laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Mommy Poppins


Look, I know that there are always going to be fads, and that diets are no exception. Kale is a phenom today and tomorrow it might be dandelions. I get it. Fads happen, people grab on for reasons from wanting to be healthy to just liking to stay part of the crowd. Or worse, to be “trending”. (I feel like that should’ve been accompanied by a #hashtag) See, I do get it. And still, I find myself disheartened when someone finds out that we’re a gluten free family. Especially when their response is similar to the one I got this morning.

Oh, you’re one of those.

Excuse me? One of those whats?

Oh, you know, one of those mommy-poppins where you make all your food from scratch and you’re an organizational freak, you homeschool, and your children are always perfectly polite. And with an added eye-roll (just in case I couldn’t feel the distain dripping off her words) I’d think you were one of those moms who just likes to make other moms look bad or feel guilty, if it weren’t for the way you’re dressed. 

At this point, I couldn’t help but laugh. I am….reserved. I’m quiet if I don’t know you and hate confrontation. So this morning was almost like an out of body experience when I found my timid self voicing the things that would have normally just been left to scream in my head. I laughed, out loud style, Like, really laughed. Enough to make her look at me with eyes wide in a way that I’m pretty sure said, oh good lord, what have I done?

Once I regained composure of my unkempt hair, makeup-less face, and sweat pants and shirt covered self, and looked at her well-manicured, make-uped, hair done, business attired self and tried not to burst out laughing all over again. And then I shared with her some of my thoughts.

Some of your assumptions were correct. I do make lots of things from scratch, and I really do love organization more than the average person, and my children are usually polite… but there is nothing about me that does any of those things for any reason that is outside of my family. We’re gluten free because two of my three children have Celiac Disease. And well, you know, we’d like to keep them alive, and thriving, even. And the from scratch part, well, that’s simple. It’s a third of the cost than buying gluten free things store bought, and it gives us more options. So I don’t really have much of a choice. If I bought every meal from a store (vs homemade/from scratch), we’d spend over $1,000 on groceries. And that is not an exaggeration.  And homeschooling, well, that’s a bigger issue. But my oldest has dyslexia like his daddy, and learning is a struggle. So we keep him home and practice being patient every single day so that he can have a different learning experience than the handful of people we know that struggled with dyslexia as children that the school system left feeling stupid. And as far as the organization goes…I love it, I really do. But I have three children. I have a demanding day time schedule, and often have to stay up until three am just to keep up with the laundry and the food prep clean up, and everything else. And that’s when I’m not working, if I am there are usually several nights a month where I do not get to sleep, at all. I have learned to function on very little sleep. Which is why my hair is in a pony tail and my face is plain, and my clothes are frumpy at best. I would never try and make another mom feel bad about the job she’s doing or that she’s not doing enough. I would like to believe that we’re all trying our best. Sometimes I wish that celiac, or dyslexia, weren’t a part of our daily lives. It would certainly make things simpler. And would open up some more time for all of us. But it’s the life I have and I do everything I can for my children to feel that it’s a normal one, and that they’re not missing out on anything. 

The lady didn’t look at me, and didn’t say anything for a long time, and we just stood in silence, watching our children playing together across the playground. Just before she round up her children to head home, she (without looking at me) did quietly say,

Well, your children sure are cute.

Um, thanks. 

 

I’m not sure if that was her version of an apology or if she realized that we’ve all got struggles and whether we look like we’ve got it together or not, it’s probably not. I hope so. I hope the next mom who says, Oh you’re one of those really means, Oh, you’re one of those moms that struggles just like the rest of us, your struggles just look differently than mine. And I hope that the next time I find myself thinking, Oh you’re one of those about anybody, that I remember that their struggles just look differently than mine.

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The Tale of the Master of Distaster (And His Sidekick)


So… you know those days where you feel like you’re so on top of it all? The dishes are done and put away. The laundry is washed, folded, and put away. The children are bathed, fed, and napping? If you do, leave. Right now. And never return. Unless you’ll tell me your secrets, and then I’ll wait patiently at your feet. Either that or I’ll out you as a bold-faced liar.

