Cocoa Sugar Cookie

With Christmas in just a few days, I thought it be fun to post my classic Christmas Cookie Recipe. You may remember THIS POST from a few years back. My cocoa wafer cookie recipe. It still is a hit here and has been since I posted that years ago. So why not reshare the love of that recipe to those who may have missed it.

Before we get started though I want to show off one of my “early” Christmas gifts.

The WonderMix!

I have been in need of a new mixer for some time. Since I began making our own dough using freshly ground wheat… I realized very quickly that my smaller kitchen aid mixer just could not cut it in the area of dough mixing. While it MAY could handle a small batch dough, it almost always gave me issues, and just didn’t cut it.

Most high end dough mixers cost an arm and a leg though. One I had been eyeing at the Bread Beckers was almost $700.00!! I just couldn’t afford it…. so I made do with a single bread machine to do my kneading and it worked… but as my kids get bigger and family larger, I just knew I needed something better.

So when I saw the WonderMix was out and at a more reasonable price tag, it immediately peaked my interested.

Below is a quick video talking about the WonderMix:




If you are in the Market for a Mill or Mixer, here is a page you can shop from too.

So far I love this mixer and used it to prep the recipe below. I have also used it to make up a batch of dough for cinnamon rolls and it handled it like a champ.

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Cocoa Sugar Cookie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup freshly milled white hard wheat
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 real salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 3 tablespoons organic coconut oil
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl mix the Wheat Flour, Baking Soda, Cocoa and salt together. Set aside.
  2. In mixing bowl put the egg, butter, coconut oil, vanilla and sucanat together. Mix this on high (with hook style attachment) for about a minute, until nice wet paste forms.
  3. Turn mixer to low and then pour in the flour mixture slowly.
  4. Mix until thick chocolate looking dough forms.
  5. At this point you can either roll the dough up into a nice ball, roll up in wax paper and refrigerate for a few hours… This will make it easier to shape with cookie cutters. Or you can use as is. It is just easier to work with with cold dough.
  6. Roll the dough out into a pretty thin later. Id say a 1/4 of an inch… and then take a cookie cutter and cut out your shapes.
  7. Bake them at 350 for 10 minutes. The way you can tell they are done, is that the top of the cookie will begin to crack a little.
  8. Remove them from the baking sheet with spatula and let cool on wire rack.
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Disclaimer: The above post contains affiliate links. This in no way affects my opinion as I do not showcase anything on my blog that I do not love and use personally.

Ginger Bread House Fun – & Best Icing Recipe

Yesterday we made up some Ginger Bread houses. Or “house” I should say. I did the foundational pieces to the house using graham crackers and a homemade royal icing… once it was built and ready to go, I then layered on more icing and let the kids have at it. Was fun. I must applaud myself on my building skills. Im terrible at decorating cakes but I thought I did pretty good with this!

royal icing
The Icing is key btw for a good ginger bread house. If it is not thick and dries fast and hard, it does not work well. I found the best recipe for the job and thought I would share it with you all. See below.

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Ginger Bread Royal Icing

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds powder sugar
  • 1 tsp. cream of tarter (this is key)
  • 6 egg whites

Instructions

  1. Put all of these ingredients into a mixer.
  2. Mix on high for 5-8 minutes or until icing begins to form peaks.
  3. Scoop out and place into icing bag and you are good to go! :)
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A little tip too for putting icing into a bag. I use just a regular large ziplock. I place the zip lock into a large cup, kinda like you would a trash bag into a trash can… Then fill the bag with the icing til full. Zip shut. Snip off the tip and you are good to go. No need for fancy icing bags :) – this works perfect!


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Taite’s 8!

ED9A2674This week we celebrated Taite turning 8!

Its always hectic this time a year and I often times feel bad that Taite has to celebrate his birthday a week before Christmas. I truly have debated throwing him half birthdays so that he can have a fun summer birthday party like his brother Caleb. We celebrate Travis’ birthday in December as well (the 9th). So between those two birthdays and Christmas, its always busy this time a year.

Taite at 8 is full of humor and hugs. Although he is getting older this cutie loves loving from his mom and even dad. He has always been so affectionate and I love that about him.

For Taite’s birthday we kept it simple. Travis’ oldest sister Tracy was in town, her 3 girls and his dad. So we celebrated with them. Had cake/ice cream, a meal of Taite’s choice (which happened to be spaghetti). We also took Taite roller skating.

Taite at 8 is in 2nd grade.
Has done great with school this year. Learning to read better, entering the realm of harder math :) – and is always fascinated with a fun science experiment. He still is so athletic. Loves to climb, dig in the creek and is almost always with his brother Owen. Those two are like two peas in a pod. So cute.

Below are a few photos from his day.

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His little brother Reed watched on the side lines.

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The little camo fleece Reed has on reminded me so much of Taite many years ago wearing the same jacket.

Here’s a flash back.

Clifford Rider

Him and Reed look so much alike!

He looks guilty...

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Travis’ 3 nieces skating together

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Aunt Tracy loving on Reed.

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We found some skates to fit Reed too- he insisted he could do it on his own though, which resulted in a melt down later.

