- There was a massive ice storm that caused power outages all over the state. It took over a week for power to be restored in Lansing to my dad, aunt and grandmother. Utility trucks were called in from around the country to help with the restoration efforts.
- One of the sheep escaped from our church’s Live Nativity on Christmas Eve. It made a break for it while being loaded into the trailer at the end of the night. The articles and puns in the MLive article kept us roaring, while the care and collaboration from our community was heart warming. The sheep was eventually corralled, captured, and returned to her home. The whole issue was honestly a welcome bit of levity considering most people didn’t have power.
3. And I made two new dishes that are definitely being added to my “make it again list.”
Prior to ice storms and power outages, I had agreed to bring fruit for our Sunday School breakfast. This traditionally happens the Sunday before Christmas. (This was cancelled due to a lack of power.) I had also agreed to make dessert for Christmas day at my aunt’s house, and had settled on a trifle. (Also cancelled due to a lack of power.)
So, to accommodate those with and without power, I invited my dad’s side of the family over to my house. We all settled in Flint for a family Christmas dinner. As well as roasting a turkey and making meatballs, I made Ambrosia and my a fore mentioned trifle.
I had never made Ambrosia before. It dish was suggested by a few of my Curves clients. For those unfamiliar with Ambrosia, it is made with various fruits, marshmallows, maraschino cherries, coconut, and traditionally made with whip cream. I was looking to make it healthier, if I could. Therefore I used Stonyfield Farm Lowfat French Vanilla yogurt instead. Well, I shouldn’t say I. My husband really put it together. You can find the recipe I started from here on Allrecipes. I made a few changes. Instead of all the pineapple, we used only one third of it. The other two-thirds was replaced with apples. Instead of grapes we used strawberries, and we used fresh oranges instead of canned mandarin oranges. We used the bananas it called for, and we added the maraschino cherries.
And you know what. It was HEAVENLY! Which is fitting, because ambrosia is the nectar of the gods. Actually, what it really tasted like was a banana split. We also topped it with toasted pecans that had been coated in cinnamon. We tripled the original recipe and had plenty left over for breakfast the next morning. Yum!
Chocolate Irish Cream Trifle
I also made an Chocolate Irish Cream trifle. I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website. To make it gluten-free I used the King Arthur Gluten Free Chocolate Cake mix. I baked it before going away to Lansing for the holidays and covered it for a few days. (Although I think it would have been better if I had left the cover off and let it dry out- it would have soaked up the creamer better.)
The original recipe called for pure Irish Cream. At the time, I wasn’t sure about the gluten-free status of the Irish Cream. In addition, I realized that it would be eaten by children. Giving children alcohol is generally frowned up, so I went with the creamer. (Bailey’s is made from Irish Whiskey, which contains barley, but is a distilled spirit. Distilled spirits are generally considered safe for consumption for those with Celiac Disease. A delicious, non-gluten based liquor alternative is RumChata.)
The trifle started with a layer of chocolate cake soaked in Irish Creamer, then chocolate pudding, then homemade whipped cream (no Cool Whip in this house!). On top of that, a layer of the Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips. This was repeated two times, which lead to a beautiful heaping bowl of creamy tastiness.
A few family members were hesitant to try it, but when it was served to others, their eyes overtook any hesitations and everyone had some. I even sent some home with a gluten intolerant friend that stopped by to drop something off. It. Was. Amazing.
I will say this- If/when I make it again, I don’t think I would use chocolate cake AND chocolate pudding. Dare I say, it was TOO much chocolate. (Some of my friends say this is impossible.) I felt that there was so much chocolate that it overpowered the other flavors in the dish, especially the Irish cream.
So what dishes do you traditionally make for Christmas? What new recipes have you tried that have quickly become family favorites? Leave me a note in the comments!
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