Baking Mix Cinnamon Rolls

20161025_084938When scanning a box of Jiffy Baking Mix for the recipe for biscuits the other day, the other recipes printed on it piqued my interest, especially this recipe for cinnamon rolls. I grew up eating the Pillsbury refrigerated kind on holidays; my husband’s grandma always serves the yeasty frozen kind. My recipes that use yeast never seem to rise as they should, but while living in France (no Pillsbury dough-boy in the land of the baguette and pain au raisin!), I tried making homemade yeast-based cinnamon rolls. For once they turned out great. Unfortunately, they take more time than I usually have on any given morning, so this quick and easy recipe caught my attention. Here’s the same recipe on the Jiffy website:

https://www.jiffymix.com/recipe.php/Breakfast/17-Cinnamon+Rolls

Unsurprisingly, I made a few modifications. First, I melted my butter to make it easier to spread evenly on the dough. Second, I replaced the 1/3 cup sugar with 1/3 cup brown sugar. I love the richer taste brown sugar provides. Third, I decreased the cooking temperature by 10 degrees because I don’t like to over brown my breads. The next change was accidental: I forgot to drizzle with corn syrup. Oops! I’m not sure what effect it would have had, other than adding sweetness and maybe making the rolls extra sticky. Finally, instead of baking 12-15 small cinnamon rolls, I made 4 large ones, maximizing the ratio of crisp outer layer to ooey-gooey inner layers.20161025_083221

These sumptuous cinnamon rolls literally melted in our mouths. I topped them with canned cream cheese frosting, but I could have eaten mine without frosting – or perhaps with just a drizzle of it. In fact, they were so rich and filling that my husband didn’t finish his, which is unheard of. His approval, however, was more reserved than mine or my son’s. He prefers harder cinnamon rolls that you can pick up with your hands. These slightly crumbly rolls required forks. I think I could fix that, though, by bumping the baking temperature up to 425 (what the recipe instructs) and baking on the long end of the suggested cook-time.

On a final positive note, my two-year old helped me with the quick and easy mixing and measuring. He also got a kick out of sprinkling the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over the dough. I love getting him involved in the kitchen, so this was a fun recipe for us both! No question about it: I WILL make these cinnamon rolls again soon.20161025_085242

Gayla Grits and Sauteed Spinach at Steel Magnolias

No, it’s not Tuesday. No, I didn’t just whip up an amazing meal… but I did just eat one that I have to share. My family and I like to explore new places we visit – or in this case, new places we live. Since it was a sunny and cool Saturday morning, we decided to head into town and check out what it had to offer. Valdosta is a cute town that’s making an effort to revitalize the downtown area with new shops and restaurants. It provides a more personal alternative to shopping and dining in one of the many area strip malls.

After wandering the streets a while, my husband suggested we grab a bite to eat. I whipped out my phone and checked out the list of restaurants featured on the valdostamainstreet.com website. We ended up at Steel Magnolias, a small restaurant that is “taking the roots of classic Southern cuisine and showing a new way of looking at them.” They also use products from local farms and artisans, which appeals to me on a number of levels.

Anyway, back to the delicious food. My husband got a bacon burger and baked macaroni and cheese (which he told me was very tasty) and my son got chicken fingers and French fries (not high class, but definitely fresher and more tender than any other place we’ve eaten in quite a while). As for me, I wanted something traditionally Southern, so I decided to try two appetizers: sauteed spinach with golden raisins & almonds and Gayla grits with bleu cheese, honey, and walnuts.20161022_115722

Now, I’ve had grits before and they were probably only good because the pasty mess had been smothered in butter and maple syrup. These, however, had a hearty texture and lightly buttery flavor. They went perfectly with the sweet honey, creamy bleu cheese, and crunchy walnuts. Moreover, they paired nicely with the garlicky spinach. My only complaint would be that flavor of the raisins and almonds got a lost  under the garlic in the spinach saute. It was a truly unique and satisfying lunch! One of these days, we may have to go back and order nothing but dessert because the pumpkin brulee, brown Betty, and classic carrot cake all sounded delicious, albeit too rich after our filling lunch. If the other restaurants we’d like to try in Valdosta are this good, we are in for a treat!

Dutch Apple Pie Cookies

Well, folks, it was a crazy week! My son and I arrived in Georgia last Thursday… Our household goods were delivered on Monday and Tuesday, and my husband arrived home on Tuesday night. Soooo…. Try It Tuesday is a little late this week, and I’m using a recipe that I wrote up about 2 weeks ago.

One evening, not too long ago, my dad rustled through the evening paper (yes, he still reads a printed newspaper every night) and suddenly cleared his throat. “Maybe you could try one of these for Try It Tuesday,” he said, handing me a page from the paper and raising a hopeful eyebrow. The title of this particular recipe section was “Scrumptious Ways to Eat Apples for Dessert,” and really, at this time of year, who could refuse such a request?

So, this week, I gave the Dutch Apple Pie Cookies recipe a try. In the original recipe, the streusel had oats, making it more of a crisp to my way of thinking, and I did have to modify it since anything containing oats makes this pregnant lady really sick. In any case, here’s the recipe that was printed in a recent edition of the Butler Eagle (sorry, I don’t have the date… I didn’t realize it wasn’t printed at the corner of the pages), which listed the author as Lovely Little Kitchen. I am only including the part of the recipe that I used. I will include my recipe for streusel topping below the directions.

Ingredients

1 roll of refrigerated pie dough

5 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced finely

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 Tablespoon corn starch

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the wells of a standard size muffin tin with nonstick spray. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and cut out circles about 2 inches in diameter. Gather and re-roll unused dough and cut additional circles. […] Place the circles in the bottom of each muffin well.

Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and cornstarch to a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5-10 minutes until the apples have softened slightly and the juices begin to thicken. Remove from heat.

Add about one tablespoon of the apple filling on top of each circle of pie dough.

In a medium bowl, mix the ingredients for the streusel topping with a fork or your fingers until a large crumbs form. Spoon the crumbs over the apple filling (These instructions mine).

Bake for 17-19 minutes. Allow the apple pie cookies to cool in the muffin tin for at least 10-15 minutes before removing. […] Cool on a wire rack.

Streusel Topping Ingredients

4 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp butter, softened or slightly melted

2 Tbsp brown sugar

¼ tsp cinnamon

Really, this was an enjoyable recipe to put together. It would have been made easier if I had a better apple peeler, but I needed a little stress relief after my son fought naptime for over an hour. Chopping apples, mixing, and measuring provides just that for me.

The end result was something like pecan tassies in terms of the look and feel of the cookies, perhaps in part because I pressed the dough a little up the sides of the muffin tins to ensure the filling wouldn’t fall out or stick too much to the sides. I found the balance of sweet, tart, and spice flavors to be perfect. Finally, I cooked my cookies on the low end of the suggested time (I always do), but going the full 19 minutes might have made getting the cookies out of the muffin tins easier.

I ended up only needing 4 apples as mine were medium-sized, not small. Also, the original recipe said it yielded 2 ½ dozen cookies. I only got 1 dozen and I cannot for the life of me figure out where that difference comes from.

If you’re ready for a recipe that will get you in the mood for the season, this would suit your needs pretty perfectly!

Cabbage Roll Soup

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On a cold, cloudy day, a hot bowl of homemade soup is just the thing to have for dinner – and I recently had such a day. On top of that, my son and I were going out to a fall festival with friends and then going to visit my grandfather, meaning I would have no time to do much pre-dinner prep in the afternoon or evening. All the more reason to try a new soup recipe for my slow cooker.

While at a farmer’s market that I’d been wanting to check out for a few weeks now, I saw some beautiful heads of cabbage, which made me think of a recipe I’d saved on Facebook for Cabbage Roll Soup. You’ll find the link here:

http://www.spendwithpennies.com/cabbage-roll-soup-2/
Now, this recipe is for the stove-top, so I just did a little research and changed the cooking method to a slow cooker. The only real difference is that you cook the rice separately and add it at the end. Also, cook the beef, onions, and garlic together before putting them in the slow cooker. You cook the soup on low 8-10 hours in a slow cooker. I had about 6 hours to work with, so I put my soup on high for 2 hours and low for 4. The cabbage was perfectly cooked.

I enjoyed the hearty, comforting soup, though I felt like there was a bit too much thyme. I would probably reduce that by ½, though my parents liked the soup as is. My son preferred the bread of course, but didn’t put up a fuss about eating the soup; with a 2-year-old, that counts as a win.

If you use different herbs in your cabbage rolls, I’d love to know what they are so I can play with this recipe a bit.

Lime Shortbread Cookies

When purchasing the ingredients to make fresh salsa, my grocery store of choice was rearranging and I had to buy a whole sack of limes instead of just one. Yes, I could have gone to another store, but I was exhausted by that point in my day and I didn’t want to deal with getting my son in and out of the car seat, cart, and store all over again. So, I’ve been using the leftover limes to try some extra recipes.

After typing “Lime Recipes” into my preferred search engine, I came upon a collection of recipes from Martha Stewart and decided to try the “Lime Flowers” (minus the flower shape… I don’t have a cookie cutter like that) since the recipe said four limes would be needed, effectively reducing my sack of limes by half. Here’s the link:

http://www.marthastewart.com/343526/lime-flowers

Without realizing it, I chose the perfect recipe for my morning. After prepping the lime zest and juice (it turns out I only needed 2 limes), I called my son out to the kitchen to help make the dough. He loves dumping pre-measured flour, sugar, butter, etc. into the bowl and turning the mixer on and off. Then, I sent him off to play in the living room for 10 minutes while I got the dough in the freezer and cleaned up. When Sesame Street came on, I let him watch while I cut out and baked the cookies… which took almost exactly the length of one Sesame Street episode.

How did the cookies turn out? Well, you have to like tart sweets like lemonade to appreciate these little lime shortbread cookies. I do, so these were a win in my book. My son, who couldn’t resist a finger-full of dough from the bowl before I could stop him, took a few tries before he decided they were okay. The dough was a shock to his taste buds: the last thing we made together was chocolate muffins and he expected more of the same on his finger. One lick and he tried to give it to me saying, “No, no.” Once the cookies were baked, I shared a cookie with him to let him try again. He remained unconvinced until lunchtime when he got to share another cookie with me. At that point, he did actually ask for a little more.

The only tweaks I’d suggest to the recipe have nothing to do with the taste (flawless). Rather, the method needed some adjustment because the dough, when first mixed, is so soft! The best way to flatten out the 10” disks as the recipe instructs is to spread some plastic wrap on a cookie sheet and sprinkle it with flour. This will be your “lightly floured surface.” I simply couldn’t wrap my dough or pick it up to put it in the freezer any other way.

That said, I didn’t sprinkle our cookies with powdered sugar either. Most of our cookies were going to Meals On Wheels and the powdered sugar wouldn’t survive spending a few days in the freezer before we delivered them to our church. I also didn’t want to deal with a toddler covered in the stuff and let’s face it, he would have gotten the stuff everywhere!

All in all, these simple cookies are a great treat and work well with little cooks!20160818_10220720160818_105241