I often wish I had the singing voice of someone in a Gospel choir-big and powerful. (It’s like there’s a ninja repeatedly kicking the part of my brain that loves strong singing voices.) I find that it’s those songs performed by a Gospel group that get to me most. The voices are so convincing and heartfelt, they leave me in tears. I’m not religious but there is something to a song sung by a person giving it all of their emotional attention that makes me a sobbing buffoon and I’m not much for crying… well, I’ve noticed as I’ve aged that the water works come from my eyes without any control-tv shows, commercials, animals, small children, small children with animals, someone lending a helping hand, health issues and on and on. Those are a few surefire things that make me blubber. I’ve even been known to cry when I’m very angry which can be aggravating when you’re really giving it to someone or trying to have a mature argument. (I blame the hormonees as Aunt Voula would say from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.)
Anyway, I’ve been involved in choir since first grade. I was introduced to “music class” at Roanoke elementary and it was love at first note. (That’s not true, in kindergarten, we sang the elephant song that required the entire class to walk around swinging one arm in front of our face like trunks, which may have been where my hatred of choreography spawned. Being spontaneous is my choice when it comes to dancing.) I knew my future would revolve around music. I was accepted into a few different choirs, played the clarinet, sang in a few musicals and am an advocate to keep music in schools. Music was as big a part for my husband, Greg, as it was for me and still continues to play an important role in our lives. (He played trumpet in band from elementary school to college.)
I’m talking about this because for several years I’ve made a holiday cd (I make many a playlist) and listen almost every day, belting out the words I know and making up the others. You might be offended if you heard some of the lyrics I put in there. Those almost daily activities are some of my best-loved moments-that and dancing crazily with my husband. Around this time of year, I say to Greg how I wish I were in a choir and he tells me he has the same desire to be in a band. Enveloped in the moment are we but it passes just as quickly as it was stated and we start humming or Greg begins his rendition of Jingle Bells. (You really don’t want to hear his lyrics.)
I am particularly excited to share this recipe that my mom gave me a few years ago because it’s delicious and what I believe makes for a wonderful treat to bring to any party. There’s no baking involved and it’s a cinch to whip up. Plus, you can change the pie from peppermint to spearmint or another option of your choice without having to guess how to go about doing so. You can make individual servings or an entire pie (or two) but I promise you that this will not last long once guests dig in. I made the name extremely long but you can call it Peppermint Pie.
No- Bake Peppermint or Spearmint Pie with Graham Cracker Crust, Whipped Cream and Marshmallows
Serves 8 (with 9-inch pie plate)
1 graham cracker crust (store bought and no baking required) *homemade recipe below
24 large marshmallows
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
6 peppermint or mint extract drops
6-7 drops of red or green food coloring
2 cups Cool Whip (*homemade whipped cream recipe below)
2 tbsp crush peppermint or spearmint candy
Over low heat in a saucepan, mix marshmallows and milk, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat and add vanilla, salt, extract and coloring.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes and then add Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream and half of the crushed candy. Pour into 9-inch pie crust or individual pies and freeze for 4 hours (for 9-inch, less for smaller pies) or refrigerate for 8 hours. Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy over the top.
* Graham Cracker Crust-makes 9-inch pie
1 2/3 cup graham crackers
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp butter, melted
Mix all ingredients together and press into 9-inch pie plate
* Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Beat all ingredients together until soft peaks form and refrigerate until needed.