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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cookies - 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (Week 1)



This is going to sound strange, but I started baking for Christmas this week.  In September. Crazy? Maybe.  But really the idea is to not go crazy later, in December. Each week I'll make one Christmas treat and pack it away in the freezer.  Then, 12 weeks from now, on December 13th, my baking will be complete - just in time to hand some gifts and enjoy some cookies.  I heard about the idea on Meal Planning Magic and decided I would join in on the fun. Let's hope I can stick it out! Check back next Thursday for the next treat. Be sure to hop to the other blogs participating - links below!



One of my favorite things about Christmas Day is making homemade cinnamon rolls. I usually make the dough the night before, or get up very early and start them so the dough can rise and we can eat them before lunch. I have a feeling with an infant and toddler, this could be a very early morning kind of year. I'm pretty much ready to crash myself once they pass out for the night.

These cookies are fun to make, but require a bit of time as you need to chill the dough once, and then freeze again later.  But, it's very easy and well worth the extra time. They taste like a combination of a real cinnamon roll and a sugar cookie. This recipe made 2 dozen cookies and I'm already behind because we didn't freeze them! lol  So, lesson learned Week One - when you live with a Cookie Monster, make extra to sample, freeze the rest!



Source: A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock & Roll

Ingredients:


  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 T. unsalted, soft butter
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
The Filling:

  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 2 T. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
The Glaze:

  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1-2 T. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

1. Combine the dry ingredients and "sift" together with a whisk. Set aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg white and vanilla.

3. Add the dry ingredients just until combined.

4. Roll between two pieces of parchment paper or wax paper to form a 12-inch square. Chill for about 30 minutes.

5. Carefully peel the bottom paper off the dough. Flip the dough and do the same with the other paper. Top the chilled dough with the maple syrup and then sprinkle with the cinnamon and brown sugar.

6. Carefully roll the cookie dough up in a spiral and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze until firm.
7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

8. Slice into 1/4-inch slices and bake on a parchment lined sheet pan for 8-10 minutes. Place the sheet pan on a cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool on the sheet pan for about 10 minutes. Remove them from the sheet pan and continue cooling them on a cooling rack.

9. Drizzle with the powdered sugar glaze.



Friday, September 21, 2012

Cilantro-Lime Rice



Do you menu plan? We've been doing it for about 5 years now and it saves so much time (and money)  that I can't imagine going back to our old ways - wandering around the grocery store, throwing in whatever looks good at the time. Then going back again in a couple days to do it all again, or end up eating out because nothing at home sounds good or we don't have the ingredients to make a meal. I try to have our menu for the following week finished by Friday. Some weeks it is easy, some weeks I struggle to think of something that is going to sound good in a week. If I'm having one of those weeks where nothing sounds good, I have some default filler recipes that are easy and we don't mind eating often (homemade pizza, spaghetti/pasta, and burrito bowls.)

For this round of Blogger's Choice Swap, I was given Caroline's blog, The Barbee Housewife. Of course I wanted to make one of her fun desserts, but I've also finally just lost all of the baby weight from this pregnancy, so I don't want to ruin that.  Holidays are right around the corner! Instead, I found this recipe for Cilantro-Lime Rice that would go perfectly with our already-planned burrito bowl dinner. Normally, I make plain white rice because I'm not good at making rice.  I have found one kind I can make, so I always use the same brand/kind. I am sure brown rice would be wonderful as well.  This rice made a big difference in the flavor of our burrito bowls.  Amazing what a little lime and cilantro can do. :)  Thanks for introducing me to a new favorite, Caroline!

Source: Restaurant Food

Ingredients:
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup white basmati rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lime
Directions:
In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, water and butter until boiling.

Add rice, salt and lime juice, stir. Cover, turn down to simmer over low heat until rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Add in the cilantro and fluff rice with a fork.



Check this out - we have a new badge for the Swap and you can check out all of the other recipes using the links below!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Grilled Basil-Marinated Chicken Thighs



We've finally gotten a decent amount of rain and some of my garden is coming back to life (I'm not so good at watering regularly like I should). That means I have a lot of basil to use right now. I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs for a quick weeknight dinner and already had some chicken thighs in the freezer. The marinade was simple and tasted great. This takes practically no time to make, which is my kind of dinner lately!

Source: For the Love of Cooking

Ingredients:
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced finely
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Directions:
Remove any extra fat off of the chicken thighs then place into a large zip lock bag.

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, until well combined. Pour over the chicken thighs and shake them to combine evenly. Refrigerate for 3-12 hours.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to cooking. Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Season each chicken thigh with a bit of salt and pepper, to taste, on both sides. Place the chicken thighs into the hot grill and cook for 4 minutes then flip over. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the grill and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 
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