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Ninety Minute Cinnamon Rolls

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I know, it doesn't seem as practical or sane to make a cinnamon roll as it is to buy one of those nice tubes in the refrigerated section and bake them.  I'll tell you why.  One day I wanted a cinnamon roll, but being a new mother, I still haven't gotten a good hang on going to the store with my little guy.  He's only slightly more patient than his father when it comes to shopping, and then there's all that baby gear, like the diaper bag, the car seat, and either a carrier or stroller.  By the time you get loaded and unloaded, you've spent almost as much time going to the store as you would making these cinnamon rolls, and you wouldn't have nearly the quality.

                   


These ninety minute cinnamon rolls are easy, tasty, and quick for a cinnamon roll.  If you've made other recipes, you know how long they often take.  The dough comes out soft and pillow-y, with a nice, mild yeast roll flavor.  They are dreamy.  These cinnamon rolls also freeze and reheat well, making them quite convenient for making a batch and not eating them all at once.  

                   

I have tried a few homemade cinnamon roll recipes over the years, and this has been my favorite recipe.  It's my holy grail cinnamon roll recipe.  I hope if you make it you'll agree!



adapted slightly from allrecipes.com

3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) softened butter, divided
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in 1/2 stick butter; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining stick of butter.

Roll out dough into a 12x9 inch rectangle. Spread dough with butter/sugar mixture. Roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up in a buttered 9x13 pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until browned. Let cool slightly and then top with icing if desired.*(see notes)

Notes
  • I desired icing.  I used this icing, made with vanilla extract and it was perfect.
  • I'm not sure if it was atmospheric influence or not, but I had to add extra flour (used unbleached AP flour)- maybe about a 1/4 cup extra.  

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

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Most of us home cooks have long known how valuable a slow cooker is.  How great is it to put a bunch of ingredients into the pot, turn it on, and hours later be rewarded with a great aroma and a (hopefully) tasty meal?

Now I'm going to share a revelation that most of you moms will laugh and roll your eyes at, but I had the impression that when I stayed at home with my baby, I'd have all this extra time to cook and clean.  I'll pause while you wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes.

All better and composed now?  Ok.  So anyway, I've now figured out how difficult it is to care of a baby and brush your teeth, let alone cook a meal, and I'm back to the time we decided to try to become champions of the slow cooker.  We still have a long way to go, but I've added another recipe to my fairly small repertoire- slow cooker honey sesame chicken.  If you like Asian inspired foods, then this one is right up your alley.  It's easy and light, with a sauce that works nicely over rice or with noodles.  I love, too, that it's made with ingredients found in your home and not ones that you'd need to visit the Asian market to find.  I made it for my sister and me to eat one evening, and we both agreed this recipe is a keeper.

I slightly changed some of the recipe, so I'll post what I did, and the recipe title is a link to the original.

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
adapted from Lindsay Weiss

1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thighs would be fine too)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon nut or seed oil (I used flax oil)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 small package snow peas (not frozen, from the produce section)
Sesame seeds

Cut chicken into cubes or strips.  Season chicken with lightly with salt and pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Stir in corn starch until completely dissolved. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving. Stir in snow peas. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.

Notes

  • The original recipe called for sesame oil, and the one time I bought it for a meal I didn't like it at all, though that may have been toasted sesame oil.  Anyway, I used flaxseed oil, because weirdly enough I did have some of that.  I imagine almost any seed or nut oil would work, and if all else fails, just leave it out.
  • I used a small slow cooker (1 qt) and this cooked quickly.  I used chicken breasts, but next time will use thighs as the breats were just slightly tough.

One of My Favorite Breakfasts- Eggs and Spinach On Toast

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I'm back!  In the time since my last post, we added to the family and are adjusting to life with Baby G.  What a wild ride!  

It's amazing how life can change in the course of just over a year.  We got pregnant, had the baby, and now I'm staying home with our little one and this is the first time in 17 years I haven't worked for a paycheck.  It's also amazing to watch how a baby develops and grows these first few months.  They're astounding!

Even though I haven't posted, I have been cooking, and wanted to share a simple recipe with you today.  As the post title would suggest, it's one of my favorite breakfasts, but it's also good for a quick lunch or dinner if you aren't feeling like putting in a ton of effort and time for dinner but you still want something healthy and tasty.  Just look at the egg running out over the spinach!  YUM!

So, let me know what you think if you make this.  Enjoy!

Eggs and Spinach on Toast
to serve 1

1 slice of bread, toasted
2 eggs
2-3 oz (approx 2 cups) fresh spinach
Hot sauce

Preheat a medium skillet over medium heat and pour in about 1-2 tsp. olive oil.  Sauté your spinach in the oil until wilted.  Place atop toast.  Clean out skillet and allow to reheat.  Place another 1-2 tsp oil in skillet.  Crack your eggs into the pan (or, to be on the safe side, into a bowl and then pour into the pan) and fry to your liking.  Place the eggs on top of the spinach and drizzle with hot sauce, if desired.  Eat with a knife and fork.

Other options- sauté onion with the spinach or top the whole thing with fresh green onion slices.

Lemon Berry Cake with Mascarpone Filling

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I am really excited to share this recipe with you because it's SO GOOD.  If you make this cake and don't eat it all yourself, you will look like a rock star in the kitchen, and hey, even if you do eat it all yourself, you'll at least know you're a rock star.



This cake is perfect for this time of year- it's light, lemony, creamy, and just all around dreamy.  The filling seriously could be as light as a cloud, if they were made of cheese.  It's pretty in its simplicity.  No need to break out piping bags or even icing spatulas.

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Fire Roasted Salsa

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My go-to salsa during winter when fresh tomatoes aren't available is the Pioneer Woman's Restaurant Style Salsa.  It has an impressive flavor and is quick and easy to boot.  I've made it dozens of times, and each time there's just never enough, even though it makes a ton.

I can't remember if this salsa remix was born out of the desire to experiment or just because I didn't have plain tomatoes, but a couple weeks ago I decided to try making the salsa with fire roasted tomatoes instead of plain ones.  This discovery has to rank right up there with sliced bread.  It's more complex- slightly smoky, spicy, and the flavor just feels...deeper.  It's so good!

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Meatless Mondays: Skillet Baked Ziti

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Y'all, I have had this recipe in the stack for almost seven years.  It was way past time to try this one out, and now that I did, I know I'll be going back again and again.  This baked ziti is easy, quick, and tasty, and has a big bonus: the leftovers stay moist and well sauced, which as you may know, is a hazard with baked pasta dishes.  Both Drew and I really enjoyed this.  Drew even said it may be the best he's had, which is saying a lot, because he used to live in Upstate New York, where there's a lot of Italian influence.

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Cowboy Beans

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With the country standing at the cusp of grilling season (sounds so dramatic, doesn't it?), this dish is one you'll want to make again and again.  It's one of those recipes that you unfortunately won't have a lot of leftovers if you take it to a potluck and one that almost everyone will ask for the recipe.

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