have proper footwear. I wear my trail running shoes. I also suggest hiking shoes or some other sturdy footwear for cart commando combat. This is the holiday season. People are aggressive. There tends to be a lot of dodging with kids running underfoot jetting out from nowhere. You have to be able to turn that cart on a dime. At least wear sneakers so your feet don’t get tired and betray you.
Eat before you go. Make sure to eat a complete meal before entering Wal-Mart. You need energy and focus. There is nothing worse than sugar shopping on an empty stomach. Having done that before, I usually buy too much of the wrong thing and veer off the list. You also don’t want to be rushed and if you’re starving you may dash out early without completing your mission in search of a quick bite.
Drink Caffeine. Make sure you are fully caffeinated and alert. Grab a soda or a coffee if you need an extra perk up while shopping. We recommend not going diet on the soda – sugar adds a needed boost too.
Use the Restroom. Make sure you are free of any nagging twitches before you enter the shopping area. It’s a long way back to the restrooms. You’d most likely have to abandon your cart for the mad dash to the loo. That is such a disruption.
Do NOT share a basket. You may want to go with a pal for some serious bonding but please, get your own cart. It’s too difficult to separate out your purchases later. You know, a major new find such as a squeeze can of fudge frosting will surely end up at your friend’s home. Think about it, you need that can of frosting ready to squirt directly into your mouth WHENEVER the need arises!
Stock up on Everyday Items
Investigate all new or undiscovered products
Finally, the most exciting reason to visit Wal-Mart this time of year…new products!
Fudge frosting in an aerosol can like Reddi Whip? Why didn’t I think of that brilliant idea? Bakers “Heat & Dip” Chocolate in a Styrofoam cup? You just microwave 30 seconds to melt milk chocolate. This is perfect for making chocolate drizzles to decorate cakes and cookies. It’s also perfect for dipping marshmallows, pretzel sticks, graham crackers, apples, etc. This makes the double boiler obsolete for melting chocolate! I discovered a Tres Leches (Three Milk) box mix from Duncan Hines. I also found a TUB of Toll House prepared cookie mix (in the refrigerator section) that came in various flavors such as sugar, chocolate chip and peanut butter. I checked the expiration date and as far as I can tell, the tubs were good for at least two months. That would get you through the holidays. Grab a tub of sugar cookie mix, scoop and go! That qualifies as a Carpool Crunch-Baking Season Survival Tip! It’s also an insta-playdate activity.
When you have completed the baking mission above, do a 180º about face. Now, you need to stroll back down aisle #8 going the opposite direction. Make sure you haven’t accidentally strolled by any items of desire. Oh yeah, while you’re there, make sure to grab some eggs, butter, vanilla, and disposable/portable bake ware. That way, when you get home you can get comfy and get cooking!
On your way out…grab a box of this new snack item we discovered en route to check-out.
Holiday Baking Recipe Web Sites
Below are two web sites that have every recipe you could ever want for your cookie exchange or holiday gathering! They also have holiday activities and games for kids to pass the time while the cookies are in the oven.
Sugar Mommas’ Show Stopper Red Velvet Cake Do you have recipes that you clipped from a newspaper or magazine, put away in your recipe box and then forgotten for 10+ years? Well, this one of those recipes. I cut out this Red Velvet Cake from the Houston Chronicle, Hints from Heloise, in 1998. I made it back then, loved it & saved it. Now the clipping is that iconic old newspaper shade of yellow. This recipe has moved from house to house, state to state. Here is the Sugar Mommas’ version based on that old recipe.
You will need Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
½ c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk*
2 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder**
1 oz. red food coloring
½ tsp. vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened (do not use whipped)
½ stick of butter, softened
½ box confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla Step 1: Prepare Cake Preheat oven to 350ºF. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil and buttermilk at low speed for approximately 30 seconds. Add the cocoa powder until blended. Then add food coloring and blend. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix for 2 minutes. Lightly grease, or use non-stick cooking spray with flour, two 9 in. round pans. Pour batter evenly into pans. Bake for 28-30 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool. Step 2: Prepare the Frosting In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add in confectioner’s sugar and continue mixing until well-blended. Add vanilla. Beat at high speed until fluffy. You may add 1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar at a time of you prefer sweeter frosting. Step 3: Frost Cake Place one cake layer upside down on serving platter and spread icing (be generous on top as this will be your filling layer). Place the other cake right side up on top and complete frosting top and sides. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Healthy Alternative*
Use low fat buttermilk instead of regular. SASS IT UP**
Try a new variety of cocoa powder and/or food coloring.
Scharffen Berger, Callebaut or Valrhona Cocoa Powder
India Tree Natural Decorating Colors for Red food coloring http://www.indiatree.com/products/decorative/natures_colors/nc-dyes.html
Decorate the frosting with chopped pecans, coconut flakes, or fresh
berries. Dye the frosting a festive color for a party or stay with classic white. Use your imagination. SM NOTE
Be a Sugar Momma & double the frosting. You need enough for the kids (and yourself, who are we kidding?) to each lick a spoon AND frost the cake.Carpool Crunch
If you don’t have time to bake this cake fro scratch, you can CHEAT by using Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Red Velvet Cale mix in the box. Mix four ingredients together and PRESTO! Pop that baby in the oven, slap on some cream cheese frosting (in the tub) and go! Of course a Sugar Momma would never do this “quickie” to serve at book club. But it may be perfect as a kiddie project on a Sunday afternoon whim.