Tag Archives: Kaki

My Cookie Craving: Kaki’s Gingersnaps

Rich, chewy and exceptionally flavorful with a gorgeous sugar-coated crackled top. That describes my friend Kaki’s homemade gingersnaps. She made them last December for our big blow-out holiday Cookiepalooza, and I haven’t stopped thinking about them since. Yesterday morning, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I baked a double batch. And the world seemed sunnier because of it.

Kaki’s Gingersnaps:

  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon candied ginger, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup additional sugar, for coating
  • 1 package white chocolate coating, for dipping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy; add the egg and molasses and mix until well blended. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients then add the candied ginger if you’re using it and toss to coat the ginger. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

Shape a tablespoon of dough into a ball and roll it in sugar, setting it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Personally, I like to use a 1″ cookie scoop and drop the scoop into a small bowl of sugar. It works just as well and each cookie comes out exactly the same size as the next. I’m sort of obsessive about stuff like that, but that’s just me.  Bake each tray of cookies for 12-14 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely, then you can decide to dip or not to dip.

This is Kaki – making gingersnaps

This is Kaki making her gingersnaps. When she made them in December, we dipped them in white chocolate. And they were delicious. If you’d like to dip yours, melt a package of white chocolate or candy coating according to package instructions. Dip cookies half-way, scraping the bottom of the cookie along the edge of the bowl or pan to remove the excess. Place on parchment or wax paper and allow to set up until firm to the touch. If you’re in a pinch for time, you can pop the tray into the refrigerator or freezer for a  few minutes. Then bag and tag them. A single batch makes 24-30 cookies.

I liked them both ways – plain and dipped. But if I were to sit and eat them with a big glass of milk like The Complete Package and I did yesterday, I prefer them unadorned. Just plain, simple, powerful ginger goodness. But you try them both ways and judge for yourself. Will you be a white chocolate-dipped lover or a plain old-fashioned fan? Truthfully, I’ll take them any way I can get them.

Go on and bake some. You know you want to.

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LillyFair & Jonahpalooza: The End

The Complete Package and I just wrapped up two glorious weeks with our grandkids. For the first time, we decided to give them each their own special week at our house. Together, they are a whirlwind of constant motion and commotion. But separately, we are able to focus all of our attention entirely on each of them and give them one-on-one time they don’t normally get.

We started on Sunday, July 17th with our first annual LillyFair. After spending a long weekend in Austin visiting family, I brought Lilly home for a week of Yo Gabba Gabba, dress-up, baths in the kitchen sink and lots of snuggles. After 8 days, we feel like we’ve gotten to know our little Lilly Bug much better. She’s a pistol. She’s funny and lively. She loves music as much as she loves food (and girlfriend LOVES to eat). She has a small collection of favorite words. Her two favorites are Papi and snack, and sometimes she uses them in the same sentence. She’s a sweet little elf.

At 22 months, she plays hard to the very brink of exhaustion and loves to sing, especially in the car. She can’t get enough Yo Gabba Gabba, which she calls Baba, and she has a crush on DJ Lance Rock. When he walks onto the TV screen in that orange jumpsuit carrying his boom box, she giggles and lights up like a firefly. Her favorite part of the show is the silly faces segment.

Every time the kids visit, I make them something. It might be a costume for their dress-up box or sword holders for pirate swords or spy glasses made from paper towel rolls. It’s something I love to do, and the kids love it, too. For Lilly Bug, I recycled some of Jonah Bear’s old t-shirts to create Yo Gabba Gabba character shirts. First, I created Muno’s trademark lumpy orange body using felt and French knots. I love Muno. He’s cool. Lilly loved the color and the textures.

Next, I reworked Plex the robot on a red t-shirt using felt & embroidery thread.

If I’d had another week, I might have crafted a Lilly-sized DJ Lance Rock, but time ran out, so we’ll never know if I could have pulled it off. I’m thinking Papi should rent the costume and surprise her some time. She would lose her mind. As if her Papi isn’t already her hero. Papi would rock as DJ Lance Rock!

Last Sunday, we met My Baby and Bama Boy for lunch to trade Lilly Bug for Jonah Bear. Jonah loves coming to visit, and has since he was a little tyke. Now that he’s 4 1/2, he’s an old pro at coming to visit. He had his little suitcase packed and was ready for adventure.

We kicked off Jonahpalooza with a movie night. We made popcorn, broke out a bag of gummy worms and watched his new favorite movie, Rango. He spent the week playing dress up, watching his favorite cartoons and taking private swim lessons. We had picnics and rode bikes and visited the science museum to see the dinosaurs. Jonah is all boy, and is the total polar opposite of his little sister. While Lilly’s switch is always set to “high-energy”, Jonah is active but also sweet & tender and has his quiet moments. He’s thoughtful and polite and big-hearted. He loves to read and tell stories, and his imagination is astounding. He’s exceptionally smart and very creative. This week, Jonah asked for a new Bolt costume. It’s one of his favorite movies. And of course, I never say “no.” This time, Jonah was big enough to help cut the fabric and sew on the machine. Here’s the result, complete with a carrot dog toy.

Here’s our sweet boy learning to float like an ice cube. Hi, Kaki!

And here’s Jonah at the science museum with the T-Rex. Run, Jonah!

In all, we spent 16 days with our grandbabies. Our house is a mess, our refrigerator is empty, and our energy is completely sapped. But you know what? It was a fabulous 16 days. I know everyone thinks their grandkids are the cutest, the smartest and the greatest. But in our case, it’s true. {wink}

And we already miss them.

