Family,  Wendi's Daily Blog

Christmas Foods and Traditions – 2019

GingerSnap requested for Christmas morning breakfast this year a casserole that I had made last year, but I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. So I decided to post what I found this year, in case I am asked to make this year’s skillet casserole again.

Wendi’s Breakfast Skillet


  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white ground pepper
  • ½ cup milk (120ml)
  • 5 pre-cooked sausage links
  • 1 Tablespoon dehydrated onion flakes
  • 4 medium potatoes (finely diced)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (113g)

Wash, cube, and boil potatoes for 7 minutes in pressure cooker. Drain and cool potatoes. Sprinkle with the dehydrated onion and store in the fridge until the next morning, or continue onto the next step.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a well greased cast iron skillet, brown potatoes. Mix together eggs and milk. Cut sausage links into the potatoes and stir until well heated through, then remove from heat.

Pour egg mixture over top of potatoes and sausage – DO NOT STIR! Sprinkle with cheese and place skillet in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

* adapted from this recipe

I love learning about my heritage and I love to make connections with it through art, music, stories, clothing, housewares, and recipes. So I thought that I would also try my hand at a family heritage recipe for dessert this year. It’s called Risalamande which is a Danish Almond Rice Pudding topped with a cherry sauce.

I love warm rice pudding in Costa Rica, but it has cinnamon in it and GingerSnap seems to be allergic to cinnamon. She loves rice pudding too, so I thought this recipe would be a fun food to try. Thankfully Paul enjoyed it too, especially because it was served a bit cold. I think I’ll make it again next year. It was the perfect dessert to end a big meal. I adapted my recipe from the following links.

Wendi’s Risalamande with Cherry Sauce

(Picture from


  • For the Rice Pudding:
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (the seeds)
  • 4 ounces blanched almonds (instructions below for blanching yourselfeasy to do!)
  • For the Risalamande:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Cherry sauce, warm (see below)
  • Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish optional


  • Bring the rice, salt, lemon zest, and water to a boil in a medium-sized stock pot. Boil for 3 minutes, add the milk and stir.
  • Add the seeds from the vanilla bean. This is done by slicing the vanilla bean and scraping out the seeds using a knife. Mix the vanilla bean seeds with 2 tablespoons of sugar and mix into the rice. Also, add the empty vanilla beans to the pudding (they still have a lot of flavor).
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, increasing the frequency during the last 10 minutes to prevent scorching. (THIS IS IMPORTANT- it will scorch!)
  • While the pudding is cooking, prepare the almonds. Heat some water until boiling point and then add the almonds and let them boil for about 1-2 minutes. Remove the almonds from the range and run cold water over the almonds. One-by-one take the almonds up and press them between two fingers so that the peel separates from the almond. It should be easy to skin the almonds. 
  • Dry the almonds and then coarsely chop the almonds. After the pudding is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the chopped, blanched almonds. My family loves them stirred in while the pudding is hot. Other recipes say you can add them when the pudding is cold.
  • Let the rice cool and then chill for several hours or overnight.
  • Beat the cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and almond extract and beat until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-beat. Gently fold the cream into the rice pudding. (Note: The rice may be very stiff. Stir it first to loosen it up and then stir after the cream has been added to break up any clumps.)
  • Best served at room temperature. Dish pudding into individual dishes and top with the cherry sauce. Also, as a fun game, hide one almond in the center of one dish of pudding and the one who finds the almond in their pudding may receive a small prize, or get to sing a song, or something else that would be fun to do. Enjoy!

Wendi’s Cherry Sauce


  • 1 1/2 cups canned cherries plus 1/2 cup of the light syrup from the can or fresh or frozen cherries plus 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract


  • My family doesn’t enjoy large chunks of fruit, so I first purée the cherries. Place the puréed cherries and the syrup or water in a small saucepan along with the sugar, butter and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. If using fresh or frozen cherries, reduce the heat and simmer for another 3 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, stirring continually until the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract.
  • Store in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

The last of my post is about an experience I would like to share. It is an AMAZING Christmas Eve story (that I adapted to our families resources) that is told through music, scripture, and play. It is a silhouette nativity story and I LOVE the spirit that this program brings into my home. You can find this fully, unedited program here, but in case it disappears, here is the full story that we use below.

Two Witnesses of Jesus’ Birth

By Laurel Rohlfing

Adapted by Wendi Whitchurch

You can do this program with your family or friends for Christmas. As you tell the story, show the scenes, using a shadow box and the silhouettes pictured here. Or make living scenes by dressing like the characters in the program.

