There is nothing like baking to bring out the Christmas spirit. This year I decided to make homemade gingerbread houses (without the gingerbread). I got the idea from my friend BreeAnn. We are not really fans of gingerbread but we still wanted to be able to eat the house. So on Christmas Eve, we sat together as a family and made non-gingerbread houses and I felt like myself again.
Non-Gingerbread Gingerbread House Recipe
Preparation: 1 hour
2 Boxes of Honey Maid Graham Crackers
1 house is 6 sheets
4 full sheets
1 sheet broken in ½
1 sheet broken in ½ and then each ½ is cut into a triangle
Disposable Icing Decorating Bags (as many as you need)
Royal Icing (without eggs)
4 cups of confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons of meringue powder
6 tablespoons of water
Different types of small candies
Examples: Skittles, Smarties, Gummy Bears, Mints, Sour Patch Kids, Mike & Ikes, Gobstoppers, or Jawbreakers
To begin, I got the gram crackers and prepared them. I broke them into the correct amount of pieces. The hard part is cutting the triangle pieces. You have to use a serrated knife and you slowly shave down the cracker in a straight line until they separate. Just be careful not to push too hard because you will crack it in half and you will have to start all over again. I went through quite a few crackers for this process. It takes patience.
The next part of the process is to make the Royal Icing. For this process you must bag it as soon as the icing is made. Royal icing will dry out if it’s not covered. The air dries it. So if you don’t bag it then cover the bowl it with a towel. You put the sugar in the bowl, sift the meringue powder on top of it, and then add on the water. Blend it together until it’s a solid form. This should take about 5 minutes. Place the icing into the disposable bags. Make sure to have enough bags that everyone can have their own.
Take one of those bags of icing and use it to glue each house together. Make the bottoms of the houses first. Let the icing dry and harden. Then start the tops of the houses. By the time you finish the 3rd or 4th house …the 1st one should be ready. Once all of the houses are built then you let them stand for at least 30 minutes. This will give the houses time to harden so when the kids decorate, the houses do not fall apart.
Put all the candy onto a dish and take it all to the table to decorate.
Man!! I love baking! Even though I didn’t really “bake”…..it felt like baking. Today was a good day!
This year the holidays seemed to come and go like the blink of an eye. It still feels like it should be April or May. Granted I was pregnant all year and limited in what I can do…and toward the end of the pregnancy I was complaining that time is going slow…the year still flew by. And the holidays….those were a big blur.
It didn’t used to be that way. I used to be a holiday enthusiast. I grew up celebrating EVERY holiday. Every holiday I would wake up to a gift (usually small) but still something to tell me – today is special. Different holidays brought out different parts to us. There was church, feeding the homeless, big family get togethers, house parties, and I don’t think I will ever forget every Christmas morning my mom would be dressed up like Mrs. Claus (in an outfit that was way too small for her so her ass would hang out the bottom) and she would hand out the gifts. Ahh the memories. There are so many stories I could tell but that would be another (long) post.
Over the years my enthusiasm has faded. It could be because when I got with my hubby he didn’t celebrate the way we did. Or it could just be that I gave up. Im not sure about that one yet. There was no going to church or feeding the homeless. Not because we didn’t believe in God….it was just that we didn’t go. There was no spending money….mainly because we didn’t have any. We started brand new. We were 17 and we moved to a different state. We started over with nothing to our name. So it took years to be able to get things like Christmas trees or any kind of décor for the house. And it didn’t help that my hubby wasn’t into that kind of stuff. So I was the only one wishing I had more. Which also doesn’t make it easy when you go buy something for the house or you give a gift and the hubby says “Why?” instead of “That looks nice.” or “Thanks!”. So for quite a few years there…I gave up on all holidays. I didn’t celebrate. Those days were treated like any other.
Then we finally started having the “kids” talk and things changed. We decided to start trying to have kids and we both agreed that we wanted our kids to enjoy the holidays. We wanted them to get the most out each holiday and enjoy it for what it is. So I slowly started buying décor for the house. I started to feel good about decorating again. We finally had lights on the house for Christmas. We have yet to go to church or feed the homeless. And we are still a little green on explaining what each holiday means to the kids but we have to start somewhere. (hey give me a break…my son is only 3…he just barely figured out who Santa was!). And so far, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only big holidays we are celebrating….but….we have to start somewhere.
And now that we actually have kids….we have a decorated house, a tree with actual ornaments on it, gifts under the Christmas tree, a big family dinner, and we are all thankful we are together. To me that’s what make holidays great. Family and friends spending quality time together…and being thankful for what we have.
Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you all enjoy your holidays!