a traveling Wife: Better For You Gingerbread House Alternative

Better For You Gingerbread House Alternative

Monday, December 14, 2015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HoneyMaidHouse #CollectiveBias

This holiday season brings many firsts for me. A and I purchased our first real tree and this is our first Christmas in Maryland. We also hosted our first gathering in our new house to celebrate both the holiday season and my birthday. And another first for me is decorating a gingerbread house, but not just any gingerbread house - a better for you graham cracker holiday house. 

My body is in dire need of a sugar break from all the sweets at Halloween, Thanksgiving day pies, and Christmas cookies (I believe Christmas cookies are best enjoyed at the beginning of December) so I opted to make a better for you gingerbread house. I swapped the gingerbread for Honey Maid graham crackers and replaced all the decorations with a mixture of dried fruit, nuts, cereal, and other health concious food items. 
Click to tweet: Check out this better-for-you gingerbread house. 
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However, you really can't make a sturdy gingerbread house or holiday house without the use of the very famous glue - royal icing. Yeah sure, it's filled with loads of sugar but I'd like to know who actually eats their holiday house after it has been sitting out for weeks? It's really all about the snacking as you decorate! All you have to do is avoid the icing and stick to munching on those nuts, fruit, and other delicious items. 

Royal Icing Recipe

- 1 egg white
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- Using a hand mixer or stand mixture, beat egg white until frothy white bubbles form
- Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time) and beat until peaks have formed and icing is thick
- Spoon into icing bag or plastic sandwich bag for piping

Now that your icing is made, let's talk about the structure of your holiday house. It's all about setting up the foundation to allow your roof to be sturdy. Using lots of royal icing, patience and supports, your house will hold up long past the celebrations of Christmas. Follow the pictures below for how I built my very first 'gingerbread' house. 

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1. Taking two full pieces of graham cracker, diagnally cut peaks for the front and back of your house. 
2. Using royal icing, glue the two pieces together and place in the freezer to set. *I recommend adding a support piece to the back of these walls by using the cut triangular piece.
3. Glue two full pieces of graham cracker using royal icing to form one side of the roof. Add a support by gluing a square of graham cracker to the middle. You will need to do this two times to form both pieces of roofing. Place in freezer to set.
4. Take two full pieces of graham cracker to build your base. Use the royal icing to glue all four sides together. Again, adding supports to the inner walls to hold everything together. Place in freezer to set.
5. Glue your roof pieces to the holiday house. Place in freezer to set. 
6. Decorate!
Click to tweet: Nix the sugar and try this alternative to a gingerbread house.
There are so many options to decorate your house with style all while sticking with better for you options. You can find some ideas for decorations below. The wonderful thing, they all can be purchased at Walmart, along with the Honey Maid graham crackers. 

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- pretzel sticks
- freeze dried strawberries
- freeze dried pineapple
- apple rings
- raisins
- dried cranberries
- sliced almonds
- slivered almonds
- toasted whole grain cereal
- powdered sugar for snow dusting
*Tip: Place all ingredients into a muffin tray to have them all organized within arms reach.

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Let your imagination go wild and enjoy snacking on these delicious decorations as you go. The freeze dried strawberries and pineapple pieces were my favorite. I'm surprised I had any left to decorate my holiday house. 

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Click to tweet: It's not too late to make your gingerbread house. 
Have you ever made a 'gingerbread' house or any alternatives for holiday houses?
What are your favorite decorations to use on holiday houses?
If you need more better-for-you gingerbread house ideas, you can find so many here