Overnight Orange Rolls


Happy New Year All!  It’s New Year’s Eve here as I’m writing this and grand-girl Jobay and I just put together these orange rolls for tomorrow morning.  We have big plans to watch the Rose Parade on t.v. and enjoy orange rolls and hot chocolate around the coffee table when we get up to welcome in the New Year.  Sounds pretty perfect to me.

OVERNIGHT ORANGE ROLLS

Dough:
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 pkg. yeast (2.5 oz.)
1/2 cup white sugar
4  1/2 cups flour (plus more for kneading)
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs

Filling:
6 tab. butter, melted
1 cup sugar
grated peel of one large orange

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tab. orange juice

Heat the cup of milk 1 minute in the microwave so it’s lukewarm.  Melt the butter in the microwave and add it to the milk.  Stir in the yeast and 1/2 cup sugar.  Then mix in 3 cups of the flour, salt and the eggs.  Finally stir in the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead gently for about 8 minutes.  Put the dough into large oven proof mixing bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray and set it in a warm place for 1 hour for the dough to rise (about double in size).*

While the dough is rising mix up the filling.  Stir together the 6 tab. melted butter, 1 cup sugar and the grated orange peel and set aside.

After an hour, punch the dough down and use a rolling pin to roll it into a 10″ by 15″ rectangle.  Spread the orange peel mixture over the rectangle, clear to the edges.

Starting along the 15″ side, roll the dough into a cylinder and cut the dough into 12 (or 18 thinner rolls)** slices.

Nestle the cut rolls into a 9″x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray (or I used a 12″ circular tart pan).  Cover the orange rolls with plastic wrap and set them in the refrigerator over night.

In the morning, take the rolls from the fridge and set them on the counter for 30 minutes to warm a bit.  Then set them into a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the rolls are golden.

While they are baking, make the glaze.  Stir together the powdered sugar and orange juice and set aside,

When the rolls are hot from the oven, drizzle the glaze over the top and serve them warm– preferably with mugs of tea.

*I turn on the oven to 350 for just 3 minutes and then turn it OFF when I first start making the dough,  This makes a warm cozy place for the dough to rise.
**Cutting the dough into 12 slices makes taller fluffier rolls, but we have a small crowd for breakfast tomorrow, so I’m cutting them into 18 smaller rolls.  (I know it’s the same amount.  It just looks like more!!)

And here’s Jobay kneading dough New Year’s Eve– my best kitchen helper!

 

The Not So Perfect Thanksgiving

Hi Friends–  Still pulling things together here after Thanksgiving.  It really was full of fun, family and fabulous food!!  But surprisingly  also included the flu!!    A few of us had a bout of that flu and a couple even spent all day Thursday in bed while the rest of us celebrated!!

I’ll just share the best bits of our Thanksgiving (flu aside); it was a fine full, truly thankful day for us here.

We tucked into a true feast– My favorite– Lulu’s sweet potatoes sliced up with apples, walnuts and whiskey!

And here are a few of my favorite moments all through the day–
Jodi organized a giving thanks game that had us all guessing and laughing,  cousins waiting for everyone to arrive.
     

Grand-girls making place cards for the table,  Micah & Grandma Lo’s after dinner talk.

     

My kitchen “helper” eating breakfast,  evening trumpet concert by Charlotte and Cousin Brett (our concert band teacher)
     

All in all, it was a fine day together.  Thankful, thankful for the people around the table with us, for all God’s  goodness to us in this year.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Hello dear friends–  Our house if full today.  Lulu’s come in the door with her arms full of chocolate cake, stuffing, sweet potatoes and her legendary dinner rolls.  The great grandparents are settled on the sofa and 4 little grand-girls are squealing around the house.  Pretty perfect!

I’m hoping you’re sitting down around the table today with people you hold dear.  I hope there’s hugs and laughs and extravagant thanks for the blessings of this year.

And so truly thankful for you all who read this little blog– it’s a joy to have blog-friends to talk with from near and far.

“Give thanks to the Lord, … Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful acts. Glory in his name.  Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.”                –1 Chronicles 6:8-10

P.S. thank you to pandagun.tumbler.com for the turkey graphic

Pear Nut Bread

 

Hello all–  Are you on the countdown to Thanksgiving??  Me too!  Can’t wait for kids and grandparents to come pouring in the door.  Hoping for hugs and laughter and my sister’s pie.  So thankful.

And if you have people staying over for the weekend (like we will), it’s great to have a couple loaves of this bread waiting in the fridge– for breakfast or to serve with soup or for a midnight snack…  Love these tender, fruity moist little loaves–think you will too!

