Does any parent ever get used to their child growing up? When I think of this sullen little girl who rarely smiled (but also rarely cried) . . .

Ada Crying




. . . it’s hard for me to imagine that that solemn little baby is now a spunky, laughing, opinionated big girl who is turning nine today.

 photo e50ab163-0cdb-4822-8ecd-eaeae4d21820_zpsc4a2e1db.jpg
Adelaide Amelia Clementine is my one child out of six who got her father’s blue eyes. Only now they’ve changed to a greenish grey. Mister doesn’t have very dominant genes. Except where his chin dimple is concerned. All the kids have a cleft chin. Especially Ada.



She also has a few freckles around her mouth that make it look like she always has crumbs on her face. It took me months to realize that she does not.


Because I am totally insane I make every single food that the kids want to eat on their birthdays. This morning I was up long before the sun, making Cinnamon Roll Pancakes with Cream Cheese Glaze (sugar to the max! So, so fantastic but a lot of work. You can get the recipe here.)

 photo f9d7cce0-ecab-4f37-9fde-b0bc51bfec93_zps36a1cc3b.jpg

Ada wants Subway for lunch (ew, but whatever. It’s her birthday. At lease I don’t have to make it.) I will dutifully deliver said sandwich to school and make small-talk with her and her silly friends while they eat. Then I will race home to finish the cake pops I started a little while ago (made of orange cake. She wanted them covered in blue but I talked her into white chocolate instead). Unlike most states, Texas lives recklessly so parents are legally allowed to bake treats for their kids. I know, way to live on the edge! I could talk Ada into donuts probably but then I think of all the chemicals in store-bought food and I just can’t bear the thought of it. So cake pops it is. (Although the white chocolate is hardly chemical-free. Just humor me, OK?) Plus she told all the other kids that she’d be bringing cake pops so lucky me. She’s turned into a little baking snob already and won’t eat a bite of store-bought cake.

Fortunately Ada wants Mexican food for dinner so I will get a blessed rest from the kitchen at dinner-time. But then I’ve got to squeeze in making a red velvet birthday cake at some point too. Only it’s got to be purple velvet. Because why would a 9-year-old pick red when she could pick purple instead? Actually, Ada’s favorite color is red so I have no idea what’s going on. But purple velvet has been requested and that is what I shall make.

At some point I need to run to the store to pick up a few more pairs of jeans shorts. (“Mom, all I like to wear are jeans shorts and crappy t-shirts. I can’t help it.”)  At lease she doesn’t want to wear silky basketball shorts. Tender mercies, folks!

So I shall bid you adieu and get my birthday preparations on. Here’s hoping I survive!


paprika recipe app

A few months ago I bemoaned the fact that I just couldn’t find a recipe app for my iphone that I liked. I got a lot of suggestions from my readers and actually tried most of them. I even went so far as to try apps that were foreign and had zero reviews.  I finally found one that I really love.  (Not one of the foreign ones, alas.) It’s called Paprika. I’ve been using it for a few months and I have to say that I really, really love it.

There are about a jillion recipe apps out there. Most of them, however, are just electronic cookbooks. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted a place to keep and organize all my recipes; not somebody else’s. Here’s the recipe problem I was hoping to solve: I’ll oftentimes be at the store and realize that I’m supposed to bring somebody dinner the next day, or I have to make cookies for a bake sale, etc. But here I am at the store and I can’t remember how many lemons I need for the lemon squares or whether it’s parsnips or rutabagas I put in my beef stew. Some of the recipes I use are online and I can look them up on my phone, although I have to stand there in the middle of the produce section for five minutes trying to locate the recipe.  Most of my recipes are in my cookbook, though. Not so convenient when you’re at the store.

I also wanted to have all my recipes available digitally so when someone asks for a recipe I can just whip out my phone and send it to them immediately.

