Monday, January 27, 2014

Granny's Caramel Rolls

The Polar Vortex has returned with a vengeance! -snort!-

It's beautiful outside, but wicked cold!

In fact, it's so cold...

We had to chop up the piano for firewood. 

Unfortunately we only got 2 chords. Ba dum bum!


Besides corny cold weather jokes, we've taken to enjoying comfort food to cope.

Hello caramel rolls!

My Dad's mom, who we affectionately called Granny, used to make these amazing caramel rolls for us! 

Some people may prefer to call them sticky buns but I opted to go with caramel rolls as I couldn't bring myself to title this blog post...Granny's Sticky Buns. Just sounds so wrong! No one needs that picture stuck in their mind.

Hey! How about another joke!

Why didn't the tourist in the Arctic get any sleep?

He plugged his electric blanket into the toaster by mistake - and kept popping out of bed all night. Ha ha ha ha

Oh yeah. Thats better.

And about those caramel rolls...

They are super delicious and comforting. Making them brings back lots of cozy memories of my Granny.

1 package dry yeast
1 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 cups flour

Now, before we begin, here's a quick note about scalding milk. 

The Husband asked me why I scald the milk. 

I said it was because that's what Granny said to do.

The Husband said, "yeah, but why?"

At that point it was to the Google to find out. So here's the why...scalding milk breaks down proteins in milk that can prevent the dough from rising...and Granny said so! Listen to your Granny! She knows these things!!

So don't skip scalding your milk!

Now, for those who do not know what it means to scald your milk... Scalding milk just means heating your milk to a temperature just below boiling. Easy peasy!

Once your milk has been scalded, let it cool to about 110 degrees F, add in a little bit of the 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 package of dry yeast. Allow the yeast a few minutes to foam.

While yeast is activating, place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup shortening in a separate, large bowl.

Once activated, add yeast mixture to sugar and shortening. Stir to combine.

Add in 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and lightly beaten egg. Mix well.

One at a time, stirring well to combine after each, add in remaining 2 cups of flour until the dough is stiff.

Knead dough, on a lightly floured surface, until dough is smooth.

Place the dough in a lightly buttered bowl, cover, and let sit in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

Here is where I hang my head in shame...I didn't get any photos of my risen dough. Too excited I guess to move on to the next step. -drat-

2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

While dough rises, combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down, then roll into a 
9x18 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface.

At least I got this shot! Whoop whoop!

This is the perfect time to start the caramel topping!

Caramel topping
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

Place butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.

While the butter and brown sugar from the caramel ingredient list melt and get cozy together, spread the 2 tablespoons of softened butter from your filling ingredient list (are you following me here?) onto dough, leaving about a half inch border along edges.

Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar (again from your filling ingredients) mixture over buttered surface. Oh that's gonna make it taste nice!

Carefully roll dough, pinching edges together to seal.

Slice into 1 inch pieces. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to use a ruler!

Once the rolls are sliced the caramel sauce should be just about ready.

Once the butter is completely melted and well combined with the brown sugar pour into a 9x13 pan.

Place the sliced rolls into caramel sauce in pan.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until rolls have doubled.

Yeah Baby!

Now there's no way I'm getting up early enough to make these rolls before the family awakes! I make them the night before. Once the rolls have risen, I cover them and place them in the fridge. In the morning, I preheat the oven to 350˚ then bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes.

To unpan the rolls, run a butter knife around the edges to loosen. Place a platter on top of the pan. Now flip that baby over.

All of the gooey, caramelly goodness will run down covering the rolls! That's the best part!!

Hello Gorgeous!

The crispy edge is the best part! Oh yeah!

Now that, my friends, is how one comfort foods through a Polar Vortex!

And just remember, to keep from getting cold feet...Don't go around Brrrrfooted!

Keep warm all and comfort food on!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Make a Joyful Shout

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!

Serve the Lord with gladness; 

Come before His presence with singing.

Know that the Lord, He is God; 

It is He who made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, 

and into His courts with praise!

Be thankful to Him and bless His name!

For the Lord is GOOD;

His mercy is everlasting,

And His truth endures to all generations! Psalm 100

I am utterly amazed at how God takes the harshest, most bitter, and desolate times and turns them into something glorious.

