Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls on a Wonderful Day

Are you thinking you may have had enough carbs over the holidays? well.........
Here's a little treat. Or maybe a big treat. ;-) We were so fortunate to be able to visit our son Mike in Michigan for Christmas. Then our daughter Lauren and her husband Matt were also able to travel to Mike's. We had all kinds of fun. On Christmas Eve we visited friends in Canada for a wonderful dinner, with lake perch that was caught and frozen this summer. YUM! and then on Christmas day, Mike cooked up some wondrous food also and I got to help!

We also baked a batch of cinnamon rolls. They weren't as good as usual because I had decided to cut back the sugar in the filling by a half cup. wrong! LOL I guess when it comes to cinnamon rolls a lot of sugar makes them just that much better! But they were still good. We put icing on them to add a little more sweetness. Sometimes I make these into pecan rolls and they are addictive. Totally addictive. I am warning you! People will beg you to make them again. You will eat them until you want to burst and then... you'll eat one more.

This is a great recipe I found in the newspaper years ago, and have modified it here and there, and baked it over and over. My Mom's side of the family, has many recipes for breads and they were bakers, not by trade, but they made some really good breads, and pastries, and whatever. My love for carbs must have come from that side of the family!

Grandma Ott used to visit and bake breads all day when she came. She would make a little tin of bread for me when I helped her. My own small loaf which I could have straight out of the oven with lots of melted butter. So fragrant, I can picture it to this day in my mind, coming in from playing out on the swing set, to a warm kitchen with these incredible smells, Grandma in her apron, and warm bread lining the counter top.I feel that I learned from a 'master baker' because she would teach me how to stir in the ingredients and let me help knead the bread. (and let me say here that a stand mixer with a dough hook is a real blessing) Grandma always had a big bin of flour in her closet, my Mother always has the same in her cupboard, as I do too. It was fun to see that Mike also has a large plastic bin full of flour, and so does Lauren. And my son Joe, who was not with our side of the family this year for the holiday, is great at baking too. The baking 'gene' has been passed on!
Here is the recipe for these cinnamon rolls. They take about 4 or 5 hours to make so it's best for some lazy day that you are around the house. It's worth it! (Then you'll have to plan some gym time too!)

Susan's Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 c sugar
2 t. salt
2 c milk (warmed)
2 pkg yeast dissolved in 1/2 c lukewarm water
2 eggs (beaten)
6-6 1/2 c flour
1/2 c butter melted and cooled

stir sugar and salt into milk, mixing to dissolve. Add yeast/water mixture to milk. add eggs. gradually add 3 c flour mixing well by hand. Add melted butter, mixing well. add additional flour to make a soft dough. Place dough on board and cover and let rest for 10 minutes
knead about 10 minutes, adding only enough flour to keep dough from sticking
place in a large bowl cover and let rise until double (about 2 hours)
punch down rise about 45 minutes

stir together filling

1 c softened butter
2 c sugar
6 t cinnamon

Divide dough in half
roll out 15 x 12 x 1/2 inch spread with half of the cinnamon mixture. roll up, seal, and cut into slices about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.

grease a baking pan (about 12x 14 with sides on the pan)
in the bottom of the pan put a layer of pecans, then sprinkle a light layer of brown sugar over that. sometimes I sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on that too.
then put the cut rolls on that layered goodness, with the spirals facing up and down.
do the same thing with the other half of the dough
cover and let rise about an hour

bake 350 for 20 minutes. watch them. if they are browning too fast on top, put a loose piece of aluminum foil over them.

when done, invert pan on top of foil and let sit for a minute. remove pan.

you can omit the pecans and when they are done drizzle a glaze over them

1 c powdered sugar
3 T milk
1/2 t vanilla

makes about 32 rolls

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Reduce- Reuse -Recycle

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, always have been in use in my parent's house. Probably it was a carry over from being 'depression babies'. But as a child, I was taught to figure out how to make do with what you had. There were so many uses for left over 'things' and we also used 'things' until they totally wore out and couldn't be fixed. Our trash barrel rarely had much in it. The food scraps went to the compost or to the chickens. The papers were burned in the fireplace to start the fire. Scrap wood was bought at the lumber yard to burn for heat. The tin cans went to the dump, but most of our canned food was 'canned' in glass jars from our garden. The jars, of course, we used year after year.. The bottles from soda or beer were returned to the store for that 2 cent deposit. If we could find two bottles to take back, it was enough money for a popsicle. We rode our bikes and walked, covered our school books in brown paper to preserve the covers so they could be resold, and used both sides of our notebook paper. We cut the buttons off clothing that was worn out, so the buttons could be used again. The clothing became cleaning rags. (and we did wear out clothes due to being a large family, hand me downs were a fact of life)
When I grew up, as an adult, it was and is hard to believe what people throw away. Now not throwing things away can also be a bad thing because saving 'stuff' isn't good either since storage is expensive. Think of how much you pay for a shelf!
But you can take what you don't use to Goodwill or charity of some type. Resell your books on Amazon. Take your recycle-able items to the recycle center if you don't have recycling in your city.
Sometimes clever things can be made with old items. I am especially in love with felting wool sweaters and look for them when I take a trip to the Goodwill. And something interesting is that you can take some wool sweaters if they have a seam that is not a cut weave and unravel them, wash the yarn, and reuse it.
It would be so good for our environment if everyone tried to do their part. Think of ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Pictured is a pendant I make using coca cola bottle necks. The remainder of the bottle goes to recycling. It's a fun way to reuse something and remind myself when wearing it to at least try to remember my shopping bags when I go to the grocery!
What do you do? It's great to hear ideas and practices that will help us live in a clean and healthy world.