I’ve been hoping to find an app where I can store my recipes and organize them in my own way. I’m not OCD about very many things, but recipes are one of them. When I stumbled upon Paprika I was very hesitant to try it because it’s $4.99. That’s a lot for an app. And the ipad app is another $4.99, cough choke*. But I’ve been desperate. I’ve had to call up my kids from the store one too many times and have my seven-year-old try to read me a recipe. Talk about frustrating! (You can also get a version of this for your PC. And by PC I mean a Mac. I don’t know if this is available for actual PCs because I turn up my nose at such things. But the computer version is $20! Jeez O Pete, that’s a lot of money for a recipe program. But I can see how it would be super handy to be able to sync all recipes wirelessly between your iphone, ipad and computer.) Oh, by the way you can get this for your Android too.

But then I think how I spend more than $20 going to see a movie with my husband that only lasts for two hours and isn’t $30 for recipe apps that I’ll use every day such a better deal? Yes!  Anyway, here’s why I like Paprika:

–Very clean, easy-to-use interface. You can figure it out in about three minutes. It also has a tutorial. I love an app with a tutorial.

–You can add, rearrange and edit categories. This is the thing that all other recipe apps lack. I like to organize my recipes just so. For example, I like to have a breakfast category. You’d be surprised how many cooking apps don’t have a breakfast category. (I’m sorry, pancakes do not belong in the bread category!) I also like to arrange my categories in order of service, not alphabetically. Therefore breakfast always comes first and dessert comes last. I like salads put together with side dishes because a lot of times I think of salads as a side dish and I like to be able to peruse the whole category for possibilities. But here’s the awesome thing about paprika: I can have a whole category for salads and I can list salads under side dishes too! It’s a lot better than a traditional cookbook that way. You can also create subcategories within each category. Under “desserts” I have subheadings of “cakes”, “cookies” and “pies”.

–It’s super easy to add recipes. You can add them by hand, which is totally straightforward. Or you can add them from your favorite cooking sites with the touch of a button. There’s a browser within the app that lets you go to any site; you simply press “save recipe” when you’ve found the one you want and it automatically adds the picture, and separates and formats the ingredients and directions for you. You can also edit each recipe in case you’ve changed it to alter your tastes. Most cooking websites are supported. If not, you can always cut and paste recipes into Paprika which is still super easy.

–You can scale the ingredients. Next to each recipe is a button that will let you change each recipe size, either making it smaller or larger. If you’re like me and try to double recipes in your head, only to forget to double some of the ingredients, this feature is a life-saver.

–There are several timers within the app. Anytime there are cooking times listed in a recipe, you can just click on those times and a pre-set timer pops up. Each timer has the item listed underneath, so if you’re cooking a couple of different items, you’ll know which one the timer is ringing for. Is that convenient or what?

–There’s a nifty grocery list feature. It arranges items according to the aisle at the grocery store. So cool. And it consolidates items so you don’t get eggs listed three times from three different recipes. You can add and edit super easily to delete things you already have at home or add items extra items that you need from the store.

–You can search for recipes depending on items you have on hand. You can also create menus on a calendar. I kind of fly by the seat of my pants because my schedule has the habit of getting completely out of control at the last minute. But if you are a plan-aheader this is just great.

There are a couple of features that I think are superflouous, like a star rating system. If something doesn’t get five stars it doesn’t make it into my collection. But if you are a chronic saver of new recipes to try, this might be a good thing.

I really can’t think of many things I don’t like about this app. If you cook, I would highly recommend it. And if you don’t cook, what is the matter with you?


*I have my iphone and ipad in the kitchen with me to cook quite often. I hate touching my grubby hands all over my electronics but what’s a girl to do when she needs to scroll down to see the rest of the recipe? Use a baby carrot instead! It totally works on a touchscreen and is much cleaner than the hands you just used to squish up raw ground beef into meatballs. Just stay away from the ranch dressing, OK?

how to make bacon

For years I cooked bacon on the stove because that’s the way my mom and grandma always did it. When I went to college my roommate, Heidi, showed me how to cook it a better way. Technically, it’s baking your bacon. If you only make a couple of slices at a time, cooking bacon in a frying pan makes sense. If you use half a package or more, making bacon in your oven is the easiest and fastest way to do it. No splattering grease all over your stovetop; no flipping bacon halfway through; no cooking six pieces at a time because that’s all the room you have in your frying pan. Once you start making bacon in your oven you’ll never go back.