I will admit, lately, I have felt pretty on top of things. Laundry got caught up on. Dishes get washed. (Ok, so they’re not put away until the next time I need to wash more, but I can live with that.) My children have been fed. And bathed before public appearances. I even rearranged and did some redecorating of the house. For the most part I’m feeling more zen these days. More in control. More like I can actually survive having had three children in three years. (Ok, 3 and a half years)

So I did my salsa making and canning with a girlfriend. While it’s debatable whether or not it took less time to do it together, with all of the children between us, it was definitely more fun that way. Well, my dear friend is recovering from meningitis and left me all alone my own with two 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes for sauce. I got brave (or the fear of  having to admit that the tomatoes went bad before I got to them to my husband took over). I took out all of the tomatoes and set them on the bench to make sure they were all good, throw out the bad ones, etc. After I did that, I started getting out the pots and pans, and bowls and everything I needed to turn these lovely ‘maters into even more lovely pasta sauce.  And then this one called to me from her room, downstairs….

The Miss E

So I went to go help her with whatever crisis she was currently facing.

I returned to find that between these two, disaster had ensued:

Littlest E …aka The Master of Disaster

Sidekick of The Master of Disaster

What did I find when I came back upstairs? Well, I’ll tell you. I found all of my tomatoes being thrown on the floor, off the table and bench. I found the dog either trying to do a grape stomp, or eat them, catch them… whatever he was doing, he trampled them. In hindsight Littlest was probably clearing the bench and the pup was probably trying to catch them. That or they really were trying to ruin my life. Regardless. I found my tomatoes being smashed on the floor with the sidekick trampling them. Upon finding them in this state, I immediately yelled for the dog to get away from the tomatoes. I forgot our dog is a big, huge baby who gets his feelings hurt. He immediately began to pee. All over the tomatoes. The trampled, peed on tomatoes. There went any thoughts I had of rescuing them.

Thankfully, this one was a good helper during clean up.

Biggest

Thankfully, a glass of wine helped. And in the end, I still love them.

 

Next time, I’ll just buy my pasta sauce.

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Monkey Bread Madness


Do to my love of all things Pinterest, I have an ever growing list of foods I want to make. Well, after looking through my fridge, I decided on pizza… and then I remembered this. Monkey breadish pizza. (Seriously, the pictures are so good it’s no wonder they’re on pinterest for the rest of us to drool over!)

Looks fantastic, right? Photo Credit: Confections of a Foodie Bride. (You can go there for the original recipe too.)

In the morning, Big E had called one of his uncles asking him if he could come over and play. So just as I was gathering up things for dinner making, I got a phone call asking if I’d mind some visitors for dinner time. And we were so happy they could join us.

photo credit: Biggest E

I will admit that this took a little longer to make than I originally expected. With some organization -or an extra pair of hands- it could be done a lot more seamlessly. Overall, I did find this a great way to use up some leftovers! The original recipe used cubes of mozzarella, and pepperoni. I had neither. I did have shredded mozzerella, bacon, and chicken… all just sitting in my fridge, begging to be used before they went bad.

First things first, though… the pizza dough.

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup white rice flour
  • 1 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar

Combine the flours, salt, baking powder, and xantham gum in a large bowl. In another bowl, blend the water, olive oil, and vinegar and whisk to mix. Pour the liquid ingredients of the flour mixture. Stir hard, briefly, to make a smooth, soft batter. Occasionally, I have to add a little more flour to get the batter so that it holds it’s shape. If more flour is necessary, I use tapioca flour, and add it in a tbs at a time.

Step Two

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded/chopped chicken
  • 1/4-1/2 package bacon
  • 3 cups marinara sauce, for dipping

Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit. Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan  with garlic butter. Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten- trying to stay consistent with the size. Top with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese (I used shredded but you could certainly use cubes. Might be easier to seal with cubes instead of shredded.), chicken, and bacon. Wrap the dough around the toppings, pinching well to seal. Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter and place into the bundt pan. Repeat until all of the dough is used. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is very brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Not a terrific picture, but you get the idea.

These were so good… super filled. And they went fast.

