Sunday, December 25, 2011

i found my Christmas spirit in a pot of pudding

On Thursday I went to my psyc and talked about Christmas. I told her how I am just not feeling it this year. This will be the 3rd Christmas without being pregnant or having our own little one since TTC. The thought of decorating upsets me. Putting up all our special ornaments and taking out stockings, advent calendars, train and Christmas books that have been tradition since the Hubby and I were kids was completely overwhelming. I wanted to share it with our own kids. Show them each ornament and each tradition and tell them the stories about it. Even if I had an infant or a little one growing inside me, who obviously would not know what the heck I was talking about, I would still tell them all about it.

My psyc had a few suggestions. "If it is too upsetting and overwhelming then just don't do it. The Hubby understands and the world won't end if you don't decorate. Or do something completely different or crazy. Go out and grab some cheap ornaments that have no sentimental value or decorate with whatever you want. You could decorate your tree with silverware, office supplies or underwear! Whatever makes you happy!" At this point she had me laughing. "Why not have an adult Christmas? Do something crazy that you can't do when you have kids like open your presents naked! Whatever you do focus on what you do have, each other. Make it yours. Make YOU happy."

I left there feeling a little better. Not as guilty for not decorating. I talked it over with the Hubby and he was fine with leaving all the decorations in the attic and just making everything low key and as relaxed as possible. We also called our family and changed some plans. My MIL was supposed to be coming over to our house Christmas day. She knows about our situation so I told her how I was feeling. She understood and was very supportive so we moved the festivities to her house where I could just relax and have a good time.

 Even though I was upset and not really in the Christmas spirit, I was looking forward to my family's celebration. We are Norwegian so we traditionally celebrate Christmas eve. We all get together for dinner, sing, play games, catch up, play with babies go to church, come back have dessert and do more of that fun stuff. We have some traditional dinner items, but in our family dessert is the big deal. We usually have more dessert choices than dinner with tons of traditional cookies, pies, cakes and puddings. The big one though is a rice pudding we call Riskrem (rice cream).

My Momma (Mom's Mom) made it every year for as long as I can remember. Her Mom made it before her in Norway and her Mom before her. After Momma moved to Florida the task was given to one of my Tantes (aunts) then when she moved to North Carolina another Tante tried to make it, but made the rice too hard. Then a cousin tried and turned it to mush. 3 years ago the task was given to me and I have been making it ever since. I was told I make it exactly like Momma which is the biggest compliment in our family.

Riskrem is really a labor of love. Making it requires you to stand at the stove for 1-2 hours straight and has a couple of steps that takes 2 days. Friday night as I was standing over the pot on the stove and stirring away, I was thinking about what a huge tradition this is. You would think it would be a lot of pressure, but it wasn't. I thought about all the love that was put into it over the years (even the ones that didn't turn out too good, we ate anyway because of all the love and hard work that was put into it). I thought of all the women who have made it over the years and realized how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my family. How blessed I am to have such loving, supportive, caring people around me and how I can't wait to celebrate with them. From then on the smile did not leave my face. I think I finally found some Christmas spirit.

Since our family loves to share a good meal and dessert I would love to share the recipe with you. Don't worry, it's not a family secret so no one will be mad at me. I grabbed my camera and took pics as soon as I found my spirit and decided to share the story with you guys.

Things you will need:

1 Cup of white rice
2  12oz cans of evaporated milk (make sure it is not sweetened)
2 cans of water (when you empty the cans of milk fill with water)
1/2 a stick of butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 a cup of sugar

For the second day you will need:

1 Cup of whipping cream
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract

FYI the pics are of a double batch. I would start with the single recipe above, it makes a good amount.

In a large pot combine rice, milk, water and butter on high stirring often till it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir almost constantly making sure you scrape the sides and bottom so nothing sticks and burns. You don't have to stir fast, it is just to keep everything moving a bit.

Cook till everything thickens and the rice is soft like how you would eat it. Stir in the vanilla and sugar and cook for a few minutes more.

Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl that has lots of extra room for the steps the next day. (the bowl above is the largest I own and did not have enough extra room as you will see in the next photos) If you would like you can stop at this step and eat it like regular rice pudding. When we eat it hot we call it Grud and traditionally put a little butter and cinnamon on top. Or you can move on to the cream and make it really rich.

