Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

This time of year is my absolute favorite. We are very holiday-ey people so we especially love having three months of holiday fun. On top of all the exciting Fall things we have going on, I also like to look ahead to the next few months. I'm sort of an anal pre-planner. Always a plan and list to be had with me! Anywho, I know so many of us military families especially have a ton of family coming in for holidays and even though I don't mind at all slaving over the stove while everyone else relaxes preparing holiday and themed meals most nights, breakfast is where I don't feel like just jumping up and cooking 30 different things every single morning. Because if we are all being honest here, I'm not the most pleasant in the morning anyway. So getting up hours earlier than everyone else to get the dough rising for a delicious pastry everyone can enjoy is not that appealing...even on Christmas. So this recipe here makes it all a whole helluva lot easier and happens to be one of my favorite things to have for breakfast! Enter these larger than life, Overnight Cinnamon rolls. I looked at many similar recipes, but found none that I particurlarly was fond of. So I took elements of several (including an Amish recipe) and mixed it with my own experience in the kitchen and came up with this little gem. Long story short, prepare the day before, rise in the oven overnight, and bake the next morning. No more canned cinnamon rolls for this family! After I began making these, we haven't even looked at a canned cinnamon roll. We actually find them a little gross. So here you have it! Hope you LOVE them!!

                                                             Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
                                                                   (Printable Recipe)

What you'll need:
For the dough
2 cups of water
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of oleo (also known as margarine, to us common folk)
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp (yes just a teaspoon) instant yeast
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
5 1/2-6 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

For the filling
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 T white sugar
1 T honey

For the icing:
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Here we go!! This takes a while, but each step takes no more than 10-15 minutes. It's just waiting mostly. I usually start at about 4:00 pm. Bring the water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add the oleo (which is apparently what the Amish call margarine. Took a while for that one) and let cool. This will take an hour or so. If you want to speed things up, cool it in the freezer, but watch it because you still want it to be slightly warm.

After it cools, we start mixing up the dough. First, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.

 Add eggs, vanilla and salt to the cooled butter/sugar mixture.

If using a stand mixer, transfer the wet ingredients, including yeast to the bowl. 

In a large bowl, combine the flour and cinnamon. You could start by using the beater attachment and add half the flour. Mix well. (This particular time I used the dough hook all the way through. I think I temporarily lost my mind. It did not affect the outcome, however using the beater attachment first ensures good and thorough incorporation of the ingredients).

Switch to dough hook and knead in rest of flour until smooth. This will be a sticky dough.

Now you can transfer to bowl in one of two ways. 1)Grease a large bowl. Make sure to get the entire inside of the bowl. Transfer dough to greased bowl and then flip it over to ensure the other side of the dough is greased as well. Or 2) Grease two bowls. Transfer dough in one and then dump it upside down into the other to grease both sides. With this sticky dough, it is usually easier to do it the second way. See, the finger prints? Don't worry, those will rise right out.

Cover with wax paper and a warm, damp towel and place in a warm place to rise. I usually like to set my oven at the lowest temp for 10 minutes, open the door to vent, place the dough in and close the door after another 5 minutes. 

Let rise until doubled. Generally takes an hour or so. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on humidity.

Punch dough down, turn out on floured surface. I usually flour the surface pretty good for this sticky dough. Knead about a minute and cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out to about a 14 inch x 14 inch semblance of a square. 

In a small bowl, melt butter for filling. Add the rest of the filling ingredients.

Brush onto rolled out dough and roll up.

Cut into 1/2 inch slices, UNROLL, and connect two slices together to make one large roll. It's easier to do it like this instead dragging your knife through the cinnamon mixture by cutting it into strips and then rolling.

Place in a large 11x15 baking pan. Brush tops with remaining filling mixture.

Cover with a GREASED sheet or two of wax paper and a damp towel. And your finished for the night! Place in warm oven to rise overnight.

When you wake up the next morning, you'll have something that looks like this:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 17-20 minutes or until done. 

While waiting for them to bake, in a saucepan, boil the sugar and cream for your icing. 

