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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I had always wanted to be little Suzy Homemaker and baking my own baked goods seemed to go along with that image.  So the first bread I took a crack at?  Challah.  How does that make sense?  Not an easy white or even wheat bread, but a difficult braided bread.  I have no idea what wispy thought was floating through my brain when I decided to delve into my baking prowess with that little goodie, but it actually turned out pretty good!  My next bread?  Good old fashioned wheat bread.  I make no sense.

So what do you think of next when you want to make some home baked goodness that smells amazing and tantalizes your taste buds and melts in your mouth?  Cinnamon rolls!  So I went in search of a great recipe.  So far all of my bread recipes I’ve gotten out of the Williams Sonoma Baking cookbook, but their recipe for cinnamon rolls just didn’t really grab me.  So I turned to my favorite source of recipes that has never let me down, Food Network.  And this is where I started on my Cinnamon Roll journey….

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls



  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
  • 6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • 20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
  • 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray


  • 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons


  • 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups



For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

This recipe, although a little time consuming, was SO worth the wait!  These were so immensely good I will never make Pillsbury Rolls again!  One hint I’ll pass on that I learned the hard way..make sure you butter your pan very well.  These things stick!    So, once again, although this took a little time, it wasn’t a hard recipe to do and it was was a definite four star!!


Tofu Stir Fry

Now don’t run off! I know a lot of people run the other way when they hear the word tofu, but it really can be such a versatile cooking ingredient and this is one of my favorite dishes to use it in. It can be a little scary if you’ve never cooked with it before but it’s really easy. It’s such a great little ingredient and is used worldwide in so many ways! It was invented in China in 164 BC. WOW! It’s very low in calories, high in iron and protein and low in fat. It comes in firm, medium and silken varieties. It can also be vacuum packed and sold in shelf stable packages. It really is something you should try out in a few different ways.

Anyways, on to the recipe! This really isn’t a follow to the letter recipe. It’s more of a throw all of the veggies you have in your fridge in the wok, cook with tofu and voila! Stir fry! So I’ll try to lay it out as best as I can.

Tofu Stir Fry

1 lb firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 package mushrooms, chopped
2 red bell peppers
2 broccoli crowns
2 zucchini
oyster sauce
canola oil

I start by adding about 2 tbsp oil in the wok and frying the tofu for several minutes, turning to get all sides golden brown.

Then remove the tofu and set aside.  Add a little bit more oil and add all the chopped veggies, except for the mushrooms.

Cook the veggies for several minutes until al dente.  Add your chopped mushrooms.  I got VERY excited this week at the Farmers Market because I found Oyster Mushrooms!  It’s unheard of here to find anything more exotic than crimini.  I was squealing with delight.  I think the vendor thought I was insane.

Add the mushrooms and then add about 1/8 cup of oyster sauce.

Cook for just about one minute more until mushrooms have wilted a little.   Add the tofu back into the stirfry.

Cook for one more minute until the tofu is heated through.  I like to serve mine over brown rice.

This is a FABULOUS meal!  And it’s fabulous as leftovers as well.  It’s a very easy meal to make, just takes some prep time to get the veggies all cut up.  I hope you love it as much as I do!

I have been wanting to dive into baking my own bread for ages.  I have a breadmaker and did that for awhile but I didn’t like how the loaves were shaped and the little paddle baked into the bottom of the loaf and when you pulled it out you had this huge hole in the bottom of your loaf.  So those of you that know me, know that I’m a wee bit of a procrastinator, just sometimes though.  So I’ve been saying for quite a while now that I was going to make my own bread and NOT use the bread maker.  I bought some loaf pans….about 2 years ago I think.  *blush*  Okay!  So I’m a big procrastinator!  So a Facebook friend of mine started posting pics of bread and cinnamon rolls that she had baked.  Apparently she had started a baking blog.  I went over and started perusing and BAM!  The clouds parted, angels sang, light shone down from Heaven…INSPIRATION!!!  So thank you Jen from http://grahamlikethecracker.net/

Honey Whole Wheat Bread by Williams Sonoma Essentials of Baking

5 teaspoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
2 cups milk, heated to warm (105-115F)
1/4 cup mild honey
2 large eggs
6 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for kneading and topping
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pans, at room temp

In a large bowl (or in the bowl of your mixer, if using), stir together the yeast and milk and let sit about 5 minutes, or until foamy.  Whisk in the honey and eggs, then add the flour, salt, and butter.

