Momma Told Me: December 2018

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No Bake Caramel Apple Cracker Bites Seasonal Recipe

No Bake Caramel Apple Cracker Bites for holiday celebrations; Caramel Sauce, Butter Crackers, Pretzel Rods, and Chocolate.
Momma Told Me: It came from the microwave.

Momma didn't care much for the decorating aspect of the holidays, when I was a child- She was much more content whipping up some seasonal treat in the kitchen while my father silently cursed over the assembly of our artificial tree to the background tune of Mannheim Steamroller. Yes, they're the things my childhood holiday memories are made of. One year, Momma found herself low on energy and time, and decided to bring back a simple snack her own family had enjoyed, growing up. Most commonly known ad 'holiday bark,' or 'Christmas Crack,' a plate full of Saltine crackers covered in caramel chunks and chocolate chip cookies, melted, made for the perfect tradition. It was something so simple and delicious, Momma made it on demand every year after.
No Bake Caramel Apple Cracker Bites for holiday celebrations; Caramel Sauce, Butter Crackers, Pretzel Rods, and Chocolate.
The crispy crunch of the cracker covered in gooey caramel, topped with smooth melted chocolate has stuck with me my entire adult life. I'm a sucker for the contrast of salty and sweet- and who doesn't love simple holiday snacking solutions? So, in homage, I devised these similar Caramel Apple Cracker Bites with just a touch of modern styling and food sophistication. While some of my guests call them 'cookies' they really rely on ready-made ingredients, so I have a hard time taking credit for their amazing texture and flavor.
No Bake Caramel Apple Cracker Bites for holiday celebrations; Caramel Sauce, Butter Crackers, Pretzel Rods, and Chocolate.
Start with some round butter crackers and your favorite caramel sauce. I typically use a salted caramel jarred sundae sauce- just make sure you've either chilled your sauce, or are beginning with a thick/slow flow sauce that will not just run off your cracker. Drizzle or scoop a heaping teaspoon of caramel onto one side of your cracker 'sandwich,' place a pretzel stick in the caramel, sticking out, as your 'stem' and top with the other cracker half.
You'll want to chill your cracker apple creations a bit before dipping them, as the hot, or even warm, dipping chocolate will make the caramel want to run. I place my tray in the freezer for about 40 minutes, prior to dipping. Choose a chocolate dipping base that is sufficiently cut/thinned with coconut oil or shortening, but not too thin, to allow for quick and even coating. If possible remove your meting chocolate from the heat source before dipping.
No Bake Caramel Apple Cracker Bites for holiday celebrations; Caramel Sauce, Butter Crackers, Pretzel Rods, and Chocolate.
No Bake Caramel Apple Cracker Bites for holiday celebrations; Caramel Sauce, Butter Crackers, Pretzel Rods, and Chocolate.
Dip chilled cracker 'apples' with a quick 'flip' style roll in the melting chocolate. Here I've used Caramel Apple flavored Wilton chocolate baking melts, but you can also use any white chocolate tinted green. Once they are dipped, place them on a piece of parchment, on a cookie sheet, and immediately return them to the fridge or freezer. Be careful not to freeze the caramel, you simply want it chilled in a solid state for consumption!
No Bake Caramel Apple Cracker Bites for holiday celebrations; Caramel Sauce, Butter Crackers, Pretzel Rods, and Chocolate.
When I first served these my guests were expecting dipped OREO cookies- since I'd made seasonal bats and pumpkins from OREOs a few weeks prior. They were certainly surprised to pick up this lighter treat with an addictive, crispy crunch. They were an instant hit with the perfect balance of salt, caramel, and chocolate. We specially love that they aren't overly sweet, and won't 'weigh' one down when grazing through a holiday spread! Have you ever served crackers in a sweet recipe such as this?

What Daughter Says:  There's no doubt, home cooked is best-not everything can take hours to make, though!

Kicking Holiday Heartburn + Split Pea Soup From Scratch Recipe

Rustic Split Pea Soup From Scratch Recipe- #MakeHeartburnHistory #AD
Momma Told Me: Taste the season to be jolly.

Don't judge- but for me, the holidays are all about food.