Sure was cute while it lasted.

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Loved seeing him so excited over his little minecraft man he got.

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Happy Birthday again Taite. We love you!

Cashew Milk? – Banana Bread

Back when I lived in NE NC. I had a friend who’s children were allergic to Peanuts, eggs and dairy. Their families sensitivities to food really opened my eyes to the struggle that can bring. I really cannot imagine what she goes through looking for specific foods for her children to eat. Although I suppose that is her normal. :)

One of the things I would find hardest to deal with in the realm of allergies, would be dairy. My family consumes SO MUCH dairy…. we go through about 4 gallons a week! Between baking, bottles for Reed, cups of milk for breakfast, recipes calling for milk, etc..etc… our family of 6 can rip through some milk.

I though have never been a huge dairy person. Besides cheese, I consume very little milk. When I was pregnant, I remember not wanting to drink milk because the idea of consuming something that came from a cow’s utter grossed me out. Am I alone in that weirdness? haha…. I had some weird tendencies and anxiety issues during my last pregnancy and that was one of them.

So entered the milk alternatives.

I wasn’t keen on the whole “soy milk” idea.. so I turned to almond milk. Almond milk works GREAT and I have never had any issues with it at all. My mom in fact (a vegetarian) drinks only unsweetened almond milk. It is a great milk alternative for those with dairy intolerance or allergies.

cashewmilkRecently however, I was introduced to a new milk by SILK (who also makes almond milk and soy). This milk is Cashewmilk!

Here are some details as to what you get with Cashew Milk.

• 50% more calcium than dairy milk*
• Lactose-free
• Dairy-free
• Cholesterol-free
• No high-fructose corn syrup
• Plant-based
• Silk Cashewmilk is verified by the
Non-GMO Project

• Responsibly produced
• Free of gluten, soy, casein, peanuts, egg and MSG*
• No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

Because I do not drink milk plain, like in a glass… I asked my husband to drink it and tell me if he thought it was similar to cow’s milk for him. He said it was not in the sense it had a nutty aftertaste. He did say however, if he could not drink “cow’s milk” – he could see where this would be a great alternative.

I also let me kids try this. They did not like it plain (again because it was not something they were use to). They did however drink it up without a second thought once I added in some chocolate :) I dont think they could tell any difference at all. It is very rich and creamy.

This also worked so well with my banana bread recipe. Feel free to try the recipe below with the Cashew Milk or milk of choice. You’ll love it!

Banana Bread using Cashew Milk

Ingredients

  • 3 C. freshly milled whole grain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/3 C. honey granules or sugar
  • 1 1/2 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 C. Cashew milk with 3/4 TBS lemon juice (turns it into a sour milk aka buttermilk variation)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 ripe crushed bananas
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

  1. In medium sized bowl mix together all your dry ingredients (except the sugar).
  2. In a larger bowl take your soft butter and mix it with your sugar until blended into a paste.
  3. Then stir in your eggs into sugar mixture.
  4. Add in your Cashew Milk, vanilla... and mix well.
  5. Then add in your 3 ripe banana's (smashed).
  6. Once that is mixed together add in your flour one cup at a time until everything is blended into a thick batter.
  7. Pour into your loaf pans (I used two small loaf pans, I believe they are half pound loaf pans). This recipe will make 2 of the small loaf pan sizes or one large loaf pan.
  8. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
  9. Enjoy! :)
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So, if you are in the market for a dairy free milk… keep an eye out for Silk’s Cashew Milk.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Yesterday

boba carrierPopping in to say hello and to also say, bye haha, for a week or so. I have family coming into town Monday… so inbetween attempting to make my home some what presentable… (its not always put together, promise). I also took on another job for Boba. Yesterday I braved the cold, as well as all the awesome models and my friend Charlene, to photograph from 11am-5pm. The 1st few sessions by far were the coldest. I think the temp. on my phone said 34F? Brrr. So chilly. My hands were so numb I had trouble buckling the carriers on the models.

To add to the task of a busy week, Reed came down with a bug. We have thankfully avoided most colds floating around right now. Many of my friends kids have had the flu and nasty stomach bugs. We have had zero colds… until Yesterday haha. Of course, on a day I had to be gone ALL day and a day my husband worked, we had a sick kid. Reed had a fairly high fever…. no other symptoms but very cranky. So Travis had to use a sick day… which was fine (He hasn’t used any in like 2 years). Reed seems better today, fever has broke, but he woke up covered in poo. TMI. So gross. He has been extremely fussy and very easily annoyed :) – he also is cutting two year molars right now. Which may explain the bug? who knows.

So between the craziness of work, the boys, some home school (we’ve been slack), cleaning… sickness and my lower back giving me a fit… the realm of blogging is going to take a hit.

All in all though, can I just say how thankful I am for work? It is hard to balance motherhood with work…. and yes it was cold yesterday, but I am thankful for the ability to do what I do. It really is fun and I do enjoy it. Minus the cold :-D

Thankful for my husband SGT being flexible as well and allowing Travis to stay home with his kids. Was a help for sure.