Let it cool for at least an hour before you cover it and put it in the fridge over night. It will thicken more as it cools.

The next day it will be very thick as you can see. Mix it around a bit so the thicker top layer gets combined with the rest of the pudding.

 Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla till it is thick, light and fluffy whipped cream.

 Fold the whipped cream into the pudding making sure it is mixed through. This is the step that it helps to have lots of extra room in the bowl. I didn't so it almost over flowed as I added the whipped cream.

This will make it so nice and creamy and very rich too. I just love close up shots!

(I moved half the riskrem into another bowl so I could actually get the lid on this one)

Last but not least we put an almond on top. Right before we serve it the almond is mixed in to be hidden. When everyone has some the person who gets the almond in their serving wins a prize. Traditionally it is a marzipan pig which is a symbol of good luck for the new year. A lot of people don't like marzipan so the prize changes each year.

If anyone tries the recipe let me know how you like it. I hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday no matter what you celebrate.


  1. Thank you for commenting on my blog, I appreciate it! I agree with your psych, you just have to do what feels right. Christmas is a hard time of year for anyone, not to mention those with infertility issues. I totally understand. I think the "adult" Christmas is a great idea! Who cares about decorations? We decided not to put lights up on the house this year - it's really for kids, and we don't have them yet, so who cares?

    Thanks also for this recipe! I'm not the chef/baker in my house but I will pass it along and ask for it to be made!!

  2. You're right, our rice putting/porridge recipes are similar. I think yours is much richer than what we do. I wish I would have remembered to take a picture of it. Oh well, another year.

    I'm so glad you were able to take the stress off of you for christmas AND find your christmas spirit! It's so important to find something in all this hustle and bustle that makes up happy.

  3. Since I love to cook I'll have to try making this next year.  Thanks for posting photos of it as you went along.

  4. I usually love decorating, I am a total kid at heart, but not doing anything and focusing on the Hubby and I was so nice. I hope someone in your house makes it for you!

  5. Yes, ours is a very rich dessert. Even though it is a Christmas tradition, I try to make it a couple times a year just cuz it is so good and it makes an ordinary day special then.

  6. I'm glad that you and your husband found a way to celebrate the holidays while still honouring your own feelings.  This rice pudding looks delicious.  Love this post and the recipe, which I might try making next week!  Off I go to share this via twitter.

  7. That pudding looks delicious. Stirring up a batch of happiness sounds like a great idea right about now.

  8. Hmm, I'm 90% certain I would screw this up somehow, but it looks awesome!  I'm glad you found a way to celebrate the holiday that made you happy!  My husband and I skipped the decorating this year because we just weren't feeling it and nothing bad happened.  Actually, it meant the dogs got in less trouble for once.

  9. I'm glad you found your spirit! It was hard for me this year too, but I read something that struck a cord with me and snapped me out of my moping!

  10. I'm glad you found a workable solution for the holidays.

    And I am definitely making this the next time we go visit my family. Hubby wouldn't eat it, so I'd just make myself sick having to eat the whole thing. And I love the almond, it's like the baby Jesus in a king cake!

  11. yummmm i love me some rice pudding, will definately be makin this, hi from ICLW

  12. I *love* this!  And you are the second person this season who has posted about Riskrem.  What great photos!

    For me celebration is so closely linked to food, too ... it's like the things that nourish our bodies also nourish our spirits.  I'm glad that you finally found joy in your holiday, even if it wasn't the kind you had wanted.  And I hope that next year finds you with a babe in your arms to share your Riskrem--and so many other things--with.

  13. I never thought about it exactly that way, but it is exactly how I feel. It does nourish our spirit. So I am totally over emotional right now since AF is on her way cuz your last sentence made me tear up. It made me happy. Thank you. :)

  14. I am so glad something snapped you out of it. Hearing others are happy makes me happy too!

  15. I don't think you will screw it up, but if you are worried then tell your Hubby to make it for you. ;) It's good that you have less to worry about this year with the dogs. I just realized today how easy it will be to put everything away since there is only a tree. Yay for no cleanup!

  16. I wish I could stir up a batch for you right now with extra happiness.

  17. I hope you get to make it and ENJOY! Thanks for spreading the word on twitter! I would love lots of people to try it!


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