Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

As soon as I mention the word cinnamon, Jake's eyes go wide and ears perk up. I'm sure I could put cinnamon on anything, and he would eat it. I've also mentioned how much we like breads. Then, what could be better than cinnamon swirl bread?

1 large room temperature egg             1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk                                          3 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 cup water approx.                           2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup softened butter                        1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup melted butter, cooled                1 egg white
1/3 cup sugar                                         1 1/2 tsp sugar ( for the topping)
3 tsp cinnamon

1. Put the egg and milk in a measuring cup, and add enough warm water to make 1 cup. Pour into the bread machine pan. Add the softened butter, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, bread flour and yeast. Set the bread machine to the dough cycle. When it beeps, add the raisins if using. Let continue to end of cycle.

2. Once done, remove the dough from the machine and dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to a 10×12 rectangle. Brush the surface of the dough with egg whites. Next, brush with melted butter. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over dough, leaving 1 inch edge all around.

3. Roll the dough from the short side, and pinch the ends together where they meet. Roll the ends under, and place the dough in a greased 12 inch loaf pan. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for one hour.

4. Once dough has risen, brush the top with egg whites and sprinkle with 1 1/2 tsp sugar. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.

Oh. My. Goodness. This bread is good. It tastes like one big cinnamon roll. In fact, I must have thought that was what we were making because I rolled the dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. I had to ball it up and start over. I was concerned the dough would be over-worked, but it was still delish. Also, I don't have a 12 inch loaf pan. I squished the dough into my 9 inch pan.

While the bread isn't as good as our cinnamon rolls, (Is there anything that good?) it will be added to our bread list. I also read that this bread is great for French toast. Truly though, I would have to make 2 loaves for that to happen. We eat it too fast!

I had a revelation today. I know, this is going to sound obvious to some, but it just hit me. Like 2 seconds ago. I have always used bread machine yeast in my bread machine. Makes sense. But, I use it for making dough in it also. I'm guessing that I should use regular active dry yeast when making just dough since it rises after too and will rise better. Leighton already gave me the go-ahead to try it tomorrow. What a guy! We might make that French toast after all. 
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Snack Mix

We took the kids to the U of M Exhibit Museum of Natual History on Saturday. (Leighton wrote about it here.) The night before, we threw together some snack mix for our trip. They liked it so much, we made another batch yesterday. The fun part is using whatever you have on hand. Ours consists of colored goldfish, letter pretzels, Golden Grahams, mini marshmallows, milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, honey roasted peanuts, and craisins. It's so colorful, fun, and tasty! It also has some good not-quite-as-bad-for-you ingredients too. The kids take the time to enjoy the snack because of all the different options. Alyssa's favorite is the peanuts and least favorite is the Golden Grahams. Jake is the complete opposite. They trade making it a win-win. Zac, of course, eats it all.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Theory Thursday: Lava Lamp

We made a lava lamp yesterday. Ok, there was no lava. And there was no lamp. It doesn't even look like a real lava lamp. But that's the name of the experiment, so we're going with it. 

You'll need oil, cup with water, empty bottle with top, spoon, funnel, and food coloring.
Squeeze a few drops of food coloring into the cup of water.


Using the funnel, pour the oil to fill half the bottle.

Carefully pour in the water.

The water falls to the bottom because it is denser than the oil.

Turn the bottle upside down, shake it, roll it, dance with it. Do whatever it takes to mix it up.

Everyone knows oil and water don't mix.

Well, almost everyone.

The more you shake the bottle, the more the mixture combines. Over time, the two components will separate again. Jake's favorite part is turning the bottle on its side and seeing the huge air bubble. Ah, the simple things in life.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: 3/23/11

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Tasty Tuesday: Indoor S'mores & Camping Trip

We still have some birthday cake and petit fours, so I didn't want to make anything big. I remembered that a friend of mine told me about making s'mores in the oven. And since Alyssa got a tent, sleeping bag, flashlight, and fishing pole for her birthday, they would be perfect.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how much we love camping. My brother and sister-in-law own property about an hour and a half from our house. We camp with them a few times a year and always have a great time. We won't be camping with them anytime soon though, since it's currently 32 degrees and expecting  more snow. We went camping by ourselves instead. In the living room.

