Oh December, where have you gone? The whole year itself has flown by. We've had a busy month so far and have made some awesome new memories.
We kicked the holiday season off with our community's annual Holiday Hoopla event. Our 8-year old performed with her dance team. It was freezing outside that night, but lots of fun! The kids loved seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive.
Next, we spent a morning riding the snowflake express. Another annual event that has become popular in our town. A train ride complete with hot cocoa, cookies, Christmas carols and of course, Santa.
I look forward to my cookie exchange each year, this year happened to have marked my 6th one. As always, the ladies all brought an awesome selection of cookies.
We played a couple games, this reindeer one being new to us. I purchased cheap pantyhose from the Dollar tree and balloons. Each team picked a leader to wear the "rack". They were given six minutes to blow up as many balloons as they could, while the leader stuffed them into the pantyhose. Whichever team's rack was the biggest won. It was silly, fun, and they were all good sports!
Later that night the hubby and I also attended a fun holiday party. I made him partake in a little photo fun!
While we were gone, the girls spent the evening decorating cookies at my parent's home. They were quite into it. And the stocking hat, I have no idea. She's become obsessed with wearing it everywhere. I said she should be the poster child for my father in law's company!
Now that Christmas is just one week away, the family and I are looking forward to Christmas break off. Almost two weeks of vacation and relaxing. I've decided to take this time off from blogging and just enjoy some time off from work and with my family. I might try to squeeze in one more post before Tuesday. Otherwise, expect to see regular posts back in January. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram though, I'll be sharing what we're up to!
Exciting new things are lined up for 2016, starting with a much needed updated look for the blog! I can't wait to show you. But for now, take time to slow down yourself this season and have a very merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
A couple years ago at Christmas time, I advertised that I was taking orders for cinnamon rolls. I was still working from home as a child care provider and then also decorating cakes/cupcakes on the weekends. Cinnamon rolls happened to be one of the best sellers at my farmers' market booth and I got to thinking, who wouldn't love to wake up on Christmas morning to fresh baked sweet rolls?!
So it was a go, and a big hit at that. My husband was working second shift at the time, so I spent the evening mixing up close to 200 rolls. They rose over night and then on Christmas Eve. morning, I baked them for customers to pick up. All they would have to do is simply reheat the next day and enjoy.
I wish I had time to do it again this year, because I would definitely offer in addition to the cinnamon rolls, my caramel pecan and these new orange cranberry. Next year for sure!
I love a good baking project and sweet rolls are always a welcomed treat in my house. Sundays are my favorite day for baking. I try to have all of our work done around the house, so I can use the day for baking and preparing meals for the upcoming week. I had originally planned to bake scones but after some thinking, I quickly decided to give the sweet roll version a try.
I used my favorite cinnamon roll recipe and just adapted it to the orange and cranberry flavors. Everyone in the house loved the results! Even if a couple of them picked out the cranberries ha! They still went for the citrus flavor. These might have to be a new favorite when it comes to special breakfast treats.
Orange Cranberry Rolls
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup milk, room temp
5 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4-1/2 cup flour
1 tsp orange zest
for the filling:
2 tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dried cranberries
zest of one orange
for the buttercream:
1 stick butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar
Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
splash of milk, if needed for additional thinning
In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast into milk and let sit for 5 minutes. Add in eggs, melted butter, sugar and salt. Mix to combine. Gradually add in flour, you might need to add in up to one half cup more. Mix in orange zest. Once dough has come together, switch to the dough hook and knead for five minutes. Remove dough and place into a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm spot for one hour.
When dough is ready, punch down and turn over onto a well floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out into a large rectangle, about 18x16 inches. With a pastry brush, spread melted butter on dough. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cranberries and orange zest.. Starting with the long side, roll up the dough, making sure to pinch seams to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut into 15 slices. Place rolls into greased baking pans.
Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When ready to bake, place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while you mix up buttercream.
To prepare buttercream: In a large bowl, cream together butter, orange zest and juice. Gradually add in powdered sugar, mixing together well. Add in milk by the teaspoon, in small increments, just until the buttercream has reached your desired consistency. Frost rolls with buttercream when done.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
I know what you're thinking, why the squash lady? Bear with me here though. We still have to eat, and foods other than desserts. I've got some of those up my sleeves this holiday season, but let's try to round this out a little bit, shall we?
I told you all about my small makeshift root cellar we put together this year. Well, I'm being a good steward and not letting those veggies go to waste. And I've personally come to love squash of all varieties in my adult years. Crazy how that happens. It's still a work in progress with the children and even the hubby, but we're getting there. They at least humor me and give most everything a try.
Delicata, or sweet potato squash, is one that I've only tried just this year. It's fairly small and has a very delicate skin, in fact you don't even have to peel it. It's also one that won't last for long in storage, so I'm making sure we eat these up before some of our others.
So far, I'm keeping these pretty simple. Cutting them in half and then slicing each side into smaller pieces, tossing with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasting in the oven. So good! Each slice is tender and has a wonderful, almost sweet taste to it. They are great for snacking or of course, as a side dish. You won't need any sort of dipping sauce, but I've always had good luck getting the hubby to try new veggies when he can dip them in hot sauce; so I figured why not? Even better in my book. I've still got a couple of these left in our winter storage, we might try stuffing them for a new variation; but if all else fails, I know we'll love this version just as much!
1 medium delicata squash
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
hot sauce or buffalo sauce, for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and set aside.
Wash the skin of squash. Slice in half the long way and using a spoon, scoop out pulp and seeds. Then slice each half again into 1/2 inch slices.
Place squash onto prepared baking sheet. Toss all slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 25 minutes, then using a spatula turn all slices over. Bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Serve immediately with hot or buffalo flavored sauce, if desired.