From January through October I exercise impressive self control when it comes to my at home, and even social eating. Don't get me wrong, I still love food during the rest of the year, but it's November and December I specifically reserve my splurging for. There are simply too many events, and seasonal specialties, I just can't turn down. And I may be shoveling every delicious homemade thing in sight onto my plate, or into my mouth, but that doesn't mean I'm not cultivating priceless memories at the same time. Because it wouldn't be the holidays without the seasonal flavors, and those flavors wouldn't tickle my tummy, and delight my inner child without all of the warm memories associated with them.
Protect yourself from your holiday self with Nexium® 24HR Capsules for frequent heartburn, at Walgreens. #MakeHeartburnHistory #AD
For example, ginger cookies remind me of the time I ate too many, gave myself a horrible tummy ache, and wound up with my head in my grandma's lap- her gently comforting caress of my hair, one Christmas Eve. The smell of molasses reminds me of the time my Uncle tried to smoke our holiday ham and we nearly wound up with the fire department at our Thanksgiving table. And coriander reminds me of that mysterious potato salad that would always wind up on my plate, whether I wanted it or not. Yes, food is one of the big reason's we get together- and it's the cornerstone of so many amazing memories and traditions. But for people like Jay, holiday cuisine can be a cruel mistress.
When we first met there was a slew of things Jay wouldn't eat- it not only dictated his food choices, but where we would go to eat for events such as dates. And, while there are many foods you may think of as triggers for heartburn, the ingredients and dishes which most greatly impact a frequent heartburn sufferer is as unique as the individual them-self. For example, Momma used to tell me to drink milk whenever heartburn would flair- but fatty foods such as milk and cheese actually increase Jay's discomfort, as they slow digestion and result in increased intestinal pressure.

When our first holiday season came around Jay began to make a fuss about sitting out family events- You can imagine the thoughts going through my head, I was certain it was all about me, and him not wanting to be around my family. As it turns out I was wrong. (Don't let him read that.) It soon came out that he didn't want to feel uncomfortable around all of the trigger foods he would inevitably want to eat. Frequent heartburn can truly sideline someone- and the holidays are no time to be feeling left out!
What's one of my biggest holiday indulgences? The holiday honey baked ham- you know the one- that sweet pork meat candy glazed with a golden sugar coating so aromatic you wish you could spritz your tree in it. (No, just me?)

Our family is big on the holiday ham tradition- we always make sure to order triple what we need to feed our guests and we still end up with minimal leftovers and a giant ham bone.Of course no matter how slick the family 'carver' thinks they are, there's still plenty of delicious ham flavor left on that bone, so I traditionally make a rustic split pea soup. It's kind of a holiday tradition.
Start by taking the bulk of the leftover meat off your ham bone with a paring knife. Reserve this meat, and any scraps/leftovers, diced, for the finishing touches at the end of your soup's creation.

Place a thick pad of butter in the bottom of an 8 quart pot and simmer your onion, celery, and carrots until they begin to turn soft, opaque, and slightly golden. Add some minced garlic and dried marjoram spice to really highlight the ham flavor you're about to introduce.
Add your ham hock/bone and the diced/trimmed ham to the pot and stir over medium heat just until sufficiently combined.
Next add your split peas and water, bringing the mixture to a simmer before lowering the heat and putting on a lid.
Rustic Split Pea Soup From Scratch Recipe- #MakeHeartburnHistory #AD
 Your soup won't look like much at this point, more of a vegetable stew, really, but shortly after adding the water savory aromas will begin to fill your kitchen thanks to the ham hock and marjoram.
You can't really over-cook your soup, aside from perhaps baking it to the bottom of your pot due to lack of stirring, so feel free to let it simmer until the ham is virtually melting off the bone.
Once your bone is clean, fish your hocks/bones from the soup carefully and smooth the mixture in a food processor a couple of cups at a time- I like to maintain a little texture, so I reserve 1-2 cups of the thicker soup as it is. Once processed, pour your blended coup back into the pot with the last of your reserved ham, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve this delicious rustic homemade split pea soup with a variety of toppings to garnish. Some of our family favorites include sour cream, bacon crumbles, bell peppers, cheddar cheese and fresh chives. Split pea soup, and all of the 'fixings' used to be a big trigger for Jay's frequent heartburn but Nexium® 24HR Capsules have changed the way his stomach greets seasonal cuisine.
Protect yourself from your holiday self with Nexium® 24HR Capsules for frequent heartburn, at Walgreens. #MakeHeartburnHistory #AD
Okay, now that his Holiday Heartburn Face is gone, he might be enjoying those holiday refreshments a little too much. Jay said this was his 'I'm drinking something I'm not supposed too, but I'm not going to pay for it later' face.
But in all serious-ness, I was trying to capture a nice holiday photo for our holiday cards, and the excitement of eggnog apparently got the better of both of them. Like father, like dog? I'm okay with it though, I'd much rather have a heartburn free partner in crime to eat my way through the holidays with than a scrunchy faced grinch! Do you have a traditional holiday dish you look forward to each year?

What Daughter Says: Don't sideline yourself this holiday season.

Rustic Split Pea Soup From Scratch Recipe- #MakeHeartburnHistory #AD
Rustic Split Pea Soup
***Click here for the printable Rustic Split Pea Soup recipe.