What? It's time for bed?

Fishing in our lake.

It's a keeper!

Cinderella wanted some of that s'more. Trust me, its all over her face . . . on the sleeping bag.

Much safer eating s'mores in the kitchen.

Hmm, that looks tasty.

Fish on! Fish on!

Alyssa liked standing over the fish she wanted. If that didn't work, she picked up the fish and stuck it to the magnet.

Cookin' up some grub.

Cotton balls on skewers are great for roasting marshmallows over a toilette paper tube fire.

Mmm, roasted perfectly!
 They liked turning off all the lights and shining the flashlights and lantern. They had fun "sleeping" in the sleeping bags in the tent. It got a little crowded when Daddy joined in though! Jake's favorite part was definitely fishing. (It's his favorite part of real camping too.) We also went for a swim in the lake and almost got attacked by an electric eel! Despite the dangers, we had a great trip.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Alyssa's 3rd Birthday Tea Party

Today is Alyssa's 3rd birthday. Leighton talked about her birth story last year. Maybe one day I'll tell it from my point of view. We celebrated her big day with family over the weekend. Today, we dropped the boys off with Grandma and Papa and had a girls day. We painted nails, did make-up, read lots of Berestain Bear books, put together and colored a fuzzy puzzle, made a bead necklace, made petit fours (though they were more like mini cupcakes), had a tea party, and had entirely too much fun!

Isn't she just the sweetest?

My Little Diva

Already loves make-up.

She was a very good hostess.

She thought it was so exciting to be drinking real lemonade!

Pure joy.

She liked it so much she had 5 cups.

Great hand-eye coordination.

Necklaces by Alyssa $19.95

Photogenic much?

Happy Birthday to my precious daughter!
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Leftover Pie Dough

Ever wonder what to do with that leftover pie dough? God forbid you throw it away! Usually, we roll it out, pour sprinkles on, and bake it like a big cookie. It's kinda dry though, and not overly tasty. The other day, when we made lemon meringue pie, I used the leftover dough in my mini tart pan. I finally got to use my mini  tart shaper from Pampered Chef! Once the tartlets were cooled, we filled them with Reddi Whip. So easy. So yummy. No more dry, flaky pie-cookies here!

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Theory Thursday: Invisible Ink

What could be cooler than secret spy messages and hidden treasure maps? Not too much. Maybe a pet slug. That nearly was our science project yesterday when Jake found this little guy while playing in the backyard. I went into the house to find and wash the little aquarium. By the time I got back, Jake had caught the slug in an almost empty Pepsi bottle to keep it from escaping. Needless to say, it died. It must have been a Coke drinker.

Back to Plan A: invisible ink.

Gather water, lemon, paper, spoon, and q-tips.

Squeeze the juice out of the lemon.

Eat the lemon.

Mix a few drops of water into the juice and stir.

Eat more lemon.

Dip the q-tips in the mixture.

Write a secret message. Or eat more lemon.

Move into the house because the wind is blowing everything away, literally. Continue writing your message.

Take a break if you need to. While you're at it, eat more lemon.

Admire your creation and laugh at your adversaries since they'll never figure it out.

You could still see most of the drawings once the juice dried. (Sorry, no picture.) The paper was shrively. Leighton said that I should have used card stock instead of printer paper. We may not have diluted to juice enough though, or they used to too much liquid on the paper? We tried holding the paper by a light bulb to turn it brown. It didn't work. I think it was because we only have the swirly light bulbs. What are they called? Anyway, they don't get hot enough. We'll have to try it with a candle. The kids had plenty of fun holding the paper up to the light and seeing the "hidden" pictures. Anything spyish is a winner in Jake's book.
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