Saturday, December 31, 2016

Lucky Dessert for the New Year

 Custard and Coffee for 
New Year’s 
Good Health, Happiness, and Fortune

Did you know round-shaped sweets are popular good luck foods to savor on New Year's Eve or Day?  Cookies to cakes and other circle-like eats are symbolic of coins and fortune. I can personally attest that certain fare and fate are not just a myth. 
In the late 20th century, for instance, I recall a hardworking, young French baker who owned a small shop at the end of the main street in San Carlos where I used to live.  He made fabulous European-style custard tarts—all varieties—and displayed them in a showcase but nobody could see his baked goods because his store was hidden by trees and without a sign.
During the holiday season, every day my dear octogenarian friend bought his fruit and chocolate tarts adorned with berries and whipped cream and stacked them in my fridge. I ended up giving them to friends and family. I couldn’t eat them all! (I savored coffee to keep my weight in check.)
Sadly, the baker wasn’t selling any of his custard tarts because the city didn’t allow him to put up a sign due to an outdated ordinance. My pal, a wealthy philanthropist made a phone call to the right person and a huge store sign with neon light was put up on New Year’s Eve day. The baker’s sweet pastries sold out. And the New Year was a profitable one for him, thanks to a wise woman with a heart of gold—and a bit of good luck and good custard tarts.

So, as 2016 is almost over, I decided to use one of my very favorite recipes for custard—no tart, no pie. I’m giving you a treat of egg baked custard—the gold color is also a sign of gold. It’s a decadent dish that is best eaten warm, to enjoy the creamy, rich texture with notes of nutmeg and light crunch of a biscuit. This dish can be served for dessert (caffeine in joe can help you stay up and enjoy a late night), breakfast, or brunch. It's easy to make and bake. 

Golden Custard

2 cups half-and-half (organic)
1/4 cup 2% low-fat organic milk
4-5  large brown egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon anise (optional)
Nutmeg, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)
4 shortbread biscuits or tea biscuits (found in the cookie aisle)
Confectioners’ sugar to dust custard

Place half-and-half and milk in a saucepan and heat till scalded, but do not boil. Set aside. Mix egg yolks and sugar. Add vanilla. Combine all ingredients and stir well. Pour into glass or ceramic custard dishes. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. Place dishes in a pan of water. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour until firm. (Insert a knife and when it comes out clean, it is done.) Cool. Top individual custard with one biscuit; dust with powdered sugar. (If you let sit in the refrigeration it softens it to a nice crust crunch.)  Serve with round fresh fruit (more money symbols) such as grapes or slices of a tangerine. Top with a dollop of real whipped cream Makes four servings.


The rich half-and-half gives this custard a rich and smooth texture. And the earthy, warm flavor of nutmeg is bliss. After swimming, shoveling snow, and walking the dog--the calories/fat/cholesterol are fine. You can enjoy dishes, like this, if you do it in moderation--and keep your portions in check. Pair with a cup of green tea or caramel flavored coffee (you can dip the tea biscuit in your brew).  Or even dish up fortune cookies (store bought in the Asian aisle) and dip in melted dark chocolate. And this golden custard delight may bring you a bit of luck for the New Year.

Monday, December 26, 2016

2017 Forecasts for the World by Author-Intuitive

By Cal Orey
EARTH CHANGES
I CAN FEEL THE EARTH MOVE



2017 FORECASTS FOR THE WORLD

It’s time to say goodbye to 2016 and welcome a new year with new challenges in our nation and around the world.  The year of 2017 promises to be a rocky ride so fasten your seat belts. Be prepared for surprises, whether it is earthquakes in unlikely regions or shakers in climate chaos where history will repeat itself. It will be a year of uncertainty, self-reliance, and connecting to humanity despite political chaos--due to Mother Nature’s wrath. Take an up close and personal look at what I see happening for the New Year.

