Sweet & Stickey Cinnamon Rolls

For the past 4 or 5 years I've been practicing my *made from scratch* baking skills. Including yeast, rolling out dough, and so on and so forth. When I was in college I started adapting this recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls. The recipe is simple, but time consuming. The cinnamon rolls are flaking, sweet treat that was a huge hit with my family. Since that discovery I've been making them every year for Christmas breakfast. Below is the recipe and tips on making this baking adventure successful.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of flour 
  • 4 sticks of butter 
  • 2 cups of brown sugar 
  • 1/3 cup of white sugar 
  • 1/2 cup of milk 
  • 1/2 cup of warm water 
  • 1 .25 oz package of active dry yeast 
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon 
  • A pinch of salt 

Steps

1. In a small bowl dissolve 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and yeast packet in warm water. Stir slightly and let's stand until it's creamy/foamy. This will take about 10 minutes. During those 10 minutes warm your milk in a small sauce pan until it begins to bubble. Then reduce the heat and mix in 1/4 cup of sugar 1/4 cup of butter and a pinch of salt (no more than a teaspoon). Stir the mixture until everything is melted and smooth.

2. In a large bowl combine the yeast mixture, the lukewarm milk mixture, eggs, and 1 1/2 cup of flour and combined well. Continue to add flour 1/2 cup at a time (about 4 cups total) and stir well until the dough has pulled together (see pictures). You will know you have enough when the dough is difficult to stir and becomes more firm.

Once the dough is ready you will knead it on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. This should take no longer than eight minutes. (Side note: be careful not to over work your dough. This will make it tough.) 

3. Oil a large bowl and place the dough inside of the bowl. Ensure that all of the dough is lightly covered with oil. Place a damp towel over the bowl and set-aside until the dough has doubled in size. This will take about an hour. 

4. While you're waiting for your dough to rise melt about 1 cup of butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted stir in 1 cup of brown sugar and whisk until it is smooth. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 13" baking pan. Then melt 1/4 cup of butter and set aside. In a separate container combine 1 cup of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and mix well. And set the mixture aside. 

5. Once your dough has doubled in size set it onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a large rectangle (about 18x14"). Brush the dough with the melted butter leaving about 1/2 inch border. Then sprinkle your cinnamon and brown sugar mixture evenly across the dough covered in butter.

6. Begin rolling your cinnamon rolls along the long side. Ensure you roll the cinnamon rolls tight to avoid gaps. As you roll add butter along the bare side of the dough for to help hold the roll together (and for additional moisture and flavor). 

7. slice your cinnamon roll into 12 to 15 different sections. Place each of the rolls cut side down into your pan with the butter and brown sugar mixture. Cover your common roll filled pan with your damp towel and set aside until the cinnamon rolls have doubled in size. (See the picture.) This will take about an hour.

8. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Once the cinnamon rolls have doubled in size place them in the oven to bake for between 25 and 30 minutes or until they are golden brown. Once ready take them out of the oven and let them rest for 3 to 5 minutes then flip onto serving platter or wax paper. 

I hope my directions are clear and helpful. If you have any suggestions or difficulties feel free to leave a comment below. Enjoy! 

Watermelon Lemonade

As I remain in formation and follow Queen Bey's declaration that lemonade is the beverage of the summer I've created a second simple and fresh spin on our  summertime fav! The Watermelon Lemonade is crisp, fresh and smooth. It's perfect refreshing counter to summer time heat. And the steps are incredibly simple. 

Ingredients

  • 2 shots of vanilla vodka 
  • 5 small cubes of watermelon 
  • 1/2 lime juice 
  • 6 oz of lemonade 

Steps

  1. Add vodka 
  2. Cut and add chunks of watermelon 
  3. Add lemonade and the lime juice (If you can, make a batch ahead of time in order to allow the watermelon to infuse throughout the lemonade) 
  4. Stir and enjoy! 

Purple Rain Lemonade

In honor of Beyoncé declaring lemonade the beverage of the summer I've created a simple and sweet spin on this summertime fav with an ode to the late Prince. Purple Rain Lemonade is a sweet treat with a citrus tang that has a smooth flow.  This drink is great for a summer BBQ with friends or a night with the girls. And best of all it's super simple to make. 

Ingredients

  • 2 shots of honey flavored whiskey 
  • 3-5 blueberries 
  • 3-5 blackberries 
  • 6 oz of lemonade 

Steps

  1. Add whiskey and berries to your glass 
  2. Mix and muddle the berries in the whiskey (I used a wooden spoon)
  3. Add lemonade 
  4. Stir and enjoy! 

Coconut Sunrise

The Coconut Sunrise is one of my favorite drinks! It's super easy, has a great fruity flavor, and it's the perfect strength. And of course the Coconut Sunrise is absolutely beautiful to look at but even better to drink! Below is the simple recipe for this great drink for one or for a girls nigh in!

Ingredients

  • 2 Shots of Coconut Vodka (I use Ciroc Coconut)

  • 1/3 Cup of Pineapple Juice (Or equal parts Pineapple/Orange Juice)

  • 1/3 Cup of Orange Juice  

  • A Splash of Grenadine (too flavor. I love grenadine so I tend to use a generous splash ) 

Steps

  1. Add vodka 

  2. Add equal parts pineapple and orange juice

  3. Splash of grenadine 

I hope you enjoy this simple yet tasty concoction. 

