Remember typical holiday parties? Remember typical holidays? Remember parties? OK, I’m joshing a little, but it’s been a wild ride of a year, hasn’t it?  In a non-virus world, there would be a big ward Christmas party right about now.

In my version of a perfect world, there would be a Christmas party where we celebrated you. Yes, you! I would love to celebrate my gratitude for your readership and our connection. There has been a lot of positive feedback through these last few years. There have been a lot of loyal followers of this little column. I am sincerely grateful for each and every one of you.

Instead, I’m having a virtual mini-party on this page, right this minute, and you are invited.

Shall we start with music? How about something from the Shaw’s, that new talented LDS Daddy daughter team that is shaking up the music world like a snowglobe! This is an introduction to their new Christmas album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4cSbGsGyx0.  And this is a link to one of their songs on their new album. It’s my favorite childhood Christmas song: https://www.amazon.com/Merry-Little-Christmas-Savanna-Shaw/dp/B08MTZ2L9C

O.K., now let’s add some clean, fun, inspiring entertainment. We’ve got it. Check out this Studio C skit from BYU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWi2zfWlHJE. Here’s an even funnier one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwtGj12Tg2A.

Next, since we tend to meet new people at parties, I’ve brought us some new people. I would like to introduce you to biological sisters Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison. They are the authors of a number of cookbooks, including Trim Healthy Table. Any of their delicious sugar-free treats would work well for this party, or any party.  They are Christian, though not Latter-day Saints. They are hilarious and interesting! You can check out their videos and recipes on youtube. This one is destined for repeat performances:

Guilt Gone Cranberry Pie – (S) (from their web page)

Time to start planning your holiday menu? This pie is tried and true and a favorite of thousands!

Guilt Gone Cranberry Pie is one delicious pie that is not only delicious but also satisfying. Dreaming of a pie that tastes like buttery-sweet-short bread bursting with tart caramelized cranberries? Enjoy this one without guilt!

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1/2 cup THM Oat Fiber
3  eggs
2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum)
1/2 cup THM Gentle Sweet (1/2-3/4 cup THM Gentle Sweet or 1/4-1/3 cup THM Super Sweet Blend)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped; optional)

Instructions:

*Cut stick of butter into small chunks and put into a mixing bowl with all other ingredients except cranberries.

*Use your hands to combine all the ingredients well… yes even the eggs. Really get in there with both hands, get messy and scrunch and mush ingredients together. This is a quick way to get the job done but if this idea grosses you out, simply use a Bosch or other mixing machine.

*Add cranberries and mix again.

*Put pie mixture into a well-greased pie dish and bake in a pre-heated oven on 350 for 40 minutes. (Place pie on middle to high rack so the bottom does not burn).

Finally,  I would like to give you two Christmas gifts. The first is all about strengthening home and family. It’s a new podcast we’ve created called “Moms Meet World”. You can find it here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1166741

The second gift is also from the sisters mentioned above It’s a recipe for a beverage that will increase your immunity. Is there anyone who wouldn’t appreciate in even stronger immune system right now? Strong immunity keeps illness away. You can drink this beverage, “The Singing Canary” every day: https://trimhealthymama.com/recipe/singing-canary-fp/ if you would like. It will boost your energy too!

You can enjoy some or all of the above with your family this year, in the comfort of your home. Gathering with family is the most important gathering of all gatherings. Life is filled with ups and downs, but hopefully, there is plenty of joy for you to choose along the way. You deserve lots of joy!

Best wishes, and Happy Holidays.

Mary Bell (aka “Merry Bell” at this time of year:)