PEAR NUT BREAD
1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 pears peeled, cored & cut in bits
1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 or 2 tab. milk or half & half

Peel, core and cut the pears to bits and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugar and eggs.  Then stir in the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.  Then fold in the pear and nuts just until it’s all thoroughly blended.

Scoop the batter in a standard 9″x 5″ loaf pan (I used 2 smaller half size pans) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted into the loaf comes out dry.

While it’s baking, whisk together the powered sugar and milk to make the glaze–use 1 tablespoon of milk to make a thicker glaze– or 2 tablespoons for a thin glaze.

When the bread is baked, let it sit in the pans for 10 minutes to cool just a bit and then remove and drizzle the glaze over the top.

Thanksgiving Big Plans!

Happy Thanksgiving–  Are you ready for the feasting and family, for making pies and giving thanks??  We’re having our meal at our house for the first time in years!  Can’t wait to have grandparents, kids and cousins walk in the door!!

So since I’ve been plotting and making big plans (!) for weeks, I thought you might like a few Thanksgiving ideas I’ve come across. Here’s a few of my favorites:

PLANNING AHEAD
#1.  Find out who’s coming!!  It’s always a good idea to invite a friend or two to round out the family, make it more festive!!  (Have a guest list number to plan tables, amounts of food)
#2.   Imagine your big dream menu–  Then go back and simplify!  You don’t need 12 dishes on the table (3 vegetables?? no!) — narrow down to the very best, what makes it taste like Thanksgiving for your family…
#3.  Grocery shop early in the week– to avoid last minute crowds– And– a frozen turkey needs to defrost in your fridge (1 day for every 4 pounds– so a 20 pound turkey needs 5 days to defrost!)
#4.  Determine when you want Thanksgiving dinner on the table– then count backwards and make a list of start times for each dish!
#5.  Make as many dishes as you can the day before– cranberry relish, cakes, stuffing, make & refrigerate pie crusts, prep veggies…
#6.  Empty out the fridge to make room!  Old leftovers, extra bottles of mustard, less than fresh veggies– Out!!
#7.  Set out serving dishes with a post it note on each one for what will go on the dish.
#8.  Pick up some take home containers to send leftovers home with guests (available at Smart & Final if you have one nearby).
#9. Run the dishwasher Wednesday night and have it empty to use on Thanksgiving.
#10. Set the table Wednesday afternoon and admire it for 24 hours before the big meal.

GETTING THE FEAST ON THE TABLE
#1.  If you have houseguests, send them off for a lovely breakfast out, so you can get to work in the kitchen!
#2.  Tape your recipes up on the kitchen cupboards, easy to see, out of the way.
#3.  Set a cooler in the corner of the kitchen to keep hot things hot before the meal, and to hide dirty dishes after you eat!
#4.  Clean as you go while you cook, to keep counters clear and save yourself from a monumental mess at the end of the day!
#5.  Have a small group?  Just do a turkey breast, about a pound per person.
#6.  Eating early?  Cook two small turkeys in place of one large bird, to cut cooking time.
#7.  If guests want to help ask them to light the candles, open the wine, write out some place cards, read Thanksgiving stories to restless kids.
#8.  Never try out new recipes out on a big cooking day like Thanksgiving.
#9.  Keep appetizers light, a bubbly drink, some salted nuts, or raw veggies– dinner is coming!!
#10. Serve dinner buffet style– easier to manage and just set the cranberry relish, butter, gravy on the dining table to leave room for a pretty centerpiece.
#11. Relocate to the sofa after dinner for a relaxing round of desserts.
#12. Invite the non-cooks to help with the clean up– supply kitchen music and lots of towels.

MAKING IT SPECIAL
#1. A few days ahead, write out a notes detailing why you’re thankful for each guest and on Thanksgiving, tuck them under their plates.
#2.  Organize a family walk in the park after dinner to make room for dessert a little later.
#3.  Before the meal read Psalm 100 and have someone thank God for the year of blessings.
#4.  Post a large sheet of paper titled “Thankful Heart Chart” on the wall.  Set out a mug of markers and have everyone draw small pictures of what they are thankful for– trees, donuts, Grandma Lo, music, turkey, faith, friends…
#5.  Play “Thankful A to Z”– go round the circle and think of something you are thankful for– starting with each letter of the alphabet.
#6.  Have the family all chip in to buy a World Vision gift (chickens, a bicycle, schooling, vaccines) for a family in a 3rd world country.  (catalogues available at worldvision.org)
#7.  Play Thanksgiving charades (act out turkey, pilgrim, Mayflower, pumpkin pie, football…)
#8.  Have your Thanksgiving meal the weekend before the actual Thanksgiving– cheaper airfares, lets everyone also have a Thanksgiving with the other in-laws, less traffic, more people able to come.
#9.  Be liberal with your Thanksgiving hugs and telling people how thankful you are for them.
#10. Kids are only about 2/3 the size of adults.  So they should only have to sit at the table 2/3 as long!

