The after school gingerbread project: rolling & baking

Yesterday’s project was all about sifting and stirring; today is about snipping and sizing. It’s both a craft project and a baking project, so you’ll need scissors and a rolling pin.

Once again, Noah and Mateo are your hosts for this step, and they begin with cutting out the template for the gingerbread house pieces.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net [Read more…]

The after school gingerbread project: mixing the dough

Like most Christmas baking projects, this one starts with butter and sugar. Not much sugar, though, as most of the sweetness of the dough comes from molasses. And what a fine dough it is, fragrant with spices and supple to the touch.

Today’s project is to mix up our gingerbread dough and let it chill in the refrigerator. We’ve already assembled our ingredients, now it is time to wash our hands, tie on aprons, and begin!

The full recipe is at the bottom of the post, but first, watch Noah (he’s 8 and wearing the red shirt) and Mateo (who is 5, and wearing black) mix up their dough. I turned the mixer on and off for them, but they prepared the rest.

[Read more…]

The after school gingerbread project: prepping

Yesterday I introduced our little gingerbread house project, five steps to be broken down into manageable tasks, ideally headed up by the kids after school.

Many of you chimed in on social media with enthusiasm and I was thrilled with the response. Excellent! Let’s get started then.

One list and one shopping trip is about the best thing you can do to start off on the right foot. Having everything ready to go at the beginning of the week will ensure the project goes smoothly. Hopefully, you won’t have to buy much; we made do with picking up a few candy canes and were able to work from a well-stocked pantry for the rest. [Read more…]

How to build a gingerbread house in 5 simple steps

Noah woke up the other morning and exclaimed, “It smells like Christmas!” He made a good point – our made-from-scratch gingerbread house doubles both as holiday decor and a delightful air freshener of cinnamon candy and spices.

This week I’m bringing you a new tutorial for kids in the kitchen. It’s called The After School Gingerbread Project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house.

Constructing a gingerbread house from scratch is an activity my children look forward to all year. This Christmas, I decided to let them do it all by themselves. They had supervision, of course, but I was behind the camera 99% of the time. They did a great job! It was thrilling to see how much pride they took in their handiwork.

We broke the after school gingerbread project down into five steps that can each be done in under 30 minutes.

[Read more…]

Aimée’s 2013 Cookbook Gift Guide

This isn’t going to be a ‘Best of 2013’ cookbook list. The simple reason being that I haven’t cooked from, read through or lapped up every new cookbook that came out this year.

My particular list is compiled with books that have inspired me in the kitchen and homestead and motivated me to learn more about cooking, baking, canning, and more. They have sparked research, initiated conversations on everything from pudding to preserving, and made. me. hungry!

In some cases, they’ve picked me up when I’ve been completely uninspired to make dinner (oh, it happens) and coaxed me back to the stove. Although they are new to my shelves, many of these cookbooks are already old friends.

I was a judge for this year’s Taste Canada Cookbook Awards and that experience really taught me how to scrutinize a cookbook. Before my involvement, I could intuitively separate the solid cookbooks from the weaker ones, but now I’m also aware of how important elements such as the author’s voice, research, organization, originality and food safety play into my choices.

2013 was an epic year for cookbooks. For the home preserving enthusiast to the vegetarian on your holiday gift list, here is my inspired cookbook gift guide for 2013. Happy browsing. Happy cooking.

[Read more…]