My Wassail

This is called “My Wassail” because when the kids need the recipe they always ask me, “What’s the recipe for your wassail?”

So here’s the recipe for My Wassail…

I use organic sugar, cider and anything else I can to make me feel a little bit better about this sugar fest. 🙂

In a large stock pot or slow cooker, combine:

1.5 cups of white granulated sugar
3 cups of water
8 whole cloves
3-4 cinnamon sticks (depends on the size)
1.5 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1 gallon apple cider (apple juice is ok just not as rich as cider)
1 sliced orange
1 sliced lemon

*The rind from the lemon and oranges give a good balance of tart to the sweet.

Stove top: Bring to a low boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so.

Crockpot: Put all ingredients in a large crockpot and cook on high until sugar is dissolved. Then simmer on low for at least an hour but you can leave it in your slow cooker for much longer and serve from it.

This is one of those recipes where you taste and add. So start with less of something if you’re unsure and you can always add more.

I like to keep a dish of red hots beside the mugs when serving. The red hots give it a stronger cinnamon flavor and make it a pretty red color.

Be sure to serve the liquid only. Downing a whole clove is not enjoyable or tasty.

Refrigerate leftovers (liquid only) and reheat. Leaving the cloves and cinnamon and other bits in the liquid for too long will make the flavors too strong.

We love to make mulled wine the real way but if you want a cheater version of mulled wine, add a bit of red wine (whatever kind you like) to your mug before adding the wassail. Maybe about 1 part wine, 2 parts wassail. Drink responsibly.

Now “My Wassail” is your wassail too!

Enjoy!!

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Festive Cranberry Poppers

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(This is a picture of the “in progress” cranberries before the powdered sugar. I’ll track down a picture of the finished product soon and update.)

I don’t know when or why I started making these but it’s been many years. Every time I make them people are fascinated by them. They ask what it is. I smile and say, “try it”. They say, “Is that a cranberry?” And then, “Oh my goodness! These are SO good!” And then, “How did you make these?!?!” And then again, “Are these FRESH cranberries???”  I hear all the time, “I didn’t know you could eat fresh cranberries.” The thing is, who would want to? haha! They are so tart they have to be in something…. or coated with sugar. 🙂 The antioxidant goodness outweighs the sugar badness, right?

So here is how I make these. They make a huge impact treat with very minimal effort.

Ingredients:
2 egg whites
1 bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries
1 2lb bag of powdered sugar

Prep: wash the cranberries ahead of time and give them plenty of time to dry completely. If they are wet the egg whites won’t stick.

1. Beat your egg whites with a whisk or electric beater until they are light and fluffy, not too stiff.

2. Carefully fold the fresh cranberries into the egg whites just enough to coat.

3. Place half of the bag of powdered sugar in the bottom of a gallon sized ziploc.

4. Give the cranberries one last quick fold in the eggs whites and then spoon them on top of the powdered sugar in the ziploc. Leave any excess egg whites in the bowl.

5. Put the rest of the powdered sugar on top of the cranberries.

6. Seal up the ziploc really well and gently toss the berries around. Carefully try to break up any clumps. You might need ot open the bag to find clumps by hand and break them up. Then reseal the bag and gently toss some more. Repeat this until they are all individually coated. You’ll end up leaving a decent amount of powdered sugar in your ziploc to throw out. Does that make you feel any better about the sugar part? 🙂

7. Put them in cute holiday dish and serve and enjoy the smiles as these little sweet and sour surprised pop in your mouth.

They will be nice and pretty for about a day before getting soggy. Don’t put them in the refrigerator as they will get soggy as they get back to room temperature.

Frittata Muffins

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I’ve been making these and putting them in the freezer. It’s such an easy “grab & go” breakfast.  After they’ve cooled, I put two in a snack size ziploc to make them easier to grab and well… go. Just have to pop them in the microwave.

I don’t really call this my own recipe because I sort of combined a few different recipes and then do my own thing with seasonings and toppings depending on what I’m in the mood for or what I have on hand. For the sake of this recipe I will list what I just made and is pictured, but play with it and make it your own. Typically a frittata would have cheese. You may add cheese if you want but it’s delicious without it and one recipe that I don’t think the dairy is necessary.

I use organic, cage free, dairy free, carrageenan free, hormone free, nitrate/nitrite free, grain free ingredients.

Frittata Muffins (makes 12)

Ingredients:
1 doz eggs
1/3 cup nut milk (almond or cashew)
2 TBSP Coconut Flour
salt, pepper, garlic salt (I’d say “to taste” but you can’t really taste it so go easy. You can always add more seasonings when you eat them.)
Fresh baby spinach
8 oz. cooked bacon pieces

Optional: saute’ chopped onions and garlic with coconut or olive oil and add to the uncooked mixture.

Preheat oven to 350

Cook bacon

Whisk eggs then add milk, coconut flour, and seasonings

Grease muffin pan and line each cavity with fresh spinach. Approximately 8 leaves or so. It cooks down so cram it in there. For those who don’t like spinach, this is a great way to get them to eat it. When there’s bacon involved, the spinach sort of disappears. 🙂

Pour about 1/4 cup of the egg mixture on top of the spinach. Whisk the mixture occasionally so the seasonings stay mixed up.

Top with bacon pieces

Bake on 350 for about 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!!

Coconut Milk Coffee Cream 2.0

I think I’ve perfected this wonderful liquid creaminess. Here is the original version that I created Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer. It happens to be sugar free and is still very very good and creamy. But I’ve since fallen in love with raw honey and coconut sugar (palm sugar) and have adapted this recipe to fit my taste. And boy, does it taste good!!

