a birthday, new cinnamon roll recipe, and lightsaber battles

Hang with me, we’re covering a lot of ground today…

The Hubs’ birthday was last Thursday. Unlike myself, he is a bit funny/picky about sweets and picked cinnamon rolls over a cake or pie. I have made the same cinnamon rolls for a few years now, mostly just around Christmas time, and they are divine. However, for Christmas morning with G’s family I tried a new recipe, courtesy of a friend from work… and we may have a new winner. The 2nd time around they were even better, as I didn’t rush them. You should know by now I’m not the patient one in this house. Any kind of homemade bread is a labor of love, but this particular recipe takes a lengthy amount of time (with 3 rising times), so I recommend making them the day before. They are so totally worth it though.

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I spy a hole where a cinnamon roll should be…

Cinnabon Rolls

Dough:

1/2 c warm water

2 pkg active dry yeast

2 T sugar

1 (3.5 oz) pkg instant vanilla pudding

1 c butter, melted (divided)

2 eggs, beaten

1 t salt

8 c flour

In a small bowl combine the water, yeast and sugar. Let rest a few minutes. In a large bowl make the pudding according to directions. To the pudding add 1/2 c of the melted butter, eggs, and salt and mix well. Add the yeast mixture. Gradually add the flour and knead until smooth. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. Punch down the dough and let it rise again for about 45 more min. Onto a floured surface, roll out tough to a 34″ x 21″ rectangle. Brush on the other 1/2 c melted butter and cover with the topping.

Topping:

2 c packed brown sugar

2 T cinnamon

Roll up the dough and cut into 2″ pieces, yielding 16-17 rolls. Place 4 rolls in each greased square pan. Cover pans and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Bake the rolls at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool a little and then frost and enjoy.

Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1/2 c butter, softened

1 t vanilla

3 c powdered sugar

1 T milk

This recipe yields lots of rolls, but you’ll be glad that it does once you try them. We gave away some and selfishly kept the rest for ourselves. They reheat nicely, and you could probably freeze them too, if for some crazy reason you can’t eat them all.

Moving right along.

Our New Year’s Eve was spent at home, just the three of us. I made a few special snacks and we had a nice evening in. I can’t say it was a quiet evening, as there was a whole lot of this going on:

And some of this:

But I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the evening any other way.

Dear baby Evelyn,

You’d better be a tough cookie.

Love,

Your mom

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hankering: met

My husband is thebomb.com.  Truly.

When I was pregnant with Oscar and craving sno-cones in the middle of winter, he surprise ordered me a fancy pants, legit sno-cone maker (no Snoopy Sno-Cone Maker here) complete with about 10 gallons of syrup.

This time around, I’ve had a hankering for a meal that is his specialty.  When we used to spend our summers traveling with a youth organization, Greg leading worship, we spent about 4 weeks in a row at Milligan College in East Tennessee.  Something unique to the area is that there are about a million Japanese steakhouse type restaurants.  Some offer “fast food” type service and some cook in front of you, but all of them have a glorious sauce that goes on everything called “shrimp sauce.”  There actually isn’t any shrimp in the sauce, or else this Mama wouldn’t care for it, but it is just because of the color.  It is used as a salad dressing, drizzled over fried rice, pumped into veins, you name it.  They also all served it with chicken and these delicious sweet carrots as a side.

Once we stopped traveling a few years ago we still talked about going to Mikado and how we wish we could emulate the recipe at home.  We weren’t the only ones in love with Mikado, as was any other staff member who had been to Milligan before.  One particular staff member that had gone to Milligan for many summers somehow got us a recipe that my husband has played with a bit, and I do believe he has it nailed.

Now this meal is not good for you… at all.  There is so much sugar involved in the carrots, loads of mayo in the shrimp sauce…but if it is wrong, I don’t want to be right.  This meal is also quite the labor of love, taking between 2-3 hrs, and our wok has to be used outside since we can’t use it on our stove.  So naturally, whenever I’ve talked about this meal lately I’ve gotten a sympathetic “yeah, it sounds great” but that’s as far as it went, and I didn’t push it any further.  Until this weekend.  Honestly, I didn’t have to push that hard, but was so thankful when he agreed to fix it for us.

