Twice a year I’m sure to make cinnamon rolls: the first Sunday in April and the first Sunday in November when we are watching “General Conference.” Instead of trotting off to church we listen to a series of talks on faith, love, and service to our fellow peeps.
I love this weekend. I want my children to love this weekend. I want them to associate these amazing talks and the good feelings they will feel, with a happy morning with their family. Believe me, food gets them to the table. Besides me throwing an apple at them, they’re usually on their own for breakfast, but this weekend it’s extra special. I make something.
And thus we have…the cinnamon rolls.
Now, I’ve tried my share of recipes. Until last year I made them with Rhodes dough, which is fine and everyone loves them, but my soul began to yearn for something more…something puffier, softer, less pre-fab. More homemade (the babies must be sleeping through the night).
They are more time consuming to make than simply rolling out pre-made dough or popping frozen buns out of a can – but this is GOOD NEWS! This ensures that I will not make them more than a few times per year. They will remain precious and just out of reach.
If you need a favor, to get on someone’s good side, seek forgiveness, or simply want high praise and adulations I suggest THE BUNS! Out of 193 reader comments and reviews, this recipe enjoys 5/5 stars.
Yesterday one of my kids said we’ve trashed this world so much that “it’s not even worth saving.” The comment stopped me in my tracks.
Dear child. There are cinnamon rolls to be made. The world is definitely worth saving.
Today my son asked me if we could watch the Super Bowl this weekend. There’s a super bowl this weekend? I had no idea. All the hot wings, soda, and chip sales should have tipped me off. When I asked him who was playing, he told me (I can’t remember now) and looked aghast at my ignorance. So, in honor of the Super Bowl, I’m dishing up a Valentine post…read on, lover boy.
I’m keeping Valentine’s simple, just making a sweet little breakfast
And since I already made it, I guess I’m already done! This was tastiness. It just so happened that the baked apple took the shape of a heart and then I knew that I had accidentally made the perfect Valentine’s breakfast. Don’t you just love when that happens?
Puff Pancakes of Love (German Pancakes)
4 Eggs, beaten well
2/3 Cup Flour or Whole Wheat White Flour
2/3 Cup Milk
A dash of salt
1 Tablespoon Butter (but don’t add it yet!)
Directions: Preheat oven to 450. Oil your dutch oven well. Mix the ingredients all together EXCEPT for the butter. Pour batter into well-oiled dutch skillet. Using a knife, drop tablespoon of butter on top of the batter in little bits, evenly spaced. Bake for 15 minutes. It will puff! (like the lub dub of your heart). Turn oven temp down to 350 and bake about 5 more minutes, until top is golden brown.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Add a taste of maple syrup.
Adapted from a Susan Branch cookbook (darling), I decreased the butter from 3 tbsp, to 1 and it still tastes delicious.
For added valentine loveliness, sprinkle pomegranate seeds and a dollop of plain greek yogurt. YUM.
Wash apples, cut off top. Spoon out seeds (scraping sides a little bit), making a little well. Put a teensy bit of brown sugar and cinnamon inside. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or so, depending on how crunchy or soft you like to eat baked apples. These are SO good. Don’t bake too long or EXPLOSION happens in the oven. Perfect after school snack and valentine love breakfast.
Put a ripe banana in the oven (in its skin) and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (do at the same time as you baked your puffed pancakes) until the banana skin turns black. When you open it, you will have yummy, mush divine. Remember this for your next ice-cream fudge sundae.
Another way to eat puffed love: Strawberries and whipped cream. Can’t go wrong.
Another idea: Warning, we are now veering sharply into the land of sugar. However, surprising your kids with ONE of these is quite delightful. Then give the rest away to the neighbors who will love them so much, they’ll plow you out for life.
There’s always the idea I used in college. 1 bag of hershey kisses, sprinkled on dorm boy’s room floor. 1 note reading: “Now that I’ve kissed the ground you walk on, will you be my valentine?” Don’t gag. It worked!
I loved this post by Jeff Goins. It doesn’t really matter what form your valentine takes, a little note wrapped in love makes anyone’s day.
May your valentine’s be full of love and sweetness. xoxoxo.
