best day

4 years ago today.

1 year ago today.

April 12th is by far the best day of my life.

Love you two.

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grandma phyllis’s cinnamon rolls

Remember these delicious sweet rolls? Remember how a few of you asked for the recipe about a month ago? Well, since I know you Midwesterners are getting huge snow storm this weekend, I thought I would share this recipe as it’s the perfect thing to bake when you’re stuck inside your house all day. You can’t rush sweet rolls so make sure you have plenty of time to dedicate to these delicious breakfast-y treats.

My Grandma Phyllis makes these rolls almost every time we are at her house. It seems that she always has a pan of fresh rolls and if she doesn’t, it’s guaranteed that she has some in the freezer just waiting for us to come and visit. Before I moved back to Washington I asked her if she would teach me how to make her famous sweet rolls. I’m still no expert, but at least I learned from one.

This recipe makes two 9 x 13 pans of rolls, which is a lot of rolls, but it can be easily halved.

So here goes, I apologize for the long directions, but I think they’re helpful, especially if you’re a bread making novice.

Grandma Phyllis’s Sweet Roll Dough:

1/2 cup warm water (I would say about 115 degrees)

2 packages dry yeast (not rapid rise)

1-1/2 cup lukewarm milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup butter

7 to 7-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Directions:

  • Scald milk in glass measuring cup.
  • Dissolve yeast in water and let it stand.
  • While milk is cooling, add sugar, salt and butter to your mixer’s bowl. The mixer should be fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add milk after it is cooled (it doesn’t have to be all the way cool, just not steaming hot). Add eggs and 1-2 cups flour to beat in.
  • Add yeast mixture to mixing bowl when the mixture is lukewarm.
  • Add flour one cup at a time. You can use your stand mixer for another couple cups of flour, but then stir in flour until too stiff to stir.
  • Turn onto floured board or countertop and knead in the rest of the flour. Amount of flour varies, so go by how dough feels, usually not more than 7 cups, sometimes 6-1/2. The dough should be softer than for regular bread.
  • When dough is right consistency and smooth from kneading, place in a large, clean, greased or oiled bowl. Cover with towel or lid. Let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about an hour and a half.
  • Turn out onto floured board or countertop (again) and knead until approximately the original size and no large bubbles remain. Put back in the bowl and let rise until double (again).
  • Knead down again. Shape into any sweet rolls you’d like…

Here are your sweet roll options:

Classic Cinnamon Rolls (this is the amount for one pan of cinnamon rolls, remember the recipe above will make 2 pans)

2 Tbsp softened butter

1/2 cup sugar mixed with 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • Set oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll dough with rolling pin into 15″ x 9″ oblong. Get out your ruler and measure it, because that’s what Grandma Phyllis would do. Plus, your rolls will be much more uniform if you measure it out instead of eyeballing.
  • Spread the dough with the softened butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Make sure to get the butter and cinnamon/sugar all the way to the edges of the dough.
  • Roll up the dough tightly, the wide side should be parallel to you. Seal by pinching the edge to the dough. Stretch dough as you work to get it as even as possible- you don’t want one side to be thicker than the other.
  • Cut long roll into 1″ thick slices. Place in greased 9 x 13 pan. Don’t forget to grease the sides. You should have 4 rows of 3 rolls per row. (The ones I made that are pictured above are smaller than they should be because I didn’t measure my dough.) The rolls won’t be touching just yet.
  • Cover and let rise until double.  They will typically rise a bit faster this time.
  • Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. They should be light to medium brown when done.
  • When done place baking rack or platter over baking pan and invert, turning rolls out onto baking rack or platter. If you’re using a rack it helps to put wax paper or parchment paper over the rack so it isn’t so messy. You can bake these and then frost them with powdered sugar frosting.

Caramel Rolls (these are the ones my Grandma always makes)

1/3 to 1/2 cup butter (depending on how much caramel you like)

1/2 to 2/3 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. light colored corn syrup or 1 Tbsp cream

1/2 cup chopped pecan halves (optional)

  • Follow instructions for the cinnamon rolls above but do not place them in the baking pan.
  • Grease the sides of your 9 x 13 pan. Melt the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup/cream in the pan. Make sure to mix these ingredients well as they’re melting to form a caramel. Then sprinkle with nuts, if using.
  • Place the cut roll dough over the caramel mixture and let rise until double.
  • Bake as directed above- 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Invert immediately on baking rack or platter. Make sure to leave the pan upside down for about 30-60 seconds so all of the caramel-y goodness drips out of the pan onto the rolls.

I realize there are a lot of steps, so I hope it all makes sense. They don’t take as much time as you think, it’s a lot of “hurry up and wait.” Yeast breads are a little tricky to make, but they are so delicious when they’re finished, that they’re worth every bit of it. Let me know if you have any questions or if something is unclear.

And definitely let me know if you end up making these sweet rolls, I’d love to hear how they turn out!

