Bread of the Month: Irish Cinnamon Rolls

It has been a very long and full week. Luke left for a conference this past Tuesday (his birthday my first day teaching at a new job) and came home yesterday afternoon. Friday evening we celebrated with presents and a night of catching up at home (more on our busy week to come.)

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Because he spent his b-day out of state we are celebrating it this weekend and so yesterday I made him belated b-day goodies: cinnamon rolls. If you remember last year I madea Cinnamon Roll Bunt Cake with cream cheese icing and raspberries.  This year I decided to join celebrations of his birthday day and St. Patty’s day by making one amazing dessert (breakfast). As per the other bread of the months posts (so far) the original recipe for these cinnamon rolls comes from The Bread Bible . And also as per usual I have made my own version with tips and alterations. So here’s the Irish Cinnamon Rolls.

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Ingredients:

Dough:

1 medium-large russet potato

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon active dry yeast (1 pack)

½ Cup granulated sugar

¼ Cup warm water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 teaspoon salt

5-51/2 C of flour

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Filling:

  • 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1-1/4 cup packed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice

Irish Cream Glaze:

1 and 1/2  C powdered sugar

4-5 tablespoons Irish cream liquor

and/or milk or half and half

Instructions:

1. Peel the potato and cut it up into chunks. Put it in a small/medium pot and cover with water. Bring water to boil then let the potato cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes. With a slotted spoon scoop out the potato and place it in a large bowl/kitchen-aid mixer bowl. Add in the 2 tablespoons of butter and with a metal blade puree the butter and potato. (Keep the boiled potato water).

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2. Place the active dry yeast (1 pack) into a small bowl, add 1 tsp. sugar, then pour in the 1/4th Cup warm water. Let it bubble and foam for about 10 minutes.

3. Add to the large mixing bowl with the potato puree: the yeast, potato water, 1 egg, salt, ½ Cup granulated sugar, vegetable oil, and 2 cups of flour. Beat together until combined then slowly add in the rest of the flour (3-31/2 C worth).

4. When all dough is combined knead until it is smooth and springy.

5. Grease a deep container (I used butter) than place the dough in it turning it over one time to coat top and bottom. Then cover the container with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 to 1.5 hours. ( I put mine on top of the stove with the oven on at 250-300F).

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6. Knead the dough letting out the air and then place it back in the container and cover again for another hour to raise in a warm place. Then knead the dough again and divide it into two pieces. Roll out each piece in into a rectangle of about 10 by 14 inches at about 1/4 inch thick.

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7. Melt the butter then brush the surface of the dough up to ½ inch on all side with the butter. Make the filling then sprinkle it over the buttered surface of the dough. Roll the towards you in a tight jelly roll, once rolled; pinch the seam.

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8. Take a bread knife or other sharp knife and cut the roll into 1 to ½ inch thick slices. (The thicker the slices the bigger your cinnamon rolls.) Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a slipat. Press each roll down a little onto the sheet (this prevents it from pulling apart in the oven).

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9.  Preheat the oven to 350F and place the uncooked rolls under plastic wrap and let it rise for 20 minutes at room temp on the baking sheet. While waiting on these rolls continue to do the same process with the other set of dough.

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10. Place the rolls in the oven for 20-25minutes at 350F.  When firm and lightly browned on top take them out and let them cool. While the rolls bake make the icing and it spread over the cinnamon rolls once they have cooled.

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Note on icing: I chose to make my icing out of cream cheese, milk, powdered sugar, and a little Bailey’s. If you like your icing thick and creamy (not runny) I would suggest using cream cheese. I you like a thinner icing then you can use half and half or milk combined with the powdered sugar. Either way if you want to use Irish Cream I would suggest adding it in slowly because you will probably want to balance it out with some milk.

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And there you have it! Our St. Patty’s/B-day treat. (More on Luke’s b-day to come).

So what is your favorite B-day dessert? Traditional cake? Ice Cream ? Cookies?

Snapshots: Halvorson wedding behind the scenes

This will be my last wedding related post for a while ( I promise). But I thought you might enjoy seeing a few more behind the scenes pictures collected from iphones (along with a few professional shots) that have come in from Matt and Stina’s wedding. If you haven’t read up on the wedding events then you may want to skim these posts: The RehearsalThe WeddingThe Reception,  before scrolling through these extra snapshots.

Here they are:

Getting ready:

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Post-picture lunch/brunch break with family and bridal party:

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My mom’s mother and my cousin Paige

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My Dad’s Mom and the sixpence for Stina’s wedding shoe

Stina waiting for the guests to arrive watching them from the upstairs window and entertaining the flower girls:

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Prayer time for Stina with all the bridesmaids and female relatives:

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Time to line up for the wedding:

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The ceremony (and singing):

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The processional:

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Matt’s best friend from high school and I

Celebrating after:

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My mom, my Aunt, and I

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Cousins iphone moment

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From left to right: my father (in law), my dad’s dad, and my hubby

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Matt and Stina snapshots:

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Something borrowed-hairclip from me

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rainbow polka dot socks so my brother wouldn’t get cold feet

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Details from the reception:

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at the trail mix bar

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family wedding photos

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mailbox to fill with advice and wedding cards

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wall of pictures of Matt and Stina growing up

Let’s Dance!:

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Traditional Norwegian folk dancing

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Saying Goodbye!:

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Thats all for now! Thanks for reading and sharing in this wonderful family event!!

Happy Memorial Day!!

I chose to make some BBQ themed Memorial Day treats for Luke to take to the VA sharing a little thank you to his co-workers for serving those who have served.

