Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man".  ~Benjamin Franklin

As another year draws to an end so does the Holiday baking.  
I begin to wonder if my life is on fast forward.  Is it me, or do the years seem to be flying by? 

New years eve is a perfect time for reflection of the things that we accomplished over the past year.

A time to reflect on our loved ones.  People struggling through difficult times.  Things that are important in life, and of course, Resolutions... 

Ringing in the New Year makes me a bit emotional.  I'm not sure why, but as the clock gets closer to midnight, I begin to feel the lump in my throat and by the time the ball drops in Times Square, I am usually trying to choke back the tears.

Perhaps it's the unknown of the year ahead.  The excitement of what's to come, and the appreciation of all that I have, and all the loved ones I have around me.

I have been fortunate this past year.  More fortunate than others, and I am thankful for everything that is in my life.

This year I decided that I will not make resolutions for myself.  Instead, I am making a wish for better things to come for one of my best friends in the world, Sue Jean.  

Her father was recently diagnosed with cancer and will be undergoing surgery at the beginning of the year.  I pray that he will have a quick and full recovery, and that Sue Jean will have a better year in 2011 than she did in 2010.

If there is anyone in the world who deserves it, it is certainly her!

And to all of you, I wish you a Wonderful, Happy and Healthy New Year!  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

In Preparation for the arrival of Santa Claus, we had to bake him some cookies.

Let the festivities begin!  From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fa la la la la

For my entire adult life, I have wanted to build a Gingerbread house from scratch.

Do you remember how I said I make a list of things to accomplish before Christmas?  Well, this is always the number one item on my list, and every year it is the first to be cut

To be sure I didn't scrap it this year, I made a pledge to my little Amelia that we were going to make a Gingerbread house together.  Two actually... One from scratch and one of the prepackaged kind you can pick up anywhere at this time of year.
Daddy and Amelia scaling the template
who knew making a Gingerbread house involved so many pieces?
A mixture of sugar and water cooked to "Hard Crack" stage
My "glue" could have used additional time on the stove as it wasn't quite ready... but I was too impatient to wait.
 Cautiously dip gingerbread pieces in the candy mixture and use it as a glue.  Careful not to burn yourself as the mixture is extremely hot.
The Sugar mixture dries almost immediately so there isn't the need to wait as long as you do when using royal icing.
The first roof
Shingling with Shreddies
The first roof had to be removed for a few reasons:
1)  The roof hadn't cooled completely (from the oven) before starting to assemble (Trust me... I knew this was a big mistake at the time, but I allowed myself to be talked in to it.)

2)  The roof was too thick and therefore too heavy.

3)  The sugar mixture wasn't cooked long enough, so it was still a little too soft.
The second roof was a much better size.  I also rolled it thinner and baked it longer.
These two Photos are the Gingerbread House that Amelia made!

I hope to continue this Gingerbread house tradition every year, as I had way more fun than I had imagined!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

'Tis the Season...

...To be baking!

Although Christmas is fast approaching and I have yet to complete my Christmas shopping, I thought I would share some of the cookies I have been working on.

Tomorrow I shall put down the rolling pin temporarily to hit the mall.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And the winner is...

Thank you to everyone who participated in the cookie giveaway.

The box of 6 snowflake Gingerbread cookies goes to...


Congratulations Leah!  Please message me your address and I will get them in the mail to you.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'll make you Banana Pancakes

"We've got everything we need right here and everything we need is enough"  Jack Johnson

Almost every Sunday my husband gets up early and makes Buttermilk Banana Pancakes for the family.  

I'm not talking about pancakes from a box. He actually pulls out the recipe book and makes them from scratch. 

I watch, and belt out the lyrics to Jack Johnson's "Banana Pancakes" as he cooks.

I love Sundays!

This past Sunday we tried something a little different.  

I found a wonderful product called Grainstorm which we had to try.  You see, Christmas shopping proves difficult for me some years, as inevitably I find something that I love (and must have), or a new, intriguing product I need to sample.
Who doesn't love getting packages in the mail?!

This year was no different.  

Now, never having tried the product before, my husband {Mike} and I decided we had better try the pancake mix first to make sure we weren't giving away a terrible product.
I love the packaging... So simple yet beautiful!
The perfect stocking stuffer!
We tried the buttermilk pancake recipe found on their
I made these, that's why they aren't round and pretty
Were these ever good!

Let me just say that my husband is not a fan of whole wheat/whole grain anything.  He will eat it, but will always say "it just isn't white bread".  

So, I was a little concerned with his reaction to these.

I watched as he took his first bite.  His eyebrows raised.  He took another bite... and I thought... well, here it comes.. the white bread comment...  but he surprised me with a "Wow! Now those are way better than I had imagined them to be".  

That was pretty much is way of saying they were awesome!

So for those of you at Grainstorm my hats off to you as Mike even went as far as saying we should be buying more!

Don't forget to enter your name into the cookie giveaway.  Click here for your chance to win (don't forget to leave your name).  Contest ends tomorrow night at midnight. 

Good Luck!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Run, Run, as fast as you can...

Every December I make a list.

A very extensive, unreasonable list of things I would to like to accomplish before Christmas Day...

Items such as making a Gingerbread house and decorating cookies for every single person I know.   Oh, and  making my own Christmas cards and chocolate truffles.

Perhaps, I could learn how to sew in time to make gifts for the entire family.

Oh, how I would love to see the look on my Brother's face after seeing his shirt made by me... Did I mention I can't even sew a button?!

And the list grows and grows...

And grows...

Now, for my friends wondering why they have never received a Christmas card in the mail or a single cookie delivered to them, it's because I said I make a list...

Before I know it, December 25 has arrived and I haven't accomplished nearly what I had planned.
In my perfect world, December would have 62 days, not 31.
A Simple Gingerbread Man
Given that I am on maternity leave this year and my work schedule wasn't a concern, I began my list a little earlier... and although I have managed to decorate many cookies, I know that by December 24th I will still be running to the store looking for last minute Christmas gifts.

But I will worry about that on the 24th...
So, this year, I thought I would try something new.  A little giveaway...  

So here it is... A chance to win 6 Gingerbread snowflake cookies.  It may not seem like much, but hey, I only have 3 followers so your chances are pretty good.  :)
To enter simply leave a comment on this blog post.  To double your chances, add a second comment to my facebook page telling me you are entering the cookie contest!

Contest closes on Friday December 17th at midnight, and will be chosen by

Good Luck.
(Due to Shipping regulations, contest open to Canadian and Americans only)

"... you can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!"

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