guest post from Helen, Naturally!

I’m currently doing a Christmas themed guest post month this month and Helen of Helen, Naturally has written a post for you lovely readers out there 🙂 I’m still looking for one more guest post so let me know if you’re interested in writing one!

Greetings Fail Sweetly readers, my name is Helen of Helen Naturally! It is my very own quirky little journal where I share with my readers things that I am most passionate about. It is what is termed as a happy living blog since I do not dedicate my time to any particular topic. It is an honor to be writing for you guys today, thanks to Justina for asking me to do a guest post for her 🙂

Now that we are in the Christmas season full swing, you know being in the month of December and all (be honest I am not the only one that has been in the Christmas season since the middle of November!) I wanted to share with you one of my seasonal favorites.

No it isn’t an ornament, wreath, decoration, or a specific song. No it isn’t a gift, outfit, shoes, or anything related to a product although I would totally love and gift, outfit, shoes, or product (hint hint hubster). It is all about food. Not just any food, but a Christmas inspired recipe that I insist – yes insist – on having in my home every year. Multiple times within the year!

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I am a gingerbread fanatic. I am! I love all things about gingerbread. The taste, the smell, the cuteness of those little men! Now if we can get a cookie cutter that will give me a Channing Tatum gingerbread mine I would be eternally grateful to the cookie cutter developer!

Every year I bake gingerbread cookies with my boys for the holiday. They get to cut out the shapes, add icing, sprinkles, whatever their little heart’s desire. Then they get to eat them. Key word here is they! As in mama does not partake in the tasting of said cookies, trust me it is sugar overload!

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But mama does get to partake in the tasting of the gingerbread loaf. As in eat most of it by myself since I tend to be a little greedy with my gingerbread. Do not judge, the boys have plenty of cookies! But I am not entirely greedy, oh no! I do like to share with others.

This means that you lucky readers get to have my coveted, healthier version of the gingerbread loaf. Tis the season for sharing after all! Just don’t ask me to share a slice 🙂

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• 1.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• 2.25 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ½ cup butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar (can sub honey, maple, stevia – I do!)
• 1 teaspoon orange extract (optional no need to go out and buy a bottle)
• 1 cup applesauce
• 1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350*, grease and flour a loaf pan
2. In a medium bowl mix together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt
3. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, stir in orange extract
4. Mix baking soda into applesauce and stir into sugar mixture
5. Slowly add flour and mix until smooth, pour into pan, and bake 40-50 minutes
At this point you can frost the cake with the recipe below, or you can enjoy it as is. In my house I usually nix the frosting since I do not like all of the sweetness and sugar. I like to let the gingerbread be the star!
• 1 pkg cream cheese, softened
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon orange extract
• 2.5 cups of powdered sugar

1. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy, stir in the extracts
2. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar until creamy frosting is formed
3. Top your gingerbread with frosting
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Just a tip or two this is great with your morning coffee. Or your afternoon coffee! Or as a midnight snack! It totally makes for a great homemade gift for a friend, makes an awesome office party contribution, or you can slice that baby up and make French toast out of it! The possibilities are endless. I want to thank you all for letting my share my Christmas foodie fav with you guys, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Merry Christmas!!

– Helen

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