Ok, so I have a confession- the photos, and story, are actually from December… but for some reason I never posted. So, today seemed like perfect day to get back in the foodie saddle! Because a)it’s cold and grey out today, which makes me think about warm, yummy food. And b) my 3 little ones are all cuddled in a blanket together on the couch. Their being so sweet I’m a little worried they’re plotting something. Seriously, they’re all snuggled in, sharing a blanket and pillow. Giving each other hugs and occasional kisses on each others’ cheeks. So I’m going to be spending time soaking all this sweetness in.)

*I just wanted to add that I made this recipe again tonight and it was even better than I remembered. Biggest and Miss helped me, and I’m not sure if they added more water/oil or what, but I did end up adding about a full cup extra of GF all-purpose flour before I could actually get it to be the consistency I needed. But they weren’t too dense or too floury or anything. They were perfect. That said… after hubby helped himself to them right out of the pan (hence no new, great photos), I discovered the bottom layer ones were not cooked through all the way- they were still a little doughy, so I threw them in for about 5 more minutes. I just didn’t want anyone trying this out and feel like I sold ’em a bag of worms! (Because that would be just gross)

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Ode To Sangria


This week has felt like it’s been a taste of extremes. We’ve had moments that felt like they were tastes of heaven, and nights that have surely been a taste of hell. Last weekend Biggest spent the weekend with his grandparents, and so I was left with just the younger two. And we had so much fun. Miss usually hangs with her bigger brother, so it was fun to see her and Littlest learning about playing together.

These two are something else. Miss is a chatter box and Littlest is the proverbial head strong bull in the China shop. They’re a little yin and yang, but usually, it works out. She’s mothery, and he’s fearless. She taught him to climb up all the ladders, and he taught her that the biggest tunnel slides are not so scary.

I just love that I captured their expressions!

On the way back we took a path through the “jungle” (a wooded trail), and Miss paused, looked closely at this pile of birch logs, followed by a sigh and a shaking of her head, nope, those aren’t diamonds.

Our weekend was followed by the crankiest, angriest Littlest boy we have ever seen. He has those terrible “2 year molars” coming in. Seems a little unfair, since he’s not even two. At least if he were 2, he’d have more words to convey his feelings. Yesterday was the first day all week for his nap to last even an hour, and last night he only woke up twice. Which in comparison is pretty good. However, his second waking was at 3:30 and while his teething medicine calmed him quickly, he lay restless and awake until around 5:30. Let’s just say this mama is going to need a lot of coffee for survival purposes today.

In the midst of the sleeplessness and the fussing, I am thankful.

I am thankful for the fun I had with my 2 littler ones.

I am thankful for the fun Biggest got to have- even if it was without me.

I am thankful I was with my dad when I locked my keys in the truck.

I am thankful that teething doesn’t last forever.

I am thankful for my hubbyman.

I am thankful for my family.

I am thankful for my friends.

I am thankful for friends who come over “just to hang out.”

I am especially thankful for the full pitcher of sangria I have sitting in my refrigerator.  So thankful, I’m even willing to share. Some.

(for my sangria recipe, go here. Do it. It’s worth it.)

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Cream Cheese Delight


Hubbyman was home early today, and since I stayed up late and got caught up on household things…today I could do what I want. Relatively. We played games, we cuddled, we read books. And then they requested “girl cheese” (grilled cheese) and toast with cinnamon.  It’s been months since I’ve made bread and so I decided today was the day for it! I used a recipe I found on Our Best Bites last August. (I blogged about it, but it went largely unnoticed.) They’re still rising, but I can tell you they’re going to be equally as fabulous this time!

I turned the rolls into bread…and it was fabulous!

Last time I made the frosting pink for Miss E since lots of times she gets left when it comes to deserts. This time I couldn’t bear to let the “filling” go to waste (since I’d forgotten to halve it, due to not making a full batch), but I still wanted it to be kind of glazed (versus frosted) so I added a good amount of milk, and then a little powdered sugar. Which also helped it to be not quite so rich since it already had the rich filling.) Perfect. Delicious. Even better than the first time around!