You’ll need:
* Some type of blender. I use my emersion blender. The amount of liquid fits perfectly into the container that comes with it and it’s just easier to clean than a standard blender.

*A 1 qt container. I’m currently using a plastic one but am looking for the perfect glass container. That is happening soon.

Now for the recipe…..

*3 tbsp melted organic coconut oil (melt it in your blender container to save a dish, only takes about 20 seconds if that)
*1 can preservative free (check labels!) coconut milk (my favorite is 365 organic from Whole Foods or Arroy D which was recommended by my Thai friend)
*1 grass fed/pastured egg (not to be confused with pasteurized) ***(see below)
*2 tsp vanilla (I use my homemade when I have it or my Mexican vanilla when I don’t)
*3 TBSP raw local honey or coconut sugar (I switch it up for different flavors)

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend well. Pour into your 1 qt container and fill it up the rest of the way with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk. Shake well and refrigerate.

These are all ingredients I typically have on hand.  When you make this a few time, you won’t even need the recipe. Just dump in this and that. I don’t even measure anything anymore. You can’t really go wrong with it.

Play around with the recipe and make it your own. Less sugar/honey, more sugar/honey, more vanilla, whatever you like. Enjoy!! I’m enjoying a cup of coffee with this creamy deliciousness as I type this.

***Yes, there is a raw egg in there. It takes me less than a week, by myself, to use up one batch of this and it stays refrigerated the entire time so it’s fine. I’ve been doing this for well over a year now and I’m still kickin’. The egg is needed because it binds the ingredients and keep everything from separating. 

Easy Shrimp Étouffée

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Here’s a yummy, easy recipe you might want to try. My friend, Staci, gave me the recipe and she’s Cajun as they come so it’s legit. So she says and I believe her since I’m not Cajun. 🙂 It makes a lot so half it if you don’t want to have a lot leftover. You’ll need some steamed white rice.

You can use precooked frozen shrimp but you just won’t need to cook it as long.

Ingredients: 1 green, red, and yellow bell pepper, 2 onions, 2 cloves garlic, two sticks of salted butter, 4 cans cream mushroom soup, 4 cans cream of chicken soup, 3 cans Rotel (use mild if you don’t want it too spicy), and peeled and deveined shrimp (amount is up to you but we like a lot). 
Melt butter and add chopped veggies.
Cook veggies until tender, then add soups and rotel. Cook 15 mins then add shrimp. Cook an additional 30 min.

Easy “Mexican” Chicken

I hate to even use the term Mexican because this is such a cheater meal it has to offend the amazingness of true Mexican cuisine. I just made this for dinner, though, and it’s a super easy dish made with stuff we normally have on hand. You could add to it and make it MUCH better with chopped green onions, cilantro, frijoles or whatever you like, but this worked. It’s fairly healthy and fast. It’s a one pan dish and doesn’t heat up your kitchen, although you could cook it in the oven if you wanted your cheese to brown but then that would heat up your kitchen and dirty two dishes. 🙂

Here goes:

Thaw a couple of medium to large chicken breast and cut into chunks (tip: if you cut the chicken while it’s still a little bit frozen it cuts SO much easier!)

Cook in a deep pan on the stove with some olive oil and seasonings you like. I used chopped garlic, smoked paprika and some sea salt

Add a can of Rotel (I use “milder” Rotel) and a can, or box in my case (for gluten free), of cream of chicken soup and a can of diced green chilies.

Stir it up and let it cook for a few minutes. Make sure the chicken is done.

Tear up some corn tortillas and cover the chicken mixture then put some cheese on top and allow it time to melt.

Voila! Serve with an easy lettuce salad tossed in lemon or lime juice and you have yourself a meal.

Enjoy!

Monkey Bread

I’m sure there are a billion recipes out there for monkey bread but this is how I make mine and I put recipes here so my kids will have them someday if they want them.

I usually make this for holiday gatherings and it’s always a hit. It’s one of those things I make that the results totally outweigh the effort put into it. It’s incredibly easy!

I made this for a buffet breakfast recently for Anna’s youth group and she texted me and told me that “Everyone loves it! I opened it and the leaders looked like they saw Jesus.” 🙂

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Note: This is not gluten free or healthy in any shape or form. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 pkg (2 dozen)  frozen yeast rolls (uncooked dough balls)
Pecan halves
Brown Sugar (about 1 1/2 cups?)
1 stick of butter

Add cinnamon, raisins, bacon or whatever you’d like to add to it.

Method:

The night before, place the frozen dough balls in a large greased lasagna type pan and put in the oven. Don’t turn the oven on. They will thaw and rise overnight and be ready to use by morning.

In the morning:
Spray bundt pan with cooking spray
Melt the butter

Place a layer of pecans, drizzle butter and generously sprinkle brown sugar in the bottom of the bundt pan.

Tear apart bite sized pieces of the thawed/risen dough and drop around the pan.

Repeat the pecans, butter, brown sugar and dough until you use up your bread.

Place the bundt pan inside the pan you used to thaw the rolls in in case the brown sugar/butter overflows (it’s a mess to clean up in your oven if it does).

Bake on 350 for about 20-25 minutes. You can stick a knife down into the middle of it and make sure it’s done. Know will know. 🙂

Turn out the bread onto your serving dish. Trick: Place the serving dish on top of the bundt pan and flip it. The beautiful pecans that you placed in first will be on top.

Drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze if you like but it’s yummy as is.

Serve by cutting pieces or if you’re not a germaphobe, let people pull off sections as they will.

*You can make a version of this with cheese and bacon as well using the same layering process.