Monthly Archives: December 2008

Going Home for Christmas

Snowman For the first time in 10 years, I went home for Christmas.

For the last decade we have heated with a wood stove and were unable to leave the house in the winter for long periods of time.

Most of my children had no memories of what Christmas at Grandpa and Grandma’s looked like. They couldn’t imagine the prairie covered with snow. They had never gone sledding down the hill.

Until this year. Since we no longer heat with wood and our wonderful ground source heat pump keeps the house toasty warm whether we are here or not, we were able to pack up our bags and head north the day after Christmas!

We had a wonderful weekend sharing memories of Christmas’s past and making new ones together.

I enjoyed seeing all the Christmas decorations that were a part of my childhood (including my snowman -shown in the picture- that I made clear back in kindergarten and still hung!), reading all the cards from family friends, and sharing our chocolate goodies with each other.

There’s something about the holidays that makes us want to touch family and revisit the past.

I’m so thankful that I had this chance. There’s nothing like going home for Christmas.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Chocolate Peanut Butter FudgeMy 10 year old daughter steps in as guest blogger today to share a yummy fudge recipe that is easiest enough for kids to make! (She even took the picture, too!)

I wanted to make something for Poppa all by myself. I know he likes chocolate and peanut butter so I decided this double decker fudge would be a great gift.

Make sure you read the recipe and follow it exactly because I didn’t and I made a mess! I forgot to add the milk to the peanut butter chips and it burned and stuck badly to the bowl. I think I will never do that again!

This is a very fun and easy recipe! you should try it too!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

1 cup Reese`s Peanut Butter Chips
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk divided
(not evaporated milk)
2 tablespoons butter softened
1 cup HERSHEY`s Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract divided

First you line a 8-inch square pan or 9x5x3- inch loaf pan with foil.

Place peanut butter chips and 2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk and butter in a microwave safe bowl.

Microwave peanut butter chips on high for 1 minute or until chips melted, stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir until smooth. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and immediately pour mixture in to prepared pan.

Microwave chocolate chips on high for 1 minute or until chips melted, stir until smooth, stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla , immediately pour mixture on top of the peanut butter layer.

Cover and refrigerate until firm. Flip on to a cutting board and peal foil off. Cut in to 1-inch squares, Refrigerate. Makes about 2 dozen pieces.

Christmas Eve!

Advent Week 5

“O Come Desire of Nations, Bind all peoples in one heart and mind;

Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;

Fill the whole world with Heaven’s peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel. Shall come to thee o Isreal.”

Chocolate Ice Cream Log

I remember having Christmas lunch at Grandma’s house when I was growing up. After we had stuffed ourselves with turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy we would all enjoy a thick slice of Aunt Maureen’s Ice Cream Roll.

I was intrigued by that cake. How did she got the ice cream on the inside? Aunt Maureen didn’t just bring an ice cream cake, she made it into a real yule log with fancy swirls in the frosting to look like bark and little holly berries piped on the top.

It looked just like a picture in a magazine!

As we started making our own family traditions for Christmas, I decided to give the yule log a try. My children loved it, and it has been our traditional Christmas Eve dessert ever since.

I will admit that after 18 years of trying, my ice cream cake has yet to look like a real yule log. Actually- some years it doesn’t look very pretty at all. But that’s okay- we eat by candlelight on Christmas Eve!

I love the fact that it can be made ahead of time (since it has to be frozen anyway!) and it has proved to be a perfect birthday cake for Baby Jesus!

Chocolate Ice Cream Roll

Line a 15 x 10 inch pan with foil and generously grease it.

Beat 4 egg whites until foamy, gradually adding 1/2 cup of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Beat 4 egg yolks and 1 teaspoon of vanilla on high 3 minutes. Add 1/3 cup sugar and beat for 2 more minutes. Set aside.

Combine 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Add to the egg yolk mixture alternately with 1/3 cup of water.

Carefully fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites.

Spread evenly into the prepared jelly roll pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the top springs back when touched.

Immediately invert the cake on to a towel that has been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully peel off the foil. Roll cake up lengthwise in the towel. Let cool.

Unroll the cake and carefully spread 2 quarts of softened ice cream (any flavor) over the surface. Reroll cake, place on serving tray and glaze with chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze

Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in 4 tablespoons of cocoa and 4 tablespoons of water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Don’t boil.

Remove from heat and cool slightly. Blend in 2 cups of pwdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla.

If you are talented like Aunt Maureen, you can cut the two ends off of the log on the diagonal before glazing and set them next to the cake to make “branches”. You can use your knife to texture the frosting so that it looks like bark and pipe on some pretty green holly leaves and red berries.

Freeze until time to serve.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Traditions

'Lil Donkey and Cow Christmas traditions are what ties us together as a family.

One tradition we’ve enjoyed with my family for years is acting out the Christmas story.

We started it when the first nieces and nephews began arriving.

We decided that instead of reading the Christmas story to several wiggly little ones, we would have them act it out.

Nana grabbed the box of dress up clothes and tipped it upside down on the floor and everyone- parents included- found a costume and acting out a part.

Whichever couple was pregnant or had just had a baby played Mary and Joseph. The animal hats that my oldest sister made for a Christmas program were perfect for little ones (and sometimes daddies!)

Papa Jim told the story as we all acted it out.

Those oldest nieces and nephews are now in their 20’s, but still participate every year to help bring the story to life for the youngest ones.

There are so many of us now that we have moved our Christmas celebration to Labor Day weekend and our “pageant’ is acted outside with a real campfire for the shepherds to sit around and the barn as a stable.

It’s a tradition that ties us together from the oldest to the youngest and makes memories that will last a lifetime!