If you want to try them, go here for the full recipe! Or go to my link for my version of them (their recipe makes them rolls- I turned them into bread and used the extra dough to make a few of the cream cheese delights. Just enough to enjoy without them going bad as lots of desserts do in our home.) Oh, and the recipes are easy and other than the time for letting them rise, they take hardly any time!

I know, I normally (ie. when I remember) do recipes on Thursdays, but I decided these were too yummy to wait! That and my *&$#% keyboard has yet to be replaced.)

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My Toothpaste Is Salty


Well, the long weekend is over. Boo. Hoo. Wah! And we currently have more snow in our yard than we have at any other point this winter (I think). It probably won’t happen, but I’m crossing my fingers that hubbyman decides to come home a little early to fulfill his biggest boy’s winter dream of finally going sledding down the hill in the backyard.

Even though it was a long weekend, it felt… short. Or maybe just compacted? No, it just felt short. Maybe because it was compacted? Whatever. Friday night we ran errands trying to get everything we needed to make our homemade cleaning products and personal care products. We didn’t find everything we needed at the local health food store or a local regular store. The next morning the Big 2 had Tae Kwon Do. Actually, they don’t normally have it on Saturday, but today was test day, and they got a new colored stripe on their belts. It was their first big test, and Biggest boy did so good- I was so proud! I’m normally banned (by hubbyman) from their lessons, because I’m “distracting.” (They’ll run off the mat to give me a hug or a kiss… every 2.3 seconds or so. I guess I can understand.). Anyhow, my boy did fantastic! My girl did… well, she did it. But their last test was in a small room with just Master Lee, so to be in a room full of other kids and their families, and extended families… it was a bit overwhelming. When he called her name, she immediately burst into tears and cried, I don’t want to go in front of everybody! (I don’t blame her- I felt self conscious up there in front of everyone, and I was just there for her moral support.) Anyhow, afterwards we went downtown St. Paul to a bigger healthfood store. And the rest of the ingredients we ordered online. Which is probably what we should have done to start with, because it was way cheaper. Way cheaper.

Hubbyman was so excited about the process, that he began to make some of the things that we did have all the ingredients for. We have shampoo, toothpaste for us, and toothpaste for the kids. He also shampooed the carpet with our homemade version (but we’ve been using that for a while). While I love the homemade carpet shampoo… that’s about where my love ends, so far. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I love the way the shampoo smells, and I love how clean my teeth feel after using the toothpaste. Seriously, the only clean that compares is right after the dentist. So we obviously have some work to do before any recipes are released. But I may just be feeling a little grinchy, because he also vinegar washed my coffee maker.  Now, that really is a good thing. And far be in from me to criticize a man doing some househelp. But I will admit that having to do all the flushes to get the vinegar out this morning, before I could have my cup of coffee, kinda squelched those feel-good, thanks-for-helping feelings.

I have found my Green Book! It’s not really called that, but to me, that’s what it is. What it really is:  Homemade! How to make everyday products fast, fresh, and more naturally.  702 ways to save money and the earth. It is pretty awesome. Everything from how to make things you love, but don’t want to spend the money on (hello, starbucks frappuccino) to things you want to make healthy instead of toxic. You can duplicate cough syrup, deodorant, aftershave, I even have a “recipe” for Oil of Olay’s all-day moisturizer (and wrinkle cream). And that’s without all the icky stuff that you don’t want in it or on you! The food recipes seem a little silly to me, except for the ones that are how to make this famous thing at home (like said frappuccino, or condiments- you know, things you wouldn’t find in your every day cookbook). But that may be just because I have to have some cookbooks I keep in storage, because I have that many. I love cookbooks. Seriously. And, it’s a collection that my husband actually approves of. More cookbooks = more cooking = satisfied hungryman, I mean, hubbyman.

Anyways, so long story still long… good weekend, filled weekend. Homemade stuff was not a total bust, but not a total success. But we will be working on it. And next batch of toothpaste will be minty instead of citrus-y. I think that’s my problem with the toothpaste. Minty freshness just feels cleaner. If you are wanting to start in on some homemade household things, I  HIGHLY recommend you check out the book. Lots of from scratch, lots of almost from scratch.    So even if you’re not going to be making your own toothpaste, or shampoo, there are lots of things you can do. Whether it’s your own cleaning products (imagine, safe to have around and you get to pick out the scent!) to homemade skillet meals (want the ease of the throw the frozen bag in the bowl meals, without all the gross additives and for a fraction of the price?).

