I first met the brilliant and lovely women behind Crumbs Above Gold one year ago, when I began working as a barista at The Flying M Coffee Garage. As many of you readers know, Laura is our baker at the shop we affectionately refer to as “The M” and Diana is married to Joe, who was our roaster for many years.
As for me, my name is Rachel Elling and I’m a girl who probably enjoys too many things. I love having full days and going to bed very tired each night. I have traveled fairly extensively for my age throughout Europe and Africa. I moved to Idaho from Maine, where I studied Midwifery. I practiced as a Midwife in the Treasure Valley for a few years before I chose to take a break to pursue coaching CrossFit and training as a weightlifter. See… I really do enjoy too many things! Making coffee is such a fun job and I love being a familiar face in the community I live in. Recently I accepted a job with a non-profit organization called Mercy in Action, that works to improve maternal infant mortality rates in the world- most notably in the Philippines. I haven’t been to the Philippines yet, but I’m crossing my fingers that it’s my next adventure!
I was raised in a large family of eight. Like most families, we had our share of traditions, particularly around the holidays. One of our Christmas traditions was to look for a tree as a family. We would then decorate it together while drinking my mom’s famous homemade eggnog (Christmas music playing in the background, of course). The eggnog recipe was a family secret, passed on for generations. I could drink enough cups of that velvety beverage to make myself sick, but I didn’t care! It was so delicious and everyone we knew agreed.
In 2007 I was studying in England, preparing to spend my very first Christmas away from home. Homesick for my family and our traditions, I had the idea to host an evening at the school: An Elling Family Christmas. We would watch It’s a Wonderful Life, decorate sugar cookies and, most importantly, drink my mom’s eggnog! I purchased all of the required ingredients, paying a fortune thanks to the exchange rate (seriously, the eggnog was so expensive it should have been laced with gold dust). I got special permission to use the school’s kitchen and I went to work- trying my hand at this ancient family recipe for the first time. The night was a success- my English friends loved it and I was a little less homesick by the end. As per usual, everyone wanted the eggnog recipe, but I explained that it was a family secret that I absolutely could not disclose.
I also made the eggnog several times when I was living in Maine, studying Midwifery. I brought it to parties and potlucks, and sometimes I would simply make a pitcher to share with my roommate at home. Once again, the requests for the recipe poured in and I had to explain why I was not at liberty to share it with anyone outside of my family.
One evening while I was speaking with my mom over the phone, I mentioned that I had made her eggnog for another party and that everyone had loved it! “Mom, do people bug you all the time for that recipe? I get asked so much, but don’t worry, I always tell them no,” I said. “You tell them no when they ask for the recipe? Why would you do that?” my mom inquired in return. “Mom, I tell them no because it’s a family recipe and I know it’s a secret,” I replied, almost laughing to myself that she would ask me why I was keeping the recipe under wraps. “Rachel, that recipe is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s- I took it straight from one of the Little House on the Prairie books.” Ooops! We had a pretty good laugh about that as I considered the dozens of friends I had refused to give the recipe to in the name of “Preserving Family Tradition!” I guess I told myself from a young age that it MY mom’s eggnog recipe. We still don’t know where I got the idea that it was a family secret though.
Needless to say, I am so happy to share with you readers, THE famous eggnog recipe! Be sure to let your guests know that it is made with raw eggs. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has and that you share widely!
Teresa’s Christmas Eggnog
Makes six 1 cup servings
3 egg yolks (set whites aside)
½ cup sugar
*whisk together until smooth, push through sieve if needed to remove any lumps
4 cup milk
*slowly pour in to above mixture, whisking constantly
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 egg whites
1 T sugar
*beat until soft peaks form and partially fold into milk mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy! Of course, you may choose the boozier route. If you decide to spike your nog, rum, bourbon or brandy are all excellent choices.