I may have been singing songs of praise with each and every bite.  My husband just looked at me like I was looney.  I don’t care.  This time around, though, he’ll be happy to know that I don’t need repeated Mikado dinners, like I needed regular sno-cones.

Wok Recipes

The above mentioned recipes are all on page 2 of the document, if you’d like to try it yourself.  

fluffernutter flashback

I remember my dad making me a fluffernutter sandwich on a few special occasions.  So when I stumbled upon this pin I knew I had to make fluffernutter sandwich krispies in the very near future. Her recipe just calls for Honey Bunches of Oats, but I did halvsies between that and Rice Krispies.  These babies are delicious, and an easy variation of regular old rice krispie treats (which really need no improving, but I believe in shaking things up from time to time).  Enjoy, but please promise me you’ll sing this song as you make them:

Fluffernutter Sandwich Krispies

1/4 c butter

10.5 oz bag of mini marshmallows

6 cups crispy cereal (Rice Krispies, Honey Bunches of Oats, or a combo)

3/4 c peanut butter

1 c marshmallow fluff

Melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add in marshmallows and stir until they are completely melted.  Remove from heat and stir in cereal.  Spread this mixture evenly into a greased jelly roll pan and press down gently to even it out.  Let this cool.  Cut the krispies in half, and spread half with fluff and the other half with peanut butter.  Sandwich the two sides together and cut into bars.

She says these’ll last in an airtight container for up to 2 days… not in this house.

big big garden + golden retriever = someday

Strawberries have always been a favorite of mine. Just ask my mom, who recalls me as a toddler going to our family’s garden with a bucket of water, to sit at the edge of the patch, wash berries, and eat. So Friday I was very excited to visit Spencer Farms and pick 5 pounds of strawberries as a family. This yielded us enough for a double batch of super easy but super awesome jam. We even had plenty extra to snack on. We were pushing it, being near to the end of the season, but found plenty of beautiful berries to be picked.

This place is kind of perfect. The fruit smell filled the air, friendly people everywhere on the grounds, and an older man riding to around and greeting people on a 4-wheeler with a handsome golden retriever along for the ride. I’m convinced you couldn’t be in a bad mood there. As I picked I daydreamed about my own gigantic garden of the future (complete with 4-wheeler and golden retriever) and how strawberries will definitely have a decent amount of space devoted to them.

Our field trip also allowed me to cross two things off the list. If you’re in the area, I recommend the drive up there. Blueberry season is right now, but they have been so busy they halted picking for a few days. Given how the little man devours “boo berries” I’m thinking another trip might be necessary. Definitely come red raspberry time!

“snuffins” and island time

Spring break has been very good to all of us.  I’ve kept up with my promise of being on “island time” this week, and it has been grand.  The Mr. is enjoying a much less stressed wife, the babe is enjoying some extra Mama time, and I am enjoying having lots of extra time to bake, play, wrestle, snuggle, and play.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather for spring break in Indiana.  We’ve spent the majority of each day outside so far, and loving every minute of it.  We eat breakfast on the screened-in porch, draw with chalk, blow bubbles, eat a snack outside, play with the neighbor boys outside, eat lunch outside, nap (the one thing we’ve done inside.  If only we had a hammock…), and then back outside until Papa comes home and we all can eat dinner together…outside.  Here is Oscar enjoying his new favorite “snuffin” outside. (I added a sprinkle of nutmeg to the recipe for a little something extra)

He’s clearly more relaxed this week too, with his foot up on the table.

slow cooked oatmeal (6 thumbs up here)

I love coming home from a day at work to a meal ready to go in the crockpot. The house smells wonderful and more importantly, a good dinner is prepared. I’ve been wanting to branch out and try some different things in the old slow cooker, like breakfast, for a while. Last Friday I finally decided it was time to try a recipe I’ve had for a while for slow cooked oatmeal. Who wouldn’t love to have breakfast ready when they wake up? I modified it a bit, so here’s what the recipe ended up being:

