Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gingerbread Nativity

I did a gingerbread house this year.  Placed is on a Lazy Susan and on one side it had a modern scene with a tree and star.  On the other side it had a manger scene and the star for the modern scene and the nativity were the same.

The Nativity Side

The Modern Day Side
The family this was made for has a set of triplets with one older brother.

Joseph, Angel, Mary,
The baby Jesus
The baby Jesus

The three wise men

Friday, December 30, 2011

Citrus Ginger Cake with Spiced Orange Compote

  • 1/2 cup(s) honey
  • 1/4 cup(s) mild-flavored extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 2 tablespoon(s) freshly grated orange or lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup(s) fresh orange or Meyer lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoon(s) chopped crystallized ginger, divided
  • 1 cup(s) whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 teaspoon(s) confectioner's sugar
  • Spiced Orange Compote (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil an 8-inch round cake pan (see Variation), line with parchment paper and oil the parchment.
  2. Stir together honey, oil, egg yolks, zest, juice and 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger in a medium bowl. Sift whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high in another medium bowl until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Stir the honey mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon. Gently fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula until they are well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake and turn it out onto the rack. Let cool completely.
  5. Just before serving, sift sugar evenly over the top of the cake and garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons ginger. Serve with Spiced Orange Compote on the side. Variation: You can use a 9-inch cake pan for this recipe, but you will get a thinner cake. Reduce the baking time to 25 to 30 minutes. You can find 8-inch cake pans at well-stocked kitchenware stores or online at
  6. To bring an egg to room temperature, either set it out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge it (in the shell) in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.
Spiced Orange Compote
  • 8 small oranges, preferably seedless
  • 2 cup(s) water
  • 5 tablespoon(s) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  1. Use a 5-hole zester to remove zest from oranges into long, thin, spindly strips (see Variation). Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the zest to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a small strainer (reserve the cooking liquid). Rinse with cold water; separate and drain on a paper towel.
  2. Stir sugar into the reserved cooking liquid; bring to a simmer. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds into the sugar water and add the pod along with cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise. Continue to simmer until the sauce reduces to 1/2 cup and thickens slightly, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, slice off an end of each orange so they stand upright steadily. In careful sculpting slices, remove all the remaining peel and white pith from the oranges with a very sharp knife. Slice the peeled oranges into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Remove any extraneous pith or rind and any stray seeds.
  4. Discard the vanilla pod and whole spices. Stir the zest into the sauce. Layer the orange slices in a serving bowl, spooning the sauce between layers to distribute the zest evenly throughout. Variation: If you don’t have a 5-hole zester, use a vegetable peeler to remove long strips of the outer skin (zest) of the orange. Cut the zest into thin slivers.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Finally Arrived

Wow it has been so long since I posted I'm having the refamiliarize myself with Blogger...not sure that I can even remember how to post a picture to my post here.

This idea originated with another site called "A Field Journal".  I loved what I saw there.
But Christmas did findally arrive this year and I got the window decorated.  I was really pleased with how it turned out.  Here are the pictures:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Is it horrible to say that I can't wait for next Christmas

Really is it too early in the year?  My daughter and mom moved into a new place with their cake shop.  They did all their moving in December.  The new place is considered "downtown" in our hometown of Benton, Arkansas.  It is an older building with a beautiful brickwall on the inside with an arch over the front door.  On the outside it has a beautiful awning and two store front windows but because of the moving and everything it was too late in the season to even think about getting any decorations up at their new shop.  But my daughter said that I can decorate one for next Christmas. 

I found a beautiful idea on a blog called "A Field Journal".  She has links to where she found her patterns and there are some links you can find to free templates by just doing a search for Putz or Glitter Houses.  So now you can see why I can't wait to get next year's Christmas season started.

Putz or Glitter houses are an old style christmas decorating idea from about the 1910s to 1960s.  Putz meaning to fuss or putz about is used to refer to these houses because of all the fussing you would do to get your village to just the way you want it.

I've already downloaded all the patterns.  I went to Target and found my Christmas ornaments all 60% off and got them for $1.50 a box.  I found my trees on e-bay.  And I'm looking into handmaking my papers to cover them.  I'll have to experiment to try to get the soft teals I want from the die. 

I will be going with a pretty teal color instead of the pink.  But I can see it with about half a dozen cakes on crystal dishes all around and beautiful glitter snow covering the floor and cake pedestals around it.  I think it will be very pretty when I finish.  Hey maybe, if I am lucky, I'll make a window dresser.

Here is what I will be starting with...

The trees will be bleached and died a pretty soft teal to go with the other colors.  The larger Christmas decorations may be hung from the cealing with some glitter snowflakes I think.  I mean with getting this early a start I should be able to do all of that, right?

My daughter is wanting one window dressed seasonally and another dressed for weddings.  So I am thinking about starting with a Glitter House Church that she may be able to use with a wedding theme.