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Even Road Warriors Have Favorite Holiday Recipes!

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At Solutions Advisors, the holidays are special for the time we get to spend at home with family and friends. And some of us even take the time to cook or bake!  Here are some of our favorite holiday recipes to share. From all of us at Solutions Advisors to you and your families, our warmest wishes for a wonderful and safe holiday!

Lauren’s Bourbon Balls

Sift dry ingredients together:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Wisk wet ingredients in separate bowl:
¼ cup bourbon (or a little more…)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Mix the wet with the dry.
Put two cups of vanilla wafers into a large plastic bag and whack them with a rolling pin until crushed.
Mix the wafers plus 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans with the other ingredients.
Roll into 1-inch balls and roll through powdered sugar.  That’s it! Store in a sealed container at room temperature between layers of wax paper for up to 3 weeks.


Christie’s Cabernet Cranberries

1 ¼ cups sugar
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
2 teaspoons grated tangerine rind
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
Bring sugar and wine to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients, and return to a boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 10 to 15 minutes or until cranberry skins pop. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Cool slightly; serve warm, or chill 2 hours, if desired.
Note: Sauce may be stored in refrigerator up to 2 months.


Dominique’s Sweet Potato Casserole

2½ pounds sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 package of mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray / olive oil.
In a large bowl mix the sweet potatoes, butter, white and brown sugars, orange juice and cinnamon.
Spread the mixture of sweet potato into a prepared 9 x 13 baking dish.
Sprinkle the mini marshmallows over the top in a single layer
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until the marshmallows are golden brown.


Jeff’s Fried Oysters

Our family tradition is to eat fried oysters for Christmas breakfast. Sounds strange, but it’s a fairly common practice for the Chesapeake Bay region.

1 pint Chesapeake Bay oysters (preferably Eastern Shore, VA seaside or Lynnhaven river). Usually 20 to 30, shucked and stored in their own liquor
1 pint buttermilk
1 dry pint cornmeal (about 2¹/³ cups)
1 dry pint all-purpose flour (about 2¹/³ cups)
1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. kosher salt
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until well blended. Remove oysters from liquor, draining excess so oysters are still wet but not dripping. Place all of the oysters in buttermilk. One at a time, remove each oyster from the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip back into the container. Toss to coat all sides in the breading. Transfer to waxed-paper-lined plate or cookie sheet until oysters are all breaded.
In a heavy stockpot with high sides fitted with a deep-frying (or candy) thermometer, bring at least two inches of peanut oil to 375ºF.
Keeping the heat at a steady 375ºF and working in batches of six, fry the oysters until they are golden brown and just cooked through, about 90 seconds. (The oysters will curl slightly when they are done.) Using a slotted spoon, remove oysters and drain on brown-paper-bag-lined plate. Serve immediately with a lemon wedge and a homemade cocktail sauce loaded with horseradish.


Kristi’s Eggnog Cupcakes

Yield: about 18 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
¼ cup dark rum or bourbon (optional)
1 cup eggnog
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
For the frosting:
20 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2½ tbsp. eggnog
1 tbsp. dark rum (0ptional)
For garnish:
Ground cinnamon or grated nutmeg
Cinnamon sticks
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; whisk to combine.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, vinegar, and sugar.  Beat on medium-low speed until well blended.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling the cups 2/3 full.  Bake 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, 20-30 seconds.  Add in the powdered sugar, salt and nutmeg, and mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and smooth, about 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add in the eggnog and  whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 minutes.  With the mixer on medium-low speed, blend in the rum.
Fill a pastry bag with the frosting and decorate the cooled cupcakes as desired. (I used a large, unlabeled star tip for these cupcakes). Sprinkle with ground cinnamon or grated nutmeg, and garnish with cinnamon sticks if desired.


Courtney’s Oh Henry Bars

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
7 cups Special K cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
½ cup butter
Melt together corn syrup and sugar. Turn off heat and add Peanut butter. Stir in cereal. Dump in lightly greased 9×13 in. pan, pressing lightly with buttered fingers or wax paper. Melt together chocolate chips, buttterscotch chips,and butter in microwave until completely melted. Spread over bars and allow to cool.


Kimber’s Grandy’s Green Beans 

1 lb green beans, trimmed
For Sauce:
¼ cup butter
1 tbsp sugar
¾ tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp dried basil
Cherry tomatoes (halfed)
Boil beans ~20 minutes or until just slightly crunchy
For Sauce:
Heat all ingredients together in a skillet/sauce pan until combined & tomatoes are soft
Pour over beans and serve!

Kimber’s Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies

Yield: 4 Dozen
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Additional powdered sugar, for rolling
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate chips. If dough is too soft, chill it until you can work it easily with your hands.
Scoop 1 tablespoon balls of dough and place on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes until bottoms are just slightly brown. Remove from oven and cool for just a minute, until you can handle them. Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar and roll each cookie in the sugar until coated. Place on a rack to cool. (Once cookies are cooled, you may want to re-roll them in more powdered sugar)


Jessica’s Mamoul Cookies

When it comes to celebrating the holidays, my husband and I have blended our traditions and heritages.  Our holiday dinner is very international, Lebanese, Southern (Louisiana), Peruvian and Italian.  I decided to share one of our favorites, Mamoul cookies.  The recipe is from my husband’s grandmother.  It is a Lebanese cookie.

Althernate & Sift Together (mix well):
10 lbs Semolina
8 lbs self rising flour
Add 4 lbs sugar and mix into semolina mixture. Work 9 lbs butter little by little into semolina and sugar mixture. Mix well.
Add & knead little by little the mixture with 1/2 to 3/4 gallon of milk until you get the dough at the right consistency. Keep dough covered with clean wet cloth so the mixture will not dry out.
Grind (filling) 5 lbs of pecans and 2 boxes confectioners sugar (add sugar to taste and mazaha to taste)
Sift semolina and flour (mix well) – add sugar and mix. Add butter mix little by little; mix well; add milk little by little and mix. Roll into golf ball size and stuff with pecans, mazaha and sugar mixture. Put into mold, then onto cookie sheet. Do not let them touch each other. Bake on top rack 300 degrees 8-20 minutes. Sift powdered sugar on top of baked Mamouls.


Bethany’s Cherry Coconut Bars

1 C flour
½ c butter
3T Powder Sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 C sugar
¼ c flour
1/2t baking powder
1t vanilla
¾ c chopped nuts
½ c coconut
½ c quartered maraschino cherries
Oven to 350 degrees.  Measure flour.  Mix 1 c flour, butter and powdered sugar until smooth.  Spread thin in 8×8 pan.  Bake about 25 min.
Stir all remaining ingredients into eggs.  Spread over base.
Bake 25 min more.

Bethany’s Aunt Ferol’s Caramel Corn

1 Cup Brown Sugar
¼ c Dark Caro
¼ c real butter
½ t salt
Microwave for 3 minutes, stir after each minute
Microwave 2 more minutes
Mix in 1/2t baking soda
Mix with 3 qts popcorn in brown paper bag
Shake in bag 3 minutes