Before we begin this beautiful journey together, I would like to fully admit that this is not a foodie blog. But I do get excited about eating. And then I like to share the delicious eats. I’ve discovered however, that unless a food photograph looks good, no one wants to eat it. I cringe at some of my early food photos – and hope they are getting better! The biggest challenge is light. I most often cook around dinner time when the sun is going down…turning into terrible photography light. The pictures often look dull, yellow, or the bulbed lights reflect off the food. Waah!
This year I hope to dive into photography and learn how to photograph all things beautiful. Please be patient with my inadequacies…and I still hope you’ll eat it.
Today I have some great soups to share. Despite my photography, they do taste divine. And I don’t even like squash.
Roasted Squash Soup and Black Bean Soup are Husband’s original creations. Why do we let him leave the kitchen?
Roasted Squash Soup:
Start with 2 squash and 3 yams (or 4 squash). Cut in half, degore, and spray with cooking spray or rub with olive oil. Sprinkle Squash with Sea Salt, Pepper, Curry, Cumin, and Tumeric. Roast in oven at 400 degrees for about an hour, until soft and golden. Let cool.Scrape into blender or vitamix until nice and smooth like buttah’…
Put in large pot with 10 Cups Chicken Broth (or 10 cups water and 10 boullion cubes.) Cook until nice and hot.
That’s it. So good. So easy.
This recipe makes a HUGE batch. Cut it in half if you don’t want to feed the masses.
Roasted Squash Soup
Add some crusty bread and you’re in business. OR, you could make this:
Black Bean Soup. Let’s start with some beautiful vegetables.
Black Bean Soup:
Saute over medium heat with salt and pepper:
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Small Onions, chopped
3 stalks Celery, chopped
4 Carrots, chopped
1 Green Pepper, chopped
Another dash of salt and lots of pepper
1 tsp Thyme, 3 large Bay leaves, 1 1/2 tsp Cumin, a pinch of Rosemary
Saute until soft and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes
Pour in 10 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth (boullion fine)
Add 5 Cans Black Beans, Drained
Cook 20-30 minutes to let water reduce. Then add 1 Red Pepper chopped, and 1 Green Pepper chopped. Using an immersion or regular blender, blend to desired thickness.
black bean soup, oh yum
Now for the exciting part. These soups are tremendous on their own, but absolutely delightful when combined: Roasted Squash Soup and Black Bean Soup
Together, these soups are loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals and have almost zero fat. A great vegetarian option, they warm on a cold winter’s day, are very filling, and give great energy.
The Topping: One scoop greek yogurt, spring of cilantro, and pureed roasted red pepper. Husband bought a $1 squeeze bottles from the $1 store so he could create nice little soup circles. Roasted red pepper puree is easily made with roasted red pepper from a jar.
This combination is delicious, and an absolute favorite.
And I don’t even like squash! Until right now. Enjoy!
Here we have 6 shades of green: Granny Smith Apple, Kiwi, Kale, Parsley, Spinach, and Lime. (Did you know? Even parsley is a superfood – read it!)
For good gut health (you want more alkaline than acid): Ginger, Lime, and all the greens.
For sweetness and to get children to drink it: Pineapple juice. No added sugar.
For protein: Chia Seeds. Also, greens provide some protein.
On my journey into the land of Green, I have learned a few things:
1. Introduce greens slowly. Start with a higher fruit ratio.
2. Pineapple will make everything sweet and tasty
3. For kids, definitely start with more fruit. Smoothies have to taste at least a little sweet to hook the children. Otherwise children turn into whineys and breakfast will be a fight; not a great way to start the day. If smoothies taste yucky they might hide them in odd places around the house. not that I would know.
4. Talk about how you feel, “I feel sooooo good!,” and “Great energy! Awesome soccer goal – must have been that smoothie,” and “My morning run was fantastic – must have been that green smoothie!”
5. Immune system supercharger. It won’t prevent every cold and cough, but you will stay healthier than the average bear.
6. You will FEEL better. Mood improves, energy skyrockets.
7. Greens are HUGE for gut health. Depression? Back pain? It’s shocking how gut health could be affecting us. Listen to this. Fascinating.
Don’t get me started on soda. Ready to rant.