You're looking for the soft ball stage here. 235-236 degrees. Don't have a candy thermometer? You can use the cold-water test. With this particular recipe, I actually go by the smell. I can be weird, but my husband will tell you I'm usually right ;) Once I smell the mixture as it boils (it's a very pronounced smell), I pull the saucepan from the heat, add the vanilla, and plunge it into a large bowl/pan/whatever you have the pan of icing will fit into, of ice water and stir until it starts to thicken. 

After you pull the rolls from the oven, I like to use a butterknife and put a small slit into the middle of each one, so that the icing can seep through. YUM!

Pour the icing over the hot cinnamon rolls and enjoy!!

Is it a little work the night before? Yes. Is it hardly any work the next morning? Yes. Is it totally worth it? I can point you to a few dozen people that have had them that will tell you "Hell Yes!"

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Monday, October 1, 2012

What's been taking up my time?

Since Fall began, believe it or not, I haven’t been just sitting on my derriere. I’ve had some stuff going on, projects and such, that have been taking up my time here lately and I wanted to take the time to give you a sneak peak on some of them! 

At the beginning of Fall, I made this cute little printable, printed it off on a cream colored cardstock, and placed it in an old frame on my piano. I think it added just the right touch! If you'd like to have it here's the link to that post.

Here's what really has been burning up my time here lately. I've been crocheting my way into a carpal tunnel spell! Earwarmers, hooded shawls, bearded hats, and a few other little things :) 

 I've also been doing a little work on this project: 

Can you guess what I'm doing? I'll give you a hint. I got a little girl that should be very happy! 

That's all for now. Coming up soon we'll talk about the birthday boy last month, the Fisher Price Playdate we hosted through House Party (it was a blast and all the kids had so much fun!), and a little yumminess for the holidays. Want a teaser for that one? Perfect Cinnamony Christmas morning treat!!

And since my dress was just amazing (I thought so anyway!), I'll leave you with a pic of the military ball last weekend.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Summer, Sweet Summertime!

       After the last few weeks of my kiddos school, my school, and a few other various things, I think we are finally back in the swing of things around here. Summer always throws us for a loop and it’s so hard for me to get back on track when it’s over L With that being said, before we get into anything new here on Southern Belle, I thought I’d do a recap on what my summer consisted of…because I know you’re just dying to hear all about it! J

            It really wasn’t that interesting, to be quite honest. Just a lot of running and insanity. I’ll sum it up for you: starts with a family visit where my daughter goes back with family to stay until we go visit; she decides she wants to come early and we have to make a special trip to get her; study, study, study to test out of the first part of my nursing school that I’ve completed elsewhere (I made the mistake of studying what they told me to, which was the last part of the class that apparently everyone fails); here I am, passing all the NCLEX questions out of several different books and SOMEHOW no one in the class even passes the first test (let’s not even begin to talk about how I could have argued over half of those questions and the type they used. How this university is NLN accredited beats the hell out of me!!) so now I have to do that year over for this school. Want money much?; we had a death in the family; went back to my home in Kentucky to visit again (pretty much stayed at my aunt’s and my parents’ houseboat the whole time);  brought my brother back with us to stay for a bit (he went back this weekend); got things ready for school time again. Of course there are other things here and there, but those are the highlights. Yes, completely thrilling, I know. To be quite honest, it was nice to relax.

Here are a "few" of the pics from the summer: 
 Adventure time near one of the caves by us. It was too steep for me to be comfortable climbing with little man, so we just enjoyed the view. Basically if you slipped you would fall over a cliff approximately 100 feet into the cascading falls below.

This little gem here is a first edition Anna Karenina that I got this summer! Super steal!

My brother came back with us and the kids tortured him, he caught two hummingbirds with his bare hands (they seem to just fly straight at him), enjoyed the new Oreo Dream Cheesecake at CF, and had a little fun with watermelon!

Some boating fun on the speedboat and then the houseboat! You see Miss Priss playing  Captain and hanging with her memaw. Then my hubby thought he'd give it a go. Lastly, Little Dude and daddy doing some tubing. He was not amused.

My hunny and I enjoying the beautiful lake scenery. The last night on the lake was a full moon and it was so breathtaking out on the houseboat at night!

A little summer randomness: Implemented a new chore/schedule for the kids that actually worked, got a new piano and you see Mozart sitting over there composing (the musical genius as opposed to the dependent, sick, scatology obsessed creeper), Kade caught her first fish and refused to touch it, and I BAKED donuts (pretty, but eh. Some things are better left unhealthy).

