Winter Blogfest: Amey Zeigler

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a free digital copy of Baker’s Dozen. Must have email address.


Growing up, we moved around a lot for my dad’s job, so holiday traditions varied, depending on the places we lived. In Virginia, we visited Colonial Williamsburg to see their wreaths decorating each historic door, enjoyed the candles in each window and the frosty air that bit our noses. In Alaska, we built snowman and snow caves over the holiday break, drank hot chocolate to warm our frozen fingers, and went sledding. In Arizona, we played outside in shorts at my grandmother’s house, running between cactus and tumbleweed, receiving bikes and skateboards as gifts that we played with that afternoon in the sun.

But there was one tradition that my mom was pretty consistent with, no matter where we lived, and that was making gingerbread houses. In fact, the smell of cinnamon and cloves wafting from the oven still takes me back to those warm winter kitchens of my youth.

I didn’t appreciate what kind of effort it takes to make the gingerbread, roll out the dough, measure and cut walls and roofs and bake a whole house. But my mom did it. Sometimes crushing up hard candies for stained glass windows.

Now that I’m the mom, I’m delighted to carry on this tradition. It’s something my kids ask for every year. And I can’t cheat and use Graham crackers, either. I have to make the gingerbread from scratch. We save our colorful Halloween candy to use on our houses so we don’t have to buy extra. (I’m cheap!) Sometimes we have contests with friends. Other times we just do one for the family. But it must be done!

So, I’m sharing my version of the recipe.

1 1/2 c. (12 oz) dark molasses

1 c. packed brown sugar

2/3 c. cold water

1/3 c. unsalted butter, softened

7 c. flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground allspice

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Mix molasses, brown sugar, water and butter. Mix together dry ingredients and add to wet mixture until well combined. Refridgerate two hours.

Heat over to 350* F. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on floured board. Use cookie cutters or measure dimensions of house. (Two side walls, two front and back walls with peaks, two roof pieces.) Place 2” a part on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake until no indentation remains until touched about 10-12 minutes. Cool and decorate.

(To make soft vegan cookies substitute coconut oil for butter, though delicious this modification may be unsuitable for construction of gingerbread houses.)

Twenty-three year-old investigative journalist, Andy Miller is armed with her many disguises and creativity to take down the riff-raff of Saint Louis. When her stepbrother is murdered by the mob, Andy soon discovers she’s out of her depth.

Enter Hugh Donaldson who has reasons of his own for discovering the murderer. He’ll use everything in his power to achieve that, including lying to Andy about his past. Dangerous as he is attractive, his martial arts skills and his quirky ways raise Andy’s suspicions.
Although Andy balks at his lies, Hugh’s charms, twenty-inch biceps, and electrifying blue eyes are difficult to resist. Striking out on their own, Hugh and Andy try to outwit each other as they traverse North America tracking down people connected to the case.

As clues disappear and the body count climbs, Andy and Hugh must trust each other and use their combined skills to bring the murderer to justice.

About the Author: I wrote my first mystery with my best friend in fourth grade. I wrote, she illustrated. It also had a cute boy in it with spiky hair (because that was the style back then). Not much has changed. I love mystery. I love romance. I love suspense. I love action, adventure and comedy. But I want it to have a happy ending.

I love writing about different places because I grew up moving all around the United States. In my books, I want to explore the whole world.

Growing up, my poor mom had to be so patient with me as I always wanted to try new things. I played violin, drums, flute, piano, all before I was sixteen. I also discovered I don’t have much talent for music.

When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I was afraid to tell them I wanted to write because I didn’t know how to write.

I am so grateful for my Sophomore year Honor’s English teacher who gave me a star and five points (highest marks!) on my personal essay in the category for Voice. I wouldn’t have hoped to have had enough talent to pursue writing otherwise.

I’d like to thank my college writing professor who gave me a C in Creative Writing: Short Story writing. I worked even harder on my own and published my first short story the next semester.

I adopt stray furniture left on the side of the road. I like to fix it up and give it a new home and look.

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  1. I’m looking forward to trying the vegan version of this recipe. It sounds delicious.

  2. You’re not cheap, you’re thrifty and efficient, lol. This sounds like a lovely project to share with your kids and I bet the house smells wonderful when you back the gingerbread. Happy holidays!

  3. fun gingerbread house

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