Friday, December 7, 2012

Baking With Kids Tips #2

Make cookie dough ahead of time.

Huge time saver when you want to do some baking with the kids but don't have a lot of time. It has been my experience that munchkins are just as happy cutting shapes out of the dough or dropping tablespoons (while sneaking tastes) on cookies sheets as they are measuring and mixing. And when you don't have a lot of time -- maybe you only have a couple hours together with your favorite short people due to busy schedules -- you still get some quality face time with them. Some of the best conversations I've ever had with my kids have been while baking. 

Cookie dough is hugely versatile and freezes really well. I always keep dough on hand for impromptu baking urges. Like when 4ft wants to talk but doesn't quite know how to start. Let's go bake some cookies. When Grumpers is having a rough day (it's tough being two). Let's go bake some cookies. And you know, sometimes you just need a cookie. Let's go bake some cookies.

More words of wisdom: Cookies make everything better!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Getting Crafty -- A Christmas Chain

Every year, near the beginning of December, we make a Christmas chain for keeping track of Days Til Christmas.

The Supplies

Count how many days you have til Christmas Eve and then subtract one. The Christmas Eve link is the gold one. Then divide how many days you have in half (if it's an odd number pick which you like better: red or green) and then you know how many links you need of each color. Then you cut strips of colored construction paper like in the picture. We're traditionalists. You could use any color you wanted we just like red, green, and yellow. 

4ft gluing the links together

Start the chain. Use the glue stick on one end (the short sides) and then loop it together and secure. Then thread the next color through the loop and repeat. So on and so forth until you get the whole chain done.


It's an easy fun project you can do as a family. We always share the duties. This year I did the red, 4ft did the green, and Grumpers didn't want to help until we got to the yellow one and so he did that one. Before bed, the boys take turns tearing off the bottom chain and then they count how many days are left.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baking With Kids Tips #1

I have three kids -- all of which love to help me bake. So I've had a munchkin helper or two or three for going on 7 years now and have a few helpful hints and tips on how to get your darlings in the kitchen with you without the stress little helper hands can sometimes cause. I know baking with three kids doesn't make me an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I thought I'd share what works for me and my little chefs.

Tip #1 -- Time Management

Before you start a baking project (and yes, with kids involved it becomes a project) decide how much time you'll need. One of the biggest stress creators I've found baking with kids is when I haven't allotted enough time to get the job done -- I begin to rush to finish and that is a recipe for disaster. I don't know about you, but when I'm rushed, I get testy and when I get testy I stop having fun. If I'm not having fun how is it possible that my kids are. It's not.

Always make sure you have over estimated the time you need from start to finish. When kids help they want to help. Everything you do they want to do too. Make sure you have enough time to let them. I guarantee you and your family will be creating fun-filled baking memories.

Always remember my Golden Rule of Baking with Kids -- Baking should always be one part laughter, one part mess, and three parts FUN!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Launch Party!

It's finally here, today is the day, it's off to great places, it's off on its way!

The Great Gingerbread Goof is available in all e-formats from wherever you like to buy your ebooks the most. I couldn't be more excited. And to commemorate this fantabulous occasion, I've got an awesome royal icing recipe for you to go with Sugar and Spice's Gingerbread.

Sugar and Spice's Gingerbread Cinnamon Icing

1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon pasteurized egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2.25lbs confectioner's sugar
1 tsp cinnamon extract

In a large mixing bowl combine the water, cream of tartar, egg whites, and cinnamon extract: beat on medium until frothy and thickened -- about 1 minute

On the lowest speed, add in all the icing sugar and mix slowly for at least 10 minutes -- until icing is thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a damp towel to keep frosting from drying out and getting crunchy

Store in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed against the frosting to preserve the texture

Too thick -- add tiny amounts of warm water til desired consistency or use food coloring if you want something other than white.

Too thin -- add small amounts of confectioner's sugar til desired consistency

This is a great icing -- don't want cinnamon use whatever extract you want! The possibilities are endless!

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Friday, November 9, 2012

400 Gingerbread Hippos

Many, many, many hours and blisters on my thumbs and forefingers later we have Gingerbread Hippos. 400 of them are in this picture not including all the ones that the kids, my friend Nikki, and I ate while cutting, baking, and frosting them. So. Many. Hippos. But it was so much fun to do. Thank you so much, Nikki, for helping me frost them!

They were cute with just white granny panties on but for Christmas, last year, Santa brought me edible ink markers. How cute would polk-a-dots be on their panties?


350 multi-colored polk-a-dotted granny panties


About 40 Big hippos with Christmas Granny Panties on.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Full of Win!

Guess what I got in the mail today?

YES!!! HIPPO COOKIE CUTTERS! I am so excited. My life is now complete. Today my kids and I are going to make Gingerbread Hippos. I'll post pictures as soon as we're done. It might not be today. I have to make at least 200 probably closer to 300 cookies. I have an event on Friday and I'm going to be giving them away!

Wishing you tasty cooking,

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Available November 26, 2012

It's here! It's here!  The first book in my new series, Cook-It-Yourself Tales. Look at how pretty and shiny it is! 

Find out what the best cooks in Cookinville do when they make a delicious mistake -- and learn how to make your own yummy gingerbread at the same time!

It's available for Pre-Order NOW at Musa Publishing in all e-formats and officially releases on Cyber Monday (November 26, 2012).

Wishing you tasty cooking,

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