Monday, March 26, 2012

Dinner Rolls

Sweet dinner rolls prepared from scratch!

When I have a good reason to lug out my bread machine, I do.  I recently made dinner for my sister and she had shown me a recipe for a loaf of Italian bread so I decided to make the next best thing - dinner rolls!  Why?  Because I've tried these before and I knew how delicious they were and I knew I could toss all the ingredients into my bread machine to go through the mixing and rising process.  I like to avoid working with yeasty dough when I can.  :)

I sprinkled the tops with Italian seasoning and melted butter and they baked up warm and light.  I love bread!  I served these with spaghetti and they were perfect for sopping up the leftover sauce. 

Dinner Rolls
(click for printable)

Makes 24 medium sized rolls

1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup butter, softened
Italian seasoning

Place water, milk, egg, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough/Knead and First Rise Cycle; press Start.

When cycle finishes, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half.  Pinch off two inch ball and roll into circle.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Brush softened or melted butter on top and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  Cover with clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place, let rise 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden.
Adapted from Allrecipes

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes

Rich buttery cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing!

In my quest to get this "food photography" thing right, I'm discovering how much patience is truly involved.  When it comes to destroying the kitchen baking up a storm, I can easily conquer that.  But photographing what I made?  That's a whole other level.  It's stressful and fun at the same time. 
So let's be honest about this recipe.  It was denser than what I was expecting.  Korey liked it and said it would be good as a cake.  I decided to skip the buttercream frosting and try cream cheese.  Mine turned out runny.  FAIL.  Never had that happen.  I think because I used Neufchatel.  I was going to pipe this on but it just wouldn't cooperate.  So instead I ended up smearing it on with a spoon.  So these are kinda pretty in my book.  :)  They are redeemed by the cute sprinkles and cupcake liners.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg yolks , room temperature
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.

2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.

3. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick unsalted butter
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
Tinted with gel food coloring

Mix all together in a stand mixer on medium speed until creamy.  Store unused portions in airtight container.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Monday, March 19, 2012

20 Months

I got Hunter's haircut over the weekend and now he seems like he's going on 3.  He's becoming more and more "boy" everyday.  Saturday, Korey worked in the yard most of the day and Hunter wanted to be outside with him.  He had an absolute fit when it was time to come in.

He is soaking up everything we teach him.  Lately it seems like he's trying to put two words together and he has little babbling conversations with himself.  He's going to be a talker.

He's watching a pre-bedtime alphabet video.  We are thankful for Youtube!

 His favorite toy lately is this battery-operated truck.

I've introduced him to the potty and I cheer whenever he sits on it but lately he tells me no whenever I ask him if he wants to go.  I'm not worried yet because it's still early and part of me isn't ready to train him yet.  I told Korey he's becoming so much more big boy that I miss having a baby around!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Planting a Garden

Korey and Hunter recently helped his friend Joel plant a garden.  Here are some of the pictures from their time in the dirt.  Joel ran the tractor, Korey hoed the ground, and Hunter got to plant seeds.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


This past weekend my sister-in-law was in town so I told her I would be making waffles for breakfast.  I decided to fancy it up and make her feel like she was at a B&B.  We'll disregard the fact that she had to sleep on the couch.  :)

I used my Classic Waffles recipe and put this together in just a few minutes.  This could be an appetizer or a dessert or you could even serve it at a brunch.  It's versatile, delicious, and I'm almost embarrassed to write out the recipe because it's just so easy!  To eat, just simply dunk a waffle wedge into the glass of syrup.  No forks needed! 


1 homemade waffle cut into fourths
Maple syrup or pancake syrup
Fresh fruit

To assemble, pour syrup into martini glass.  Cut small slit into wedges of waffles.  Insert over the edge of the glass.  Serve with fresh fruit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Birthday Adventures

This past weekend it was my birthday.  Want to know how old I am?  Let's just say that I'm now older than most major league baseball players.

My first adventure was a mani/pedi where I peacefully sat and read a book for over an hour.  Bliss.  Then I came home and we headed to Dallas for brunch.  Since we were behind schedule according to Korey's birthday itinerary for the day, it ended up being lunch.  And because it was so cold outside which eventually turned to rain we indulged in coffee and breakfast tacos all the while trying to make sure this little guy was happy after I had limited his outside entertainment because of the cold.

On a side note we went to Breadwinners which was packed with all the Uptown young people.  This is a place I used to go when I lived in Dallas as a single person and now I was back, married and wrestling with a toddler in the packed waiting area.  That made me feel old.  But I love my suburban life now!

