Elf on the Shelf – Is he watching you?

I have heard about “The Elf on the Shelf” tradition for the past few years, however this is the first year we have had an elf.  Our elf showed up on December 8, 2009.  Hannah was thrilled to see the elf, but was worried that he would eat all of the cookies that I have been baking.  She had heard some stories about these elves from her friends at school and from Aunt Kelly & cousin Noah (who has an elf named “Quirky”).  Hannah has named our elf “Buddy” (wonder where she got that from?), but today I was told that he also goes by an alias – “Peppermint”.  When Hannah went to bed last night, Buddy was happily hanging out in the kitchen getting his shoe fixed by Aaron.  When we woke up this AM, Buddy was hanging out somewhere new:

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He stationed himself where he could keep an eye on Hannah & Jon and then report back to Santa. 

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If you haven’t heard the story behind “The Elf on the Shelf” here is some info for you to read:

From My Family to Yours,

This charming tradition began for our family when my children were very small. Like most children through the ages, they wanted to know how Santa really knew who was naughty or who was nice. Their answer, as in my own childhood, came in the form of a small pixie-elf.

The first time the elf arrived at our home, my children officially adopted him by giving him a name. Each year he would arrive around the holidays, usually at Thanksgiving. His sole responsibility was to watch the children’s behavior and report it to Santa each night. The next morning after the children awoke, they discovered the elf had returned from the North Pole and was now resting in a new and different place. My children would race each other out of bed to try and be the first to spy him in his new position.

Over the years the tradition was perfected and rules were introduced. For example, to better preserve his mystique the children were not allowed to touch him but talking to him was a different matter all together. My children shared many secrets with the elf, and while he was under strict orders not to talk to them, the elf was under no such orders where grown-ups were concerned.

Unwittingly, the tradition provided an added benefit: it helped the children to better control themselves. All it took was a gentle reminder that the “elf is watching,” for errant behavior to be modified.

I never dreamed this simple tradition would lead to so many treasured Christmas memories for our entire family. It is my earnest desire that The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition will bring as much joy to your family as it has to mine.

Enjoy this tradition, and MAKE IT YOUR OWN!

With my best wishes for you and those you love,

 

Carol

This letter was written by the author of “The Elf on the Shelf”. 

We can’t wait to see where Buddy (aka Peppermint) shows up tomorrow!

 

 

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Cookie-A-Day: Day 7- Almond Cranberry Bites

I happened upon this recipe in an Eatingwell.com email.  The original recipe calls for dried cherries, but I didn’t have any so I subbed dried cranberries instead.  This recipe screamed “Christmas cookie” to me, so I knew that I had to include it in my “Cookie-A-Day” series.  This recipe is full of healthy ingredients – almonds, canola oil, dried fruit.  So, you can feel good about treating yourself to one of these cookies and these cookies ROCK!  I was so pleasantly surprised when I tasted these.  Jon was adamant about not trying them because he doesn’t like dried fruit.  Well, they smelled so good he asked to try one.  He ended up eating three & saying he loved them!  They are really good warm.  I couldn’t convert Hannah, but that is okay, this only made 20 cookies, so more for us!  ;)

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Almond Cranberry Bites

  • 1/3 cup whole almonds (I used Trader Joe’s raw almonds
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used Carol’s sorghum mix)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips or finely chopped dark and/or white chocolate, for decoration (optional- I opted not to add this)

Method

1.  Heat oven to 350.

2.  Grind raw almonds & sugar in a food processor until you have the desired texture; the finer the texture, the more intense the almond flavor & less crunch from the almond.  Be careful not to turn the almonds into paste.  Transfer mix to large bowl & mix in flour & cranberries.

3.  Add egg white, oil, vanilla & almond extracts.  Mix until well incorporated.

4.  Shape dough into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottom is slightly brown; the tops will not brown.

5.  Transfer to a wire rack & cool completely.

6.  Optional- melt chocolate & drizzle over cookies with a fork.  Let stand until chocolate sets.

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Tips

1.  This is another mix where a GF flour mix without baking soda, baking powder & xanthan gum are not needed.  I am not sure how the cookies would turn out if you were to use a mix with those added in.

2.  The chocolate melted on top is not necessary, in my opinion and you all know how much I love my chocolate.

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These are now going to become a holiday staple in our house.  You can freeze these for up to 3 months.  They have about 75 calories per cookie (recipe made 20 cookies).

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In case you missed this: College Inn has recalled some chicken broth for undeclared wheat.  You can read more about it here.

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