Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

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  • Christmas Traditions and Confections (German Pancakes & York Patty Brownies)

    January 12, 2015

    Another Christmas has come and gone. It seems a little sad when the Christmas season comes to an end. The decorations and lights are all packed away, the Christmas songs and movies are no longer on the radio and television, the excitement and holiday spirit has dissipated and family togetherness goes back to the grind with work and school.


    Now with the New Year upon us, it can be an exciting time for new beginnings, new resolutions, and new adventures. But, before we fully embrace the New Year, I’d like to reflect on a few simple traditions, both old and new, as well as share a couple recipes our family used and LOVED!

    Family holiday traditions have always included the Christmas tree, presents, stockings with an orange if you’re good (coal if you’re bad), and a feast of a Christmas breakfast. Growing up my family would wake up to our father waking coming into each of our rooms with a video camera saying, “Merry Christmas, it’s time to wake up!” Yes, that’s right, our mom and dad woke US up. We’d rub our eyes and carry our blankets wrapped snug around our shoulders to the kitchen.

    Christmas breakfast tree

    What a feast would greet us as we sat down to the table. Each and every year our parents would make scrambled eggs, bacon, blueberry muffins, hot biscuits and gravy, sausage, orange juice, milk, and the best homemade hot chocolate you ever tasted! We are a family of nine so just imagine the platters piled high with hot tasty goodness! 

    After we all filled our bellies with delicious food we all gathered in the living room around the tree and presents. We all opened our stockings one at a time and then presents one at a time. Santa was always good to us (a pick of Mr. and Mrs. Clause paying us a visit)!


    After the presents were opened we’d get ready to go to grandma and grandpa Lotti’s house which was always a treat.

    Since I’ve started my own family we’ve kept some of those traditions and have added a few of our own. Every year my children and I decorate a gingerbread house and make cookies to deliver to friends and family. Anу оf thе sleeves оf fillings bought аt уоur local cake decorating store ѕhоuld bе fine аt room temperature. Sо аrе thе jellies, preservatives аnd ganache. Whеnеvеr using thе fillings іn thе sleeves, remember thе dam оf frosting аrоund thе edge оf thе cake. Yоu don’t want іt oozing оut оnсе thе cake settles. Visit site and buy your favorite cake.

    Gingerbread making


    It’s always a fun time together and even Bryan gets involved making his mother’s butter Christmas cookies with sprinkles. We also choose a family to be a secret Santa for and deliver something special anonymously. My boys particularly love ringing the doorbell and running so they don’t get caught. We also go to Winterhaven to see the lights and decorations.


    Just before Christmas morning we watch the Nativity and talk about the birth of our Savior. When the boys were younger, I would let them reenact the story using our Nativity decorations. Last year it wasn’t just the shepherd and the wise-men that came to see Jesus that year. 🙂


    For breakfast this year we wanted to try something new, german pancakes. The verdict? Win win! We loved loved loved this recipe and will use it in the future!

    german pancakeGerman Pancakes (adapted from Martha Stewart Dutch Baby Pancakes)


    3 TBS unsalted butter at room temperature

    3 large eggs at room temperature

    3/4 cup milk

    1/2 cup all purpose flour

    1/4 Tsp. salt

    1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract

    1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar

    1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium cast-iron skillet, melt 2 Tbs. butter; set aside.

    2. In a blender, combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar. Blend until foamy, about one minute. Pour batter into skillet; bake until pancake is puffed and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

    3. Working quickly, dot pancake with 1 Tbs. butter and sprinkle with 1 Tbs. sugar and lemon juice. Slice into wedges and serve immediately.

    For Christmas we have been going to my brother’s home and we brought a platter of goodies to share. The Grinch fruit kabobs were a HIT (something I saw on Pinterest) and a new brownie recipe I tried and also LOVED!

    Christmas platter

    York Patty Brownies

    York Peppermint Patty Brownies


    12 ounces dark chocolate

    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

    1/4 cup cocoa powder

    2 cups sugar

    6 eggs, at room temperature and beaten

    1 Tsp. vanilla extract

    1 1/2 cups flour

    1/2 Tsp. salt

    20 snack sized York Peppermint Patty candies, chopped


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and then line the bottom with parchment paper.

    2. In microwavable safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted and combined.

    3. Add the cocoa powder and sugar and mix.

    4. Add in the beaten eggs and vanilla.

    5. Stir in the flour and salt gently.

    6. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped up candy pieces and swirl with knife to mix in slightly.

    7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not over bake. Let cool prior to cutting into 24 pieces.


    From our family to yours, I hope your holidays are a special time shared with loved ones and friends! Leave a comment below and share some of your family traditions and recipes. We’d all love to hear them!

    ~Till next time,

    Linda Louise

    This entry was posted in Recipes.

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.