That’s it.  Hoping you are part of a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving feast with people you hold dear.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

P.S. thanks to Holly Hobby for the illustration.

On Being A Mom


A cloudy day in the Spanish countryside, about 30 years ago, with little Laurel.

Hi all — I read once, that when a child is born, so is a mother…  It all begins in a haze of long nights, and a steep learning curve that includes diapers, feedings and the most delicious tender snuggles.

Then one day you realize, they’ve turned from toddlers to small kids, with long legs and minds of their own.  And for the next few years, the joy is in watching them grow and learn and stretch into the people they will become.

And finally, one day you shuttle them off to college.  But you can’t help but still be a mom, with care packages and talks about new horizons.  And when they come home to visit, it’s the best to have them at arm’s length again.

The truth is, you never stop being a mom.  My mother is 85 and I still depend on her for a listening ear and her long life perspective.  I still need her near.


With Micah and Aaron on the beach, the year we live in Costa Rica

So for Mothers’ Day, I’m thinking through my “TEN BESTS OF BEING A MOM.”  Here they are:

#1.  Can I start with reading with kids??  In the dim light of bedtime, on road trips as we roll along, snuggled on the couch–sharing a story, talking it through…

#2. Of course, I love cooking together– decorating Christmas cookies or mixing up brownies with a little kitchen dancing thrown in.

#3. Vacations!  Hiking in Sequoia, studying our way through British museums, intrepid touristing from San Francisco to New York– the most vivid memories are of times away together.

#4. Quiet bedtime talks and prayers and songs– sweet times that fill a mother’s heart.

#5. Sitting around the table, talking through the day, insisting kids eat their peas!  (would skip the eating peas part if I were starting over).

#6. Sitting in church together, singing, praying, worshipping.

#7. Walking & talking–  through the park in Seville, along the beach in So Cal, across town to Yogurtland, along the trail at Land’s End– everyday conversations.

#8. And then –there’s a special joy in watching your children become parents to children of their own, with aplomb and grace.  I marvel at what tender, smart, generous, inventive parents they’ve turned out to be!

#9.  Plus grand-kids!!  So much happiness and wonder filling up days spent with those little people.

#10. I’ll end with grown kids coming in the door for a stay–the noise, the hugs, the breakfasts at the kitchen table.   That’s happening here in a couple weeks for some bridal showers and I can’t wait to see their pretty faces!

So that’s it.  Being a Mom– I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


With Ani on her high school graduation trip to NYC.

Strawberry Cream Cake

Hi there– It’s birthday season in our family.  Three birthdays together at the start of May and three more at the end.  So I’ve got birthday cakes on my mind.  This will probably show up at a birthday party or two!!

The biggest bash is for my father-in-law Stu.  He’s turning 90!  –and is so beloved by everyone who knows him.  You’ve never met a kinder more gracious man.  Family is coming from far and wide to celebrate with our “Grandpa Stu”.

Hope you have some happy family birthdays on your horizon.  And that they include cake, lots of cake.

STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE

Cake:
1 cup strawberries, cut to small bits
1 strawberry  cake mix
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup water
3 eggs

Topping:
2 cups strawberries, cut to small bits
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 oz. package vanilla instant pudding mix
1 big pretty strawberry for garnish

To make the cake, cut the strawberries fine.  If they are still damp from cleaning, pat them dry.

Make the strawberry cake according to the directions on the box. (mine used 1/3 cup oil, 1 cup water & 3 eggs).  Pour it into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish (or a 10″ springform pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until it is lightly browned and comes out firm to the touch.  Let the cake cool completely before adding the topping!

To make the topping, cut the strawberries to small bits.  Set them aside.  Whip together the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix with an electric mixer until it is stiff (the whisk attachment works best for this).

Stir in the strawberries and then pile it all onto the cooled cake.  You can serve it right away, but it’s better to set the cake in the fridge for an hour or more to let the topping completely set.  Enjoy!!