With Sweet Dreams and Even Sweeter Days

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Things I'm Loving Lately: Spring 2013

Weather finally warm enough to spend time outside, and getting to enjoy it with great people.

A trip to Clearwater to see the Philadelphia Phillies in spring training.

With palm trees and 79 degrees F to hold me over until then.

A first trip to New Orleans with one of my best friends from high school.

And all the good that comes with it.

Including beignets from Cafe Dumonde.

Local beers to go.

An impromptu Congo festival.

Music everywhere.

And a city that just feels special.  

Sunday brewery tours back on my home turf.

Time spent with Nina, one of my oldest friends.  Time spent with Ted.  He is obviously loving it.

Celebrating Gram's 83rd birthday.  And hoping I still look that great and live the life she does come 60 years from now too.  

Walks around the block with my cousin Trish.

Dinners downtown.

And slowly but surely crossing restaurants off my very long list of places I'd like to try.

Time spent in my favorite city.

Most importantly with friends that I love.

Snagging a pair of real working thermometer earrings to help build my science teaching wardrobe.

Getting myself to Citzen's Bank Park for my first regular season Phillies game of the year.

And sitting in the exact seat where a foul ball lands directly in my lap.

Because honestly, life just doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cheater Cinnamon Rolls

Homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch, crafted lovingly hours before anyone else has a chance to wake up let alone think about breakfast, have a place and a time.

They definitely do.

That being said, realistically speaking, that place and time have not been in my life recently.

Weekdays that have me up and out the door and days full of work mean the last thing I want to do come Saturday morning is wake up hours earlier than necessary.

Therefore this recipe is a saving grace of sorts.

Homemade cinnamon rolls in a fraction of the time, with all the flavor and charm still in tact.

Sure we take a few shortcuts along the way, but honestly that's half the fun with these.

And really, if you're serving someone a homemade cinnamon bun, whether from scratch or from short cut... no one should be complaining.

Biscuit baking mix, milk, cinnamon, sugar, and butter come together to make light and tender cinnamon buns that can then be slathered with a powdered sugar glaze.

Simple ingredients.  Happy results.

Your breakfast rescue, no matter what the schedule.

Surprise yourself with these.

A resounding favorite of mine.

Cheater Cinnamon Rolls
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Servings: 12 large cinnamon rolls


For Rolls:
- 4 1/2 cups biscuit baking mix
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 2 Tbsp butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon

For Icing:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

To make rolls preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  In a bowl combine the biscuit mix and milk.  Turn onto a floured work surface and knead until dough comes together.  Roll into a 12x10 inch rectangle.  Spread dough with butter.  In a small bowl combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over buttered dough.  Roll up into a long roll starting with a long side, pinching the seam to seal.  Cut into 12 equal slices (first cut the dough in half, then cut each half in half, then cut each forth into thirds).  Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat and bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Combine icing ingredients in a small bowl and spread over rolls.  Serve immediately.  Repeat as often as necessary.

Recipe adapted from: Winning Recipes from Taste of Home

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mocha Lace Cookies

I'm not sure when or how it happened, but suddenly I look around and I'm a coffee person.

True on work days it's most often enjoyed out of necessity (and often in a rush out the door), but even weekends, when my pace is mildly slower and I have a chance to breathe, there it is.

Those weekend days when coffee is a luxury savored not in my car during a morning commute, I love to take that moment, take a step back, and indulge.

Deep, delicate, and not overly sweet, mocha lace cookies lend themselves to coffee enjoyed at a slower pace on weekend mornings.  A time when life lets you sit, take a step back, and enjoy.  At least until reality snaps you back.

Of course you can appreciate these cookies sans coffee, crunchy and crumbly, they're simple and delicious.

They taste even better after a day of sitting, so bake them up when you have a free minute, and savor whenever you choose.

Espresso powder. Chocolate.  Dark Rum.

For mornings (or any times) simple and sweet.  

Mocha Lace Cookies
Servings: Approximately 1 dozen cookies

- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 Tbsp agave nectar
- 1/2 tsp espresso powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp dark rum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  In a small saucepan combine butter, corn syrup, sugar, agave nectar, and rum.  Bring to a bubble over medium heat and take off after butter and sugar have melted and mixture is combined.  Let cool one minute and pour into flour.  Stir together until well combined.  Line two baking sheet with either silicon baking mats or parchment paper.  Drop tablespoons of batter, generously spaced apart, on baking sheets (6 cookies per sheet is a good guide).  Bake for 4-6 minutes (rotating trays halfway through) or until cookies have taken on a lace-like appearance and cookies have begun to set.  Allow to cool completely on sheets on wire racks.  Remove and store at room temperature.  Cookies get even better after a day of sitting!

Recipe adapted from: Sweet Nothings