Crazy For Christmas

Killbuck Woman Makes The Most Of The Season

Sarah Anderson makes the most of the Christmas season. She tries to include family every way she can in her baking and entertaining schedule. Photos by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

Sarah Anderson tries to get as much mileage out of Christmas as possible in every way she can.

“My favorite Christmas memory is listening to a Robert Goulet Christmas CD while my mother and I made Seven Layer Bars, Molasses Cookies and Sugar Cookies. We always have some traditional recipes and some new ones for Christmas baking. We like to experiment.”

Anderson then speaks of her current Christmas traditions.

“We have a ton of memories and we keep building on them.” She and her husband, Ben, buy a new Christmas ornament every year. Two nieces and a nephew came over last Christmas season to make gingerbread houses. Her husband participated in the house-building project, as well.

“This year we’ll have seven kids and four adults. It is our goal not to buy anything except for the candy for decorating,” she says. “We made the royal frosting and used a structural gingerbread recipe, so it wasn’t real good (to eat).”

Ben Anderson gladly participated in gingerbread house construction with his nieces and nephew, from left: Bella Boehmer, Brynn Boehmer and Boomer Boehmer.

“She’s Christmas crazy,” says her sister-in-law, Casey Boehmer.

The Christmas enthusiast states the reason she loves Christmas so much is because everyone is so happy and because she can spend ample time with her family.

“We celebrate with my family, then my Anderson Family and with Casey’s in-laws, too.”

Anderson gets a twinkle in her eye as she recalls holiday events from years past and tells how there are often two or three annual cookie baking parties in December. The festivities begin on Christmas Eve at her brother-in-law’s house.

“We leave there and race to the service at church,” she says.

Banana Bread baked in minature bundt pans share a plate with Seven-Layer Bars.

“Although Ben may not be thrilled I am mentioning this, for the last four years I’ve gotten him and I matching pajamas and we wear them Christmas Day,” she adds. “I make a Dutch Baby (baked pancake) and we exchange our gifts.”

She then tells about the year they bought each other the exact same gift and how their family knew, because each had shared their plan, but no one leaked the surprise.

“Then we go to Ben’s parents’ house and open more presents and there’s way too much food. Everybody contributes.”

Every year the Anderson Christmas tree is taken down on Jan. 6, because Anderson’s husband once sang a song he wrote for her on that date. Ben proposed on Christmas Eve at Allegany State Park after using the excuse for being there that it was his family’s tradition to drive around the State Park on Christmas Eve, which she doubted, because she had never witnessed in it the past. The romantic had placed lighted anterns and roses on the stone pier, but because his intended’s vision is poor, she could not see what was ahead of her and she began complaining about people leaving their belongings and trash behind. His parents were watching through binoculars from the park’s administration building. Lanterns have become important in their lives ever since that day. Her wedding attendants carried lanterns and Anderson has since started collecting them.

When asked about her interests and hobbies, she replied “I have to be honest; I’m trying to cultivate them. For years I was a workaholic.” She enjoys reading and is “trying to get into hiking” and is hoping to return to volunteerism. According to her husband, she loves exploring. Spending time with her family is very important to her, as well.

Apple Crisp is served in goblets amidst Christmas greenery.

“We don’t have kids, but we always have kids,” the Killbuck woman says, referring to the amount of time she and Ben babysit nieces and nephews.

The Christmas enthusiast is a physical therapist assistant at The Pavilion of Bradford Regional Medical Center. Her husband is a special projects planner for the Seneca Nation. They attend Crosstown Alliance-Olean Campus and help when they can.

They will soon be purchasing a home. Anderson has asked her husband to refrain from buying Christmas gifts for her and instead put the money toward a fund to purchase a miniature pony and a Bernese Mountain Dog, both of which she intends to own by Christmas 2018.

“They will both be kept in the house,” she states.

Anderson prefers baking and leaves much of the cooking to her husband.

“I always find a recipe to use as a base, then I change it, as with the peppermint brownies. My friends call me Betty Crocker.”

Here she has included favorite recipes from her mother, Karen Cocca; her mother-in-law, Ann Marie Anderson; and two of her husband’s aunts with a favorite from her own files. Her mother had to decipher the measurements in the recipes she shared, because they came from a very old source and were written with a “dash of this and a pinch of that.” There was even reference to measuring with “the broken tea cup.”

“My mother-in-law always makes Acini de Pepe Macaroni Salad for family gatherings. It is my favorite. Aunt Tina makes the carrot cake every year for Ben’s grandfather’s birthday, including the most recent when he turned 90.”

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Acini de Pepe Macaroni Salad

Combine sauce ingredients in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thick. Cool.