All you’ll need is bacon, a baking sheet with sides, and tin foil (I guess it’s technically aluminum but tin is a lot quicker to say).

First you’ll want to preheat your oven to 400°. The get out your baking sheet. Here’s mine. It’s pretty grody. I’ve made bacon in this thing probably 500 times. Maybe even a thousand. I’ve had this pan for almost two decades and we eat bacon at least once a week; you do the math. You don’t have to line the pan with tin foil but using it means you don’t have to scrub the pan when you’re done. Why clean things when you don’t have to?


Open your pack of bacon and lay the strips out. I happen to know that with my size of pan and a pack of Kirkland bacon from Costco (YUM!), I have to overlap the pieces a smidge to get them all to fit.


Once your oven has reached 400°, place the bacon on the bottom shelf for 15-20 minutes.
bacon in oven
I like my bacon really crispy and that takes 18 minutes in my oven (I told you I make it a lot!). Your oven might be different or you might be one of those odd people who likes floppy bacon. Check the bacon after 15 minutes and go from there. (Oh man, I’m completely salivating and about to lick my monitor!)

cooked bacon in pan

While the bacon’s cooking get a plate out and line it with a couple of sheets of paper towels. When the bacon comes out of the oven, you’ll remove the slices with tongs and put them on the plate to drain. I do a second layer of paper towels on top of the first and finish laying out the bacon. I use a couple more paper towels on top of that and let it drain for a few minutes.

yummy bacon

After the bacon has been eaten (usually within 30 seconds), I put all the greasy paper towels on top of the tin foil, then roll the whole thing up and throw it in the garbage. No need to find a can to drain the bacon grease into.

Now you know the easy way to make bacon. So what are you waiting for?





Back to school today. All the things I did:

Had kids set out clothes.

Got up early to shower and do makeup. Accidentally put on red lipstick (the 16 hour kind. Which meant I had to do the rest of my makeup decently too). Red lipstick requires a certain mindset. Which I do not have today. Today I should have worn pale, boring pinkish brown.

Made a lovely breakfast. Cinnamon roll pancakes (recipe courtesy of Our Best Bites). So jam-packed with ooey-gooey-sugary goodness that I’m sure all the kids are now in comas.

cinnamon roll pancakes

All the things I forgot:

To label everybody’s backpacks, lunchboxes and waterbottles. I was madly labelling with my sharpie this morning while my children were all talking to me at the same time. Consequently I either misspelled their names or wrote my name on everything out of habit. Way to go!

To get stupid folders with brads. I looked for these everywhere. I truly did. But I might as well have been looking for leprechaun’s gold.

To find Jasper’s pencil case. And give everyone an eraser. Every year I get worse at organizing school supplies, not better.

To read scriptures. Fortunately Mister picked up a ton of slack today. I am so not used to being organized. By next week we’ll have a routine down but this week is going to be mayhem.


And just like that my house is quiet. I’m much too frazzled to be sad. I was kind of sad last night. But only because I had to set my alarm. I couldn’t even remember how to do it.  I always wake up before my kids and get ready. But not this summer. This summer I slept in every day and it was the best two and a half months of my life. But the party is now over. At least the morning party. But the new party will be beginning at 8:30 when the last child walks out the door.

Babies first day of school
Two in Elementary School this year.

(Adelaide-2nd grade, Jasper-1st)

kids first day school

Two in Middle School and two in High School.

(India-11th grade, Finn-8th, York-10th, Arabella-6th)

Kids love having family traditions but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that a lot of traditions are a real pain for the parents (especially the mom). Being pragmatic like I am, I try to keep my job uncomplicated but I don’t want to suck the joy out of my kids’ lives. Thus we have several easy, fun traditions that the kids completely love.  Crazy Cereal week is one of their favorites and is pretty much the easiest tradition we have. We’ve been doing this for several years and they all still adore it (even India, who was too lazy to get out of her bed, hollered from her room that she wanted Lucky Charms.)

