December 22, 2013

Icicle Candy and Reindeer Snacks #SundaySupper

This week's #SundaySupper is all about holiday music, movies, and TV specials.

I'm not gonna lie, my first instinct was to go with the Doctor Who Christmas specials, but short of a gingerbread TARDIS, there was nothing I could think of for it. And I didn't want to make a gingerbread TARDIS. So I went with my second instinct: cheesy, kiddie, made-for-TV Christmas movies. Not the Hallmark ones, because those try too hard and are unnecessarily dramatic and have no fun things to distract me from the gaping plot holes. No, I mean the ones meant for small children. The ones with magic and reindeer and Santa Claus.

My favorite in this genre is a movie called Snow. It's about Nick Snowden, a man approaching his first Christmas as the "big SC," who lost one of his reindeer, Buddy, and has to rescue him from the zoo before Christmas Eve, or Christmas will be ruined forever.

I can't say what it is about this movie that I like so much. There's storyline inconsistencies, plot devices that don't make a whole lot of sense, and they do over-cheese a couple of scenes, but I just love it. It might just be a case of the right actors with the right script, but there's just something very charming and very real about it.
It could also be that I totally get the main female lead, Sandy. I'd totally fall for Tom Cavanagh's awkwardly charming Nick, too. And there's that scene when he's on the ladder, and she gets caught looking that I think really sets her apart from others in the holiday-movie-female-lead category. Anyway, if you can catch it on ABC Family, I recommend it. And the sequel, though that has some larger plotholes.

Since the movie is meant for children, there's obviously no cursing. In fact, all of Nick's curses are holiday terms. Including when he says, "oh, icicles."
When I thought to make icicle candy, it sounded a lot better in my head than it actually was in practice. First I tried a recipe that used the microwave, no special tools required. My microwave is apparently super powered, because I burned the sugar. Badly. It was the color of coffee. Strong coffee.

So I tried this recipe(halved) from Martha Stewart. Much harder, since it uses pulled sugar, but more reliable. Let's just say, it was the first and last time I will ever work with pulled sugar. It was a pain to work with. And painful to work with. I had on some heavy duty rubber gloves, the kind that I use when washing dishes in scalding water, and my fingertips are still red and sensitive. Plus, I only got one good looking one. I was using some expletives a lot stronger than icicles, if y'know what I mean. I did get one, so it wasn't a total fail, but I do not recommend it unless you've got seriously tough hands made out of asbestos or something.
Of course, I couldn't forget about Buddy, since the movie would have never happened if he hadn't wandered off and got captured by Buck, the jerk poacher with a thing for Sandy (that apparently thinks giving illegal reindeer to her zoo is a good idea? They never really explain that). In Snow, it's Buddy's first Christmas too, but he hasn't yet learned to fly (which is why he needs Nick's help to escape from the zoo), but as he's learning, he leaps over the fence to steal a chocolate bar from the security guard. But in the sequel, Buddy's having some trouble fitting into his harness, so Nick puts him on a diet and exercise plan.

These "reindeer snacks" are actually chocolate cherry almond granola clusters, which would be a great way to satisfy Buddy's sweet tooth while giving him the energy to hoof it up on the treadmill. Reindeer like oats and plus, I think even Santa would enjoy the (slightly) healthier, but still sweet and tasty, break from all the milk and cookies.

Full disclosure: this was not supposed to be chocolate granola. I was following my patented I-don't-need-no-stinkin'-recipe method, and I added chocolate chips, not thinking that all the way through. When I went to stir the granola, it became chocolate granola. And I might be breaking some cardinal granola rules with my haphazard method, but I haven't been able to stop eating it, so I don't think I really care.
Chocolate Cherry Almond Granola Clusters
AKA Reindeer Snacks

1½ cups old fashioned oats
¾ cup sliced almonds
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup dried cherries
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
⅓ cup agave nectar (maple syrup would also work)
2 tbsp. nut butter (almond, preferably)
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

In a large mixing bowl mix together the first 6 ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together until smooth (warm the nut butter to make this easier). Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and mix until well coated. Spread evenly onto the prepared pan.

Bake for 10 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is evenly distributed. Bake for another 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the oats are toasted and fragrant. Shape into clusters of the desired size, and allow to cool completely on the pan.