And now I am off to fight the raging war on the evils of clutter… either that or I’ll just eat a piece of hubbyman’s birthday ice cream cake (which was also homemade, GF, and delicious!).

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Kidtastic!


Ok, so some of you may remember this year’s Christmas cookies, or my first Gluten Free Christmas cookie experiment. Thankfully there were only a couple of batches that went to the birds (literally). If you are gluten free, then you know sometimes cooking gluten free is a bit of an experiment. Especially if you’re like me and tend to make up your own recipes. Thankfully, in the last year, there’s only been one meal that I would consider inedible. And hubbyman still ate it. After the first cookie flop and my heart sinking to my toes (it’s a yearly tradition that I have done since being a little girl.). I mean like real disappointment. Not only are Christmas sugar cookies a tradition, but the kids and I love to make them during other times of the year. Dinosaurs and trains are not just for Christmas! So I needed to figure out how to make them work! I opened a million and two windows of baking gluten free tips and read and read and read… and picked a couple things and decided to go from there. Thankfully, the next batch turned out perfect. I’m not sure what exactly made them go from flop to perfection, but I am so glad they did! So, if you’ve been looking for a fun cooking expedition to go on with your kids- this is it my friends! If your household does wheat/gluten then by all means use any old sugar cookie recipe! If you’ve been looking for a good gluten free recipe- here you go!

trains, turtles, strawberries, bears, snowflakes... there were some actual Christmasy ones in there too

Ok, let me preface this by saying that these do take up some time, say an afternoon, or an evening. That said, they are not difficult to make. Really, the kids have so much fun with the cut outs and decorating… we made three batches this year!

my sous chefs!

SUGAR COOKIES

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 large egg

2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

  • Beat powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond, and the egg. (With an electric mixer or by hand) And then stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I wrapped it in saran wrap and put it in the freezer for an hour. I put away all the ingredients and did kitchen clean up, by the time I was done and the oven was hot, it’d been an hour!
  • Heat oven to 375. Lightly grease cookie sheet. (I used a spray)
  • Divide dough into sections. I just grabbed a size that looked like a snowball to me (apparently I really am a northern girl). I kept the rest of the dough in the freezer. Roll out until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. And then cookie cutter time! Sprinkle with granulated sugar or leave plain to frost and decorate!
  • Bake 7 minutes, or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool. (They must cool before frosting!)
  • Repeat!

Note: It really seemed to make a difference that I kept the dough in the freezer in between batches. Especially after being rolled out and cut, the dough then gets really soft and squishy and you don’t want the flat sheets of flop that I made- so keep ’em cold!

soooo many cookies

 

If you’re needing a frosting recipe, all I do is take about a cup of powdered sugar and add one tablespoon of milk. (That was really technical, I know.) Mix. Add more powdered sugar if it’s too runny and more milk if it’s too thick. You can always add food coloring as well. And then decorate with sprinkles or whatever your heart desires- before the frosting sets!

*Sorry the pictures are not terrific… my lens was dirty and I didn’t know until it was too late! Hubbyman cleaned it, so here’s hoping for some better pictures in 2012!

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Simply Delicious


Now if you’re anything like my husband, you may be a little bit afraid of things (foods) you haven’t tried. Especially if you’re a visual person. I completely understand how the way something looks can totally throw you off, but how many times have you judged a person, a store, or a book by the way they looked only to find yourself completely surprised? This is especially applicable to vegetables.

Anyways, so I have been stocking up on veggies (the ones that are hard -or non existent- to come by during the winter) and cubing, pureeing, and freezing them! Last week I got a bunch of different squashes, along with some brussel sprouts (they are so good for you!). Now I love squash and hubby merely accepts them as good for him, but I finally found a meal chock full of veggies that my family loved and ate!!! I should really word it to say that I finally found a meal chock full of veggies that HUBBYMAN will not just eat because it’s good for him, but because he likes the way it tastes! (my kids already love vegetables, their favorites being spinach and broccoli.)