With mixer: Attach the bowl to your mixer and using the dough hook, knead on low speed.  Add a little flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the bowl.  Allow to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, which should take about 5-7.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, rolling around so the dough is coated.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours in a warm, draft-free place.  It should double in size.

Butter two 9″x5″ loaf pans.

Press the air out of the dough, then turn it out again on a clean surface.  Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half.  One at a time, flatten each half evenly into a rectangle using your palms.  Roll the bottom third up and press the seam with your hands to seal it.  Continue rolling up and sealing the dough until a log is formed.  Pinch the ends and seam to seal them.

Place each loaf seam side down into a pan and gently, evenly press on the tops.

Cover the loaves loosely with a towel or plastic wrap and let them rise again for 45 – 60 minutes.  They should double in size.

Towards the end, preheat the oven to 375F with the rack in the center.

Lightly dust the tops of the loaves with flour.  Bake for about 35 – 40 minutes or until honey brown.  You can test for doneness by tapping on the top; the loaves should sound hollow.  Remove the loves from the pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

This bread makes some AMAZING toast!  I’ve been carbing it up pretty good this week but I just can’t help myself.  And the kids just love it, even being a 100% whole wheat bread.  It’s extremely soft and light but with a nice and crusty outside.  This was a very easy recipe to follow and was very easy to do.  I think this could easily be a weekend bread to make for the family to use during the week.  I’d definitely give it 3 stars and an easy on the difficulty scale.

Spring Green Risotto

It’s really ridiculous my fascination that I have with the Barefoot Contessa.  Ask my partner.  The DVR in our bedroom is 94% full of Barefoot Contessa episodes that I watch every free moment that I have and want to make at least one thing from every episode.  This is a recipe that I saw one afternoon while watching Ina with my daughter.  I’ve only tried cooking risotto once before and it came out pretty good.  It was a wild mushroom risotto that I took to a family Christmas dinner.

Spring Green Risotto


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving


Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.

Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter.

Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.

Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl.

When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives.

Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

*I left out the fennel because I don’t like it and used vegetable stock instead of chicken.  O.M.G.  This was seriously one of the BEST things I have EVER tasted.  My kids were turning up their noses as I was making it and my daughter flat out said she wouldn’t eat it when I told her what was for dinner.  They all had seconds.  I can’t sing it’s praises enough.  I give it 5 out of 4 stars.  It was sooo amazing.  And I give it a moderate on the difficulty scale.  It’s really not hard, just takes time to let the stock absorb into the rice.  I very highly recommend this recipe!!

Double Chocolate Torte

I decided to get a head start on the dessert for our Easter lunch, so I cooked the cake (well most of it) Saturday night.  This is a recipe that I got from a coworker of mine.  It was originally from Epicurious and once I tasted it, I just KNEW I had to make it for our Easter dinner dessert.  OH. MY. GOSH.  This cake is divine!  I think I’m going to have to change the name of the cake though.  I’ve decided to call it So Good It’s Sinful Double Chocolate Torte.  Here’s the recipe:

Double Chocolate Torte from Epicurious


  • 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons red currant jelly melted with 1 tablespoon water
  • Red currant bunches (optional)

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan; dust with sugar. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and salt, then flour. Pour batter into pan. Bake until cake just rises in center (tester inserted into center will not come out clean), about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cover; chill while making mousse.

For mousse:
Melt butter in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk yolks, 1/4 cup cream and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into bowl with melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water until thermometer registers 150°F, about 6 minutes (mixture may appear broken). Remove from over water; add chocolate and stir to melt. Set aside. Beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into warm chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg white mixture. Pour mousse over cake in pan; smooth top. Chill torte until mousse is set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen torte. Release pan sides. Transfer torte to platter. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream over torte. Top whipped cream with raspberries. Brush red currant jelly mixture over raspberries. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Garnish with currants, if desired.
*I used strawberries instead of raspberries.  They were a LOT cheaper!  🙂

Overall, it took a little while to make the cake but not too bad.  I made the cake Saturday night and the cake and chocolate mousse had to sit at least 6 hours in the fridge.  I let it sit overnight and then whipped the cream right before we had it for dessert.  I’d say this recipe is a moderate on the difficulty scale but a DEFINITE FOUR STARS on the taste scale!

