We were housebound last week.
Both boys came down with bronchitis and strep throat at the same time.
And because they couldn’t go to school or leave the house for that matter, I expected a few days of calm snuggling and movie time. After all, kids are supposed to be mellow and subdued when they’re sick, right?
Not my boys!
They partied like it was vacation…
And then of course, I got sick (no surprise there).
So picture this: 3 restless people trapped inside during the busiest time of year. And to make matters worse, I could’t stop thinking about my eternal to-do list: Christmas shopping! Outfits! Cards!
Something had to give.
It was either fold a mountain of laundry or bake something to get into the festive spirit!
First, I decided to bust open my new bag of flour…
Fresh, high-quality flour is essential for baking bread (and my husband’s plaid shirt for this background!).
It makes a huge difference in taste, texture and aroma. So, I’ve been experimenting with a few different local brands.
This particular flour is made with organic stone ground grains from New York. It’s half bread flour/ half whole wheat.
I baked a loaf following my usual recipe, adding more water to compensate for the hearty whole wheat.
Although my dough was over-proofed and slightly deflated before going into the oven, I was pleased with the outcome.
The crumb was spongy and elastic. It smelled like warm roasted chestnuts. And I was surprised at how light the loaf felt in my hands. Normally, whole grain loaves tend to be a bit dense.
Moving on to cake…
Gretchen posted a recipe for chocolate gingerbread cake on her blog.
Feeling inspired, I dug out the old bundt pan.
My version is slightly different based on what I had in the house.
Which by the way, I’ve come to the conclusion that 2% Greek yogurt + a splash of olive oil makes a great sub for sour cream.
This cake is decadent, moist, lightly spiced and studded with ooey-gooey chocolate chips.
It would make a great chocolate bundt even without the gingerbread spices.
Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it:
- 2 eggs
- splash of vanilla
- 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (or molasses- this will add more flavor)
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together. Sift the dry ingredients directly over the wet ingredient bowl. Mix gently to combine. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into greased 10 cup capacity bundt pan. Bake @350 F for 45-55 minutes (my cake was ready in 40 minutes because I used a glass bundt pan- it cooks faster). To finish, dust with powdered sugar when cool.
Speaking of gingerbread…
I have absolutely zero patience for constructing these things!
Who came up with this idea anyway?
Assembling a house out of cookies and icing is like building a tower out of playing cards! Not to mention the pressure of salivating children scrutinizing your every move.
So, I made my husband do it.
And my favorite ornament.
The kids have managed to destroy most of our ornaments over the years, the latest casualty being a sparkly green bauble (thanks Jake).
I wanted to capture the beauty of this butterfly because I know our relationship will be brief. I give it 1 year tops before the wings are ripped off.
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So, how’s your week going? All set for the holidays? Wishing you all a very happy holiday! Can’t wait for 2016! ♥