People share their holiday food traditions

Whether it was something passed down from Grandma or was something Betty Crocker taught you along the way, we all have those Christmas foods that are near and dear to our hearts.
Area residents decided to share some of their favorite Christmas-time recipes and why they are so near and dear to their hearts.

• Janie Hoffman, of Tucumcari, has been making her grandmother’s no-bake fruit cake and sending it to her daughter, Sarah Victor, who lives in Portales for the past 10 years.
However, Hoffman said the tradition of making the holiday treat goes back 20 years to when she made it with her grandmother, Maxine Smith, every Christmas.
“Its something that my daughter always ask me for each year,” Hoffman said.

• Box of graham crackers crushed fine
• 10 oz bag of marshmellows
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1/2 cup almonds
• 1 cup walnuts
• 1 cup pecans
• 1 pint mixed candied fruit
• 1 cup raisins (optional)
• Crush graham crackers until fine (I use my blender) Put in big bowl
• Add nuts and fruit and make well in center
• Put marshmallows and milk in sauce pan and cook over medium until marshmallows are melted.
• Pour in graham cracker mixture and mix well. (Can be poured into a tube pan).
Hoffman said on of her favorite thing to do is to roll in wax paper makes about 6 rolls a foot long and put the extra in the freezer and eat it at later date.
• Put in the refrigerator for at least an hour before slicing.

• Lucy Kleinsasser of Tucumcari, said she makes a treat called “White Christmas Mix” that she found on the internet and mails it to her family members during the holiday season.
“I have family that ask me every year to make the dish and send it to them,” Kleinsasser said. “I’ve been making and sending the dish for about 10 years so it has become sort of a tradition.”


• 1 package white bark (vanilla candy coating)
• 3 cups Cheerios
• 3 cups Golden Grahams
• 3 cups pretzel sticks
• 1 bag miniature marshmallows
• 1 medium bag of M&M’s(your choice)
• 1 jar dry roasted peanuts
• Melt white bark according to package directions.
• Meanwhile, mix all dry ingredients together.
• Pour melted bark over dry ingredients and mix well. (If the mixture is too wet, add more cereal or pretzels).
• Spread onto waxed paper and let cool.
• Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

• Kristen Devereaux has two favorite side dishes for the holidays. For her children, nieces and nephews, she likes to make mini pigs in a blanket with homemade honey mustard dipping sauce and for the adults, she likes to make a tater tot casserole.
According to Devereaux, she likes both recipes, because “They’re quick, easy and it’s something I can make that’s impossible to poison anybody with.”

Mini pigs in a blanket
• 2 cans of Pillsbury crescent dinner rolls
• 48 cocktail weenies (Devereaux uses Hillshire Farms brand Lil’ Smokies)
Dipping sauce
• 3/4 cup Dijon mustard
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll both cans of dough and separate into 16 triangles. Cut each triangle lengthwise into 3 narrow triangles. Place sausage on shortest side of each triangle and roll to opposite point. Place each point side down on ungreased cookie sheet.
• Bake 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and serve warm.
• For dipping sauce: Stir all ingredients together and wait 10 minutes before serving.

Tater tot casserole
• 1 lb. ground beef
• 1 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage (mild or spicy)
• 1 can cream of mushroom soup
• 1-2 cans cut green beans
• 1 bag of tater tots
• Shredded cheddar or jack cheese
• 1 container French fried onions
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Preheat oven to directions on tots packaging (typically 350°-375°). Brown ground beef and sausage, drain and mix together.
• Layer in a casserole dish: Meat mixture, 1/2 can mushroom soup, 1/2 – 1 can beans, repeat. After second layer or dish is full, cover mixture with tots
• Bake according to times listed on tots packaging (typically 35 minutes). When done, add shredded cheese to top, bake until cheese is melted. Remove again and top with French fried onions and bake again until lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.

• Wendel Sloan’s favorite holiday dessert is a coconut-pecan German chocolate pie because:
“It has dark chocolate, coconut, a crispy crust, is sweet but not too sweet, and, most importantly, makes life worth living.”

Coconut-Pecan German chocolate pie
• 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 6 tablespoons cold lard
• 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
• 4 ounces German sweet chocolate, chopped
• 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
• 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
• 4 egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1/4 cup butter, cubed
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 cup flaked coconut
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• /4 cup chopped pecans
• Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix flour and salt; cut in lard until crumbly. Gradually add ice water, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Shape into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.
• On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 in. beyond rim of plate; flute edge. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice.
• Bake 11-13 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned. Remove foil and weights; bake 6-8 minutes longer or until light brown. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven setting to 350°.
• In a microwave, melt chocolates in a large bowl; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Whisk in milk, egg yolks and vanilla; stir in pecans. Pour into crust. Bake 16-19 minutes or until set. Cool 1 hour on a wire rack.
• Meanwhile, in a small heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, cream and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.
• In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to pan, whisking constantly. Cook 2-3 minutes or until mixture thickens and a thermometer reads 160°, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla; cool 10 minutes.
• Pour over filling; sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate 4 hours or until cold. Makes 8 servings.

• Bonnie Johnson loves baking for the holidays. Her favorite holiday-themed dessert is pumpkin bars.

Pumpkin bars
Ingredients needed:
• 1 cup oil
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 cups pumpkin puree
• 4 eggs
• 2 cups flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 teaspoons cinnamon
• 3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 tablespoons half & half
• 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
• For bars: Mix all ingredients together. Place into a jelly roll pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Cook in oven that has been preheated to 325° for 25 minutes.
• For icing: Mix all ingredients together. Spread on cooled bars.

— Compiled by Staff Writers Thomas Garcia, Matthew Asher and Alisa Boswell

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