Cinnamon Rolls for a Giant (or the cyclist)

My husband loves cinnamon rolls. So much so that when we are in the mall or at a sporting event and they are making those cinnamon roasted almonds, he gets very upset. He feels like he's being cruelly teased.

How can it smell so much like a cinnamon roll, but not be a cinnamon roll? Oh, the humanity!

So last week, for father's day, I made him cinnamon rolls, but not your ordinary cinnamon rolls, these were HUGE. One roll could easily serve 8-9 normal size people.

Or one cyclist.

I can't blame him. These were SOOOO good.

(Oh, the humanity!)

Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls
recipe adapted from
Lion House Bakery

2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
2 T active dry yeast
1 cup granulated sugar
1 T salt
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted

Place water, oil, eggs, vanilla, and dry milk in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and stir vigorously until milk is dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over liquid mixture, then add the 1 cup sugar, salt and flour.

Put dough hook on mixer and mix for 10-15 minutes on low speed. The dough will be VERY sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap
(If you want to make the dough a day ahead, mix dough to this point, cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator over night. The next morning, roll out the dough and proceed. It may take the dough a little longer to double in house was warm, so it doubled in 90 minutes) and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll out into a rectangle shape. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon. Roll up rectangle lengthwise and cut into 1-inch slices. Grease 2 round pizza pans. Place one slice of dough in the center of the pan. Take the next slice of dough, line up the ends, and wrap it around the center roll, uncoiling the second slice as you go. Do this with additional slices until you've made a dough spiral that fills the pan. Repeat with remaining dough on second pan.
Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes. After baking, let jumbo rolls cool slightly before frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
6-8 T cream or evaporated milk
1 t vanilla

Combine powdered sugar, butter and 3 T of the cream in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, on low speed, combine well. Slowly add the rest of the cream, 1 T at a time, until creamy and smooth but not at all runny. Add vanilla and mix again.

This recipe will make two pizza-pan sized cinnamon rolls, or 18 standard size cinnamon rolls. I suggest the jumbo was such a fun presentation, plus you there is so much more of the soft inside to enjoy.

What a good dad.

Whole Wheat Waffles with Honey Cinnamon Syrup

Heaven knows I love brunch. But I really LOVE a brunch that I can feel good about serving my gals. We enjoy waffles a great deal, so we decided to whip up a batch with some fresh ground whole wheat flour. If you don't have a wheat grinder, store bought whole wheat flour should do just fine.

Whole Wheat Waffles

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
4 T oil
1 T honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

In a blender, blend the eggs, milk, oil and honey. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Blend well. Cook in a hot waffle iron.

Honey Cinnamon Syrup
1 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
1/2 t cinnamon

Heat honey and butter in a saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Add Cinnamon. Stir well. Serve warm syrup over hot waffles.

Both the waffle and syrup recipes are from Wheat Cookin' Made Easy

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

This cake is delicious on its own. The brown sugar gives it a rich, caramel flavor.
Add the berries and special sauce...delectable, delightful, delish, distinctive, divine, enjoyable, enticing, exquisite... (thank you online thesaurus).

Brown Sugar Pound Cake
Pound Cake Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

3 T dry bread crumbs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 T vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup fat-free milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-inch angel food cake pan with cooking spray and dust with the bread crumbs.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl; set aside.

Beat the butter in a large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add brown sugar and vanilla, beating until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with the milk, beating at low speed, beginning and ending with the flour.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and five minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve with fresh sliced strawberries (any berries would do I'm sure) and the special sauce.

Yogurt Sauce
equal parts brown sugar and plain yogurt (I use fat could certainly substitute the yogurt for sour cream to make this sweet and tangy sauce)

Mixed Greens with Baked Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

Any of you who have been reading for a while know about my garden woes. We live right next to the mountains, so wandering deer get a lot of our veggies. However, we have never had to go without garden fresh produce, thanks to brother-in-law Matt from Magpie Gardens. Almost weekly through the summer, I get a call to pick up an overflowing basket of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, melons, zucchini, you name it.

Last summer we ate purple, orange, yellow, red, pink and striped tomatoes. All from Magpie Gardens.

Some of you may know Matt. For those of you who don't I'll let him introduce himself:

"I'm a teacher during the winter months and a gardener during the summer. I grow over 20 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, each with its own unique flavor. I also grow over 30 varieties of chiles and bell peppers, from mild Cal Wonder Green Bells to the Bhut Jolokia, widely regarded as the hottest chile in the world. I'm committed to local, sustainable food that doesn't deplete our natural resources...and tastes good.
"One of my friends once told me I ruined her life. I was quite stunned bu such an accusation. I asked her why. She told me that once she had tasted one of mu fresh, heirloom black krim tomatoes, she could never go back to eating hot-house store tomatoes again because they tasted like cardboard. It's nothing unique I do that makes the tomatoes taste so good, rather it's honoring and cultivating the varieties that were bred for taste (rather than how uniform in size they are, how fast they grow, or how well they ship), that generations of farmers, gardeners and others have been committed to."

