Gingerbread Applesauce + @OXOTot Product Review #Sponsored

I don't know about you, but once the weather hits freezing I'm ready to hibernate. Even my son, who is usually a little ball of energy sleeps in later and wants to spend more time cuddled in bed where it's warm. Today he got up at 8, realized how chilly the tile floor was, then came straight back to my room toting his handmade blanket from grandma and three of his most favorite stuffed animals—we didn't get up again until after 11.

Saturday is the day I normally dedicate to getting things done, be it house cleaning or blogging, but today I shoved it all aside to spend a few precious hours cuddling with my son. He's 4 now, in a very short while he'll decide he's too old to spend his days cuddled up in bed giving me big hugs and sloppy puppy kisses, so I try to drop whatever I'm doing and take advantage of this time while I can.

I think it's important for all parents to remember that these precious moments are the ones we can never get back. From time-to-time we need to slow down, forget about the laundry list of things we "need" to do and focus on what's truly important—creating lasting memories with our children. Take a minute to read a book, draw in the condensation on the windows, make snow angels, decorate cookies, or make some applesauce. Memories like these will last a lifetime and five-ten-twenty or more years from now you won't remember that the house looked like a tornado went through it because you took the day off from cleaning.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the OXO Tot Big Kids, Big Appetites blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the OXO Tot Big Kids, Big Appetites blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Gingerbread Applesauce
makes 2 - 3 pints

Ingredients

3lbs apples, any variety (I used Aurora Golden Gala)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground all spice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses 

Directions

  • Peel and slice apples, add spices, vanilla extract, and molasses, then cook on high in a crock-pot for 3 - 4 hours. The applesauce is done when it can easily be mashed with a fork or potato masher.

Notes

I prefer to serve my applesauce chunky, but you can puree it with a food mill, immersion blender, or food processor for a finer sauce. You'll want to let it cool down a little first to avoid any chance of burns.

I include canning instructions with most of my applesauce recipes, but because this recipe contains molasses I'm not positive that it's safe for water bath canning. That doesn't mean you can't can this recipe, but you'll want to leave out the molasses until you're ready to serve it. For water bath canning instructions check out our previous applesauce posts: Easy Crock-Pot ApplesauceStrawberry ApplesauceSpiced Blueberry Applesauce and Peach Applesauce.
 

Make sure to keep reading for our OXO Tot product review!

No shirt, no shoes, no service is clearly not a rule in our house! 

No shirt, no shoes, no service is clearly not a rule in our house! 

We've gone through quite a few plates in the past four years, but the divided plate from OXO is one of my favorites. The smaller size makes it easy for a child to grip while eating and the divided sections keep food mostly separated. I especially love the center dipping section, it's the perfect size for ketchup, syrup, or a dab of sour cream. The only thing this plate is missing is a lid, I'd love to have one so I can easily store leftovers.

Where to Purchase: Amazon or OXO

If you like this design, but prefer something with a lid there is a similar plate in the OXO Tot line, although it only has two sections. You can find it on Amazon.

Fork and Spoon Set

OXO sent me this set once before when my son was much smaller and it was all we used until he graduated to "big people" silverware. The large handles make the utensils easier for small hands to grip and the fork is slightly rounded to make scooping like a spoon possible as well. Now that my little man is older the blunt tines of the fork frustrate him, it makes stabbing larger pieces of meat difficult, but they're much safer for small ones just starting out with silverware.

Where to Purchase: Amazon or OXO

Perch Booster Seat

Because I travel so much I decided to purchase a booster seat for my son instead of a high chair, it made life so much easier when eating out at restaurants or while visiting homes not accustomed to hosting small children. The Perch Booster Seat wasn't available back then, so I ended up with one from Fisher-Price instead.

There are pros and cons to both models, but I like that the OXO Tot Perch Booster Seat weighs a mere 3lbs and has a slim profile—it makes traveling with it much more convenient. The Fisher-Price booster weighs a full pound more, which is a lot if you're already loaded down with a diaper bag and other odds and ends. Both models clean up easily, but you can actually remove the seat from the Perch Booster to get at any nooks and crannies food may have slipped into.

My son outgrew his last booster seat around age 2, so this is a great choice for older kids who are still too small to comfortably sit at the table. It's considered safe for children up to 70lbs, so should fit your needs though early elementary school.