We are the work of His hands! Bless His name, and trust that He will create something beautiful even in our winter seasons! For God is good!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Wipeout

I returned home, late yesterday afternoon, from chaperoning my church's youth group trip to Camp Shamineau in Motley, Minnesota.

The trip is appropriately named...Winter Wipeout. 

The trip was in winter, and now I am wiped out!! 

Oh golly am I wiped out! I sure hope this blog post makes sense!! And if not, enjoy some fun photos! I will hopefully have all of my faculties back in a few days, after I've had a chance to catch up on some sleep.

I went on the trip for two reasons; I'm a volunteer leader this year for the youth at my church, and also because my own youth was attending. My Miss Emma Bean!

Miss Emma Bean especially enjoyed the horses at camp.

As a child, I never went to camp.

This was my first "camp" experience.

Honestly, I learned over the weekend that I don't love camp.

I don't love hard mattressed bunk beds.

I don't love sharing a bathroom with 24 girls. 

And I don't love being sleep deprived!! Throughout the weekend, I repeatedly thanked the Lord for coffee!

What I do love is this silly group of kiddos and all of the adults who were there to lead them! 

I love that they encouraged each other!

I love that they were willing to make this sled train 3 times - which meant climbing up a giant hill 3 times - so I could get the perfect photo, as well as a video, and once my camera froze because it was too cold...I could relate. They're very good sports!

I love that they included each other and made new friends.

Mostly I love that they were enthusiastic about praising God and giving their lives to Jesus!

I may be wiped out, but my heart sings!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Mother Load of Freezing Cold

"The mother load of freezing cold" that, my friends, is a quote from our local news describing our weather yesterday and today. Because at -23˚F with a windchill dropping temps to -44˚F well, DING DANG it's cold!

And the mother load of freezing cold meant two days off from school. 

Oh yes, there was a collective WOOHOO!!

So yesterday we hunkered down to stay warm with gusto!

Hot homemade caramel rolls for breakfast.

Cuddling up in cozy blankets and warm clothes by the fire.

And for sure bundling up to go outside to check on the chickens.

Who, by the way, seem to be handling the cold weather much better than I am. Still got two eggs! Whoop whoop!!

We had steaming cups of chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles!

And in between Harry Potter movies, we played games.

I may have been more excited about the game playing breaks than the kids were. I told them that they had to play because their eyes needed a break from the being bad for their eyesight and all if they watched for too long. Eh hem, just back me up on that one if they ask if it's true. Okay? Thanks!

And aside from the nearly nonstop Harry Potter-a-thon, I think the kids' favorite part of the day was pizza and snacks!

My favorite part of the day, having nowhere to go and a full, warm house!


P.S. Today we cleaned house! Just keepin' it real.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year

I boxed up all of the Christmas decorations yesterday.

I'm sad to see the Christmas season come to an end.

In many ways this Christmas looked much like every other Christmas.

We enjoyed many of our favorite traditions.

We hung decorations! 

We ate Christmas cookies, (Oh I do so enjoy Christmas cookies!!)

we left a trail of Nestle Crunch Bells for the girls to find on Christmas morning, and before any gifts were opened, a candle was lit to remind us that we celebrate Jesus...the Light of the world.(John 8:12a)

Yes, Christmas looked much the same this year as it has in years past. But in so many ways it looked very different too. A few tough years of loss and struggle caused me to enter this Christmas season heavy hearted. 

I met the new year feeling as though I had left something behind, like something was forgotten and I needed to go back for it. It was unsettling to say the least.

This beautifully made box was a Christmas gift from a very dear friend.

I love that the word hope is inscribed on the lid. But even more than the inscription, I love that it was filled with hope! 

Not some pie in the sky, empty, maybe this will help you feel good kind of hope mind you! But a real, rock solid, covered in truth kind of hope! 

It was filled with Bible verses...promises(Romans 8:28)...strength(Joshua 1:9)...encouragement(Deuteronomy 31:8)...peace(Philippians 4:6-7)

I have spent much time thinking about these verses and wondering what new verses I will add to the hope box. As I've wondered I've begun to realize, I needed this Christmas season more than ever before. Or more accurately, I needed to recall the hope of this Christmas season more than ever before!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life! For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved! John 3:16-17

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5 

There may be times that feel unsettling, but whatever may come in 2014, I will find comfort as I fill my box with reminders that my hope is secure!