Kids in cereal aisle

On the first Monday after school gets out for the summer* we go to the grocery store and the kids are allowed to pick out any cereal they like. I’m pretty strict about eating low-sugar cereals the rest of the year so this is the one time I say OK to Honey Frosted Sugar Bombs. Each child gets his/her own box and can either horde it or share (This year I made an exception for York because he is man-sized and wanted Oh’s which come in a tiny box. So I let him get two.) Once the cereal is gone, that’s it–the party is over.  If they are little piggies they’ll eat it twice a day, but the smart kids make it last a long time. Either way, they get to eat something fun and different and I’m off the hook for breakfast for a few days. That, my friends, is a fantastic tradition.

Kids eating cereal

*The other nice thing about this tradition is that it can be done any time of year. We just picked the first week after school gets out because everyone is usually around.

 photo CinnamonRolls_zps47e7ebe8.jpg

At some point in every woman’s life, there will be a yearning to make cinnamon rolls. (OK, probably every American woman. I can’t imagine some Chinese lady in a rice paddy standing up one day and thinking “I would like to make a sweet bread I’ve never heard of.” Or however you say that in Chinese.) Most women ignore this primal urge because–my gosh!– how intimidating! Some women give it a shot and if you have never made yeast bread it can turn into quite a debacle. Making cinnamon rolls isn’t difficult as much as it is complicated. But I’m here to hold your hand and tell you that you can do it. It might be a little scary, but you really ought to know how. To motivate you a little, let me tell you that the cinnamon rolls in this tutorial are the best I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a lot of cinnamon rolls. If you think Cinnabon is good, wait until you try these!

This is my friend Bonnie. She has never made bread before. She made her first attempt at cinnamon rolls last week and it was not a success. So I invited her over to show her the ropes. (She is also the Relief Society President of my ward. If you think your failure in the kitchen is going to keep you out of that calling, wrong-o!). I’m all about teaching a man to fish, so Bonnie did a lot of the work in this tutorial. It was nice having an extra set of hands to help snap pictures (usually I must rely on 12-year-olds with notsogreat photography skills). If Bonnie, a total breadmaking amateur, can do it, so can you!




Let’s talk about yeast before we begin. Yeast is actual living creatures, like tiny and uninteresting sea monkeys. They’re dried and most often put in packets. Look at the date on the packets because once the expiration date has passed, it has passed. They’re dead. To make sure your yeast is alive and kicking, you need to proof it. Which means putting it in some lovely warm water where it promptly divides and grows and starts to get all bubbly. If this doesn’t happen after about ten minutes, your yeast is dead. Throw it out. Or you can skip all this rigmarole and get instant yeast instead. Instant yeast is preserved differently. Much more yeast is kept alive so there is no need to proof it to make sure. You just mix it in with your dry ingredients and it will magically work. Instant yeast (as opposed to regular yeast which is called “Active Yeast”) is a bit harder to find in stores. (If you live in central Texas you can get it at HEB.) It comes in a big one pound bag which looks like a block. I open the block and then keep it in an airtight container in the freezer where it will last much longer. Rapid-Rise yeast is very similar to instant. So if you can’t find instant yeast, get rapid rise. It will pretty much behave the same; i.e. no proofing needed.

Step one in our recipe will be combining the wet ingredients. You’ll want everything to be very warm since yeast loves to be nice and cozy. First you’ll need a room temperature egg. Since I never, ever think far enough to advance to let an egg sit on my counter long enough to warm up, let’s get it warm the cheaters way:  put it in a bowl with hot water for ten minutes.  Then break it into the bowl of your mixer and whisk it gently.

Combine the milk and water in a big measuring cup and heat it in the microwave for about 60 seconds.  This goes in the mixer bowl too. As does the butter which should have been melted in the microwave as well. You can also put in the vanilla at this point. (Notice how we’re using the paddle attachment. Don’t use the whisk!)