4 c water

1 c steel cut oats

1 c dried fruit (I used a mixture of raisins and cherries)

1 t cinnamon

1/2 c milk

1/2 t salt

brown sugar

Spray a crockpot with cooking spray (I forgot to do this, and surprisingly the thing wasn’t a total bear to clean in the morning). I have a 2 qt. crockpot and used that instead of the larger one, but you can use whatever you have. Add the water, oats, dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, and salt. Mix. Cover and cook on low overnight, for 6-8 hours. My smaller crockpot doesn’t have a shut off timer, so I threw it in around 11 and it was perfect for breakfast. Serve in the morning, sprinkled with brown sugar and a splash of milk. We also topped ours with chopped apples and walnuts.

For last Saturday’s breakfast I prepared this recipe in the crockpot using coconut milk. I was too tired to prepare today’s breakfast last night, so I cooked the oats on the stove (using the same ingredients and following the cooking time on the oats package), using almond milk and omitting the dried fruit, per the husband’s request. The verdict: I personally prefer coconut milk, in the crockpot, with dried fruit. It was still very good cooked on the stove top too, but I think I’ll stick to the crockpot. It is just as awesome to wake to the smell of cinnamon and oats in the morning as it is to come home from a long day at work to dinner ready… and I didn’t have to wait for my coffee to kick in to cook breakfast. The little crockpot elves did all the work.

This recipe made enough oatmeal to last us a couple of days. Just refrigerate the leftovers (they may look a little rubbery the next day, but trust me), nuke, add milk, and voila. Oh, and the boys loved this hearty and healthy breakfast too. Oscar asked for “o-meeeeeeeal” for the next several mornings. I think I’ll make a big batch for tomorrow morning with hopes of there being plenty for a few days.

super sunday

We were glad to get out and enjoy the festivities downtown with family and friends last Sunday, before things got too crazy.

We didn’t tell Oscar about the following picture to keep him from feeling hurt. It’s best we keep it our little secret.

Have a SUPER Sunday! Ours is going to be full of time as our little family, pepperoni dip, white chicken chili, and hopefully a Giants victory!

Pepperoni dip:

1 can rotel

1 block cream cheese

8 oz (give or take) pepperoni, quartered

Combine all ingredients and heat in crock pot until melted. Serve with tortilla chips. This recipe is the perfect football snack! It is easily doubled for sharing with friends (if you can refrain from eating the whole batch yourself). Good luck with that.

an annual post

I know I blogged about these heavenly cinnamon rolls last year, but food this good deserves an annual post.  From the maple frosting to the insane amount of butter, they truly are divine.  I strongly encourage you to make, share (c’mon, the recipe makes 6 pans), and eat these this holiday season.  Season’s eatings!

a family tradition

Every year, Greg’s family spends a day just before Christmas making sausage. Yesterday was the first time in 8 years that we’ve been able to make it down there for the event, as it lined up with a weekend off for Greg. The day was spent hanging out, laughing, and grinding and packaging 250 pounds of whole hog sausage. We brought my intrigued bro-in-law along, and the boys got to end the day shooting clay pigeons while I enjoyed some time with the baby of the family for a small photo shoot. What a fun day. I can’t wait to make biscuits and gravy every Saturday in 2012. Ok, maybe not every Saturday… but I like that we almost could!

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gross and delicious all in one post

It is common knowledge that my feelings for ketchup are less than positive.  Call me un-American if you must, but we’ve never really been on speaking terms.  My son, however, seems to love it enough for the two of us.  If you needed confirmation, here he is dipping blueberries (yes, plural) in it.

To counter all the yuckiness in the above video, I thought I’d share a sweet treat that I just pulled from the oven.

Red velvet cheesecake brownies, I don’t know that I can keep from cutting into you right now, so that I can take you to a family gathering this afternoon.  Wish me luck, and check out the recipe for yourself.

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