A Mixed Bag of Predictions for 2017
·        Earthquakes

* While the San Andreas didn’t give us a major or great earthquake, California did rock. We endured a quake swarm in Southern California’s Salton Sea region, a December Offshore Northern California 6.5 and 5.0 Northern California quake. These could all be preludes to a stronger jolt this year. (UPDATE: Salton Sea swarm returned end of year...Fizzled again.)
* Not to forget the entire West Coast, including Seattle, Washington and Anchorage, Alaska—two shaky states that are also overdue for temblors and if shallow will be widely felt and may produce a tsunami.
* An underwater earthquake may create big waves somewhere in Ring of Fire—affecting the land and food chain. (7.9 Solomon Islands, Tsunami Alert, Jan. 22)
* A great quake like in 1964 may rock California causing a West Coast big wave that’ll cause destruction in infrastructure and fatalities.
*Europe may be challenged by major earthquakes, including Italy, Turkey, and Greece. At least one will be shallow, in a major city, and be possibly an 8.0 or stronger.


·        Rain and Snow Events
As the Earth rocks, lack of snow in Western United States will continue, especially in the ski resort industry, including California and Utah. And note, the ground will be linked to more wildfires year round—not just the summer into fall. (UPDATE.  Blindsided big-time. WRONG! 11 plus feet of snow in the Sierra: rooftop cave ins, avalanches, accidents, major roads closed, ski resorts closed.)
The Winter 2016-2017 Precipitation Forecast according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, points to La Nina for weather changes. It’s believed that the colder water temperatures may create a drought to South America and potential heavy rain/flooding to Australia and Indonesia.
I see more than less rain (mudslides, flooding) in the Pacific Northwest, and visions of snow and flight disruption in the northern Rockies, and Great Lakes. (Snow in these two regions, January 23) On the flip side, it may be drier than normal for the South. The Northeast and Midwest will also get more than less snowfall throughout the winter and into the spring. (UPDATE: RIGHT. Snow in both regions.) And crops in these regions as well as the South may be affected by weather changes, rising costs of produce.
European countries including Italy, Spain, and Germany may experience heavy rainfall and flooding in the winter, spring, or late fall.

·        Tornadoes and Hurricanes
Lack of snow or too much rain can cause problems just as twisters can do. This year tornadoes may hit in places like California to other odd regions on the West Coast—it’s no longer just a Midwest phenomenon. While 2016 experienced chilling hurricanes, 2017 may see more of the same. Another Katrina-type of event may happen in the Southeast, including Texas, Louisiana, and Florida during hurricane season.
The Gulf States and the Atlantic seaboard up north to New York and Maine are potential targets (not to forget the West Coast near Southern California to the Baja)). These states in particular may be facing fierce hurricanes with fierce water surges and levee challenges.

·        On the Fringe
As we deal with shaky ground and wild weather, other obstacles will keep us on guard. A shocking terrorist attack in Europe and America may happen, perhaps affecting a nuclear plant or earthquake fault. The catastrophe will maybe spawn martial law for safety and get worldwide attention; events may force us to bond more rather than divide.
In 2017, while political fallout will rumble throughout the states, earthshaking weather and other natural disasters will often steal the limelight and bring humans together for survival’s sake, rather than keep us apart and fighting one another. Despite the erratic Earth changes due to Mother Nature, and climate change, we will persevere and grow stronger as humanity prevails throughout the universe.

Spot-On 2016 Visions That Came True

*California did not fall into the sea like the San Andreas film portrayed, but we did get our fair shakes which could be foreshocks for 2017.
* Alaska was not rocked by a great earthquake, but it did get a widely felt 7.1 shake near Anchorage in January.
*  Japan was hit by a 6.9, triggering tsunami warnings (small waves did happen) in the same region Fukushima where it was devastated back in March 2011.
* The Southeast and Atlantic Seaboard did experience a Hurricane 5 and flooding in Eastern states, including the Carolinas which created historical flooding.
* An aggressive earthquake swarm did happen in the Salton Sea region of California—near the San Andreas and it had scientists and Californians on edge hoping it wasn’t leading up to the Big One.
(Exclusive...will be published Jan. 1 2017, Oracle 20/20 Magazine)

UPDATE: 
On Cue, California Rocks
December 28, at 12:18 a.m. and 12:22 a.m., a 5.8 and 5.7 hit Hawthorne, NV and was widely felt throughout NorCal and at South Lake Tahoe, I, the quake-sensitive was awakened by the strong jolts... Also, a 3.9 was reported felt in SoCal. December 27, a 3.2 shook San Juan Bautista (SAF)--a place with a history of a significant shaker!