He starts everything he grows from seed in his office/greenhouse...the chilies as early as February. Who thinks that far in advance? Matt. (P.S. all of his seeds are purchased from certified organic seed suppliers.)

This summer, his garden is looking so promising, he is offering his produce to the masses along the Wasatch front (hopefully that includes you). Already he has a variety of salad greens for sale. Soon he will be offering peas, beets, carrots, and in another month or so, the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers will be ready. Throughout the summer, he will have onions, chilies, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, pumpkins, beans, peas, eggplant, and greens. He also has oregano, cilantro and seven varieties of basil.

If you would prefer to grow your own, go pick up some little seedlings...he has several varieites of heirloom tomato plants, various herbs, and many types of peppers.

His garden is completely organic. The only fertilizer he uses comes from the chickens that roam his garden. (He is not USDA certified, because that takes an enormous amount of paperwork.)

I got my first sampling from Matt this week. A variety of salad greens: lettuce, spinach, mustards, romaine freckles, lolla rossa, four seasons, bloomsdale spinach, bourdeaux spinach, arugula, black seeded simpson, osaka purple mustard (these are the rounded purple/greenish leaves, try just nibbling on one and wait for the spicy afterkick), spoon mustard, and mizuni mustard. The osaka purple mustard greens were my very favorite.

Contact Matt through his blog. You will LOVE the things he grows!

Mixed Greens with Baked Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette
adapted from Colorado Colore

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette
1 (8 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

Proces the red peppers in a blender or food processor until pureed. The puree should measure 3/4 cup. Add the oil, vinegar, cilantro, salt, black pepper, sugar and red pepper. Process until blended.

Baked Goat Cheese
1 (5 oz) log soft fresh goat cheese, such as Montrachet, chilled
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
olive oil for sauteing

Slice the goat cheese with dental floss (unflavored, obviously). Chill, covered, in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Coat the slices with the flour, then dip them in the eggs. Coat them with bread crumbs (if during this process, the cheese starts to get too soft, cover it and stick it back into the freezer for a bit).

Saute the cheese slices in hot olive oil in a skillet for 30-60 seconds per side (until lightly browned). Freeze on a baking sheet for 40 minutes, or until firm. You may prepare up to this point 2 weeks in advance. Store the frozen cheese slices in a seal-able plastic bag in the freezer.

When you are ready to serve the salad, arrange the frozen slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

12 oz mixed greens (grown by Matt of course)

Divide the salad greens evenly among serving plates. Arrange the warm goat cheese on top of each serving. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

This salad is unique and delicious. Not something you would take to the neighborhood potluck...this is sit-down-dinner-party salad.

Matt also offers landscaping services (he is an expert on native, drought tolerant plants), he builds grow boxes...heck, he'll even build you a hen house.

Pastry-wrapped Cream Cheese and Pesto

This is an elegant appetizer that is very simple to make. No complicated ingredients, no need to mix or sautee...just assemble and bake.

My family loves this and it is devoured each time I make it.

Pastry-wrapped Cream Cheese and Pesto
adapted from Kraft Foods
1 (4-oz) can refrigerated crescent dinner roll dough
8 oz cream cheese
2 T prepared basil pesto or sun-dried tomato pesto
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll dough on lightly greased baking sheet. Split in half so you have two squares of dough. Press together any seams. Using a sharp knife, cut brick of cream cheese in half horizontally.

Place one half on top of the dough. Top cream cheese with one tablespoon of the pesto.
Cover with other half of cream cheese. Top with remaining pesto. Lay second half of dough over top of cream cheese. Press edges together to seal all the way around, or use a pastry wheel to seal.
Brush with beaten egg.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes. Serve with crackers and fresh vegetables.

This recipe works well with reduced fat crescent rolls and Neufchatel cheese (this is how I generally prepare it). The Neufchatel is quite soft, so I freeze it for an hour or so before so it is firm enough to cut in half.

Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Would you believe that by using just three simple ingredients, you can make delicious cookies?

Just like my stone soup recipe, you can make them even more tasty by adding a little something something (your choice).

Unlike my stone soup recipe, these are actually divine without the frills.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Combine all ingredients, roll into balls, bake on lightly greased cookie sheets at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Frills: mix in chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, roll the dough in coarsely chopped roasted peanuts. You could place an unwrapped peanut butter cup in the center, or press your thumb in the middle and fill the indentation with jam.