Thursday, 13 January 2011

The last of the left-overs...

        Another box to the recycle—the one that held two layers of Christmas Chocolates—we finished the last ones.  Enjoyable while they lasted.  We have a couple boxes of deep-filled mince pies remaining from our celebration month.  We are close to finishing the rest of the left-over Holiday season food.  I have less to finish—as John found three bottles of wine the other day.  I’m a teetotaller, and like it that way.  January equals facing the consequences of choices made during the feasting season—eating all those foods we usually don’t have access to, or otherwise choose to avoid.  But this blog is not about changing eating habits...aren’t you glad? 
        The topic is the left-over stories from our Christmas season.  This is the last instalment of “The Grandsons M & K Week Adventure.”  Now, you may ask, what could I possibly have to say about that this in the 2nd week in January?  Simple—gingerbread.  Had the boys been coming for a day or two, the project of preference would have been rolled out sugar cookies.  But since we were extending the length of stay, I gave the situation a bit more consideration.  
        It was from a childhood interest in Germany and German traditions that the tradition of gingerbread houses rose to the surface in my brain.  This seemed like a bigger project that would require longer.  With this in mind, I went to Google and typed in Gingerbread houses.  This led me to:  This website is a great resource with all kinds of recipes, instructions, templates, photos, videos and competitions.   
        It turned out that the Gingerbread House project was a three-day affair for us.  One day for making the dough; one day for baking the houses, and one day to construct and decorate them.  Although chilling the dough for an hour would have sufficed, most instructions I read said it was better to keep in refrigerated overnight.  And it broke up the activity so their anticipation was higher.  
        I also baked three more houses—one for Midnight Man’s three daughters and their families.  The houses were my gift to the families—as it was the most economic approach for us time wise and financially.  After all, something made by hand is an expression of love. 
        My first attempt at royal icing failed and the houses were not sticking together.  So, sending the boys out to burn off some energy, I retreated to my computer to research the process of making icing into a glue-like consistency.  Well, I simply hadn’t let my Kitchen Aid mixer run long enough.  It required 15 minutes.  Victory!  So I not only learned about Royal Icing (recipe on the website listed above), but I also learned how to make icing piping bag from grease-proof paper.  Needing to supply the boys and myself for the project, I became more than proficient at making royal icing, making and filling piping bags.  
        Once the icing was the right consistency, the lounge looked like a miniature construction site as we used up all the candy we’d bought to decorate the houses.  Even Midnight Man was volunteered military style* to be part of the project.  He was assigned the job of making carrier boxes for the houses.  
        *Military Style Volunteer:  Commanding Officer—“I need a volunteer.  And YOU are it.  Now get busy.”
        Now the boys are ready for next year.  And my other grandchildren want a turn too.  Hmmm...maybe I’ll need to camp at their house next year!    I hope you enjoy the photos!

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith.

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