Ring of Fire
December 26, 2016...On C2C AM, November 24, 2016 I noted a significant earthquake could happen on an upcoming holiday and the Pacific Ring of Fire was vulnerable: On December 25 Chile, 7.7; December 21 6.9 Japan off the coast; December 8 Solomon Islands,7.9; Offshore Northern California 6.5 (tsunami advisories cancelled)--all in the Ring of Fire. I noted (click on C2C link above that CA could have a significant earthquake in January 2017).

Posted on: November 21, 2016, 08:42:56 PM
In the upcoming days/weeks from now to Jan. 1...most likely sooner than later near Thanksgiving...not excluding Christmas or New Year's.
CA is still a possibility with Ring of Fire...which is active...NZ, Japan...AK or CA (any region). Or, perhaps, more for Japan, another great eq? 8.0 and/or Indian Ocean. Tsunami(s) will follow.
A major quake in the Ring of Fire, another shaker...as noted above.
75% odds.
Forecast made Nov. 21, 2016 by Cal Orey -http://www.earthquakeepicenterforum.com/index.php?topic=3534.msg21232#new

Coffee Has Perks

INTERVIEW EXCERPT WITH AUTHOR CAL OREY

Coffee Has Perks

(On sale, ebook 3.99 amazon.com,
kobo.com, barnesandnoble.com)

Lose weight, fight cancer and help your heart. The author of The Healing Powers of Coffee tells why a good ol' cup of Joe is being recognized as a hot new health food.
In her new book, The Healing Powers of Coffee, Cal Orey pours over the research to brew up some incredible facts about these magical beans. Here, she sits down for a little coffee Q&A, where she shares insights and tips on how coffee can wake up your wellness routine, helping you to not only stay trim, but also reduce your risk of chronic diseases--even substantially lowering your risk of a heart attack.

Author Cal Orey interviewed on
The Healing Powers of Coffee
(former diet and nutrition columnists)

Q: What inspired your interest in coffee?
A: I have penned the Healing Powers series--books on superfoods. Since coffee gets a bad rap, I thought it would be fascinating to write about a vice that has gone to virtue. The health benefits of java are controversial, but groundbreaking research shows that it's got perks. Coffee has been touted as the "newest health food."

Q: What gives coffee its many health benefits?
A: Coffee's amazing antioxidant power is what makes it special. Two mighty antioxidants--chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid--have been given credit for its health benefits. Coffee boasts other health-boosting antioxidants, including benzoic acids, flavonoids and proanthocyanidins.


Q: Do certain types of coffee have more benefits than others?
A: Drinking freshly ground coffee from whole beans can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Q: What about the benefits of green coffee beans?
A: Green coffee refers to the new or unroasted [beans] of Coffea fruits. It has been praised for its weight-loss benefits on the popular "Dr. Oz Show." One study published in January 2012 in the Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity Journal shows 16 adults using green coffee bean extract lost an average of 17 lb in just 22 weeks. It's believed that chlorogenic acid slows absorption of fat from food intake and also boosts metabolism of extra fat. Evidently, it may be a better source of chlorogenic acid than traditional brewed coffee.

Q: What's an interesting fact about coffee that most people don't know?
A: You can cook and bake with coffee. You can incorporate coffee in recipes like Cappuccino Biscotti, Thai Coffee Spiced Chicken Sates, Coffee Cheesecake and Maple Espresso.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Santa's Faves for Holiday Heaven

Santa’s Favorites with an English Twist
                                                        
                                                          By Cal Orey

When I was a girl homemade chocolate fudge was a part of the holidays in suburbia of the San Francisco Bay Area, where I grew up. On Christmas Eve morning my mom used the stovetop, candy thermometer, cocoa powder, and elbow grease to make the decadent treat. That night, my family sat in the living room around a white flocked tree with colored lights, a warm, stoked fire, and Dalmatian, Casey.  My job was to put out a plate of homemade chocolate fudge squares on top of the glass dining room table for Santa before going to bed. Then, late at night I’d hear the words “Ho, ho, ho!” and the front door close. I’d run out to see Santa and his reindeer--but only presents were left under the tree and the fudge was gone.
This season living in the mountains on the South Shore, I’m breaking tradition a bit. As a snowstorm is rolling in, it’s the perfect time to whip up comfort food and make a fire--the first one of winter for me. Enter hot Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage pie, a dish from the United Kingdom for countryside workers back in the 18th century. It is a concoction of meat (beef or lamb) and a topping of mashed potatoes. Also, instead of chocolate fudge, I’m giving you a no-cook fudge that a child can make and will appease taste buds for kids and grownups.



