I’ve enjoyed having a few close friends over this Christmas – that is what Christmas is all about – spending time with loved ones. Between both boys there were three hockey tournaments over the Christmas holidays so most of my time has been spent driving across town, not leaving me a lot of time to prepare for a dinner party. Over the years I’ve learned a few short cuts and quick tips and I know my weakness. I am no Martha Stewart when it comes to baking, decorating and presentation, so I rely on simplicity. Simple place settings, simple drinks, simple desserts and lots of love! Below is something I throw together and let it cook all afternoon in the slow cooker while I prepare the rest of dinner. At the end of the day you have delicious apple crumble and all you have to do is add ice cream. Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and spending precious time with family.
Slow Cooker Apple Crumble.
courtesy of: scattered thoughts of a crafty mom
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
- 1 cup cold butter cut into pieces
- 4 to 6 large apples peeled cored and thickly sliced (you want about 6 cups)
- 6 tbsp apple juice ( I didn’t have any apple juice, so used 1 tbsp lemon juice and the rest water)
- In a large bowl, stir the flour, oats, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and nuts together until combined. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender, fork or hands until pea sized lumps are formed.
- Place the apple slices in the base of the slow cooker and add the apple juice. Sprinkle the flour mixture evenly over them.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. (make sure your slow cooker actually cooks on low- many of the newer ones actually run higher. If your’s cooks hot, you may want to shorten the cooking time.)
- Serve warm with a scoop (or 2) of vanilla ice cream
“The magic of Christmas is not in the presents, but in His presence.”
When my children were young, I played the Santa game right until the end. When the boys stopped believing in Santa, they pretended to believe because they didn’t want to disappoint me. We always had a nice Christmas and I never overspent but believing in the magic was important to me. For a time and space all negativity and stresses are put on hold as you watch the joy on a child’s face as he or she walks toward the light and believes in pure magic. Jesus walks with families during those moments and to me it is as if Jesus and Santa work in harmony because the magic is not in the gifts but in the joy of watching and wanting loved ones to be happy. During my childhood there were many struggles in my family – breakups, alcohol, financial and a host of other problems. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of happy childhood memories, but somehow the magic of Christmas and His presence touched me in those early years. No matter what the circumstances all children should feel special at Christmas and I believe it is up to us as a community to ensure that every child feels the sheer joy and magic.
A couple of years ago I was asked to write a Christmas story for our local paper – I’m sharing it here – “Christmas Memories of a Child”
I remember waking up and looking out the window, frustrated that I fell asleep. I was determined to stay awake all night to see Santa and his reindeers. Every Christmas Eve I stood at my bedroom window watching the night sky until exhaustion took over from my head down to my toes. I crawled under the covers and made sure I was facing the window continuing to stare at the night sky as I willed myself to stay awake so I could finally catch a glimpse of Santa.
One particular Christmas eve I remember waking up and feeling the heavy weight of disappointment because I feared Santa wouldn’t come. That past year had been difficult for my family, my parents had gone their separate ways and I over-heard my mother telling my sister that she wasn’t sure if Santa would make it to our house that year. The room was still very dark and I wasn’t sure of the time but looking around, listening to the silence and watching the shadows on the wall, I was certain it was the middle of the night and I wondered if Santa had been there. I yawned and threw my arms up in the air, stretched out my body and rolled over to look out the doorway. It was then that I realized there was a warm glow illuminating my room. I remember listening to my heart beat faster as I thought “Maybe I wasn’t too late maybe Santa was here now.”
Slowly I swung my legs over the side of my bed and quietly, while holding my breath, walked from my room down the stairs to the living room. I stood amazed by what I saw; the tree was all lit up with beautiful blue lights, which made the room look enchanting. I gazed at the top of the tree and was fascinated by the colour of lights surrounding the angel’s wings. Working my way down the tree eyeing every bulb and tinsel reaching the bottom of the tree, I realized Santa had been there. I asked for Barbie and her camper and under the tree all set up, and ready to go, was Barbie sitting in her camper. I could barely contain myself from yelling out with excitement; instead I placed the palm of my hand over my mouth to stifle any sound because I wanted time alone under the Christmas tree that illuminated such a warm glow. I walked over to the tree and sat on the floor to play, for what seemed like hours, before I heard any stirrings in the house. Santa came through after all, my mother was wrong, Santa heard my wishes and made my Christmas magical.
wild and free
living each moment
like nothing else matters
free to run and just be
carefree days and endless nights
the way it should be…….