Now throw in all the dry ingredients:  flour, salt, sugar, flour, gluten and yeast.

A note about these ingredients: if you have it, use bread flour. It will make a sturdier bread that will rise higher. If you have regular flour that will work just fine too but the texture won’t be as lovely.  It’s not a deal-breaker, though. Also nice but not necessary is vital wheat gluten. You can get this at the store near the flour. It will add height and structure to your bread. I highly recommend it but if you don’t want to get it, your rolls will still turn out okay.


When I turn on a mixer full of flour, I generally drape a dish towel over the top for the first minute so the ingredients don’t fly all over the place.

Once your bread dough has gotten thoroughly mixed, you’re going to remove the paddle attachment and replace it with the dough hook (if you have one).  Once you put on the dough hook, this counts as kneading, not mixing.  You’re going to knead the dough for about five minutes. This helps the gluten to develop nice long strands that give bread its texture and height. You may want to try kneading by hand if you’re feeling ambitious. I’m super lazy so I rarely do this.  There is always the eternal question of how much kneading (whether by machine or by hand) is enough.  I’ll tell you how to find out.  You can apply this to any sort of bread-making: white bread, whole wheat, whatever. All yeast bread needs to develop gluten. After you’ve kneaded this bread for five minutes, rip off a chunk of dough that’s a little bigger than a ping pong ball. You’re going to pull it apart slowly and gently with both hands. If the gluten hasn’t developed well enough, the dough will simply rip apart in the middle. You’ll need to knead more.



Knead it for another minute or two and try again.  If your gluten has developed enough, the dough will become translucent and thin before it starts to rip (holding it up to the light will make it easier to see.) This is perfect:

Once your gluten has developed enough, you can stop kneading and start rising. Take a nice clean bowl and give it a light spray with Pam. Place your dough at the bottom and cover the bowl with either a clean tea towel or plastic wrap. Place it in a warm spot until it has doubled in size.  I like to preheat my oven for about a minute then turn off the heat. It gets to about 110°, a temperature that yeast loves.  At this temp, it takes about 45 minutes for it to double. If you have a chilly kitchen it will take up to an hour and a half. In my case with Bonnie it was just long enough to go get some tacos at Torchy’s. Yum!



While your dough is rising you’re going to soften a stick of margarine. Ew, margarine? Who uses that? I use butter pretty much exclusively except for making cinnamon roll filling. Let me tell you, margarine makes it much stickier and gooier. You want sticky, gooey filling, right? If you use butter it’s more likely to melt and dribble into the bottom of the pan.  I swear these will taste fantastic! Trust me! There’s all sorts of weird butter-esque stuff at the store these days. Look for the box that says “margarine”.  In a separate bowl you’ll mix brown sugar and cinnamon.

Once your dough has risen, you’ll grab it and throw it gruffly down on the counter, kneading it a couple of times. The dough is so soft and squishy at this point; not at all sticky. Honestly it reminds me of my stomach after I have a baby. What a pleasant thought, no?

You’ll now need a nice big expanse of countertop to roll out your dough. I have a great big Silpat that is just the right size. Take a rolling pin and keep rolling the dough until it’s 24″ x 15″. Make it as rectangular as possible. This takes a lot of elbow grease but it’s worth it.



It’s time to spread your margarine. You’ll spread it clear up to three edges. Leave the edge closest to you margarine-free so it can be sealed.



Sprinkle the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly over the margarine, leaving the free edge bare. To make sure it stays put while baking, we’re going to press the sugar into the margarine with a rolling pin. This is my favorite rolling pin in the whole world. I got it in France about a million years ago. You can get a similar one for around $18 here on Amazon.



Let’s roll this sucker up! Rolling it tightly is going to give you lots of spirals and makes the difference between an impressive cinnamon roll and a lame, amateurish one.  It also improves the bread-to-gooey-cinnamon ratio. Start opposite the clean edge.




Once it’s all rolled up, you’ll want to pinch the edge closed.