 COTTAGE PIE

3-4 yellow or Russet potatoes 
¼ cup organic 2 percent low-fat milk
1 tablespoon European style butter
1 teaspoon chives, fresh
1 tablespoon olive oil or European style butter
2 tablespoons yellow onion, diced                                
½ cup mushrooms, fresh, sliced
1 cup cruciferous vegetables (broccoli florets, cauliflower, carrots) or fresh baby spinach
1 large Roma tomato, sliced thin
1 cup beef, turkey, ground (optional)       
1 cup Italian cheese mix, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
Ground pepper to taste

In a large pot, fill with water and place four washed, peeled, quartered potatoes. Boil until tender. Put potatoes into a mixing bowl. Add milk and butter. Mash until smooth. Fold in chives.  Set aside. In a skillet, use oil or butter and sauté onions (add turkey and cook till brown).  In individual ramekins (round or oval) place a bottom layer of onions, fresh vegetables (and meat or poultry). Spread with a top layer of cheese, mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with a layer of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until cheese bubbles and top is slightly golden.  Serves four to six.


LOW-FAT PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE

1 cup European style butter with sea salt
1-1/4 cups low-fat, creamy peanut butter (or use regular for richer flavor)
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (use a whisk if you don’t have a sifter)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon European style butter (for greasing dish)

            In a microwavable bowl, melt butter and peanut butter. Watch it closely for about one minute. Add vanilla. Stir in sugar. Fold in walnuts. Line an 8 x 8 square dish with foil. (A smaller dish will provide thicker fudge squares.) Spoon in mixture and spread evenly. Put in fridge for a few hours to firm. On a cutting board, turn out and remove the foil and cut the fudge into squares. Cut in squares, place in cupcake paper liners, and put in container. Makes 16 pieces. Store in airtight containers; place in refrigerator or freezer.
This Shepherd’s Pie is a filling dish full of healthful ingredients—vegetarian or meat. The fudge is a treat where less is more. These holiday eats are a good fit for Santa and Santa’s helpers. 
P.S. I'll put the fudge squares on a plate from yesteryear and a pot of hot herbal tea on top of the now antique glass table with sweet memories of family, two-leggers and four-leggers, love and hope. (Santa brought me a white Christmas at Tahoe, my new book cover for The Healing Powers of Tea, a new memory foam gel mattress with flannel sheets, the resort pool/spa is open, and a soon to book trip to Victoria.)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Java Jolt: A Coffee Lover's Mini Quiz

JAVA JOLT: A COFFEE LOVERS QUIZ


It’s the beverage we can’t live without—yet few consume it without some guilt. But the wonderful truth is that coffee has abundant health benefits.  It’s time coffee’s bad rap is debunked. Start by taking our coffee lovers’ quickie, eye-opening quiz—straight from The Healing Powers of Coffee: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Surprising Superfood--to discover more reasons why coffee is the “newest” health food.


Wake Up to the Amazing Perks of Coffee!

1. According to legend, an Ethiopian goat herder was the first to discover the energizing benefits of the coffee bean plant centuries ago.  YES or NO
2. Drinking freshly ground coffee from whole beans can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. YES or NO
3. Coffee is the number 1 source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet. YES or NO
4. Coffee can relieve a host of ailments, including fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, and a lackluster libido. YES or NO
5. A cup of joe can help you slim down and shape up! Its caffeine provides extra energy to help you exercise (burning calories and boosting metabolism at rest), curb your appetite, stimulate water loss, and keep you regular for a flatter belly. YES or NO
6. Coffee can boost longevity in conjunction with a healthful diet and lifestyle. YES or NO
7. Decaf has 20 percent less antioxidants than caffeinated coffee but it still has health perks. YES or NO
8. Java juice has more fiber than OJ. That means, coffee can help lower total cholesterol and bad cholesterol, lessening the risk of developing heart disease. YES or NO
9. Women say that drinking coffee “is a good way to relax,” while men indicate that coffee “helps them get the job done.” YES or NO
10. While antioxidants are the health perk of coffee, its caffeine can help remedy a headache, pain, hangover, and even poor handwriting. YES or NO