8. Powerful blenders make a difference. Very few people I know like to drink chunks. It’s worth the investment.
9. Great for weight loss. Greens and protein help suppress sugar cravings. Husband is down 50+lbs. Just the other day someone admiringly said, “Look at that man’s body.” I died.
Want it? Come and Get it.
Tasty Green Energy Smoothie
1 Cup Water
1 Granny Smith Apple, cut, unpeeled
3 Kiwi, peeled
1 Cup Pineapple Juice, no sugar added
1 Handful Kale, fresh or frozen
1 Handful Parsley, fresh
1 Handful Spinach, fresh or frozen
1 inch Ginger, peeled
1/3 Lime, unpeeled
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
Top with Kiwi and Apple slices
Blend it up!
To make it sweeter, add more pineapple juice and an apple (Honey Crisp are particularly divine.)
I promise it’s wonderful. The kiwi toppers were for pretty photography, but I discovered that slurping down smoothie-coated kiwi was pure bliss. Who said we don’t like drinking chunks?
As I type this there are peppermint patties, mint truffle kisses, homemade turtles, and santa marshmellows sitting on my desk. Oh, and there’s more. I’ve tasted pistachio chocolate toffee, nibbled through a box of See’s Candy, and been wooed by chocolate toffee pretzel sticks. The gig is up.
During the month of January, there shall be no stuffing of candy in my purse or lunchbox. No, this year we are going to feel groovy. Great energy. Less sick days. We’re going so fast, aren’t we? The kids are too. The children spend hours away from home without mommy dearest.You can practically hear the stomach growling, feel the drop in blood sugar, see the blackening mood.And the vending machines loom. The one gas station in town beckons. Packed with luscious-looking soda, savory potato chips, stale donuts – it’s no wonder kids eat so much junk I recall the day of my youth – they’re hungry!So. Let’s talk about snacks. I have found that I feel best and have longer-lasting energy if I eat food that is both rich in carbohydrates and protein. Sadly, this precludes the chocolate marshmellow Santa.
Here are five ideas for portable, energy-packed snacks for you and your kids:
1. Boiled Eggs
Our Downton flock is going strong, producing like good little chickens should!
Easy to make, easy to peel, one boiled egg packs 6 grams of protein, 12% of our needed daily value. For easier peeling, dunk boiled egg in ice-cold water. The peel will come right off. Boil a few and store in the refrigerator for days.
2. Nuts and Dried Fruit
Walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios all contain high-protein and healthy fats. We need fat, but only the right kind. Nuts are the right kind. Mix nuts with dried fruits such as apricots, apples, and cherries. Try goji berries, figs, dates, and prunes to pack a load of fiber, vitamins, minerals and long-lasting energy. Try some dark-chocolate covered almonds (or not – I hide that treat in a secret drawer.)
3. Peanut Butter Sandwich and Chocolate Milk
It’s not just tasty, it’s actually a perfect post-exercise, energy-packed snack. Peanut butter on whole-grain bread, accompanied by chocolate milk satisfies hunger, and provides essential protein to repair muscles. The carbohydrates replace energy lost.
You know all about my obsession with the smoothie. It’s a great breakfast, but also a healthy portable snack.
Almost every single day, I or dear husband heads out the door with a smoothie in a water bottle. You like it real cold? Fill a thermos and use a cold pack.
Fruit is the sweetest and most preferred ingredient by children, but over time, greens can be added with being able to tell the difference.
Ingredients can include oranges, strawberries, pomegranate, banana, spinach, kale, and beets. For protein, add protein powder, plain greek yogurt, tofu, coconut water, and cooked amaranth (I just tried it and the darlings didn’t even suspect!)
So easy to make, hummus is just ground chick peas. Give them a whirl in the blender and add whatever flavor you prefer. My favorite hummus recipe is here.
Experiment with beans for flavor. 1 Cup of black-eyed peas pack protein, but also 18% of the calcium we need on a daily basis – who knew?
If packed in a cute little container, kids will dip just about anything: pita bread, pita chips, chicken strips, carrots, cucumbers, green, red, and yellow pepper.
There you go! Five snacks for portable, energy-filled snacks.
What are you packing for the road? I’d love to hear your snack ideas.
Looking for tasty, energy-packed dinners? Take a look here.
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