Christmas Dinner

Christmas 2013 has been memorable.

-There was a massive ice storm that caused power outages all over the state. (After a whole week my dad is still without power.)
-One of the live sheep from our Nativity escaped while being loaded into the trailer at the end of the night. The articles and puns had us roaring, while the care and collaboration from our community has been heart warming. She was eventually corralled, captured, and returned to her home.

- 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 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. (THAT family dinner was also cancelled due to a lack of power and a 60 degree house.)

So, to accommodate with those with and without power, I invited my dad's side of the family over to my house 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, and it was suggested to my by a few of my Curves ladies. For those of you who are 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, so in Used Stonyfield Farm Lowfat French Vanilla yogurt. Well, I shouldn't say husband really put it together. You can find the recipe I started from here on Allrecipes, but instead of all the pineapple, we used only one third of it, and 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!

I also made the Irish Cream Chocolate 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. But then I wasn't sure about the gluten free status of the Irish Cream, then I realized that it would be eaten by children. Giving children alcohol is generally frowned up, so I went with the creamer. :)

The trifle started with a layer of Irish creamer soaked chocolate cake, then chocolate pudding, then homemade whipped cream (no Cool Whip in this house!) and then 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 chocolaty. (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.

I also tried the new Cole's gluten free dinner rolls. They "baked" for about 10 minutes in the oven. They were hard on the outside, although rather soft on the inside.  Actually, I had the same issue with Udi's pre-made rolls. I prefer to have soft rolls, so I don't think I will buy these again, and I will just try to make rolls from scratch.