A memorable Christmas tradition in our family is to bring goodies to the homes of hurting people on Christmas Eve. Notice I didn’t say our favorite Christmas tradition but a memorable one. The kids didn’t actually like this tradition when they were little. Just this week I got a call from one of our grown daughters, Hannah and she said even though it wasn’t one of her favorite traditions as a child, it is as an adult. She wants to carry the tradition on in her family. Throughout the year we would make a mental note of those who had lost loved ones, endured cancer, lost their jobs or husbands. Then on Christmas Eve we would deliver goodies to their homes and pray for them.
I’ll never forget one year in particular. We went into the home of a family who had lost their only teenage son. We didn’t call before we came. it was a surprise visit. The dad was drunk and he wasn’t a drinker. The mom was crying. The kids were sitting by the Christmas tree with no gifts. Sadness consumed the house. We gathered them into a circle, held hands and prayed. They didn’t want us to leave, we brought not just food- but the joy of the Lord. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Bringing good tidings of great joy to the poor and brokenhearted; Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and open prison to those who are bound…To comfort all who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. We are His ambassadors carrying His anointing to the lost and hurting ones, He loves. Let’s be His hands and feet and bring joy where there is none.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes to make for your goodie deliveries.
Prepare your goodie containers. Save oatmeal, cocoa and coffee canisters throughout year. Wrap cans with paper you’ve saved and have fun decorating with supplies on hand. The point is to spend the least amount of money and make it look better than anything you could buy.
Soft Baked Oreo Cookies-GF
1 box of chocolate cake mix (we used a gluten free mix, any cake mix works)
1/3 cup water (depending on how many ounces the mix -you may need as much as ¾ cup)
3 tablespoons shortening or butter, softened
Mix all ingredients. It will be a little dry. If you can’t form it into a ball, you need more water. Add extra slowly. Dust the counter with a little cocoa powder, roll out dough and use cookie cutter to form circles. If your dough is too sticky, form into silver dollar size patties by hand and flatten.
Bake on greased baking sheet for 6 minutes on 325 degrees.
3 ½ cups powdered sugar (organic)
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup shortening or butter
3 tablespoons hot water
Mix well. After cookies have cooled squish a heaping wallop of frosting between two cookies! YUM
6 thick sliced organic oranges (non-organic orange peel shouldn’t be eaten, chemicals are heavy)
4 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups water
Wash oranges. Quarter and peel the skin and pith off. Slice peel into thin strips. Put orange peel into a pot of cold water, bring to boil over high heat. Pour water off and repeat 1-2 more times. This helps take bitterness away. Remove orange peels from water.
Empty pot and now add your sugar and 1 ½ cups of water. Simmer for 10 minutes, bringing the temperature up slowly to 234. Add the peels and simmer for 40 minutes. DON’T stir, it can make sugar crystals in your syrup. Drain the peels and roll in a little sugar if you desire. Let sit for several hours.
I actually used fermented oranges on one batch- OH MY GOODNESS—it was better than anything I’ve ever eaten. The oranges were soft inside and the outside was hardened candy. It was like eating heaven.
Maple Walnut Fudge
2 cups organic brown sugar (all sugar not organic is genetically modified)
5 ounces whole milk (I used raw goat milk for my lactose sensitive family)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups organic powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (don’t use artificial, it cheats you of perfection)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Butter a 9×9 inch square pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat sugar, milk, butter and maple syrup. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Take off heat and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour into mixing bowl and beat on medium until thick—about 3 minutes. Fold in nuts and pour into greased pan.
Let cool overnight. Slice into 1-inch squares.
Pecan Toffee- GF Not hard but a soft crunch- YUM
½ cup chopped toasted pecans
1 cup butter (don’t use margarine)
1 cup organic sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup or maple syrup (if you can’t find organic corn syrup use maple syrup)
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup crushed toasted pecans
Line a 9 X 13ish baking pan with foil and grease. Sprinkle ½ cup chopped nuts into bottom of pan evenly. In pot add butter, sugar and corn syrup or maple syrup. Cook over medium high heat to boiling.
Clip a candy thermometer onto side of pot. Cook and stir over medium heat. Stop stirring after sugar melts. Cook until candy thermometer reaches 290 degree. Watch carefully, it can burn after 280. If it starts to turn too dark after 280 turn off heat. Pour mixture evenly over chopped nuts in greased pan.
Let stand for a few minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over top. Let melt on top for a couple of minutes. Spread chocolate over whole mixture. Sprinkle crushed nuts on top. Cool, when firm lift out of pan and break into pieces. Store in tightly covered container.
Banana Bread Muffins- GF
1 ¾ cups self-rising flour (I use GF Pamela’s Baking Mix or dairy free Cherry
1 cup mashed bananas
½ cup milk ( you can substitute with yogurt)
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup butter
1 cup organic sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
If you use non-self-rising flour you’ll need 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp baking soda and ¾ tsp salt
Mix all ingredients. Pour into muffin pan or loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
½ cup sugar
½ finely chopping nuts
4 tablespoons melted butter
Mix sugar and nuts together in a bowl. Melted butter in another small bowl.
Dip cooled muffin top into melted butter, then dip into sugar and nut mixture.
Flourless Decadent Brownie- GF
24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (dairy free if you’re lactose intolerant)
1 ½ sticks butter
5 beaten eggs
½ cup organic sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 cup pecans
Melt chocolate chips and butter in bowl and stir. Add all other ingredients and pour into 9X9 pan. Bake on 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until done.
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
No Bake Oatmeal Cookies
½ cup butter
2 cups organic sugar
½ cup milk (lactose sensitive people most often can tolerate goat milk)
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
½ cup crunch peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
Mix butter, sugar, milk and salt in pot. Stir and bring to rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Stir in oatmeal, peanut butter and vanilla.
Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Work quickly it will start to harden!
Homemade Marshmallows dipped in chocolate are GREAT to giveaway.
Blondie’s -Gluten free and DELICIOUS!
Caramel Pecan Pie Cake muffins