Monday, December 11, 2017

Holiday Traditions

Someone should have told me.

I didn’t realize that if I did the same thing for a few years in a row, I was beginning an unbreakable tradition. But I did. And now, the Mulherns have the same thing for breakfast every Christmas morning.

Not that I’m complaining. The recipes are easy and delicious (unlike Ellison, the heroine of my novels, I can make a Bundt cake). I turn on the oven when kids stir and pop the soufflé into the oven when we start opening presents.

I pair the soufflé and cake with fresh fruit and lots of coffee (of course).

Sausage Soufflé

·      1 pound sausage -  browned and drained
·      6 slices of best quality bread – cubed
·      ¼ cup cheddar cheese
·      1 teaspoon dry mustard
·      ½ teaspoon salt
·      4 eggs
·      2 cups milk

Beat eggs, milk, mustard and salt. Add sausage and bread. Mix well and pour into a greased 10 x6 ½ x 2-inch casserole dish and refrigerate overnight.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, covered with foil. Reduce heat to 325, remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Cinnamon Bundt Cake

·      ½ cup light brown sugar
·      2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

·      1 package plain yellow cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)
·      1 package vanilla pudding mix
·      ¾ cup vegetable oil
·      ¾ cup water
·      4 large eggs
·      1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I always use Vain vanilla)

·      1 cup confectioners’ sugar sifted
·      2 tablespoons milk
·      ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a Bundt pan, then dust with flour, shaking out the excess.

For the filling – combine ingredients in a small bowl (you could add nuts – if I did my youngest wouldn’t eat it).

Place the cake mix, pudding, oil, water, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for two minutes. The batter should look thick and smooth.

Pour one-third of the batter into the prepared pan.

Scatter half of the filling over the batter.

Pour another third of the batter over the filling.

Scatter the remaining filling.

Pour the remaining batter, smoothing it out with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 58 to 60 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes then run a sharp knife around the edges of the cake and invert the pan.

Cool an additional 30 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth.

Place the cooked cake on a serving platter and drizzle the glaze over the top.

This cake can be stored under a glass cake dome for up to a week. It won’t last that long.

Wishing you and yours the merriest, jolliest of holiday seasons.

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. 

She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean--and she's got an active imagination. Truth is--she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.


  1. Our traditions always took place at the dinner meal! The passing of the parents and grandparents have dictated new traditions and new ways to celebrate. Sometimes I morn the loss of traditions but I have started to embrace the beginning of new ones.

    1. I treasure each Christmas morning. It won't be long until I have to share my daughters so I am storing up memories!

  2. I can’t believe I’m actually writing a testimony. Thanks to Dr. Twaha! What a valley my family has been through. My husband said he was done, he said he wanted a divorce. There was another woman who once told me she will do anything to have my man by her side; he said he was miserable with me. I wanted to run away and disappear at first, but something stopped me in my tracks. I had the desire in my heart to stand for my marriage and then I came across Dr. Twaha website. Thank God for Dr. Twaha! I was told from various places that I officially had an ‘out’ from my marriage, but I didn’t want out. I felt the tug of my marriage vows and knew this whole situation was bigger than me. I praise God that I didn’t submit to my hurt and emotions. The circumstances were horrible. The pain I experienced was so deep, it was physical. My faith when I came across Dr. Twaha was solid. I had this strong trust in him. There are still real powerful and honest people on the net. Now my family is a living breathing example!” (You can contact Dr. Twaha on his email or visit his website at his WhatsApp: +254-735-914561

  3. THANKS for the recipes, Julie. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Sharing my very favorite Christmas Cookie recipe with you.
    It wouldn't matter when we would appear in Grandma's kitchen; her cookie jar always had her best sugar cookies, until we left. Mom says Pam is the only one who can make them like Grandma because she "crooks her little finger just right!" The real secret is to take your time. Elizabeth* is learning to make these to keep up Grandma's tradition.

    BLEND (in a large bowl):
    3 eggs
    2 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    (Buttermilk should be a few weeks old, not fresh)

    MIX (in a separate bowl):
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1 heaping teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 heaping teaspoon baking soda

    Stir mix vigorously until foamy, and then add mix to blended ingredients.

    Add 2 cups softened Crisco shortening (DO NOT SUBSTITUTE OIL FOR SHORTENING!!!!!!) and 4 to 5 cups Gold Medal Unbleached Flour. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for several hours. (Dough should be very soft before refrigeration).

    Roll out dough to desired thickness (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch). Cut out shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 3500 F. Done Bessie's way, the cookies are soft. Pam often overcooks several as Bill prefers them crispy.

    You may serve the cookies plain or ice them with powdered sugar icing. If you choose to ice them, add a little almond extract for a zing.

    1. I have a cookie exchange coming up and you just decided which cookie I will take. Thank you!

    2. You're welcome. Please tell me how you like them, and be brutally honest.

  4. I'm so making this souffle!
    Merry Christmas all :)