Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Family Photos

It is that time of life.  Our children have continued to grow so quickly that our most recent family picture is way out of date.  Thankfully, I have an awesome and talented friend that agreed to take our photos this year (this is so much better than the self-timer method).  So, many thanks to my good friend Laine who sacrificed her time to make these photos possible. :)







{this one is one of my personal favorites}



Of course, there are many other pictures, but there are way too many to fit on this blog.  I just wanted to share a few photos with you, and you can all exclaim over how much the children have grown, and be in awe of my talented friend!  :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oh-So-Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

When I was a teenager, we lived in a small town with a village restaurant.  This particular restaurant had the most enormous cinnamon rolls, and they tasted even better than they looked!  It was always a treat to get one, although it was difficult to eat a whole one by yourself.  They were just too big.

Earlier this summer, after reminiscing about some childhood memories, I became obsessed with finding the recipe for these delicious rolls.  Further inquiry revealed that the rolls were made by a local Amish woman, and no one really knew the recipe.  I was disappointed, but not deterred.  I knew that somewhere in the wide world, the recipe lurked, just waiting to be discovered.  I searched the internet, perused dozens of recipe archives, and came up with nothing similar.  It seemed that the more elusive the recipe, the more obsessed I became with finding it!

One day after several weeks of searching, I found, quite by accident a recipe that I thought might just work.  I tweaked it a little, and was very pleased with the results.  I will share my much-sought-after recipe with you, since it is getting to be that time of year when we all like to bake things  warm and yummy and scentalicious (I think I just made up a new word).

2013-09-10 20.36.50


Cinnamon Rolls

Prep time: About 2 hours rising (unattended) 40 Min attended
Cook time: 25 min
Serves: 8+
Yield: 12 rolls

1 cup + 1TB warm buttermilk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)  You can also use regular milk, but I got better results using buttermilk
2 eggs
5 TB melted butter
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1 cup brown sugar
2 TB ground cinnamon
4 TB softened butter

4 TB melted butter
4 TB cream cheese, softened
2 TB warm milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Dough:  Mix all wet ingredients together in a medium bowl, then add the dry ingredients, mixing until a soft dough is formed.  Knead until mixed well, then cover and allow to sit in a warm place for one hour, or until almost doubled in size.  Dough can also be mixed using a stand mixer with a dough hook.

After rising, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and let it rest while you prepare the filling.  Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and melt the butter in a separate bowl. 

Roll the dough into a rectangle about 12” wide and  24” long.  Spread the entire surface with melted butter, then sprinkle it with the filling mixture, leaving about 1” clear on the long side.  It should look something like this.

2013-10-08 17.50.12

Begin rolling the dough from the long side, keeping edges even.  This can be a bit tricky, but the dough usually handles very well.

2013-10-08 17.51.28

Pinch closed along the open edge, sealing the roll shut.

2013-10-08 17.52.14

Once the dough is sealed, shape the ends a little, and cut into twelve rolls.  I have found that using dental floss to make the cuts results in a cleaner cut, and does not squash the shape.  I even used cinnamon floss to enhance the flavor! :)

2013-10-08 17.54.59

Set the rolls, cut side up, in a lightly sprayed 13x9” dish, leaving space between them.  Cover and allow to rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm place. 

2013-10-08 17.59.40

After rising, preheat the oven to 350.  The rolls will have grown in size and will look something like this.

2013-10-08 22.47.41

Bake for 18-20 minutes.  While rolls are baking, mix up the glaze, adding more milk or sugar to achieve the proper consistency. 

2013-10-08 23.10.39

Allow the rolls to cool slightly before adding the glaze.  I usually wait 15-20 minutes, then pour on the glaze.

2013-10-08 23.27.30

The rolls are delicious right out of the oven, but I usually make them the night before and reheat them for breakfast the following morning.  (I do not relish the thought of getting up at 5 a.m. to have cinnamon rolls by breakfast time.)  They taste great no matter what you do, and your house will smell scentalicious and cinnamon-y.

2013-09-10 08.08.09

Now, go make some!  I promise you won’t regret it!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall is Here!

Yes, it has actually been here for several weeks, officially, but I have been unable for many reasons (which I will not discuss at this time).  If you want a full disclosure of all of our recent adventures, you can find it on our ministry website under the Update tab.  Suffice it to say, it has been a very eventful month for us.  I will post a few photos to give you an idea of what has been happening.

2013-09-10 08.08.09

Amazing cinnamon rolls (I secretly call them sin-rolls  because they are so delicious)

2013-09-13 09.35.19

Chick trip to Shipshewana, IN, with my Mom, Mother-in-law, and girls.  We had an awesome time!

2013-09-13 11.23.122013-09-13 12.38.382013-09-13 12.43.552013-09-13 13.09.442013-09-13 13.57.472013-09-13 15.35.482013-09-13 13.58.262013-09-13 14.27.38

Can you tell what we spent most of our time doing? 

2013-09-13 15.33.28

I found a sign that has become my favorite! :)

2013-09-20 17.20.40

Breakdown #1 – lost the transmission.  Can I just say that this was like a train ride?  A very expensive train ride.

2013-09-22 17.43.11

Finished the rainbow ripple afghan I was making.  I really like the way it turned out!

2013-09-23 17.08.302013-09-23 17.13.402013-09-25 21.24.532013-09-28 18.36.07

Spent some time on a friend’s farm in Minnesota. It was beautiful there!

2013-09-28 14.43.362013-09-28 15.33.452013-09-28 15.43.362013-09-28 15.51.46

Attended a bee demonstration field trip, where we capped, extracted, and tasted fresh honey.  The kids learned a whole lot about the whole pollination and honey-making process.  In case you are wondering, the tiny jar contains pollen.  We tasted it as well, and I was surprised by the fruity taste that it had.

2013-10-01 09.57.00

Visited the open plains of eastern South Dakota.  You can see the wind farm in the distance.  Two weeks later, when we returned from this trip to pick up our repaired truck (new transmission) and trailer, I found that the breaker had tripped in the trailer and the result was that our refrigerator and freezer had lost power and all the food was spoiled.  I had to throw it all out, clean up the congealed puddles of indescribable nastiness that had run down the wall and onto the floor, and clean all the mildew out of the fridge.  It was an epic mess.

2013-10-05 17.15.47

Breakdown #2 – a broken universal joint.  And another expensive “train ride.”

2013-10-06 04.40.41

Arrived at our destination in SC at 4:43a.m. Sunday morning.  We didn’t even bother going to bed after driving all night.  I gave the boys some much-needed haircuts, everyone showered, dressed for church, ate breakfast, and headed off to Sunday School.  Thank goodness for the Sunday afternoon nap!

I am really hoping that this week will be relatively uneventful.  I have had so much happen in the last few weeks that I think I have used up all my spare emotions and adrenalin.  I now have to get the kids caught up on their school work and I should probably pick up a few groceries to put inside my sparkling clean refrigerator. :)