Where to Purchase: Amazon or OXO

Disclosure

OXO sent me their Perch Booster Seat, Fork and Spoon Set, and Divided Plate with Removable Training Ring as part of this campaign. As always all opinions are my own.

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

 

 

Product Review - Gingerbread Cookie House Kit - Orbit Cookies and Chocoley

Tea wasn't the only thing I ordered on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, I placed a huge order with a company in Georgia called Chocoley to kick off my holiday baking season. They've been my go-to source for all things chocolate since 2011 due largely in part to their excellent customer service. When part of my order wasn't available to ship immediately they called and let me know there would be a one week delay in having the out of stock item shipped out. I can't remember the last time someone called to talk to me personally when there was a problem with my order and I really appreciate the extra personal attention.

The Cyber Monday promotion Chocoley offered this year caught my eye because not only did they offer 20% off the entire order, but they also included a free 12 ounce package of Cookie Blend chocolate and a Gingerbread House kit from Orbit Cookies. I wasn't sure I was going to have enough time to make our gingerbread house from scratch this year, my husband is getting ready to go in for surgery soon and the baby and I have had the stomach flu, so I was really glad I had this on hand. 

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Description:

Okay, you 'Do It Yourself Chocoholics' 'tis the season' and you know what that means... It's time to gather around the kitchen table and start buildin' your dream house...you know, the kind covered in candy & goodies and suitable for your entire household to participate.

Opportunity is knocking at the front door to acquire and construct the absolute cutest & most adorable little gingerbread houses on the planet using our complete Gingerbread Cookie House Kit...Avoid the long holiday lines at the big box hardware stores; this little box has everything you need to create this delightful munchable mini-mansion!

This remarkably edible showplace is gonna be the talk of the neighborhood and just think, no building permits required, no weather delays, no labor strikes and no Homeowner's Association approvals. Hey, you can even get away with using child labor for this family fun construction project... then display your architectural wonder as a holiday centerpiece!

Hurry, supplies are limited, so grab your cookies and start building before it's too late and this real estate bonanza crumbles!

So adorable when constructed, we recommend for decorative use only.

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Includes:

  • 7-Piece Prefab Gingerbread Cookie House
  • Icing
  • Fondant
  • enough hard candies to completely decorate your house (or give you a mouth full of cavities)

Review:

This was the first year my son was old enough to build a gingerbread house with me, but I wasn't sure we would have the time to make one. I didn't want to miss out on one of my favorite holiday traditions and this kit was the perfect solution to my problem. It ended up being very easy to assemble, came with easy to follow instructions, and included everything I needed in the package. I didn't even need to make icing. One thing that really stood out was that the kit included a notched base for the house. The added stability this provided makes this the perfect kit to use with a young child.

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As you can see from the photos, my house arrived well packaged and unbroken. I like the fact that the pieces were shrink wrapped together to ensure they didn't break during shipping. The kit also included a nice variety of candy for decorating, with enough extras to eat a fair amount while constructing our house. We did end up running out of gumdrops, so I wish the kit included more, but part of the problem was my son decided to eat them all. We also ran out of icing, since the kit didn't include a decorating tip for the icing bag it was difficult to make a thin line as we "glued" the house together. This meant we used twice as much icing as necessary. I would love to see either a second package of icing included, or have a decorating tip on the bag so we didn't waste as much icing.

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As we were building our house we taste tested everything and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. I've put together other kits in the past where the gingerbread was stale and the candy as hard as a rock. That wasn't the case here, the gingerbread was soft and tasted good (although not quite as good as mine.) The candy balls weren't hard enough to break a tooth and the gumdrops were gummy, as they should be. My only complaint in taste was the fondant. While my son did have fun rolling it into little pieces, neither one of us wanted to eat it.

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Our finished house turned out great and has managed to hold its shape, even though my son has climbed up on the sideboard every few minutes to steal candy pieces off to eat. If he keeps up his current pace he'll run out of candy and start on the roof by tomorrow. If he's anything like me, he'll be having gingerbread house for breakfast... now you know why I really like this holiday tradition ::grins::

Summary:

Pros:

  • Arrived well packaged and unbroken
  • Everything was fresh and tasted good
  • Includes everything you need 
  • Easy to use with a small child
  • Notched base for added stability

Cons:

  • Not enough icing or gumdrops
  • Difficult to make a fine line without a decorators bag and tip
  • Fondant did not taste good

My Rating: 95/100

Would I order this again? Absolutely! This ended up being a great time saver for me this year.