Christmastime is here again…Let’s EAT

When I was growing up Christmas was about family, church and food. I have so many magical memories. I wish I could just do a little flash back with you! I grew up in Southern Oregon, so we never had snow for Christmas. I know no one knows what the weather is like in Southern Oregon because most people haven’t heard of Oregon apart from Portland, but it is wet and cold and foggy in the winter. We had black ice a lot, freezing fog, drizzly, misty, green and gray Christmases. But inside our tiny little house with dark brown multi-level loop carpet, there was a fire in the stove and candles on every horizontal surface. We always had a fluffy, fresh, fragrant tree, covered with ornaments made from Styrofoam and covered in glitter or tiny hand prints cut out of old Christmas cards. We had fat glass lights that had to be screwed into the sockets. And two special lights; one that was shaped like a snowman and one shaped like a house covered in snow. Topping the tree was an angel with blond feathered hair and dressed in a miniature Princess Diana wedding dress. She was glorious.

My mother started making treats before Thanksgiving and didn’t stop until New Years. She made fudge, Rocky Road, English toffee, divinity, peanut brittle, peppermint bark, Buckeyes, coconut candy balls and sometimes caramel. Plus there were cookies; Spritz, filbert crescents, butterscotch rolled cookies or sugar cookie cutouts. We always brought plates of goodies with us to visit relatives, even though they always had plates of goodies out on the coffee table for visitors.

Christmas Eve my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and various other slightly related family members would bundle ourselves into several cars and slide our way through the fog to church. The sanctuary was always full with family from out-of-town, kids home from college and people who only ever came to church on Christmas and Easter. I remember  being so impatient for the end of the service. Every year I held on to that candle with the paper ring around the bottom just waiting for the lights to go out. I never got to hold the candle once it was lit though. All the children would come forward and sing Silent Night with the pastor. If I close my eyes I can see all those points of light in the dark church. Then we would slide our way back to our tiny house filled with family. Mama would set out platters of goodies and platters from other family members would cover the dining room table. Hot coffee and hot cider would be served. I’m getting a tummy ache just thinking about it. How wonderful it was.

Well, I don’t make near as many treats as my mom did, but I still make a few. This year we are having fudge, (I just finished the second batch) macaroons (if we want some for Christmas I’ll have to make another batch of those too) and candy balls. Well, on to recipes!

Five Minute Fudge

2/3 cup coconut milk creamer, original barista style
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cup sugar

Stir together in large sauce pan over low heat. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add:

1 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Stir until marshmallows are melted. Pour into a 9×9 pan and chill. Store in airtight container at room temperature.


Coconut Macaroons

1 1/3 cup fine shredded coconut, unsweetened
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour*
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325*. Stir all ingredients together. Drop by teaspoonful onto greased and floured or parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from baking sheet immediately.

*I have used coconut flour to make these GF, totally works.


Sweet and Salty

So, I have this little vegan problem. On the whole, a vegan diet is healthier than the typical American diet. But not all vegan food is “diet” food. I have found two recipes that are tempting me to snack. Vegan Cheez Its from Minimalist Baker and Carob Freezer Fudge from oh she glows. I know that vegan crackers are better for me than potato chips, but I don’t usually eat chips. And carob freezer fudge is better than a candy bar, but I don’t eat candy bars either. So, any weight that I had lost from my vegan experiment is now gone. Oh, well. These snackies are so good, I really don’t care. I’ll have to be sure that I don’t always keep these yummies on hand. Or maybe I’ll just add a little more exercise! Moderation, girl, moderation.

Christmas Goodies!

In my fridge I have 4 or maybe now 3 dozen Red Velvet Cakeballs. There isn’t a fancy recipe or anything. I made a cake from a box (READ the ingredients!) cubed it into a big bowl and added a can of Pilsbury Cream Cheese Frosting. It does not have any dairy ingredients (at this time) I don’t really want to think about WHAT is in there! Anyway, I mixed that together stuck it in the fridge overnight. Used a small cookie scoop to make balls and then left them on cookie sheets in my pantry refrigerator for a few days, not on purpose, but because I didn’t get back to them. Then I dipped them in dairy-free, Kosher white chocolate (King David brand) and dairy-free chocolate chips. I also added paraffin to the chocolate, don’t judge, that is the way I learned to dip chocolates from my Aunt Velma. It makes the chocolate thin and easy to dip, gives a nice shine and prevents you from eating too many. (Paraffin will clean you out. I have heard.) So anyway, on to the real reason I turned the on computer.  Just made my first pan of fudge this year.  Hopefully more candy recipes will follow.

Five Minute Dairy-Free Fudge

2/3 Cup Coconut Milk Creamer (So Delicious)
1 1/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Stir together in large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add:

1 1/2 Cups Mini Marshmallows
1 1/2 Cup Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
(1/2 cup chopped nuts, I don’t care for nuts, but if you really want them, whatever)

Stir until the marshmallows melt. Pour into a 9×9 pan and chill. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

You can substitute any dairy-free creamer for the coconut milk creamer, even flavored, just cut back on the sugar. This fudge is super easy and if you do mess it up you can always add a cube (or blob) to warm coconut milk and have hot chocolate!