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I had nearly two weeks off for Christmas this year.  What an amazing gift of time and boy did I use it for all it was worth.  I dug through all the new recipes that came my way and cooked up a storm.  You’ll see that some of the recipes just became ingredients for another recipe but I found somethings that will become ones I pass on to my grandchildren.  I’m excited that many will easily help us on our way to being unprocessed and some we’ll have to play with to make unprocessed.

I’m not going to share the full recipe here since there are perfectly good explanations on their original sites but I will share any changes I made.

My first recipe comes from Green Thickies but unfortunately the site seems to be down.  When it comes up I’ll post the link in the comments.  This was a simple recipe since it caught me with the headline that you could make caramel with just one ingredient.  I love caramel and I couldn’t believe that you could make a good substitute with just one ingredient.  However, what I found could potentially change my life.  I not only made a yummy caramel but what I like to think of as a cheap honey alternative.  The secret – apple juice or in my case pear juice.  It is so easy – I poured a quart of pear juice in a saucepan and boiled it hard for a little while, until it was thick and then I turned down the heat and kept it cooking until it was real thick and honey-like.

I took some of that goodness and turned it into this raw fudge.  I used the pear “honey” instead of maple syrup.  I used coconut oil I picked up from Costco (I tell you that stuff is so good I could eat it with a spoon).  I will warn you that this needs to stay in the fridge.  I turned some of the fudge into chocolate chips for my next recipe and was rewarded with chocolately oilyness down my arm.  It was fun licking up the mess but was more fun just eating the fudge.

Those chocolate chip cookies mentioned can be found here.  This raw cookie was awesome but soft.  It was more like eating cookie dough which was fine with us.  I used walnuts in place of the cashews with just a touch of all natural peanut butter.  I used honey instead of maple syrup since we are currently out of maple syrup.holiday 019

I made this peanut butter cheeseball.  It came out pretty much like the recipe and my family loved it.  I can’t wait to try it with homemade cream cheese and all natural peanut butter.  It won’t be identical but I think it will be great especially if I coat it with homemade chocolate instead of the chocolate chips.

I bought some candy canes and mints to make these hearts and these plates.  They just sounded like fun and I had some almond bark to use up.holiday 017

The last thing I made was homemade eggnog.  I used granulated sugar and I didn’t strain the whole thing.  I started to strain it and it was a pain so we drank it lumpy.  No one cared that it was lumpy, in fact my husband said it rather preferred it that way.  I also skipped the whipped cream because I don’t like eggnog that thick and it meant a trip to the store when I didn’t want to go.  I did cut back on the milk just a touch (about 1/2 cup) mostly because I used up the rest of a gallon and to make the 8 cups meant opening a new gallon.  Sometimes I’m just lazy.  It didn’t matter because this was good stuff.  I even added it to my coffee the next day.

So that was the experimenting part of my holiday.  Over this week, I’ll be sharing some recipes I’ve been making for ages and thought would be a great addition to our various feasts.  I, also, made some “packaged” foods that are not only staples in our house but actually packaged.  My food saver has never had such a workout.

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