La la la YUM! 25 Days of Yum – MERRY CHRISTMAS!

It’s HERE! Merry Christmas!

If you were nice, Santa brought you and your family wonderful things and if you were naughty don’t fret! I have got a bunch of great Christmas goodies for the last day of 25 Days of YUM!! I have had a BLAST with the past 24 days and I have to end the 25 Days of Yum with a BANG! So not one, not 2 but FOUR wonderful holiday items for the day! A cake and 3 festive drinks! mmmm let’s get started!

First a warm apple cider to get the festivities started! Hot apple cider is one of my fall and winter favorites!

Hot Mulled Apple Cider

This delicious hot apple cider drink is a specialty of New England. Spiced with a clove-studded orange, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon, hot mulled cider is the perfect drink to serve during the holidays.

Makes 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon of fresh, unfilteredapple cider
  • 1 orange
  • 15 cloves
  • 4 3-inch sticks of cinnamon
  • 15 allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 7 pods of cardamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  1. Pour apple cider into a 3-quart saucepan, cover, turn the heat on medium-high.
  2. While cider is heating up, take a vegetable peeler and peel away a couple thick strips of peel from the orange. Press about half of the cloves into the peeled part of the orange. (You can also just quarter the orange and add the slices and cloves separately.)
  3. Place orange, orange peel strips, the remaining cloves, and the rest of the ingredients into the sauce pan with the cider. Keep covered and heat the mulled cider mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.
  4. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the hot mulled cider away from the orange, cloves, and other spices. If you want, you can add a touch of bourbon, brandy, or rum to spike it up a bit. Serve hot. Add a cinnamon stick to each cup if desired.

Now that you’ve gotten all warm and cozy its time for a southern favorite that I gush about all the time. RED VELVET CAKE! This three layer cake is full of Southern sweetness and charm and its deep signature red color is PERFECT for the holidays.

Southern Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients

Cake Layers

  • Vegetable oil for the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk substitute (mix 1 cup of rice milk (or coconut milk) with 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. To ensure that the mixture doesn’t get lumpy, mix the cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons of rice milk. Once mixed, add the rest of the cup of rice milk. Cream of tartar is an acid and will simulate the acidic environment of buttermilk.)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup shortening (Spectrum Organic palm oil shortening)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Up to 1/8 cup water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the gluten free flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil,buttermilk substitute, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
  3. Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
  4. Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.
  6. To construct the frosting, in a large mixing bowl, stir together shortening, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Slowly add in water until consistency is thick, smooth, and spreadable.
  7. Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the vanilla frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting.

So. Cider. Check! Red Velvet Cake. Check! Now it’s time to whip up some cocktails to enjoy during and after dinner!

Egg Nog is a classic and simple drink frequently enjoyed during the holidays. But I’m going to spice it up a little bit and turn it into a cocktail!

Baileys Spiced Nog

Makes 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. Baileys Original Irish Cream (25 oz. per bottle)
  • 4 oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced (25 oz. per bottle)
  • 8 dashes St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
  • 8 dashes angostura bitters
  • 8 whole eggs
  1. Mix Baileys, Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, St.Elizabeth Allspice Dram, bitters and eggs thoroughly!
  2. Pour evenly into 8 snifter glasses
  3. Garnish with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg and cinnamon on top

This next cocktail is a lot of fun! It’s called the Grinch! How the Grinch Stole Christmas is my all time favorite Christmas movie! I watch it every year and when the Jim Carrey version came out on DVD, I added that into my Christmas movie watching list. I found this drink it is absolutely perfect for a festive holiday party! I think the Grinch would definitely want to steal this drink so you’ll just have to make sure you make one for him too!

The Grinch

This green cocktail has none of the nasty elements of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday character. On the contrary, it’s reminiscent of the changed Grinch with the sweetest flavors; melon-flavored Midori and lemon juice. It’s all sweetened even further with a little simple syrup. Add a maraschino cherry for the garnish for color and to represent how his heart grew three sizes that day! Add a mini candy cane for a after cocktail treat! 

Makes 1 drink so double or triple etc…for the appropriate amount of guests who will be enjoying this drink

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Midori
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • maraschino cherry for garnish
  • mini candy cane for garnish
  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. 
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with cherry and candy cane

When all is said and done, whatever drinks and desserts and entrees you serve at your holiday get together or bring to a holiday party, may your Christmas by filled with laughter, cheer, family, friends and an abundance of JOY!

Grinch: How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes, or bags!

Narrator: And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer.
Cheer to all Whos far and near.
Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we.
Welcome, Christmas, while we stand
Heart to heart,… and hand in hand. 

Merry Christmas! 🙂

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