Last night we decided to go the English route and go pub style and had fish and chips.  My son Joshua had his girlfriend Celeste over so we ended up making enough for everyone.  This was a recipe from my culinary goddess, Ina Garten.  Here is the recipe:

Parker’s Fish and Chips

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh cod fillets (choose thick ones)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


1 recipe Baked “Chips”, recipe follows

Lay the cod fillets on a cutting board. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Cut the fillets in 1 1/2 by 3-inch pieces.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in 1/2 cup of water and then the egg.

Pour 1/2-inch of oil into a large (12-inch) frying pan and heat it to about 360 degrees F.

Dip each fillet into the batter, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place it very carefully into the hot oil. Don’t crowd the pieces. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil between 360 and 400 degrees F. Cook the fish on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the “chips.”

Baked “Chips”

  • 2 large baking potatoes, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Scrub the potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise, then cut each half in thirds lengthwise. You’ll have 6 long wedges from each potato. Place the potatoes on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together, making sure the potatoes are covered with oil. Spread the potatoes in a single layer with 1 cut side down.

Bake the potatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, turning to the other cut side after 20 minutes. Bake until they are lightly browned, crisp outside, and tender inside. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings

I doubled the fish recipe and quadrupled the chips recipe.  We had leftovers of each.  Enough leftovers of fish and chips for 2 lunches, and enough leftover for fish after that to make fish tacos the next night.

Here’s Shelly and I during the cooking!

This recipe was very easy to make and was very good!  The fish was very tasty and the potatoes were VERY good!  Definitely not your average “chips” due to the rosemary.  I absolutely loved them, everyone did!  I’d give the fish 3 stars and the potatoes 4!  I’d also give the recipe an “easy” on the difficulty scale.  Definitely one to try!

Every other Friday night, we have our friend Erica over for dinner.  She lives with her dad and brother so she never gets home cooked meals and she loves my cooking.  So this Friday I made Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil from Giada deLaurentis.  I also found this recipe for Spinach, Orange and Almond Salad from Emeril but I tweaked it a little bit.  I know, I know, it’s  my first blog post but I forgot to take pictures while I was cooking!  Bad blogger!

First, the Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil.

For the lemon oil:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 ounces frozen shrimp
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces arugula (about 3 packed cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


For the lemon oil:

Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.

For the pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the arugula. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded. Add some of the cooking water to desired consistency. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

This recipe was AMAZING.  Everyone kept going on and on about how amazing it was, even the next day!  Definitely give this recipe 4 stars!

Then the Spinach, Orange and Almond Salad.  Now I tweaked it quite a bit but here’s Emeril’s recipe in full.

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 oranges
  • 1/4 cup Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning salad
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 10 ounces baby spinach (6 cups), washed and dried
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Lightly grease a 10-inch square of aluminum foil with butter or vegetable oil and set aside.

Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally, until the sugar turns a golden amber color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the almonds and stir to coat. Continue cooking until the almonds are fragrant and golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to the prepared aluminum foil, using a spoon to spread into a thin layer, and set aside to cool completely.

With a thin, sharp knife, cut the peel and bitter white pith from the oranges, 1 at a time. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, cut in between the membranes to release the segments. Reserve the segments in a separate bowl. Combine 1/4 cup orange juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, the Champagne vinegar, olive oil, orange zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne in a mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Transfer the dressing to a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid until you are ready to serve.

Put the spinach in a large serving bowl, then top with the orange segments, celery, and red onions. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, break the caramelized almonds into bite-size pieces and scatter over the top of the salad. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Toss to coat evenly and serve immediately.

*I did the almonds just like the recipe stated.  For the dressing, I used the zest of one orange, the juice of one orange, the white wine vinegar, the olive oil, the salt and 1 1/2 tbsp of the sugar.

This recipe was also very good!  The sweet almonds were a fabulous touch to this salad and the dressing was SO good!  Definitely a 3 star salad!

Last came dessert.  Erica is lactose intolerant so I just picked up some mango sherbert from Trader Joes and crumbled some ginger snaps on top.  It turned out pretty good!  The mango sherbert was really good.  Definitely something I’ll be buying again.  The cookies gave the dessert a nice crunch and a little kick to it as well.  Definitely a nice ending to a great meal!

And here’s the three of us after enjoying our dinner!

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