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Winter Holiday Fireside Moments Interview with Author Liz Lipperman

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It’s that time of year when the chill in the frosty air brings us indoors to hunker down with thick comforters and mugs of steaming hot chocolate overflowing with fluffy marshmallows.  When holiday music and movies become the soundtrack to our everyday home lives. When we gather ‘round the fire for company, drink, food and love.  When we are celebrating and remembering those we treasure and hold near and dear.  When the real meaning of the season is family – by our DNA or by our heart.  When we reflect and give thanks for all we have. In a nutshell, unconditional love.

I’d like to welcome Liz Lipperman to share the beauty of the season with us.

Favorite Holiday tradition?

When I was a kid, we would open presents on Christmas Eve and wear whatever my older brothers sent us when we went to midnight mass. Afterwards, we’d come home to ham, potato salad and baked beans before we went to bed. We have a similar tradition with my own kids and grandkids, except midnight Mass has now become 5 PM Mass and then we come home to steak and gravy (their favorite. This recipe is included in Beef Stolen-Off and is one my mother used to make for the truckers when she used to cook at a truck stop when I was young. The truckers came for miles around on the nights she cooked this.) Anyway, I got sidetracked — after we eat, we open presents. The next morning we head to my daughter’s house to watch the kids’ faces when they see what Santa brought them. Breakfast tacos are served and the kids go to the in-laws afterward. Hubby and I usually go to a movie.

Favorite childhood toy?

I had a Raggedy Ann doll that I loved.

Favorite childhood game?

Barbaree. One team draws a map in the dirt and goes to hide there while the other team tries to figure it out. When they find the first team, everyone runs back to the base. Whoever erases the map with their shoes is the winner. We used to play that for hours. If the second team can’t find the first team, they holler — Lost trai l– and the first team hollers back — Barbaree. Don’t ask me why that name, but we would play it for hours. Remember I grew up BEFORE Nintendo’s, iPads and DVDs. We played outside a lot.

Snow ball fight or making snow families?

I loved snow ball fights.

Sleigh rides, sledding or skiing?

Sledding, for sure. I grew up in Ohio and we had one big hill that was the bomb for sled rides. They’d close off the street and let us have at it.

Favorite holiday song?

“O Holy Night” sung by Christina Aguilera 

Favorite holiday movie?

It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart 

Favorite holiday story to read?

The birth of baby Jesus

Snow on holiday eve, day or just a chill in the air?

A chill in the air. I’m in Texas where everything comes to a standstill when we get snow.

Most memorable holiday memory?

My younger sister and I were the babies of a nine sibling family. There were four brothers, then five sisters, so my brothers were all older and out in the world by the time we were teenagers. They would send us identical presents since we wore the same size. Every year I would sneak in and open the presents and choose the color I liked best and put my name on that one, then rewrap. My family had no idea I did that. To this day, I label my Christmas presents with numbers rather than names so my kids won’t do that!! Talk about Sins of the Mother!!

Did you eat popcorn balls as a kid? If you did, do you still?

I was never much of a popcorn ball eater. I do love cheesy popcorn, though. We used to go to the Knights Of Columbus Christmas party every year and get a stocking filled with nuts and oranges.

Real tree or artificial? Green or white?

I grew up with real trees, but now I only use artificial ones. We had a real tree one year, and it was a mess. I love the green ones. This year I even bought a prelit one since the kids are no longer here to help me decorate.

What do you holiday eve?

We go to 5 PM mass as I’ve mentioned above and come home to the steak and gravy meal.

What are your holiday plans this year?

Exactly the same as every other year. Church, food, presents and an overdose of family.

What’s the one holiday dish your family can’t go without?

Besides steak and gravy, we love a big ham and Tex-Mex broccoli casserole.

Please share a Holiday recipe.

I always keep a Texas Sheath Cake around during the holidays. Here’s the recipe.

LIZ’S TEXAS SHEET CAKE (It’s really Sheath cake, but everyone calls it sheet cake.)

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ cup Crisco
1 cup water
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup Buttermilk
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Icing:

1 stick butter
3Tbsp. cocoa
6 Tbsp. buttermilk
½ tsp. vanilla 
Confectioners sugar
1cup chopped pecans

Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl.  In medium saucepan, cook butter, three Tbsp. Cocoa, Crisco, and water over medium heat.  Bring to rapid boil.  Pour over flour mixture.  

Add baking soda, buttermilk, eggs, and oneTbsp. vanilla.  Mix well, but do not use a mixer.  I use a whisket to get the lumps out.  Pour into greased 16×11 (jelly roll pan).

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 

While cake is baking, in a medium saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa and Buttermilk.  Bring to boil and take off heat.  Add one box of confectioners sugar, sifted. 

Add pecans and ½ tsp. vanilla. You can add more buttermilk, one tsp. at a time to get icing to spreading consistency.  Ice cake right out of the oven.  Cool before cutting.

Holiday party tip?

Take time to make sure you celebrate the real reason for the season. Don’t get so overwhelmed by preparations that you forget to relax and enjoy what’s really important in your life.

Favorite holiday decoration?

The Christmas tree.

Please share some magical holiday memories?

We now go to a non-denominational church where they have the most awesome Christmas service I have ever seen. It makes me feel as if I were with Mary and Joseph that night.

Wrap, gift bag or bow & go?

For Christmas presents, I like gift wrap. All others get a bag.

Gifts or gift cards?

I prefer personalizing gifts, although lately, the kids have been asking for gift cards to save up for things like an iPad.

Cyber shop or head out into the trenches?

Both. This year I ventured out at midnight on Thanksgiving day, and it was a zoo. Never again. I’ll let me fingers do the walking.

Do you eat fruitcake?

Absolutely not!!

Do you head to the movies on the 25th?

Yes, as I mentioned, hubby and I are alone on Christmas day.

What’s in your stocking?  *wink*

I Pad. 

What do you want in your stocking? *saucy wink aka swink*

I’m spoiled. I usually get what I want, and this year it was an iPad for both my birthday (in December) and Christmas.

Do you head out on the 26th into the madness to exchange or shop for anything?

Not no but hell no!

Thank you so much.

Happy Holidays from my house to yours!

Click here for my review of Liver Let Die.

Click here for Liz’s Thanksgiving memories.

Click here for Liz’s Halloween Fright Bites.

Click here to visit Liz’s website.

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About Diane Morasco