Now for the meal! It wasn’t totally meatless this time (I was trying to warm my hubby up to the idea of brussel sprouts, which he adamantly claim to dislike), but it had little meat, and we’ve since had it without. I took one spaghetti squash and about a l-2 lbs of brussel sprouts and made a delicious dinner!!

That’s right.. the way I convinced my family they loved brussel sprouts after all, is by using bacon! Want to convince your family (and maybe yourself too) to eat brussel sprouts? Try it this way!

What you’ll need:

Brussel Sprouts

3 strips of bacon

Olive Oil

Salt

Pepper

Preheat your oven to 350. Cut the brussel sprouts in half and throw in a pan (the recipes all call to throw them in a bowl for this step, but really it’s not necessary and just adds extra dishes). Drizzle with olive oil (over all of it!!), sprinkle on the salt (more than you think is necessary, like it’s popcorn of french fries!) and some pepper. I added some Lowry’s seasoning salt, because I know that’s a flavor my hubby likes. Stir in up, toss it, coat it! Make sure they’re all well-coated in the olive oil. Then make sure the halves are all faced down. I only used 3 pieces of bacon because eventually I’d like this to be eaten without! But you can use more or less (it’s good even without!). Anyhow, I just cut the bacon into  small pieces and layered in randomly through the sprouts.

Put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Stir/shake every five minutes after until they’re nice and crispy, browning but burnt! Mine took about 30-35 minutes total They’ll be a little crunchy, but trust me, this is a good thing!

I actually did this part before the sprouts… I took one large spaghetti squash and cooked it until soft. (you can do this a variety of ways from crock pot, to oven, to microwave. I used the oven- it takes about an hour, but all you have to do before hand it wash it, cut it open, scoop out the seeds and stick it in. So you can have it cooking well ahead of time.) While the brusell sprouts were a’cookin’ I threw some olive oil in a skillet, threw in some peas (my kids -and I- love peas), some chopped spinach, a little bit of chopped garlic cloves, and just a little onion and sauteed. Next I added the spaghetti squash.

All you have to do is take a fork to the squash and it comes out all stringy and spaghetti noodley like (hence the name). I only used one half- the other half I scooped out and froze for a quick, easy, gluten free spaghetti night!!) I sauteed, then threw in my homemade spaghetti sauce! Hubbyman likes spaghetti to have a good amount of sauce so I used a whole jar! I added a small amount of pepper, seasoning salt, and basil. Stirred it all up, and voila! It was delicious! And best of all, you could really throw in whatever veggie you like best!

I also made a super yummy fruit salad! Yum! This was a delicious, healthy meal that my whole family loved!! And those brussel sprouts? Hubby and kids ate them like candy! MissE declared them, Really nummy!

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Seasonally Impressive


These are some of my seasonally favorite foods: acorn squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins. Last week I made sweet potato mash (1/2 sweet potatoes, 1/2 regular potatoes) as well as maple acorn squash (just cut it in half, pour in some maple syrup and bake for 1 hr @ 350). Sooo yummy. Up next? Pumpkin butter and roasted pumpkin seeds!!! Never tried pumpkin butter? It is seriously delicious! I love all things apple and that includes apple butter. But every time I’ve canned pumpkin butter, I am out in no time…and I always have some apple butter left. So that’s sayin’ something! Plus it makes such a fun gift too! I may make it tomorrow… in my crock pot. Which works famously if you have a busy household (and really, who doesn’t?! If you don’t, I’m sorry, but I’m just not sure we can be friends.). I’m actually sad that I didn’t get more sugar pumpkins (or pie pumpkins) before the farmer’s market ended. Sadly, we missed the last week because Littlest was not feeling good. Boo! Hiss! On seasonal allergies and the genetics he gets it from (mine!). Anyways, just in case you felt like making something extra special, I am going to share my recipe with you! It’s really easy (and you can even used canned pumpkin puree which makes it basically a dump-everything-in kind of recipe!)!