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I found these jet puffed red, white, and blue star shaped marshmallows at the store and thought up a semi-healthy dessert.

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You could use watermelon or raspberries instead of strawberries. I found the blueberries were easy to work with but the strawberries were probably a little overripe. It is best to buy berries fresh and make the kabobs right away.

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The leftover blueberries and marshmallows were made into more dessert kabobs for our church picnic on Sunday.IMG_3129

Whether you are enjoying a BBQ with friends and family,  celebrating those who have served, or just enjoying a day off from work or all the above have a great Memorial day!

Memorial Day Flashback!

Memorial day weekend is often a time for family, BBQs and of course honoring those who have served our country. But for Luke and I it will also always signify the anniversary of our engagement. That’s right a year ago today we got engaged!

Luke and I had just graduated two weeks earlier with our Masters degrees from APU. Our many friends and family wondered if Luke might propose at our graduation BBQ that afternoon in front of everyone. Fortunately, Luke knew that this would not work for me. I wanted our engagement to be an “us” moment. I wanted us to be able to share the news with family, friends, and facebook on our terms and in our timing.

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So back to Memorial day weekend. Many times over we had been invited to Morro Bay to stay with my grandparents for the weekend.  And finally with our Masters degrees over we drove the four hours north to their beach house.

Friday we decided to take some time to ourselves. We pack up some picnic lunches and headed to Montana de Oro State Park. It was a sunny windy beautiful day. Driving through the eucalyptus trees and past the dunes we parked near a trail that followed the cliffs down to the ocean. We took a few relaxing moments to enjoy the view and walk down the trail.

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We stopped at a look-out spot where the waves crashed on large rocks on the cliff below. Luke turned to me and said he had an important question to ask me.

Now we had brought up the conversation of engagement and timing many times in the past few months. So when he asked me, “are you ready to get married?” I just had to double check what I was hearing.

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Luke joked about saying that ” cheesy line” but before he could launch into it I stopped him. He followed this up by  teasing, “I can get on one knee if you want”. I told him no. He understood that I didn’t like the attention and knows I don’t like being put on the spot so he didn’t expect and immediate response. I took a second to take in the moment. After what was probably an eternity for Luke, I finally said “You knew my answer would always be yes”.

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As you can imagine that was followed by a kiss, a twirl, and a big hug. We stood there enjoying the view and the moment until we realized that we were hogging the look-out spot. Not wanting a crowd we decided to walk on down the path and contemplate the huge step we just made towards our future.

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Now we knew that the picnic lunch in our car just wouldn’t do. So we drove to Lynn’s Easy as Pie for lunch in Cambria to have quiche and pie to celebrate.

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Luke's was raspberry rhubarb and mine was boysenberry

Luke’s was raspberry rhubarb and mine was boysenberry

We then drove back into Morro Bay and toured the Morro Bay Rock. Parking near the docks, we decided it was time to call our parents and share the news.

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When we got back to my grandparent’s house we told them the good news too. The rest of the weekend was spent looking at vintage rings online and talking about dates.

Social Media: Beauty or Beast? Part 1

Starting off my newly-married life far from family and friends, I find great beauty in the internet and it’s social media sites. It has helped keep me connected to those I love around the world or a few time zones away.

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Not only do I have the opportunity to share in the lives of those I know and love, but also with those I have never met who also desire to communicate their creativity and life experiences through blogging on wordpress. WordPress has provided me with the venue to communicate my heart, my ideas, my cooking, and my life with all of you.

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Facebook provides me the ability to share in other’s pictures, or encourage and celebrate in my friends/family’s life moments with a comment, like, share, lol or consolation. I have the ability to quickly share a quote, song, where I am, or where I am going.

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LinkedIn allows me to find organizations I care about, people I have worked with, or contact those I used to be employed by. I can endorse those who I have worked for and with, or those who have taught and trained me. In return they can endorse or write references to my job related abilities.

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And most recently I have start on Pinterest with which I can share pictures, ideas, and words that mean something to me. From my baking, to decorating, travel, crafts, to party planning: I can get gift ideas or learn more about the style, preferences, and values of those I know-or connect to others who have similar interests as me.

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 This past year we have joined in our families holidays celebrations including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, and Easter via a phone call and/or skype. Or I can go on skype and see my niece and nephew and/or brother and sister-in-law just starting tomorrow in China as we are relaxing and finishing today.

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In addition to these, Luke can go on Xbox Live and play some of his favorite games and chat with his best friend on the WestCoast.

It is a beautiful thing; getting connected with others in a way never dreamed of less than 50 years ago. Through the beauty of the internet’s social media I can share in the process of engagements, weddings, family vacations to Disneyland, college or Master degrees, new careers or jobs, new additions to the family, or the passing of others through just a few clicks and typed words.

How about you? What do you appreciate about the world wide web’s social medias?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This year these Greenes decided to celebrate the green-wearing holiday at home. Still I thought I’d share a little of it with all of you:

Irish Mint Milk in a glass bottle from the dairy down the street: tastes just like a shamrock shake but way less calories-it also made from some great lattes this weekend.

Irish Mint Milk in a glass bottle from the dairy down the street: it has made for some great lattes this weekend.

All prepped for the crock pot

Veggies all prepped for the crock pot-can you guess what’s for dinner?

Homemade corn beef, cabbage/potatoes, and irish soda bread

Homemade corn beef, cabbage and potatoes, and fresh baked irish soda bread= yummy!

A very Irish dinner complete with Luke's Irish red ale (I had hard cider).

An Irish dinner isn’t complete without a good red ale (for Luke, I had hard cider).

Hoping everyone has a great St. Patrick’s Day !

What are your plans to celebrate?