Celebrating the holiday season always makes me nostalgic.
Having grown up in an Italian-American home, I’ve always shared a special love of food and cooking with my family. During Christmastime, I can remember spending hours in the kitchen with my mom Bettina, creating these fantastic seasonal dishes, many of which were the original Sicilian recipes handed down from my grandmother to her.
As I got older and started a family of my own, I really learned to appreciate these culinary gems even more, and often relied on my mom for help when my kitchen experiments went wrong! Now that she’s gone, I still love mixing up her signature dishes and often laugh about the wonderful times we spent cooking together through the years. These memories transport me back to my childhood and those happy times we had cooking, laughing and celebrating with my family… times which have had a profound impact on my life.
As a child I can recall one occasion, while eating her delicious Christmas cookies, of her telling me that she puts a “secret” ingredient into them, which is why they are so good. When I asked her what it was, she said she would tell me someday- but not yet, which made this “secret” all the more magical. When I was grown, I learned that this “secret” ingredient was merely sugar, but my childhood recollection of this intrigue made the memory all the more special to me.
Sadly, my mom, Bettina passed away in 2016. While she is dearly missed, her legacy lives on in so many beautiful ways- including her amazing recipes- which I have now passed on to my children. In honor of her culinary talent and to celebrate this festive season, I’d like to share with you, my Rewire Me family, some of my mom’s favorite holiday recipes.
I also invite you to comment below and share your own recipes and/or memory of your mom, grandmother, aunt, or anyone else who has had a profound influence on your life.
May the joy of the holiday season bring you, your family and friends joy, peace and love.
- 2-3 medium apples (chopped into medium-sized pieces)
- Juice from half a lemon (or 1 tablespoon if you want less lemony taste)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- Zest 1/2 lemon
- 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar (for dusting on the cake)
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C), grease and flour a nine-inch bundt or cake pan.
- In a medium bowl add the chopped apples and sprinkle with the lemon juice (to prevent apples from turning brown).
- In a large bowl beat the eggs and sugar until creamy and light approximately 3-4 minutes. Then add the yogurt and oil, sift the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl add the zest then beat until combined.
- Fold in the apples, spoon into the prepared cake pan, sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes (check for doneness with a toothpick).
- Let cool completely before removing from pan. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!