Gingerbread Men and Holiday “Crazies”
December 19th, 2011
Holy cow. This has been a really crazy week.
I am giving you a sample of the last week, which has included some of the following things in the lives of my family:
1) 3 out of 4 family members had the 3.5 hour stomach flu. Relax anyone that has seen me in the last few days. We are all done and the cycle seems to have been stopped with the 2 ¾ gallons of bleach, and case of Lysol wipes that I went through.
2) All of the lights mysteriously stopped working on our Christmas tree, but I can’t even deal with it. The thought of un-decorating the tree in order to unravel the lights and try to find the missing lightbulb- it’s all more than I can handle. Pia said that the batteries must have run out- I am going with that. We still have lights on the mantels- that will have to do!
3) My husband met his musical quota for the year taking Pia to the Nutcracker and Cinderella back to back. I suspect he slept through both.
4) I made massive quantities of The Pioneer Woman’s UNBELIEVABLE cinnamon rolls this weekend for my nieces “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” 12th Birthday Brunch. I have never made them before, and boy was I missing out. CRAZY good. I highly recommend them.
6) I judged a Seattle Iron Chef competition on Saturday night! Since I lie awake at night fantasizing about stuff like that- so it was really cool for me. Varolii, a local Seattle software company with a HUGE heart uses their annual Christmas party every year as an opportunity to raise money for a different charity each year. This Christmas, the lucky recipient was Farestart. Farestart is a local organization dedicated to culinary job training and placement for the homeless and disadvantaged. To not only celebrate, but highlight these cooks coming out of the program, Varolii arranged an Iron Chef competition. John Nobis, formerly of Roy’s, and Jason McClure of Sazerac (in Seattle) were the chefs, and then they took Farestart graduates for their crews.
My co-judges were the CFO of the company, and Robin Leventhal (Top Chef, season 6.) It was a blast, and we got to taste incredible dishes featuring the secret ingredient “Scallops!” In the end, the victory went to John Nobis with my favorite dish being a scallop crudo highlighted with fresh horseradish. Delicious!
7) I watched Pia in the church Christmas pagent. She sang twinkle, twinkle little star in Greek. Also, when the curtains to the stage opened and the nativity scene was on display, it was very, very quiet. Coco yelled out (at the top of her lungs) “look at that lady taking a nap!” (the lady was The Virgin Mary) everyone laughed.
8) I fell even more in love with my kids.
9) I drank too much wine at my moms on Sunday. I also ate sushi till my dress was ready to burst. There may have been some Christmas cookies involved too. Oink oink.
10) Today I had 6 children (ages 9-12) plus my two children (ages 2-4) over for a kids cooking class. I donated this to my niece and nephews school for their auction last spring. Today was the cash in day! I was lucky enough that 2 of the kids were my niece and nephew, which meant that my sister came and helped me manage the chaos ☺
Yes. My kitchen looked exactly how you suspect it did.
No, I don’t have any better pictures that the disasters featured here- sorry I didn’t even get through the full step by steps with the dough- but you get the idea, right?
Yes, we had a lot of fun- and the kids were all polite and sweet and pretty good little cooks. Special shout out to my nephew Dylan- he surprised me with his skills today!
Here is the recipe. (Also, for the record- kids decorating gingerbread men are adorable. Really and truly.)
Gingerbread Men, makes about 2 dozen cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1) In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
2) Stir in molasses and egg yolk.
3) Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
4) Add and blend into the molasses mixture until it creates a sticky dough.
5) Cover, and chill for at least one hour.
6) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
7) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
8) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
9) Frost or decorate when cool.
**Also- I have no idea what to make for Christmas dinner- Any ideas or want to share your menu with me?