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Meet House Guest #2 – Jonah Bear!


I don’t know what you’re doing this week, but we’re smack dab in the middle of Jonahpalooza. That’s right – 8 1/2 glorious days of the Jonah Channel. All Jonah; all the time. Last week was LillyFair. We got our girl time on in a big way. Our little Lilly Bug is a firecracker. At almost two, she kept us on our toes and laughing all week. What a hoot! On Sunday, we met Our Baby and Bama Boy to swap kiddos. I meant to post something then to let you know that Jonahpalooza had officially kicked off, but we’ve been busy around here. Real busy.


We’ve been going to swim lessons. A certain 4 1/2 year-old is learning to swim like a sailfish. Why a sailfish? Because his Papi told him that a sailfish can swim faster than just about any other fish and if there’s anything Jonah is determined to be at this tender age, it’s fast. That’s our friend Kaki with Jonah Bear. This is their second summer together. She’s a good swim teacher; she knows sailfish.

We had a fried chicken picnic at the park and played hide-and-seek with Papi.

We’ve watched Rango “sixty-eleven times” (and it’s playing again as I type this). Jonah Bear likes to watch a movie over and over until he’s memorized the entire script and all the songs. Our boy’s got a mind like a steel trap.


And we’ve ridden bikes (or photographed a certain boy riding bikes) at least once or twice a day since Sunday. Jonah Bear is learning to ride his Mommy’s old bike. It’s still just a tiny bit too big for him, but he’s determined to master it. And since Papi outfitted him to look like Tony Hawk (he’s a ‘safety first’ kind of guy), Jonah Bear has found his courage and is slowly gaining in confidence and speed. He’s enjoying it so much, he sometimes rides to the very brink of exhaustion. Sometimes a boy just needs to stop and take a break.

Yep. Jonahpalooza is on like Donkey Kong, and The Complete Package and I are in for the full ride. I’ll be back to my regular blogging schedule next week, and I’ll share more Lilly photos. Until then, I’m committed to my favorite endeavor – being a Nana. Have a great week and an even better weekend.

And now…. we ride!

Uh… I mean, “We ride!”

Wait… that’s not right either. Let’s try this again. “We ride!”

There… that’s more like it.

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Nothing says fall like apple dumplings.

Homemade apple dumplings with ice cream & cinnamon apple cider syrup

There’s no recipe here, at least not formally. I just wanted to share this photo of the apple dumplings I made today. We’re having our friend Kaki over for dinner, and I made these for dessert. Thought she’d like them. They’re just Granny Smith apples that I peeled and cored, then stuffed with a mixture of softened butter, cinnamon and sugar. That pie crust was made from a batch I had in the freezer. When I make pie crust, I like to make a big batch and freeze some for last-minute stuff like this. I cut out a leaf for each with a cookie cutter, brushed them with melted butter, then sprinkled them with sugar. It’s just that simple. You don’t even have to use homemade pie crust. I’ve done this same thing with those Pillsbury rolled crusts from the dairy case. Nothing goes better with hot apple dumplings than Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. Man, that’s good stuff. To top it all off, I bought a small bottle of local MacIntosh apple cider, mixed in a little cinnamon sugar, and reduced it down to about 3/4 of a cup. Now it’s cinnamon apple cider syrup. That’s going over the top of the ice cream and dumplings right before I serve them. Mmmmm…warm apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream and cinnamon apple cider syrup. This is one of the many things I love about fall. Well, this and flannel pajama pants.

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Swimmin’ Like a Barracuna

Jonah Bear and His Moustache

This is Jonah Bear. He spent a week with us this summer. For those new to the NanaBread Blog, Jonah Bear is my angelic little pirate (grandson). He’s 3 1/2, and he rocks our world. Anyway, while we had him this summer, my friend Kaki taught him to swim. Kaki is a fifth grade teacher who also teaches summer swim lessons to little fish like Jonah Bear. We weren’t sure what to expect, this being his first experience and all, but he took to it like a duck to….well, water! He was a little anxious the first day, especially when he learned Kaki planned to make him put his face under water, but by the end of the second day he proudly proclaimed that he could “swim like a barracuna.” And he was right! We were invited into the pool area at the end of lesson #2 (after a total of one hour of swim instruction), and there he was – swimming under water to Kaki.

Jonah Swimmin' Like a Barracuna

I had to pick my jaw up off the ground! I couldn’t believe she could take a toddler and turn him into a fish in an hour, but by golly she did it! He was jumping off the side of the pool, going almost to the bottom, then swimming under water to Kaki who was at least 5-6 feet away. As each day progressed, he was swimming farther and farther across the pool. And by Friday, after five half-hour lessons, he was leaping into the deep end, swimming out to Kaki in the middle, catching a breath and then swimming to the other side and getting out of the pool. Then he’d run back around and do it all over again. His “show off” time on Friday lasted 45 minutes because we couldn’t get him out of the pool.

Jonah Bear Jumps In for More

The rate of speed from which he went from scared water weary toddler to mind-blowing aggressive barracuna (his term) was nothing short of remarkable. My baby’s baby is a swimmer! A cutie-patootie holding his breath and crossing the pool underwater swimmer. I’m telling you, either my sweet Jonah Bear is the smartest kid in the world, or Kaki is the best swim teacher in the world, or both. I’m voting for both.

PS – Special thanks to my friend Sheriee and her husband Vern for allowing us to use their pool all week. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. Hope you enjoy the mile-high apple pie! And a warm thanks to my other friend, Pat, who came out for show-off day to watch Jonah swim just because she’s nice like that.

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