SCORING:  The more yes answers you circled above, the more likely your coffee is working for you. Still not sure what it all means?  Find out more reasons how your cup of joe is your best friend in The Healing Powers Coffee—and savor coffee because it can help boost your mood, energy and well-being for life. (Available in paperback and ebook 3.99 sale at amazon, kobo, and barnes and noble.)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Pumpkin Cranberry Gift for the Holidays

The Pumpkin Cranberry Gift

During my childhood in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, I often baked quick breads because they were fail proof. As a grown-up I turn to easy, superfood recipes for the health and ease of it. Welcome to pumpkin bread with a holiday twist. Pumpkin is often used in fall and winter dishes, whereas, good for you cranberries and nuts give it a festive flair.
This is the season for savory and sweet breads like I savored last autumn in Vancouver, British Columbia. I woke up in a 30th floor hotel room with a panoramic view of the English bay, Stanley Park, the mountains, and private balcony.  The glitch: I had to take the elevator down to the ground floor for wake-up coffee. One morning I ordered a latte and a slice of pumpkin bread. During a bout of homesickness for Tahoe I thought, “When I get back home I’ll whip up my own pumpkin bread and brew a pot of coffee.” And I did just that this week.
As we edge into winter I enjoyed a slice (more than one) of the warm, spicy pumpkin treat fresh out of the oven. No million dollar city-water view but towering pine trees with the cat and dog nearby are year-round presents. This is my favorite 20th century recipe with a new twist for the mountain lifestyle.

Pumpkin Cranberry Loaf Cake

1 cup and 2 tablespoons cake flour (for a lighter, moist bread)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
 ½ teaspoon allspice
½ cup granulated white sugar
½ cup European style butter with sea salt (plus a bit for greasing loaf pan) 
1 large brown egg
1 cup all-natural pumpkin puree
½-3/4 cup dried cranberries
½ cup nuts, hazelnuts or almonds, chopped
1 teaspoon orange rind (optional)
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

Grease one standard size loaf pan with butter. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Set aside. In another bowl cream sugar and butter.  Add a beaten egg and pumpkin. Stir well. Mix in dry ingredients.  Fold in cranberries and nuts.  Scoop mixture into loaf pan. Spread with a spatula to make batter even. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour or until it’s golden brown and firm to touch. Cool. Turn out and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serves 8-10.
This pumpkin loaf turned out perfect. The cranberries gave it a sweet and tart taste, hazelnuts a crunchy texture, and I used more than less sugar for a hardy fall flavor. Pair with tea or coffee. Tie a green or red bow around a loaf (in the pan) and give the baked good to friends and family. It’s the perfect gift for the holiday season.
Motto:  Whenever you wish you were somewhere else, remember you are right where you are supposed to be.


— Cal Orey, M.A.  is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.)  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Chinese? DIY for Health's Sake



“As long as there's pasta and Chinese food in
 the world, I'm okay."
--
Michael Chang

"The Healing Powers of Olive..." is ranked #1,199 out of over one million books in the Kindle Store. Holiday sale

Chinese food. I remember paying $25 for Chinese--enough rice, veggies, fried shrimp, and two fortune cookies for two. The best part, homemade Chinese food costs less, and you can healthy it all up which is great...and perfect when it's too cold to go outside and easy to make during the hectic holidays.

Shrimp Stir fry

* * *
1 cup brown or white rice (more fluffy)
1 1/2 cups cruciferous vegetables mix, pre-cut
jumbo shrimp, pre-cooked (about 3-4 shrimp per person; warning high in cholesterol)
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
garlic, chopped (optional)
pepper as desired

Simply follow the cooking rice instructions on the package. Sautee veggies in oil. Repeat with shrimp (no more than two minutes on medium heat). Fold in al dente vegetables and fish with rice. Serves four or makes four meals for one.