For 6 pints you will need:

3 pie pumpkins (or 2 29 oz can pumpkin puree)

1 tbs ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp allspice

2 cups sugar

*Clean pumpkins, cut in half, and deseed (but save them for roasted seeds!). Cook pumpkins (microwave, steam, or oven) until  soft and gut. Throw in the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients over low for about 6-8 hours.  If you like a creamier texture, throw it in the blender. And if the consistency is too thick (especially if you used canned as fresh is a little runnier), add in some apple juice/cider. And if it needs more of a certain spice, you can add it in! Want to make more? For 6 qts. use 5-6 pumpkins and double everything else! Can, bottle, freeze, whatever…. it is incredibly delicious!

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Bring In Da Noise, Kick Out Da Funk


So if you read my post yesterday, you know that I’ve kind of been in a cooking funk. I don’t know if it’s the end of summer blues or just how much company we’ve had over the summer that’s left me a little burn out… as my sister-in-law says, You are the food lady. And what that means is that when you come to my house, you will be fed. I’m like your grandma (or at least my grandma)… food is one of my “love languages.” So if you come to my house, I will cook for you. If you request something, I will make it. (And I really love it when I get special requests!) At a “cousins’ dinner” I hosted last year, one of my cousins said, Who knew you’d be able to cook like this? While we all shared a laugh over it and really, I probably never would have guessed growing up that I would have cared at all about new recipes or that I’d always, always, always, have to make each and every recipe my own. I like to tell my hubbyman that he really lucked out when we got married, because at the time neither of us knew if I could really cook. (Although to a single, Navy man, anything that didn’t come from a box or a can was probably an improvement.)

So blah, blah, blah…I usually enjoy cooking, and I still have been cooking, just kind of thoughtless, easy, throw something together because I have to feed my family, kind of cooking. And while I didn’t make the eggplant chicken alfredo that I’d been planning to make, mainly because hubbyman wasn’t coming home until 7ish and I let the kids choose what they wanted for dinner. Which was phone noodles (what they call elbow noodles) and “the red sauce we like.” And can I just say what a relief it is to be able to give Miss E things with tomatoes in it again?! Whew! That poor girl! Her list of can’t haves is finally dwindling down to just a few! We’re still in the reintroduction phase, so we’re taking it slow and minimal, but so far so good!

Ok, back to me… so I found that website yesterday (from the post you read yesterday, right?) and I made them! Well, I made my version! (*grin*)

I turned the rolls into bread…and it was fabulous!

I made the frosting pink for Miss E since lots of times she gets left when it comes to deserts.

They were both phenominal! I was so impressed! Plus, I had everything I needed on hand… I guess I did a couple substitutes, but I didn’t have to run to the store for anything and they turned out great! If you want to try them, go here for the full recipe!

Notes on how mine were different: I made one batch of dough and filled one bread pan and then had enough dough left for 6 of the cream cheese rolls.

Favorite Rolls: Not only did I turn it into bread, but I didn’t have potato flakes, so I googled and found I could substitute potato flour or starch (1/2 cup flakes = 3 cups flour). I also didn’t have buttermilk, so I made my own (1 tbs lemon juice, add milk until it equals a cup. Let sit for 5 minutes. Viola!). Also since it was bread, it needed about 30 minutes. This was SO good and really very simple!

Cream Cheese Rolls: Oh this filling is so good! I made the whole batch and put the rest in the fridge- I’m thinking stuffed french toast this weekend! Or pancakes! Oh yum! So good! Anyways, you do want to make sure to push the top layer (of dough) down onto the filling, or yours will turn out like mine- with a little bubble in the middle that’s not completely filled with filling. Still good, just not quite right. And the topping, I didn’t have almond, so I just used vanilla. And I, of course, made it pink. Because my little girl hardly ever gets to partake in “deserts” and it was a way of making them special for her! She was so pleased!

GF and craving cinnamon rolls? If you’re not making the rolls/bread too, and only the cream cheese rolls, then I’d highly recommend throwing some cinnamon into the roll’s dough and if it were me, I’d throw in some almond or vanilla too. I know there’s not a lot of sugar in the dough, but I don’t think it needs more, the filling is so sweet, that it’s good without more. Definitely making these again! Yum!

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