Baby, It’s COLD In Here…Where’s Our Door?

Well I’ll tell ya…it’s certainly a little more than surprising to come home after a long day of work + a killer BodyPump class to find your house looking like this:

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WOAH! :shock:

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Yes, our house really is wide open right now as the wind blows, and flurries fall, and the temp is hovering around 22 degrees. I don’t know how these guys do it, but either way, I’m so incredibly thankful that they do! Our friends Erik & Josh were kind enough to take the time out of their super busy schedules to come and help us out. I really can’t thank them enough…it is an absolutely enormous help. Thanks, guys! :-D

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So to say there’s a little “nip in the air” in the house right now would really be an understatement. It’s downright frigid. :shock:

But hey, I’m not complaining!

How can I? The door replacement will be done tonight and that just means we’re one step closer to getting this kitchen finished!! We’ll just say I’m nicely bundled up right now as Cody and I sit here closed off in our office to try to stay warm. :)

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Aaaand, we even have an almost-full (but not yet finished) ceiling now. Can I get a WOOT WOOT?!?!

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So as I sit here bundled up in my office, listening to the hammers and nail guns, and incessantly wiping my cold, runny nose, I can’t help but be thankful for the microwave which is also keeping me company. It worked out quite well for re-heating today’s lunch leftovers for dinner. :)

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A couple of us decided to order out for lunch today at work since it was a “No Students” day. This meant we actually had a full hour to eat (<—insert angels singing “Ahhhhhhh” here) – I almost didn’t know what to do with my extra 45 minutes?!?

I ordered the Pasta Fagioli lunch special, which was undoubtedly the best pasta fagioli I’ve ever had. Plus it came with garlic bread. It was heaven…for only $6.75. ;)

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Even better yet, I’ve STILL got leftovers!

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Saweeeeeet. :-P

Now, since I’m already stuck here in the office, I think it’s time to do a little online Christmas shopping before Modern Family starts tonight!

Question for the Evening:

What’s worse for you: Extremely Hot or Extremely Cold??

Maple Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies

Maple Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies! (see recipe below)

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There’s only 17 baking days left until Christmas

How are YOU doing on your list?? ;)

Ohh, what’s that you say? You need a little inspiration on what to bake next?

No problem-o! You’ve come to the right place.

Last week while baking up a storm with Mom, I came across a recipe for gingerbread cookies that had my name written alllll over it. Believe it or not, I had never up to this point attempted to make a gingerbread cookie; however, including the addition of these ingredients was enough to make me want to tackle the challenge:

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Pumpkin, you say?? YES PLEASE! So let’s stop wasting time and get to the good stuff…

Begin by creaming together your butter and brown sugar until nice and fluffy.

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Add your egg and admire the pretty “flower” that has possibly formed in the bottom of your bowl. ;)

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Next, it’s time to start adding the star ingredients!

Thick, gooey molasses…

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Sweet, succulent syrup (if you have the real stuff, USE IT…if not, just go with what you have on hand)

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And of course, my beloved pumpkin.

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Blend everything so it’s well combined. Fantastic…you’re halfway there!

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Next, it’s time to get together all your dry ingredients…

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…and get ‘em all acquainted.

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Now add your dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined.

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Be careful not to over mix! :shock:

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Now you need to go ahead and divide your dough into two discs. The dough will still feel slightly sticky…that’s ok.

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Wrap the discs up in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight if you have the time).

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Once the dough is chilled, take out one disc and roll out onto a well-floured surface, to about 1/4-inch thickness.

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Then start cutting away! :)

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Place your cut-out cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes at 350 degrees.

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And before you know it, you’ll have yourself some wonderful looking (and smelling!) cookies!

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But you’re not done yet…

Once the cookies have cooled completely, it’s time to make the maple icing. :-P

Mix together your cream cheese and powdered sugar,

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along with some delicious maple syrup!

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Mmmmm. :-P

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Now it’s time to start frosting!

*Note: I started by using this mini plastic knife and frosted around the edges that way. But about halfway through, I realized that if you gently dip the cookie upside-down into the icing, it will work out just as well and a whole lot faster! You’ll just need to smooth it out with the knife a bit.

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Nice and festive! :)

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Be careful when storing these cookies; even after they’re frozen, the icing is still too sticky to be able to stack the cookies.

So in that case, just put together a nice, pretty tray and bring them to share with your co-workers. ;)

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They’ll be happy you did!

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Maple-Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies

(makes 3 dozen 3-inch cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Maple Icing

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • milk as needed

Directions:

  1. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add egg; mix well. Add molasses, syrup, pumpkin, and water; blend well.
  2. Sift together flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. Add to pumpkin mixture all at once. Mix on low speed until just combined. Divide dough into two discs. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 3-inch cookies, using desired cookie cutter. Place on baking sheets, 1-inch apart. Repeat with second disc of dough. Re-roll dough scraps once.
  5. Bake 15-17 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool cookies on pans 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack; cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare Maple Icing. Place cream cheese in food processor bowl; process until smooth. Add sugar and syrup; process until mixed well. Add enough milk to reach spreadable consistency. Decorate cookies with icing as desired. Store covered in refrigerator.

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ENJOY! :-D