But don't stop there! Include antioxidant, immune boosting green tea. And for dessert serve chocolate dipped fortune cookies. This tasty and easy to cook meal cuts the price a lot. Rice is budget-friendly. A large bag of cruciferous vegetables is less than five dollars. The shrimp (low in saturated fat, a good protein, vitamin B12 and iron source)? I got more than less for five dollars. I always have green tea, olive oil, ginger, and pepper. Not to forget no MSG. The vegetables aren't tainted with a meat sauce.

And the cookies? And chocolate dipped fortune cookies--the traditional or festive ones--are frosting on a flavorful and healthy homemade Chinese meal. Buy them online ready to go or find in the Asian specialty foods aisle at your grocery store; dip in melted dark or white chocolate (premium chips in the microwave). 



Tip: Pick up a copy or two from the Healing Powers Series--more recipes-- via online or at your local bookstore. (Or order online an ebook 3.99 holiday sale The Healing Powers of Vinegar or The Healing Powers of Olive Oil for a cookie recipe).

Healing Powers Series Hits Bestseller Ranking!

By Cal Orey
The Healing Powers Series welcomed me this morning with a new ranking. Much like the stock market I noticed the sales graph has soared to #11 author ranking for health, fitness, and diet. 

All the books--vinegar, olive oil, chocolate, honey, and coffee--are getting ample attention for the holiday season! 


"The Healing Powers of Olive Oil..." is ranked #1,199 out of over one million books in the Kindle Store. Holiday sale



On sale at 1.99 at barnes and noble, kobo, and amazon, these ebooks are the perfect give for instant gratification.



Home cures to beat a cold, flu, fatigue, and help you dump unwanted pounds, to rustic recipes created by pro chefs, and so much more are ready for you with a click of that mouse!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ice Cream Snowballs with a Twist for the Holidays

Snow Globes with Light and Joy
The Writing Gourmet 


This week holiday festivities and foods are everywhere. Instead of baking a fruit pie, fruitcake, molasses cookies, or vanilla fudge, I chose light ice cream snowballs. When I was a kid my mother always purchased a box of store bought snow white ice cream snowballs covered in coconut complete with squiggly green icing on top in a wreath shape and red candle in the center of each one. These balls kept in the freezer were one of my favorite desserts. It was sweet, cold, and decorative. It was special. 

While this year I'm indulging in a filmfest of Hallmark Channel Christmasy films, I learned on the little screen and real life, that this time of year is more about people, love, and light instead of decorated  trees,  house lights, big gifts, and fun parties. 
So, I decided enjoying the towering pine trees that surround me and the Lake is sufficient. While I could have cooked a turkey or roast, potatoes, rolls, and baked cookies, I will probably take the non-traditional route. 


But I did order white flannel sheets (my new memory foam mattress found its way to the Sierra after two weeks) and there are bronze reindeer (treasures from my dad), green and white candles in every room, the fireplace is cleaned, a storm is brewing, and on the wall a wooden cross that I made in my 11th grade wood shop class. (I am Catholic and my confirmation name is Theresa.) My faith in humanity takes me back in time growing up (attending mass Christmas morning) and to my  mom who cooked all day to serve us a holiday dinner, and always left ice cream balls out for Santa to eat.

Winter Snow Globes

  • 14 ounces all-natural ice cream (green tea or peppermint)
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup cashews, finely chopped
  • ½ cup white chocolate, melted
  • Small candles
Line a pan with parchment paper. Leave out a carton of ice cream until soft. Scoop out 1/2 cup round balls of ice cream and place on pan. Put in freezer for about 15 minutes till ice cream is semi-hard. Meanwhile, place coconut, nuts, and chocolate in bowls. Then dip each ball into preferred ingredients. Insert a candle in the center of each ball. Put each decorated ice cream globe onto one dish and back into the freezer. Serves 6. Garnish with fresh berries strawberries, and whipped cream or plain. These pair nicely with flavored coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Instead of old-fashioned ice cream snowballs, exotic flavors, such as green tea or sea salt caramel gelato sprinkled with a variety of nature’s finest nuts, gives this dessert a superb flavor with a crunch. Or try lemon ice cream or sorbet balls inside lemon halves.