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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Christmas In a Different Light

By Sherrie Norris

Christmas will be different for many families this year, and for some, not in a good way at all. There will be vacancies at the table, hearts will feel empty, smiles will be lost and tears will be falling.

Granted, that happens every year, but for 2020, we all know the scope is larger and the pain is deeper because of the life-taking and life-altering virus that has hit hard in every corner of the world.

In our family alone, to date, six members have tested positive for Covid-19, one spent weeks in the medical center on a respirator and is now in a rehab facility over an hour away from home where visits are prohibited. Others of us have been forced inside our homes as prisoners for days on end, waiting for the green light, if symptom-free, and then moving cautiously into the real world.

We’ve learned of so many others who have experienced heart-breaking situations because of this devastating pandemic, if not physically, then mentally, emotionally, certainly financially and yes, sadly enough, even spiritually.

But, as I am married to the eternal optimist (who, even this year, has had his moments of despair), I am reminded daily that there is still so much good in our lives and we are blessed immeasurably.

It is my hope that we will be able to enjoy Christmas for what it is. In fact, those of us who can be with our families need to realize how very blessed we are.

Christmas is a time that I have always cherished— and this year it should mean more than ever before as so much around has changed and very little seems “normal.”

Let’s try to focus on what really matters and shut out all the negativity, the politics and regrets. Let’s try to look outside of ourselves and do something to help ease the burden for others.

In the meantime, here’s wishing you and your family the most joyous Christmas possible as we share a few breakfast/brunch ideas to start your day.


Fruit Bowl Supreme

1 can mandarin orange sections, well drained

1 can crushed pineapple, well drained

3 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 cups coconut

2 cups miniature marshmallows

½ cup milk

Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Chill for1 hour. Makes about 12 servings.


Sausage Potato Casserole

1 pound pork sausage, fried and drained

4 medium potatoes, sliced uncooked

¼ cup flour

¼ tsp. salt

4 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1¼ cup milk

Layer potatoes, sausage, cheese, flour, salt, and milk in casserole dish. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour. Uncover, bake 10-15 minutes more.


Miniature Ham Balls

3 cups Bisquick

1½ cups finely chopped cooked ham

4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbs. parsley flakes

2 tsp. spicy mustard

2/3 cup milk

Heat oven to 350. Lightly grease jelly roll pan. Mix all ingredients well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until brown. Remove from pan and serve warm. Makes about 7 dozen.


Easy Cinnamon Loaves

1 pkg. yellow cake mix with pudding

4 large eggs

¾ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup sugar

3 Tbs. cinnamon

Mix first five ingredients well with mixer. Pour half of the batter evenly into 2 prepared loaf pans. Stir together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over batter. Pour remaining batter onto loaves, cutting through with knife for swirling effect. Bake at 30 for 45 minutes.


Orange Julius

6 oz. can frozen orange juice

6 oz. can of water

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup sugar

1 ½ cup ice

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix well in blender and serve immediately. Will be delicious and slushy!


Cream Cheese Danish

2 cans ready to use refrigerated crescent rolls

2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg white



½ cup powdered sugar

2 Tbs. milk

½ tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350* degrees and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Lay a pack of crescent rolls in the pan and pinch the openings together. Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg together until smooth. Spread mixture over the crescent rolls evenly; lay second pack of crescent rolls on top of the cheese mixture and brush with egg white. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Top with glaze after cooling for 20 minutes.


Note: May substitute low-fat cream cheese and Splenda or sweetener of choice. Also, the amount of filling called for makes a very heavily-filled danish. I have halved the filling using 1 package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 egg, and a ½ tsp. of vanilla extract and it was still very good. If you use the half filling method, bake for closer to 30-35 minutes