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Everyone loves bread. And everyone loves cheese. Combine the two and you have gold. And everyone who has ever tasted a cheddar bay biscuit knows it's glory. Below is a quick, simple recipe for these delicious treats. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp of sugar 
  • 1 tps salt 
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder 
  • 2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 1 cup butter milk 
  • 1 cup softened butter 
  • 1 tbsp parsley 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. 
  3. Use a fork to cut and mix in butter
  4. Slowly pour in the milk ensuring the dough isn't too sticky or dry 
  5. Gently fold in cheese
  6.  Scoop dough into 1-2 inch balls and place them a lightly greased pan. Flatten slightly and bake for 10-12 minutes 
  7. Combine 1/4 cup melted butter and parsley 
  8. Use a brush to apply a coat of the butter mixture to each biscuit and enjoy!

Lobster Bisque Soup

As the winter weather continues its always great to have a bowl of warm soup. And what better soup to have than lobster bisque soup. Farely simple with a fancy and delicious twist. 

Ingredients

  • 2 - 4 oz lobster tails (shell removed and chopped into bit size pieces) 
  • 2 Tbsp Fennel bulb 
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic 
  • 2 Tbsp Green onions 
  • 1 cup White cooking wine 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 4 oz tomato paste 
  • Dried thyme 
  • 1 1/2 lobster base 
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil 
  • 1/2 cup Chicken broth 

Directions 

  1. Heat oil in a pan over a medium high heat. Then add and stir onions, garlic, and fennel and cook until the aroma is strong (a few minutes) 
  2. Add 1/2 cup of white wine and stir to deglaze the pan
  3. Add lobster base, hot water, and chicken broth. Stir until evenly mixed.
  4. Add tomato paste and thyme. Stir until evenly mixed.
  5. Add heavy whipping cream and half and half and bring to a low boil. 
  6. Add lobster and stir until lobster is cooked. 

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

I love most dishes I can cook in my wonderful slow cooker. One of my new favorite dishes is pork carnitas. This is a quick flavorful dish that works with tacos, nachos, or any other Mexican inspired dish. 

Ingredients

  • 3lbs pork shoulder 
  • 1 cup of chicken broth 
  • 1/4 cup salsa 
  • 1 Red Onion (Chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic
  •  Paprika 
  • Chili Powder 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste 
  • 1 Orange ( juice only)
  • Half Lime (Juice only)

 

Directions 

  1. Rub seasoning on the pork shoulder before placing the meat in the crock pot with the fat up. 
  2. Pour the broth and salsa over the meat and cook the meat on high for about 3 hours 
  3. Once the meat is cooked, remove the pork from the crock pot and place on a plate to rest for 10-15 minutes 
  4. Shred the meat and cook it on a pan at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes or until the meat has a browned color 
  5. Plate the meat and enjoy! 

Cherry & Lime Delight

If you're looking for a sweet and refreshing drink to serve for a group the cherry lime aide is a perfect choice. This delicious treat will quench your thirst and get the party moving. 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of vanilla vodka
  • 1 liter of Sprite 
  • 2 jars of maraschino cherries (with juice) 
  • 2 frozen containers of limeade concentrate 

Steps

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or serving bowl *Add Sprite to taste* 
  2. Enjoy!  

Chili

In the warm winter months warm foods are a necessity. And chili is the one of the best ways to combat the cold. I love making chili because it is incredibly easy and tastes amazing! It is always easy to customize chili to fit your particular taste buds. Below is my favorite take on chili. I hope you enjoy! 

 

Chili No Cheese.png

Ingredients 

  • 2 lbs of ground beef (or turkey) 
  • 1 lbs of sausage link
  • 2 cans of chili beans
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes 
  • 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow onion ( chopped)
  • I green bell pepper 
  • 1 red bell pepper 
  • 3 TBSP bacon bits 
  • 1/2 cup chili powder 
  • 3 TBSP of Worcestershire Sauce 
  • 3 TBSP of Garlic 
  • 1 TBSP of Oregano 
  • 1 TBSP dried Basil 
  • Salt, Pepper, Paprika to taste 
  • 2 TBSP of white sugar (or to taste)

 

Chili With Cheese -Distance.png

Directions 

1. Heat a large skillet over medium to high heat. Place ground beef/turkey in the skillet and cook until the the meat is crumbled and mostly cooked. Place meat in a strainer to remove all excess grease.

2. Mix all ingredients in a large pot, blend well, and cook over low to medium heat for 2 hours. Stir occasionally to ensure the bottom doesn't burn. 

3. Add cheddar cheese and/or crackers and enjoy!

Chicken Corn Chowder Soup

One of my favorite meals in the winter is soup. Between soups and anything that can be made in my crockpot I am pretty much set for the winter. One easy and delicious soup is Chicken Corn Chowder. Great flavor and full of all of my favorite things! Chicken, corn, onions and all of the other veggies I love! 

 

Ingredients 

  • 1-2 lbs of cooked chicken ( I always shred a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket) 
  • 6 cups of chicken broth 
  • 2 cams of creamed corn
  • 1 large yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 Tbsp of minced garlic 
  • 2 Tbsp of heavy cream 
  • 2 Tbsp of butter 
  • 4 red potatoes cleaned and diced  into 4 sections each 
  • Salt/Pepper to taste 

 

1. Place shredded chicken in large pot with broth and cook on low. 

2. While the broth and chicken are marinating together heat the butter in a separate sauce pan over medium low heat. Place diced onion and garlic in melted butter. Cook until the onions are soft with a golden brown color. 

3. Add onions, red and green bell peppers, garlic, potatoes, and heavy cream to the chicken. 

4. Add salt and pepper to taste

5. Enjoy! 

 

**Side Note: You can all of these ingredients to your crock pot and cook on low for 3 hours or on high for about 1 hour.