Family

Season of Giving….All year for this small business

Santa Claus isn’t the only jolly one this time of year. ‘Tis the season when most folks find ways to open their home, donate to causes, or help others in less fortunate situations. As people get ready to bid another year goodbye, they often do an inventory of their own life and want to pay good fortune forward.

Gunilla Kroshus is no exception. The owner of American Dream Cakes says it is hard to narrow down where to contribute because, so many things are dear to her heart. But, she feels it’s important to do her part.

“God has blessed me in so many ways, so I feel it’s important to pass some of those blessings forward to the community,” she explained.

Her business receives so many requests for assistance each year that she tries to focus on a few key areas: military-related causes, cancer research and fundraising, community outreach, and school events, like mentoring high school students as part of their senior project for the fall and spring semesters.

In fact, American Dream Cakes supported area organizations close to two dozen times in 2017. In many cases, Gunilla was able to use her confectionary skills to add a touch of sweetness to local venues. Her team made cakes and desserts to help celebrate the birthdays of children at the Onslow Women’s Center, volunteers at the annual Red Cross appreciation event, and brighten up the menu at the Onslow Soup Kitchen. Other times, the business donated gift certificates – in lieu of treats – to the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce, Piney Green Fire Department, and Down Syndrome Network Buddy Walk.

But, Gunilla has also found a way to dedicate her time in a uniquely valuable way. She often works hand-in-hand with students sharing her craft and entrepreneur-sense – including mentoring students from culinary programs of Coastal Carolina Community College and Oregon Coast Culinary Institute. She sees many teachable moments in working with youth, and says there are options for getting them started in their own philanthropic activities.

“A good start for students is to talk to family and friends about the causes that are important to them. Chances are someone in their inner circle has the same interests and may already be part of an organization or have information on how to get more information and ideas about how to help the cause,” Gunilla said.  “With the guidance of a teacher or an adult, they can do an online search for organizations that interests them. Just make sure it’s a safe, legitimate site and cause.”

When you support American Dream Cakes, you support our community, too.  Gunilla and the entire team at American Dream Cakes wishes you and yours a joyous season of giving and Merry Christmas.

American Dream Cakes has a special gift to give you this holiday season. Here is an opportunity to bake your very own Schackrutor cookies.

Making History with Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread Houses Making History

Although decorated gingerbread treats had been created for years, the first gingerbread houses were made in Germany during the 16th century.  Many experts believe it was the result of the children’s fairy tale, Hansel & Gretel by the Brothers Grimm.  Other food experts believe they simply wrote about something that already existed.  Whatever inspired the first gingerbread house, creating an edible house, beautifully decorated with sweet ingredients, has been popular ever since.   It even has its own day.  December 12 is observed annually as National Gingerbread House Day.

 

World Record Gets Bigger in Texas

In 2013, The Traditions Club and St Joseph Health System in Bryan, TX broke the Guinness World Record for the largest gingerbread house.  Their house measured 60 feet long by 42 feet deep and was up to 20 feet high.  Although it started with a wood base, it took 1800 pounds of butter, 7200 eggs, 3000 pounds of sugar, 7200 pounds of flour, 22,000 pieces of candy, and a ton of volunteers. The giant effort was put to good use.  The house was a holiday tourist attraction and the proceeds went toward a new trauma facility.

Your gingerbread house won’t be as big and certainly won’t be more than 35 million calories, but take the time to gather your family and make some history together.  The value can be immeasurable.

Enjoy Swedish Gingerbread This Year

American Dream Cakes will have their traditional Swedish gingerbread, called pepparkakor, again this year.  Learn more about it and make sure you place your order for Sara’s Pepparkakor treats today.

Gingerbread Facts:

  • It’s believed gingerbread making was introduced in Europe by the crusaders returning from Eastern Mediterranean.
  • It’s recorded that an Armenian Monk, Gregory of Nicopolis, introduced gingerbread baking to Christians in France in 992 AD. They were shaped, decorated, and often used in religions celebrations.
  • Gingerbread has many names – one for each country where it’s found.
  • Some thought gingerbread had medicinal properties. In 1444, it was recorded Swedish nuns made gingerbread to ease indigestion.
  • Gingerbread arrived in America with the colonists. Even George Washington’s mother had her own recipe and served it to the Marquis de Lafayette when he visited her home in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
  • The Bakers Guild no long controls the making of gingerbread, so have fun designing your own special creation “guild-free.”

Make memories with this delicious recipe and your family!

 

Creative Ways to Use Pumpkins

Think outside the Pie Shell

Pumpkins are all the rage during the fall season.  Starting in late September through the end of November, they’re heralding the arrival of Fall from grocery stores, farmers markets, table tops and front porches.   They’re not just for pumpkin pie anymore! Read more

Which Cookie Will Santa Like Best?

Santa’s Coming SOON!

Santa’s going to be coming down chimneys and looking for those cookies and milk soon!  We have it on good elf-authority that he’s going to be munching cookies all night long, but he’s having trouble picking a flavor he likes BEST this year.  Read more

Reducing Holiday Stress

A Season for Stress?

We sing about peace, joy and goodwill, but the holidays can easily turn into long lists, fatigue and grumpy stressed-out adults.   Keep your happy holidays from becoming a Grinch-worthy experience by avoiding common mistakes and planning for a less-stress Christmas season.

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Sweet Treats at Oktoberfest

It’s October!  That means it’s time for the beer, brats, goodies and good-times of Jacksonville’s  Oktoberfest.

Read more

Family Baking Traditions

Food brings families together.  It helps us gather at mealtime, celebrate holidays, and converse at community gatherings.

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Fun Things to do this Fall

Back to school also means back to business for many adults, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had this time of year.  Jacksonville and Onslow County host many fun fall events.  The area is centrally located with several regional festivals nearby, too.  It’s the season for harvests, festivals and there’s plenty to enjoy to keep your hearts warm as the weather cools.

Read more

Red, White, and Blue Desserts

July Fourth is fast approaching and friends and family will gather for dinners, picnics, cookouts and parties to celebrate Independence Day.  Such a patriotic time lends itself to desserts that feature the colors of the nation’s flag.  If your event plans – or family plans – need a fresh red, white & blue dessert, here are a few suggestions you may consider for each color and a few links we’ve shared to some fun make-it-yourself Fourth of July Desserts. Read more

Birthday Cakes

Birthdays are celebrated in different ways around the world, but one thing most cultures have in common is the presence of baked goods.

Whether you’re 1 or 91, you’re never too old for birthday cake. Read more