Another bit of randomness: A little fishing, Roman checking the map while sitting on a statue at the zoo, my hubby and my sweet Mamaw, and probably the weirdest animal I've ever seen.

Definitely can't forget I got a new puppy!! Meet Madeleine (Madi)!! The vet finally determined her to be a Papillon/Chihuahua. The ones on the right are when we first got her at eight weeks, and the one on the left is her all growed (yes, I meant that) up at 18 weeks (she's 20 weeks now)!

 Last, but not least, the BEST part of the summer was the birth of my niece!! She's such a little cutie!! Everyone meet Eleanor Ann Luckett!! Little Miss Ellie :) Ann happens to be my middle name as well, so of course, I'm thrilled! Never mind it's also her other aunt, plus a family name for my family. We'll just pretend it's completely after me!! Ha!

That about sums it up!! What have YOU been up to? Tomorrow, I'll let you know what I've been doing since Fall began and give you a sneak peak of some of the yummy treats I have coming up! Gotta run and finish this party planning for my little man!!!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Free Fall Printable

            School’s in session! Well, for everyone EXCEPT my daughter’s school district. They don’t go back until the 4th of September. I mean, really. The last few years it has seemed as though kiddos were returning earlier and earlier and then out of nowhere, this insane district goes September 4! Moral of the story: Fall is almost here. Yes, that is legitimately the moral of the story. To celebrate, I made a fun little free printable for me and you! I’ve seen a few on the internet and none have just everything I love. So if you love these things too, then here ya go!

You like? Then click to print it off!
            Just print it off on a very light brown 8x10, put it in a frame, and put it on your mantel with the rest of your fall d├ęcor here in a few weeks…or now
         Next up, I’m going to make a Fall Bucket List to print off. In the meantime, here is one from How To Nest For Less that is just adorable!

 Tell me some of the things that you’d like to see or that you and your family do during the fall. Leave a comment here, on Facebook, or Twitter

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fire Roasted Corn Salsa

On Cinco de Mayo this year, I was craving a predominantly corn salsa to go with our taco bar. Let me tell you what--I have burned my poor husband out on shredded chicken barbeque tacos (I'll post a recipe for that another time) just to eat with the corn salsa since! It adds the perfect touch to tacos and salads. Hope ya'll enjoy it as much as we have :)


5 ears of corn (I love the bi-color)
2-4 tablespoons of diced red onion
1 jalapeno pepper
1 poblano pepper
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons sugar (omit this if you'd like a healthier option. I just like the balance it gives the lime)
approx 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
garlic and onion powder
aluminum foil

Prep your corn and fire up the grill!

After prepping your corn, lightly butter it and place on a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the corn securely in. Before wrapping, salt, pepper, and lightly sprinkle garlic and onion powder onto the corn.

Wrap up the corn and peppers (no seasonings) and roast on the grill. I always put the peppers around the outside of the grill and use about a medium heat; roasting for a hour, or until the corn is tender. When I have the time, I like to use a low heat and let the corn roast for a few hours. But be careful because too long and you'll lose the crisp and get a gummy texture. 

Let the corn cool enough to handle it and then cut it off the cob.

When you open the foil with the pepper, you're gonna find a couple withered up green mushy things. That's normal, I promise ;)

When I don't have gloves handy for the kitchen--which let's face it, that's never--I use the veggie bag I put the pepper in at the store and wrap it around my hand for protection against the heat. Or at least that's what I should do most of the time. It's a wonder I haven't put my own eyes out yet! 

Deseed the peppers. I like a little bit of spice, but I don't like my salsa so hot that my nose runs into my food, so for this amount of corn I use half the jalapeno and 1/3 of the poblano. To make it easier, I just stack one on the other and mince.

You'll end up with a big jarbled up mess that looks something like this:

Add peppers to the corn along with the diced onion (I start with 2 Tablespoons and add more, depending on my mood), chopped cilantro, sugar. Stir together well. Cut a lime in half and squeeze juice into the salsa and stir again. Will keep my refrigeration for about 2 weeks. I like to leave my lime in the salsa for about a week and then toss it out.