And because they’re a lack of photos in this post, I’ll leave you with this photo of the little one practicing her claps on Valentine’s Day.

Steppin’ out Saturday: party on

Sometimes I still can’t believe I have a kid and husband of my own. I still feel like I’m 22, except better, I suppose. Anyway, this weekend was one of those weekends where I was reminded exactly how old I’m getting (in a good way). Our Friday and Saturday night plans consisted of birthday parties…for toddlers?! How did that happen?

On Friday night we celebrated Bec’s daughter’s 3rd Birthday with an ice cream party. It was so fun to see all of the little ones running around hopped up on sugar. Bec did a great job decorating, it looked so cute in there. And she made these delicious cookie dough balls (egg free), for anyone who loves cookie dough ice cream you’d understand how excited I was. I must get the recipe. And here’s a shout out to Steve for the cake.

These two love each other. Isla always watches what Nora’s doing in amazement.

BJ built the top for our kitchen table last week (did you know he was building us a kitchen table?). He spent the weekend sanding it and then it’s off to be painted and stained. I’m so excited to have a larger table. I see many more dinner parties in our future.

I found some cute new kicks for Isla at Value Village. They were only $.99 and with a little cleaning from a Magic Eraser they look brand new. They kind of remind me of the Bensimon shoes, so I thought I’d snag them, they’ll be fun for Spring.

We hit up Katheryn’s first birthday party (her mom and dad are in our small group) on Saturday night. There was a small ball pit which all the kids loved, but Isla hated, I mean hated. So, no ball pits at her birthday party.

I thought I’d link up with Steppin’ Out Saturday this week as I was pretty stoked about my $12 colored denim purchase and I remembered to take a quick photo. My top half looks a lot bigger than my bottom half. Must be the angle! 🙂

{top} H&M {jeans} Target {Shoes} Target

There was also a run, some jeans shopping (the new Gap colored jeans are absolutely adorable), and a very crabby kiddo by the time Sunday night came around. Hope you enjoy the randomness from my weekend!

valentine’s party

I hosted a little Valentine’s Day party for some of my mom friends and their kiddos on Valentine’s Day. It’s amazing how much work you can put into a party and then all of it comes apart 5 minutes after everyone has walked in the door, but it’s so rewarding to see everyone enjoy themselves. The aftermath wasn’t too bad either- my floor was full of broken up animal crackers, there were toys everywhere and the only casualty was Isla’s dollar store piggy bank. (my house isn’t completely baby-proofed yet since Isla just started crawling, but I’m going to get on that immediately!)

I served a light brunch including, Byerly’s recipe for Eggs Baked with Leeks and Sun Dried Tomatoes, this is a great recipe as it can be made the night before and baked just before guests arrive. I made Macrina Bakery’s Rocket Muffins and fresh strawberries. For dessert we had Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies and a pink ombre cake. I also had animal crackers and Cheerios for the kiddos to munch on.

Here’s my little cake.

and the surprise inside. Next time I’ll double the cake batter recipe so the layers are taller.

I filled paper lunch bags with a few Valentine’s Day treats. I made the girls heart headbands and the boys bow ties out of leftover felt from Isla’s Halloween costume. I also gave each kiddo a small bag of animal crackers and a container of bubbles.

I spruced up the mantle with my heart garland and some pink roses.

Here’s the best shot of my smallest guests wearing their headbands and bow ties. Pretty cute, huh?

PS: Sorry for the mix of camera and iPhone photos, some photos turned out better on my iPhone. 🙂

our weekend: full hearts

We had a great weekend with lots of activity and lots of friends. I had to spend Monday recovering from it all.

I’ve started a little running group that meets on Saturday mornings, it’s pretty casual. This past weekend was our first run together and it was lots of fun. The weather has been amazing here in Washington, along with everywhere else it seems, and it was the perfect day for a run. If anyone is interested in joining our little group, let me know- the more the merrier!

After my Saturday morning run and a coffee date with a friend…(seriously, when was the last time I had a coffee date with a friend and didn’t bring my baby?!) Anyway, after coffee, two of my beloved friends came up from Seattle for a visit. We. Had. So. Much. Fun. I haven’t spent time with these girls in a while.

Megan and Caitlin with little I.

Baking Brownie Baked Alaskas. (here is a similar recipe.)

Megan did lots of the actual work in the kitchen. (that’s what you get when you work at Canlis)

While Cait provided lots of moral support.

We had lunch, walked around and looked at some shops, chatted, made dinner, split a bottle of wine and had great chats and giggles all along the way. They left around 10:00 that night and my heart was full. Thanks for coming girls! 🙂

On Sunday we went to a Super Bowl party with a bunch of friends. I love an excuse to get together, even if it is for a football game. Don’t get me wrong, I like to watch football, but I’m also happy to see the season end. There were lots of snacks (the Buffalo Chicken bites made an appearance), delicious beer (with a few homebrewers in the group that’s a given), one silly toddler and lots of cheering.

I love weekends full of friends. What did you guys do?

 

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