After it’s pinched, gently roll it over so the smooth side is facing up and let’s get ready to cut. To cut the rolls we’ll use a perennial favorite: dental floss. I was lucky enough to have cinnamon in my drawer, but any flavor is fine. You won’t be able to taste it. Using a knife will squish the rolls and make them look misshapen and ugly.

First cut off any unevenness on the ends. They don’t need to be perfectly straight, but just get rid of most of the weirdness. To cut the dough, scootch the dental floss under the roll and criss cross the strands at the top. Then pull tightly and voilà! A nice, clean decapitation!



This batch of cinnamon rolls will yield 15. So we need to divide your giant log into 15 even sections. I like to use a table knife to play around with spacing. I gently press lines where I will later used the dental floss to cut. You know the old carpenter’s rule: measure twice, cut once? Well, it applies here too. Nothing’s worse than to be almost done slicing off rolls and realizing you’ve been cutting them all wrong and will now be four short.

In this picture you can see my dental floss and the yucky ends I cut off from both sides.



After I’ve cut off my ends I mark off three evenly-spaced sections about 8″ long. Then I divide each section into five smaller sections. If you’ve done it right, each cinnamon roll will be about 1 1/2″ thick. You can use a ruler or just eyeball it. (Also just so you know, locals pronounce Pedernales “pur-duh-NAL-iss”. No, it does not make any sense phonetically.)




If this isn’t quite how it worked out for you, mathematically-speaking, then do the best you can. Just remember that you’ll want to end up with 15 cinnamon rolls.



Ideally the best way to bake these is in three 8×8 pans. These rolls are thicker than most standard cinnamon rolls. If these rolls are all crammed together in one big pan some will still be raw, and some will be cooked too much. If you’ve ever been to Cinnabon when they’ve gotten pans fresh from the oven you’ll notice that there are only six rolls per pan. It’s because thicker, taller rolls don’t cook as well when they’re all baked together. If you’ve cut your rolls thinner (3/4″-1″ is the traditional width), placing them in a big, shallow pan is fine. But I don’t care for them when they’re this thin. I like a more substantial, hefty cinnamon roll.

The pans should be lined with parchment unless you’re in love with scrubbing hard, baked-on cinnamon sugar.



The pans I use are pretty cheap.  They don’t need to be fancy or great-quality. You can get them anywhere. I use 8x8s all the time so I think they’re a good investment. Otherwise, you can come up with any sort of configurations among the different pans you have. Just make sure you’ve got 1-2″ between each roll.



Now it’s time to let the rolls rise again. You’ll let them rise until they’re just barely touching. It won’t take as long as it did the first time. I’d check the rolls after 25 minutes to see how they’re progressing. While they rise you should make the frosting. (I’m not going to give you a photo tutorial because 1. it’s pretty basic and hard to screw up, and 2. pictures of white frosting in a bowl are beyond boring.)



Once the rolls are touching, preheat the oven to 330º and bake until they’re golden brown (about 16-18 minutes. Longer if you have more in a big pan.)



Ocassionally one or two rolls will develop a Tower of Babel spiral coming out of the center. If this happens, gently press the top of the spiral down with a fork until the roll is perfectly flat across the top.  While the rolls are still warm, slather with frosting. You might want to hide one from the hordes of locusts family at this point. You deserve at least a couple of these.


These rolls take about four hours from start to finish. Most of the time will be waiting around while the dough rises and you won’t have to do anything. But it means you’ll be getting up pretty early to make these for breakfast. A lot of times I’ll make most of the recipe the night before. You can do everything up to letting the rolls rise in their pans. Before they’ve done their second rise, cover the pans with  plastic wrap or a towel and put them in the fridge overnight. The next morning they’ll do their final rise and be baked. Just be warned that since they’ve been very cold all night, it will take them much longer to rise. Preheat your oven for one minute (don’t forget to turn it off!) and let them rise there. It may take up to 70 minutes for them to rise. Give yourself an hour and a half from the time you take them out of the fridge til the time breakfast will be served, just to be on the safe side.

