Two for Tuesday

Hello! Sunday marked the first day of Spring and it is so exciting to see all the fresh new flowers popping up.  Spring is my favorite time of year…maybe because it’s my moms, my niece’s and my birthdays in the Spring, maybe because I got married in the Spring, or maybe it’s because of what Spring marks with new life and new beginnings.  Either way, I hope you are able to get out and enjoy the warmer weather and all mother nature has to offer this time of year!

Spring also gives me that extra little bit of energy with the extra hour to get crafty and spend a little extra time making special treats in the kitchen, so with that being said, here’s my two for Tuesday:

  1. Cinnamon Buns: My mom has a bread machine and I grew up with her always making fresh bread…my sister and I even got to a point where we despised fresh homemade bread…can you imagine?!?! With that being said, mom finally got the message and would make her bread periodically, but a “go to” of hers was always her cinnamon buns.  About a month ago, they were having snow and she got the itch to make them and had the nerve to send a picture of them to me.  Now let me remind you, she is in the D.C. area and I am in Austin, TX…I don’t want to know what they would be like after they were mailed and I can’t just drive over and grab one…it was the biggest tease ever!  So, I decided to go out and find my own recipe.  While I do have a bread machine too, I have made a few things in it and for some reason they always turn out horrible…too much salt, don’t rise enough, too dry, etc.  So, whenever I can find a bread related recipe that doesn’t require a machine, I am all about it.  I will post the recipe below and it is pretty easy with easy ingredients, I have to warn you though, it is a bit time consuming, BUT totally worth every minute:
Soft Cinnamon Rolls
makes: 24 rolls
Ingredients
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding (and milk called for to prepare it)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups flour (plus more as needed)
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, make pudding mix according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt to the pudding mixture and mix well.
  3. Add the yeast mixture and mix together. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Add additional flour until dough is soft but not sticky (I added 7 cups total).
  4. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  5. Roll dough onto a floured surface about 34 X 21 inches in size. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. Roll up very tightly starting with the long end. With knife put a notch every 1½ inches. Cut with thread or serrated knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise until double again. *If making ahead of time cover and refrigerate instead of letting rise. When ready to bake remove from the fridge and allow rolls to rise.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden brown. Do not overbake! Frost rolls after rolls have cooled just a couple of minutes (directions below). You still want to frost them while they’re warm just not super hot! Makes about 24 very large rolls.
  7. Frosting: Mix together cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons milk. Add more milk as needed.
Notes
Source: Allrecipes and Mels Kitchen Cafe; increased the cinnamon, halved the butter, reduced brown sugar.
Freezing Instructions: To freeze rolls, place them on a baking sheet after they have been rolled and cut. Wrap in plastic wrap and foil and freeze. Thaw rolls at room temperature and allow to rise. Bake as directed.

 

Here’s what mine ended up looking like (By the way, rave reviews from hubby and my neighbors!).  It might be just the recipe you need to bring to your Easter brunch!

 

2. Embroidery Hoop Orbs:

Like I mentioned in my last post, we are in a short-term rental and I am doing everything I can to make it feel like a “home” without spending too much money and doing anything I will just have to fix in a few months.  So, on my search to find some decorator items, I really like the orbs that are popping up in stores from Restoration Hardware to Home Goods to At Home to Michael’s…some are made out of metal and some out of wood, but they are ALWAYS expensive for some reason.  Even at some of my “go to” stores for decorations, the small one costs an arm and a leg.  So, I went out to see if I could make them myself and sure enough, I was able to make the two orbs pictured above with a little paint and some embroidery hoops…all under $10.  I used directions from AKA Designs but instead of using wood stain, I used a metallic paint to match my candle holders (plus, I didn’t want to deal with the mess of wood stain!).  I ended up getting 3 10″ inch embroidery hoops and 3 5″ inch embroidery hoops.  I painted all of them, let them dry overnight, and used all of the hoops but 1 for each set.  I started with the hoops that are not expandable in the middle and expanded the ones that could be expanded to go over all of the other hoops and …Voila! For under $10, I was pretty proud of my little decoration, considering just the smaller size at most stores starts around $10-15.

Well, that’s all for today! I hope you are able to enjoy a little bit of Spring this week, and for those of you that celebrate….Happy Easter!

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