Sunday, December 1, 2013


"May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; The Spirit of Christmas which is peace; The heart of Christmas which is love."
Ada V. Hendricks

Since we still had out-of-town guests and I did not host Thanksgiving we had a gathering of 13 on Saturday.  The dinner had a couple of culinary challenge, two who are on restricted sugar diets and one gluten free.  Here is what we served:

Crudites with sour cream dip
Roasted Nuts
Carmalized onions with fresh sage & pine nuts on toast
Baked Ham
Green Beans w/bacon
Oven roasted Idaho gold potatoes
Oven roasted carrots with spices and Whey Gold
Water, wine, milk
Banana Cream Parfaits w/almond cookies
one with candles for Bob!

 My dear husband who is also my helper at a meal like this only had one request and that is "No spiral ham, they are always dry." I have to admit he was right and a regular ham is just as easy. We chose a shank and just scored and put in whole cloves and then I made a very simple glaze using Edmond Fallot grainy mustard mixed with a little ground cloves and Whey Gold sugar.  Whey Gold sugar is a natural product that can be tolerated by diabetics and others that cannot have refined sugar in their diet, the Gold is a replacement for brown sugar. Brushed the ham with the glaze and baked according to the instructions that came with the ham, when it was heated through, brushed some more glaze on the ham.  I have to admit hubby was right, it came out perfect and was the way ham should be, not one bit dry and the leftovers have been great too.

I was doing my best to not make this meal a big deal so I took some short cuts.  The green beans were created by using about 1/2 cup of the real bacon bits (I get mine at Costco in a bag) browning them in a large sauce pan to bring out the flavor and then just adding (3) cans of French cut green beans, salt and pepper and let them sit on the stove for quite a while.  They are delicious, so simple and I always get compliments.
To roast the gold potatoes I just scrub them (they are small, oval potatoes) cut in half and put them in a plastic bag and olive oil, fresh ground pepper and sea salt and shake the bag to mix and put them on a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat and bake them at 400 degrees, giving them a shake once in a while until fork tender.  For the carrots I did the same thing but added some more of the Whey Gold brown sugar and my secret ingredient - pumpkin pie spice - cannot give amounts because it depends on the amount of carrots you are using. Roast them in a 400 degree oven until fork tender.
The dessert was a challenge as it was in lieu of a birthday cake. Had vanilla ice cream (actually low-fat frozen yogurt) for my sweet Alex who needs gluten-free.  The recipe for the Banana Cream Parfaits is a little complicated and has quite a bit of sugar so I substituted the pudding part by using (3) packages of vanilla instant pudding and pie filling and using cream instead of milk and adding (6) sliced bananas after it is mixed and spreading it equally in twelve footed dessert dishes instead of parfait glasses.  Put this in the fridge (can be made the day before), make your coconut-short bread cookies (I made the day before) and just before serving dinner make the topping - 2 cups creme fraiche, and about 1/4 cup of the Whey Gold brown sugar, stir well and add (4) sliced bananas. Add the topping to the pudding, then sprinkle with cookie dust (some of the short bread cookies that you put into a zip lock and smash) & put a cookie on the side.

Coconut short bread cookies
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (3oz)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325, spread coconut on Silpat lined cookie sheet.  Bake until coconut is light golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.  Cool completely.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended.  Mix in salt and vanilla.  Beat in flour in 2 additions.  Stir in toasted coconut.  Gather dough together, divide in half.  Flatten into discs, wrap will plastic wrap and put in fridge about 1 hour.

Roll out to about 1/4" thickness and cut out with, small round cookie cutter. Gather scraps and roll them out  - bake on Silpat baking sheets about 20 minutes, cool on baking sheet 10 minutes.  Store in airtight container.

China, Danish Fern by Burleigh, England, Martha by Mail
Glasses, Kohl's
Flatware, World Market
Napkin Rings, Antique Farmhouse
Ceramic Turkeys, World Market
Candles & Holders, Williams Sonoma
Individual Salt & Pepper, Restoration Hardware
Table Cloth, Bed, Bath and Beyond
Table Runner, TJ Maxx 

Thanks for stopping by!

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