Hildie’s Marvelous Cinnamon Rolls


1 egg at room temp, slightly beaten

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

4 1/2 cups bread flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbs. vital wheat gluten

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 oz. yeast


1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

5 Tbs. cinnamon


4 oz cream cheese, slightly softened

1/2 cup butter, slightly softenend

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

3-4 drops lemon flavor

In a mixing bowl, beat one egg with a whisk. Pour milk and water into a large measuring cup and heat in microwave until very warm (about 60 seconds). Add to mixing bowl. Add melted butter and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl in order listed (these can also be made in a bread machine on the “dough” setting).  Mix ingredients til well-combined. Remove paddle attachment and use dough hook. Knead with dough hook for five minutes.

Allow dough  to rise in a warm place until doubled (45-60 minutes). Remove dough from bowl and roll into rectangle 24″ x 15″.  Spread rectangle with softened margarine, avoiding one long edge. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over margarine, avoiding clean edge.  Use a rolling pin to lightly press sugar into margarine.

Starting at long edge opposite clean edge, roll up dough tightly. Pinch edge to seal.

Using dental floss, trim edges flat. Gently mark off 15 rolls about 1 1/2″ wide. Cut with dental floss.

Line three 8×8 pans with parchment paper. Place five rolls in each pan and let rise til gently touching (25-40 minutes).

Preheat oven to 330° and bake until golden brown (16-18 minutes). Don’t bake more than two pans at once.


Place cream cheese and butter in mixing bowl. Using whisk attachment, beat for four minutes on low speed. Then beat for four minutes on med-high speed.

Add one cup of sugar and mix on low for one minute. Add remaining sugar and mix an additional minute.  Add vanilla and lemon and mix on high for one minute on med-high.

Frost rolls while still warm.



This time of year I cannot get enough pumpkin.  I especially think that pumpkin and chocolate chips are a groovy combination.  There are lots of recipes out there for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and/or Bread. These are really more like cake. Cake that is loaded with sugar then topped with cream cheese icing. (Oh, how I love Cream Cheese icing. My pulse is quickening just thinking about it.) But this recipe isn’t about dessert. I wanted to take the nutrition provided by pumpkin and create homemade muffins that would be suitable for breakfast. In other words, I don’t want to feed my kids cake in the morning. I want them to eat a delicious muffin that is also healthy.


I use a lot less sugar in my recipe than you’ll find in traditional pumpkin spice cake. I also boosted the nutrition by including whole wheat flour (if you don’t have any you can use all white. But we all need more fibre in our diets and kids won’t notice it at all in these muffins so you might as well get some. Or grind your own if you can.)  Since there isn’t any cream cheese icing (I know, I’m such a meanie!), I made sure these muffins have an extra burst of sweetness with chocolate chips. I’m pretty sure kids will eat anything with chocolate chips.

I’m really pleased with how this recipe turned out and feel good giving these to my kids for breakfast or a snack. Muffins are quicker to make than cake (good for mornings), but you can also pour the batter in a well-greased bundt pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. This could be a great thing to do the night before since these taste even better the next day.


You guys know there’s a pumpkin shortage, right? All that nice flooding this summer killed the pumpkin crop. Stock up when you go to the store, because canned pumpkin is going to be hard to find by Christmas. I bought 15 cans last week alone.



First you’ll combine the dry ingredients of flour (whole wheat and regular), white sugar, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Set the bowl aside.



Then in a mixer you’ll combine the brown sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla and pumpkin.  Mix this up well.


Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix til well-combined. It’s especially helpful to dump all the ingredients into, not next to, the bowl.




Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Okay, okay, you can throw in a few extra.


Now you’ll need to put these in a muffin pan. I always use paper liners for cupcakes because it truly makes them rise higher. But muffins are a lot less picky. You can bake these in the pan with no liners and they’ll do fine as long as you spray the pan very liberally with Baker’s Joy or Pam. Fill 3/4 of the way full. These will get a nice dome on top without spreading.