Instructions for shadow box and silhouette figures: Stretch and tack muslin or a piece of unpatterned bed sheet onto a picture frame. Or two people could hold a sheet tightly between them. Mount the silhouettes on cardboard and cut out. Using hot glue or clay, attach small dowels at right angles to the backs of the silhouettes. Light the fabric from behind and from the sides with a clip-on light or an overhead or a slide projector. The audience will see the silhouettes as soon as they touch the fabric.

Optional: Silhouette figures could be enlarged.

Song: “Christmas Bells Are Ringing” (CSB – 54)

Child: Christmas is a happy time,

A time of joy and mirth,

When people all throughout the world

Proclaim the Savior’s birth.

[Silhouette figure: Babe in manger]

Child: Many years before He came

The prophets did foretell

That Jesus Christ, the Son of God,

Would come on earth to dwell.

Song: “He Sent His Son” (CSB – 34)

[Silhouette figures: Add Bible and Book of Mormon]

Child: The Bible tells of Jesus’ birth;

The Book of Mormon, too—

Two witnesses that Christ was born,

And we know that they are true.

Child: Both scriptures tell that Jesus Christ

Would be the Baby’s name.

Although the books are different,

The truth is just the same.

Song: “Picture a Christmas” (CSB – 50)

[Silhouette figures: Nephi, Babe in manger]

Narrator 1: In the Book of Mormon the prophet Nephi testifies: “For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and … his name shall be Jesus Christ” (2 Ne. 25:19).

[Silhouette figures: Angel, Joseph]

Narrator 2: In the Bible an angel appeared in a dream to Joseph, Mary’s husband, and said: “[Mary] shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS” (Matt. 1:21).

Song: “Mary’s Lullaby” (CSB – 44

[Silhouette figures: Mary, Babe in manger]

Child: The mother of our Savior was

A virgin, pure and fair.

Her baby was the Son of God

The scriptures both declare.

[Silhouette figures: Isaiah, Mary, Babe in manger, angel]

Narrator 2: In the Bible we learn from the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son” (Isa. 7:14). And an angel told Mary: “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

[Silhouette figures: Nephi, Mary, Babe in manger]

Narrator 1: The prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon tells us: “I beheld a virgin, and she was … most beautiful and fair above all other virgins. … [And she was] the mother of the Son of God.” (1 Ne. 11:13, 15, 18.)

Song: “Who Is the Child?” (CSB – 46)

Child: The scriptures testify that signs

Would tell of Jesus’ birth.

The people knew when they appeared

That Christ would come to earth.

[Silhouette figures: Shepherds, sheep, angel]

Narrator 2: In Luke we read: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. … And the angel said unto them, … “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8, 10–12.)

Song: “Stars Were Gleaming” (CSB – 37)

[Silhouette figures: Star, Wise Men on camels]

Narrator 2: In Matthew we read about the sign of the star: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, … behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. … And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” (Matt. 2:1–2, 9–10.)

Song: “With Wondering Awe” (Hymns – 210) or “We Three Kings of Orient Are” (Internet or MaryKay’s Christmas Book)

[Silhouette figures: Samuel on city wall; sun rising, setting, and rising again; star]

Narrator 1: In the Book of Mormon, Samuel the Lamanite stood upon the city wall and proclaimed: “And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; … there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; … for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; … nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born. And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.’ (Hel. 14:3–5.)

Song: First verse of “Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus” (CSB – 36) or “First Christmas in America” (

[Silhouette figure: Book of Mormon]

Narrator 1: In the Book of Mormon, we read that the night before His birth, the voice of the Savior declared: “Be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets” (3 Ne. 1:13).

Song: “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” (Hymns – 202) or “I Believe in Christ” (Hymns – 134)

[Silhouette figures: angels]

Child: The angels sang of peace on earth;

They sang o’er Bethlehem.

And in the Book of Mormon

There was peace, good will toward men.

Song: “Angels We Have Heard on High” (Hymns – 203)

[Silhouette figures: Bible, Book of Mormon, entire manger scene]

Child: Yes, the Bible tells of Jesus’ birth,

The Book of Mormon, too—

Two witnesses that Christ was born,

And we know that they are true.

Song: “Joy to the World” (Hymns – 201)

The End

Additional Ideas:

• Make roller box (see Primary Sharing Time Resource Manual, page 29), and attach silhouettes to roll of paper.

In closing, I thought I would quickly share a few other traditions that are a must for our family: homemade caramels, Grandma Marj’s Christmas morning fruit & cinnamon ring, pizzelle cookies, snowflake blessings, Grandma Marj’s homemade 1-hour rolls with leftover ham from Christmas Eve for lunch, Grandma Karen’s Potatoes, and stockings filled by Grandma Lonnette.

I love family traditions that bring joy and happiness to my family. I don’t like family traditions that bring stress and expectation. Finding a balance between what is needed and what is not is always a struggle, but once completed, it is well worth it!

Merry Christmas,

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