One of my handsome brunch dates.
The other toddler wrangler, my husband.  I made a comment later in the day about being hungry and he said keeping up with Hunter was like wrangling cattle sometimes.  You burn calories, people!
We let Hunter run around on the patio but it got too cold so we had to go inside and feel like a sardine in the tiny waiting area all while trying to hold him, entertain him, and distract him from wanting to get down and explore.
After we hurriedly ate, we set off to the Children's Aquarium in Fair Park.  It was pouring down rain by this point and we were already wet from running to get our car after brunch.  Then when we got to the aquarium we ended up in the wrong building and we had to RUN through the rain to the right building.  There was no cover.  We had no rain jackets on.  My hair was way past pretty.  It was cold and I was starting to feel bad.
When we got inside this is the first thing I saw.  He totally looked fake and I kept waiting to see if he would blink but he never did.
Hunter wasn't very interested in watching the fish swim in their aquariums so we took him to the stingray section which was more my style because it wasn't crowded and he liked getting to interact.
There are little steps for him to stand on so I picked him up and he was trying to pet the stingrays as they swam by.  The ones in this tank were on the baby side.  You can buy food to feed them so I think they thought we had food.

Korey and I switched places and he and Hunter went to look at the sharks in the bigger tank.
Korey snapped this photo and tried to claim photography credit for it but I told him I adjusted the camera settings so I got points, too!
Hunter is standing in front of the tank of sharks.
Korey's favorite photo that he took of Hunter that day.

When we got home my sister-in-law and her son, Brandon were standing on our door step waiting for us.  Perfect timing!  They were on their way to see her mom so we were the halfway point.

These two started playing and Hunter showed Brandon his videos.

Then we headed off to my parent's house where I was feeling feverish by now.  Aaarrghhh.  But we enjoyed a fabulous dinner with my sister's help and then we indulged in this:  Italian Cream Cake.  The one thing I look forward to every year.  Homemade by my mom.

My dad assisted by making the chocolate curls.
I love tulips!
The cousins together smiling.  Whenever we say, "cheesy grin" to Hunter he executes this face.
I don't remember who took this photo but Korey liked my face in it.  It had been a looonnngg day.  Fun but long and I wasn't feeling 100%.  I was tired.  Man, I'm old!
Me and my awesome sister.
And this little guy always makes my day!

Monday, March 12, 2012


Comfort food in dessert form!  Warm, spicy, crispy gingersnaps.

I needed an excuse to use more of the molasses I still had on hand from one of my previous recipes.  Shirley Corriher's Bake Wise cookbook came to the resuce.  Even though I haven't read through all of it yet, I will say I feverishly studied the cookie section and can declare a better understanding of how to make my cookie recipes better.  So much better in fact that Korey frequently asks me to make cookies for him and when I roll my eyes he said it's my fault for making such good cookies.  Sigh and smile!

The perfect after school snack!


2 cups sugar, divided
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 T ground ginger
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t cloves
1/4 t nutmeg

Beat 1 3/4 cups of sugar and all of butter until fluffy.  Slowly add in molasses with mixer on low.  Then add in egg and beat until mixed in with mixer on low.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Slowly add in dry ingredients to wet ingredients with mixer on low.  Cover dough with saran wrap pressing down on top of the dough in the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350.  Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar in small bowl.  Remove dough from fridge after it's chilled and roll into one inch balls.  Roll each dough ball into sugar.  Bake for about 10 minutes or when edges start to brown.  After a couple of minutes cooling on the baking sheet, move them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Source:  BakeWise

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rocky Road Bars

Yummy, gooey, comforting bars made from chocolate chip cookies, marshmallows, and nuts.

I first saw this recipe in the newspaper a few years ago and it sounded easy and delicious so I cut it out and saved it.  I remember making it for my coworkers when I first found the recipe and the bars disappeared fast.
They have been in my mind to make and so I finally got a moment to try these out.  I made a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookie dough using only one cup of chocolate chips in the mix.  I was out of nuts otherwise, these would have been even extra delicious with walnuts on top.  They are best when they are still warm as the marshmallows will still be soft.  Dive in!

Rocky Road Bars
(click for printable)

1 pkg refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough or homemade batch
1 cup choc chips
1 cup marshmallows
1/2 cup nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350.  Press dough into brownie pan.  Bake about 28 min.  Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with 1/2 cup choc chips.  When they start to melt spread them out with a knife.  Then sprinkle marshmallows, remaining choc chips, and nuts.  Return to oven for 5 more min until marshmallows start to puff.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Cut into bars.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Post Office Adventures

My latest Mamarazzi assignment from our fabulous teacher was "Leading Lines on Manual mode" which simply means that our picture had to include lines leading up to the subject.  A couple of these don't fit the assignment but I included them because I love Hunter's expression in them.

We are in a local post office which happens to be closed on Saturdays except for the PO box side.  Whenever I go I let Hunter run around since there is never anyone there.  There is tons of natural light perfect for picture taking plus I can ask Hunter to read me the numbers on the boxes so it's good number practice for him.

I absolutely love his expression in this one.  And his companion, the monkey, never leaves his side lately.
Poor monkey.  I hope he can breathe.
Lots of leading lines!
Here, he is reading me the numbers.
A great expression and leading lines!

TBall and Cooking in the Kitchen

A few pics Korey and I took a couple of weeks ago of what's been happening around our house.

Korey and Hunter played "T-ball" with our bowling pins in the living room.

In order to distract Hunter from any trouble he wants to encounter in the kitchen, I've started enlisting his help as my sous chef.  Here, we are making black bean soup and he's helping me to taste test it.
"Chip, chip!" he says.