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Breakfast Muffins

dry ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

Wet ingredients:

3/4 cup brown sugar

4 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl combine wet ingredients and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Grease a muffin pan (or use paper liners) and fill cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes.


Grease a bundt cake pan and pour batter in evenly. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes.


Sorry I haven’t been blogging much; I’ve been being productive.  I’ve had such a stagnant summer, that it feels good to get up early and have something to show for my day besides quarrelsome children and a messy playroom.

I went on a big sock round-up yesterday and spent hours sorting and matching. (Let me just mention for the thousandth time how much I hate socks.) I still have one little pile to go and then the rest will be tossed in the garbage. This is their last chance to find a mate or it’s off with their heads!

I’ve made bread three times since school started last week (still not enough bread to feed my family, however. They’re like a swarm of locusts).   I even dragged out my wheat grinder to do my own flour. I’m more of a white bread kind of girl, though, so I made a couple of loaves of that as well.

This morning I also made sticky buns.  Like cinnamon rolls but a million times easier. So ooey and gooey; I’m still riding the sugar high.

Here is the recipe in case you would like to treat your family. Or the people at work. Or even total strangers (I’m sure they’d like Sticky Buns too.) Make them the night before and bake them in the morning.

Sticky Buns

2 loaves Rhodes frozen bread dough, slightly thawed
1 4.6 box of “cook & serve” vanilla pudding mix (NOT instant)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. milk
Grease a 9 x 13 pan.  Cut each loaf of bread lengthwise, then into 1″ slices.  Place the pieces of dough on the bottom of the pan in a single layer.
In a medium-sized bowl mix together dry pudding mix, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and milk.  Mash together with a fork and spread over the tops of the bread pieces.
Cover with foil and allow to rise overnight.  For best results make this right before you go to bed and  leave it on the counter to rise.
In the morning preheat oven to 350º.  (If the top of the rolls looks bald, gently use a spoon to redistribute excess brown sugar mixture.  It doesn’t need to be spread around as it will melt in the oven.)
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Mister is all about breakfast on the weekends. Not only is it his favorite meal, but he is a great cook.  His waffles are so good that his office has requested that he make them once a week on “Waffle Wednesday”.  I’m quite partial to his Kielbasa Eggs (growing up in Detroit gave me a hankering for Kielbasa as often as possible).  But his Swedish Pancakes are definitely everybody’s favorite.

Thicker and springier than plain old crêpes, they are rich and buttery and utterly delicious. (Are they actually Swedish? Don’t know, don’t care.) I like to eat them with strawberry jam (low-class but tasty), but one of the kids usually makes a lemon sauce to be slathered on and topped with powdered sugar.  Fresh berries are great too.

Unfortunately Mister is very protective of his recipes so the closest you’ll ever get to eating these lovelies is by staying at our place some weekend.  They’re almost worth sleeping in a house with six early risers. 



November 6, 2008 · 7 comments

in Breakfast

We’re out of Halloween candy (finally) which means that I have no idea what to eat for breakfast now.  Jasper was completely inspired this morning because he suggested “sowsa”.  Meaning chips and salsa.  What a brilliant idea, my tiny friend!  That boy loves chips y salsa almost as much as I do.

I’ve turned over a new leaf and have forced myself to drink diet Mt. Dew (full-sugar Mt. Dew being the nectar of the gods). I’m a big diet pop hater, so this has been a big deal. I’ve been needing the caffeination a lot lately, but not all the extra calories. After the first few awful days of going diet, I’ve gotten used to that nasty aftertaste. Let me tell you, I feel so much healthier not drinking all that sugar. It’s like I’m suddenly a health-food junkie!! I’m a pretty great model for a whole-foods kind of lifestyle, wouldn’t you say?

So after my fun petit déjeuner with Jasper I was reminded of the reason I don’t give him chips and salsa very often:

Of course chips are the one food that my dog doesn’t like.  So I had to manually sweep up the crumbs myself.

Grout makes me want to blow my brains out.  
In case you were wondering.