1 c sugar

2 T flour

1 3/4 c juice (from fruit below)

1/2 tsp salt

3 egg yolks, beaten

Cook 1 box Acini de Pepe pasta. Rinse in cool water. Drain well and cool. Combine with sauce and let stand overnight. Stir in fruit and whipped topping the next day. Nuts and/or well- drained maraschino cherries may be added.

1 large bowl whipped topping, thawed

1 large can pineapple tidbits

1 large can crushed pineapple

2 cans mandarin oranges

1 bag miniature marshmallows

Aunt Sonne’s

Corn/Bean Dip

1 can black beans

1 can black eyed peas

1 can shoepeg corn

1/2 c oil

1/2 c apple cider vinegar

3 T Tiger Sauce

1/3 c sugar

chopped green peppers, optional

Drain liquid from vegetables. Combine in large bowl. Refrigerate overnight.

Crock Pot Spinach

2- 10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, thaw and drain

2 c cream style cottage cheese

1/4 c butter, cut into pieces

11/2 c American cheese, cubed

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 c flour

1 tsp salt

Combine ingredients in mixing bowl. Pour into greased crock pot. Cover and cook on high 1 hour. Turn to low for 4-5 hours.

Aunt Tina’s Carrot Cake

2 c flour

2 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp cinnamon

3 eggs, well beaten

3/4 c oil

3/4 c buttermilk

2 c sugar

2 tsp vanilla

8 oz crushed pinapple

2 c grated carrots

3 1/2 oz can flaked coconut

1 c walnuts, chopped

raisins, optional

Combine flour, soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside. Combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture, pineapple, carrots, coconut and chopped walnuts. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Prepare glaze so it is ready when cake comes from oven. Immediately spread Buttermilk Glaze evenly over hot layers. Cool in pans 15 minutes; remove from pans, and let cool completely.

Buttermilk Glaze

1 c sugar

1/2 tsp soda

1/2 c buttermilk

1/2 c butter

1T light corn syrup

Combine ingredients in saucepan. Bring to a boil, cooking 4 minutes. Stir often. Remove from heat. Add 1 tsp vanilla. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers, on top and sides of cake. Store cake in refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 c butter, room temperature

8 oz cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

2 c powdered sugar

1 tsp grated orange rind

1 tsp orange juice

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and continue whipping until smooth.

Cinnamon Rolls

1 pkg yeast

1 c warm water

1/4 c sugar

1 tsp salt

2 eggs, well beaten

4 c flour

1/4 c butter, softened

brown sugar




Stir yeast into warm water. Stir in sugar and salt. Stir in eggs. Add flour 1 cup at a time, combining each as you go, working from soft batter to dough. Knead gently. Place in greased bowl. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place until doubled in size. Roll out dough. Spread brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and nuts over dough. Roll dough jelly roll style. Slice into 1/2- inch slices. Arrange slices in a buttered 13” x 9″ pan. Cover and let rise until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Frost when cool. 12 rolls

Apple Sauce Cake

1 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 3/4 c flour

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 c sugar

1/2 c shortening

1 egg beaten

1 c applesauce

raisins, optional

walnuts, optional

Mix all dry ingredients with raisins and walnuts. Add shortening, egg and applesauce. Combine well. Grease 8” x 8″ pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Seven Layer Bars

Layer in order in a greased 8” x 8″ pan.

1) 2 c graham cracker crumbs

2) 1 stick melted butter

3) 6 oz chocolate chips

4) 6 oz peanut butter chips

5) 2 c nuts

6) 1 c shredded coconut

Pour one can sweetened condensed milk over layers. Bake at 350 degrees until golden.

Molasses Cookies

2 c molasses

1 c hot coffee

1 tsp cinnamon

2 rounded tsp soda

1 c sugar

1 c shortening

1 tsp (heaping) ginger

1 tsp salt


Mix all ingredients, except flour. Add flour and combine until a thick dough forms. Chill one hour. Roll out and cut into desired shapes. Bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Banana Bread

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1 level tsp soda

1 c sugar

1/2 c shortening

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

2 c flour

1/2 c walnuts

Mash bananas and then sprinkle with soda. Let stand. Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and salt and combine. Stir soda into bananas and add to mixture. Last add flour and mix until combined. Grease two loaf pans. Divide batter into pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Peppermint Brownies

1/2 c butter

1 c sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 c flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/4 c dry pudding mix

peppermint chunks (Ghirardelli)

In sauce pan melt better. Remove from heat and add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Then add flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa and dry pudding mix. Combine. Spread batter in greased square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and add peppermint chunks. Continue baking 5 minutes longer.