Today I am sharing a special recipe with you that simply takes me home, and makes me think of family, and holidays, and time spent together.
These little treats have a magic power. They have the power to flood me with holiday memories with just one bite. Do you have any foods that do that?
This year for Christmas was different then any other we have had, and it really got me thinking about family, and food, and how we use food as a as a way to connect with family and friends, and often as a part of our cultural identity. Food and family just seem to go hand in hand. I know most of my holiday memories are tied to food.
We have an intern living with us, and her family is thousands of miles away in Europe. I was cooking the ham for our Christmas party and our intern walked in and said, “It smells like Christmas” it made her think of and miss her family.
My brother just recently got married, and his wife’s family is in a different country. We were asking her about her traditions and she talked about a special drink they always share on Christmas.
I don’t think it matters where you are from, you likely have foods tied to your traditions and family memories. In the video Western Union showed how much food connects us to our families and culture by interviewing 24 of their customers, and surprising 3 of them with a pop up surprise meal from their family. I loved seeing the emotion on their faces when they talked about the foods that make them think of family, and how happy they were to eat something from home. I could tell how much Western Union means it when they say their aim is to connect people globally.
It can be hard to find ways to connect when you are far apart, and food can be really useful for this. My sister just had a baby, and she lives in a different state, so in order to keep some of our traditions alive, despite the distance I hosted a virtual cookie exchange. A cookie exchange is a big part of the holiday traditions for me. I look forward to it every year, and really think a lot about what treat or cookie I am going to bring to it.
Due to distance and a new baby, we couldn’t get together this year to have one. I was not about to have that, so I set up a virtual exchange, where we could share our cookie recipes, rather than the cookies themselves, and enjoy time together with text, video, chat, and more.
Because food is such a huge part of my family tradition and memories, that video really resonated with me. From my mom’s apple sheet pie, to my Great Grandma’s toffee. Some things just define the holidays and family. And not just specific recipes, but traditions, like our cookie exchange. I think we all have those special recipes that take us home, even when we aren’t home.
So today I am going to share one that I love taking to holiday treat exchanges, and that my mom has been making for years. We call them “Dream Balls” haha, which cracks me up every single time.
They are quick to whip up, and taste like a dream. My mom used to make them without the cream cheese, but I like that it gives them a tad more heft so I eat a few less (a precious few).
Dream Balls: Connecting with Family through Food
- 1 big Chocolate bar 6.8 ounces Preferably the kind with almonds and toffee
- 1 container of Cool Whip 8 ounces
- 8 ounce brick of cream cheese softened
- 2 Cups mini Vanilla Wafers
- Break your Chocolate bar up into a microwave safe bowl, and melt in the microwave in 20-30 second increments, stirring between each heating session.
- Use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese and melted chocolate together, then stir in whipped cream.
- In a food processor crush up the vanilla wafers by pulsing for about 30 seconds
- Spoon about 1 Tbs of "dream ball mixture into a ball, and drop in crushed vanilla wafers.
- Roll in wafers, place on parchment lined sheet, and chill so they will hold shape
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
These little treats really help connect me with my family, just like Western Union does for so many of their customers who live here, and work here, but still love their culture, and often selflessly send money home to family. You can learn more about Western Union here.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
And here are a few of my family’s favorite recipes: