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The Recipe of the Week from the Happy Chef: Christmas Cheer

Wow – what an amazing snowfall! I grew up in West Virginia, so it certainly brings back great memories. When I watch my kids play in the snow, I laugh, it is like going back in time. They just roll around in it like dogs! My son does what I once did long ago – he stuffs his face down in the snow like he is looking for something he has buried! The cold snow on his face and neck doesn’t seem to bother him. It is such a great expression of joy and freedom to stuff your face down in the bracing white coldness – like jumping in a cold creek in early spring!

It doesn’t take long for children to figure out the ways of snow, even southern children, who have never seen more than a couple of inches of it. It is the stuff of dreams – so beautifully glorious with the ability to slow time almost completely to a stop. Somehow, for a short moment, we seem to be protected from the cruel and busy world by this soft Holy barrier of blanketed white. Exploration and endless snow adventures (including the high speed down hill variety) become the goal of the day – not work, or errands, or school or the commercial business of the Holiday season.

It is JUST what we need at Christmas – a time to stop and wonder at it all, a time to be joyful.

We are blessed to have this snow but also blessed to be protected from it. For many, who don’t have sufficient refuge, it is not just a burden but frightening and deadly. We should pray for all those people. I don’t allow my kids to forget the awesome power of snow. It is something to behold, much like its Creator – beautiful and gentle yet fierce and powerful. I guess that is the ultimate reason for loving snow, it reminds me of God.

Here are two great drink recipes that are a must when it snows and on Christmas – have a Very Merry One!

Favorite Mulled Cider

-Pour one gallon of apple cider into a large pot on the stove or into a crockpot or slow cooker.

-Add a half cup of brown sugar.

-Place 1 teaspoon of whole cloves, 1 teaspoon of whole allspice, and 3 cinnamon sticks, 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, zest of one orange & 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom on a square of cheesecloth and tie up. Add to the pot.

-Heat the cider to a boil, stirring regularly. Leave the pot uncovered so that you and your family or guests can enjoy the warm, delicious aroma.

-Once the cider boils, lower the setting to simmer for at least another 30 minutes to allow for thorough infusion of the spices. Stir occasionally.

-Remove the spices from the pot and ladle hot mulled cider into mugs or other glasses designed for hot beverages.

Favorite Hot Cocoa

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup hot water

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 cups milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

-Mix cocoa, sugar, water and salt in a saucepan. Over medium heat, stir constantly until mixture boils. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

-Stir in the milk and heat, but do not boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla, blend well and serve

By Leigh Sackett
[email protected]

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