Hello there! I missed last week in an effort to get caught up on some other stuff but I’m back and ready to share a cuppa with you. Let’s chat!
I have some good news! If you’re here, chances are you’re a reader and as a reader you understand how important a book case really is. We moved into our house earlier this year and couldn’t get our heads around the fact that there was a huge, useless open nook in our living room to the side of the fireplace. It screamed book case but oddly didn’t have even a single shelf. Like i said, useless. So we finally got a gorgeous custom built in book case put in and I’m absolutely loving how beautiful it is. I have a mix of books (white, gray, and black for an ombre effect) as well as some holiday decor. After the holidays I’m not sure what the aesthetic will be but I’m excited to even have the possibility now.
I haven’t tried any new tea lately as I’ve been trying to increase my regular water intake instead. I was feeling so sluggish I thought it couldn’t hurt to see if it was water related since i know i wasn’t drinking as much as i should’ve been. Surprisingly it actually did help somewhat.
Yesterday was national gingerbread house day so our family chose to do our annual tradition of making and decorating a gingerbread house together. My hubby and I typically don’t decorate, more like supervise, but we’re always there to give out our advice if needed. And sometimes we’re able to get away for a few minutes to talk Christmas presents in another room so either way it works out. I bought some gingerbread house molds on Amazon a few years back and still use them today. I haven’t had any issues whatsoever. Find it *HERE* . Luckily, some nice reviewer on that mold left a recipe in their review so I’ve been sticking to that as well without any problem. It’s enough to do one full gingerbread house plus many cookies and shapes to accompany it. This year i used the leftover dough to also make another smaller house by free-handing it. I have found that it’s best to outline and cut out paper ahead of time to fit the house walls, roof, and door, then use that to cut the rolled out flattened dough. Here’s the recipe in case you’re interested in trying it out too. There’s also a recipe for the royal icing which is helpful and dries fairly quickly with a great stick.
6 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ginger
4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 c. molasses
1 tbsp. water
Combine the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Stir with a wire whisk to mix ingredients. Set aside to use later. Combine the brown sugar and butter together in a large mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Add in the eggs, molasses, and water to the brown sugar and butter mixture. Beat until well incorporated. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat into the mixture until evenly mixed. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir into the dough by hand. Stir only until ingredients are evenly mixedIf the dough is not stiff add a little more flour. Divide the dough in half. Place each half into a gallon plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin to flatten or flatten into disks and wrap in plastic. Seal the bags and place both halves in the refrigerator to chill the dough for at least 2 hours. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before using. After all the sections are filled, place the cast iron mold in an oven preheated to 350°F and bake for 15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the gingerbread to cool in the mold for approximately 10 minutes before removing the pieces.
3 pasteurized egg whites OR 1/4 C. meringue powder plus 1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. almond extract
4 c. powdered sugar
Combine the egg whites or meringue powder and water with the cream of tartar and beat until it becomes foamy. Add about two thirds of the powdered sugar and beat into the egg mixture. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar and almond extract and continue to beat on high until the icing holds a stiff peak. If the icing seems too runny, add a little more powdered sugar. If the icing seems too thick, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it is at the desired consistency. If you are not ready to use the icing immediately, dampen a dish towel and place it over the bowl of icing to keep it from drying out. Remove the towel to take some of the frosting out to work with and then replace the damp towel on the bowl. If the damp towel is placed over the bowl while you are constructing and decorating the house, the icing will remain the proper consistency. If the towel begins to dry, sprinkle it lightly with water to re-dampen.
If you do end up making one, I’d love to see it. Email me pictures at email@example.com
Here’s ours, undecorated of course. Our She-shed was measured incorrectly lol and the roof is not up to code by any means but that’s okay. Also not pictured are about 20 small cookies I used my cookie cutter collection on. We had a huge charcuterie board we snacked on with shirley temples to drink and at the end our local fire department coincidentally had a parade through our neighborhood in which we saw Santa himself. It was a great day.
Next month is the release of Changing Lanes and I’m already hard at work prepping. There’s a lot that goes into a book release when you’re an indie author. You do it ALL unless you hire out. I hire out for the big things that make the quality of the overall product better like editing and cover as well as interior formatting but everything else is all on me. I’m still looking for help from readers, bloggers, and ‘grammers to help spread the word and/or read and review ARC copies. If that’s something you’re interested in, feel free to sign up *HERE*. The cover reveal (OMG I CANNOT WAIT) is January 6th with the book going live January 21st. You can choose to share the news on either day or both as well as offer to read it before everyone else in exchange for an honest review. Every single bit helps so I appreciate anything.
That’s it for me this week. Thanks for stopping over. Enjoy your upcoming week and stay safe!
Happy Sunday! I’m sitting outside on a beautifully mild day writing this and I cannot wait for more of these days. The weather says Fall . . .
Is it Fall yet? Sorry, it’s just that we’ve had such a wet summer here in upstate New York with mild temps throughout and it . . .