Recipe by Kim
Thanks to Tammi from Momma's Meals for hosting this week. Comes see how the rest of the #SundaySupper crew is getting into the holiday spirit:

Party Appetizers & Snacks:
Oven-Roasted Applesauce Scented with Rosemary & Vanilla-Inspired by the song "Christmas in the Trenches"- Shockingly Delicious
Roasted Chestnuts Inspired by the movie "The Christmas Song" - Food Lust People Love
A Popcorn Trio Inspired by the song "Let it Snow" - Hot Momma's Kitchen Chaos
Chai Tea Abominable Snow Buddies Inspired by the movie "Rudolph" - Cupcakes & Kale Chips 
Raisin Bran Muffins for a Crowd Inspired by the movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" - In The Kitchen With Audrey and Maurene
Icicle Candy and Reindeer Snacks Inspired by the movie "Snow" - Treats & Trinkets
A Christmas Carol Plum Pudding Inspired by the movie "A Christmas Carol" - No One Likes Crumbley Cookies 
Yukon Mashed Potato Cakes Inspired by the movie "Rudolph" - Cookin' Mimi
Christmas Pudding Inspired by the song "Over the River and Through the Woods" - A Kitchen Hoor 
Pumpkin Pudding Inspired by the movie "Nightmare Before Christmas" - Basic N Delicious
Elf-Inspired Christmas "Grams" Inspired by the movie "Elf" - MarocMama 
Sugarplums Inspired by the movie "The Nutcracker" - Happy Baking Days 
Chai Spiced Roasted Nuts Inspired by the song "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" - Take A Bite Out of Boca

Festive Main Dishes
Maple Syrup Spaghetti- Inspired by the movie "Elf"- Momma's Meals
Who Hash Inspired by the movie "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" -girlichef 
Ginger Orange Glazed Cornish Hens Inspired by the song "The 12 Days of Christmas" -Sue's Nutrition Buzz 
NY Hot Dog with Sabrett-style Onion Sauce Inspired by the movie "Die Hard" - Small Wallet, Big Appetite 
Classic Caesar Salad Inspired by the movie "The Santa Clause" - The Little Ferraro Kitchen 
Individuals Meatloaves & Horseradish Mashed Potatoes for Mommy's Little Piggies - Inspired by the movie "A Christmas Story" - The Not So Cheesy Kitchen 
Christmas Waffles Inspired by the TV special "A Claymation Christmas Celebration" - Curious Cuisiniere
Filthy Animal Pizza Inspired by the movie "Home Alone" - Foxes Love Lemons
Chicken Orzo Soup Inspired by the song "12 Days of Christmas" - Family Foodie
Brandied Candied Sweet Potatoes Inspired by the song "Christmas Is The Time To Say ‘I Love You’ " - Cindy's Recipes and Writings

Sweet Holiday Treats:
Gin and Tonic Cupcakes Inspired by Adam Sandler's " The Chanukah Song" - The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars Inspired by the movie "Love Actually" - Magnolia Days 
Gingerbread Marshmallows Inspired by the song "Marshmallow World" - Jane's Adventures in Dinner
Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies Inspired by the movie "The Gremlins" - Killer Bunnies, Inc 
White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge Inspired by the song "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" - Alida's Kitchen 
Snowball Cookies - Inspired by the movie "White Christmas" -The Foodie Army Wife 
Penuche Fudge Inspired by the movie "Elf" - Pies and Plots
Hot Chocolate Cookies Inspired by the movie "Santa Clause" - Mess Makes Food
South Pacific Coconut Tres Leche Cake Inspired by the movie "South Pacific" -The Ninja Baker 
Cookies & Cream Fudge Inspired by the movie "Elf" - The Messy Baker

Cozy Drinks:
Toasted Coconut Hot Cocoa- Inspired by the song "Let It Snow"- Chocolate Moosey 
The Christmas Gram Inspired by the movie "Elf" - An Appealing Plan 
Eggnog Hot Chocolate Inspired by the movie "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation" - Peanut Butter and Peppers 
Vermont Hot Cocoa Inspired by the movie "White Christmas" - Kudos Kitchen By Renee
Spiked Hot Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Floats Inspired by the song "Holly Jolly Christmas " -NeighborFood
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