Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Tradition: Orange Bow Rolls

Easter is Sunday and my sister is coming to celebrate with us!  It is going to be sooo much fun!  What is it about holidays that brings back memories from our childhoods?  Some of my favorite memories are the foods that I now associate with certain holidays.  For instance, cut up oranges and grapefruit reminds me of Christmas.  We would eat this simple fruit salad (sprinkled with sugar) served in these disposable plastic Christmas cups with a holly print on them -- my Mom would make us wash them after each breakfast and we litterally reused these SAME cups every year for YEARS!  (She was an environmentalist before being earth concious was cool for sure!)

Another fond holiday memory is Orange Bow Rolls on Easter.  These yummy, fruity rolls remind me of spring.  I especially love pulling out the handwritten family cookbook that my Mom gave me when I went off to college!  The cookbook has since been typed (on an old school typewriter no less) with many additional recipes added, but the original, with my Mom's own handwriting is a treasure for sure.  This recipe, from my Grandmother Haupert is a treasure too!  I love these rolls and just had to share.

I have only made these a few times by myself, as I have to admit, they kind of intimidated me.  However, this time it went really well so maybe I don't have anything to be afraid of afterall.  The scary part was always tying the knot.  So here is a simple picture tutorial. 

NOTE:  I cut my pieces a bit shorter than the recipe calls for and stretched them a bit as I tied them.  It made a slightly smaller roll but I kind of like them.

Cut strips

Fold over

Tuck end thru opening

Pull thru to form not

Lay gently on greased baking sheet

EVERY kitchen needs a microplane - this handy, super sharp tool once only found in your tool box is awesome for zesting citrus in a jif!



1 1/4 cup scalded milk (Here is a great video for how to do this)
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt

Cool mixture and add:
1 package yeast
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
4-5 cups flour
2 Tbsp orange zest

Mix to soft dough.  Cover.  Let rest 10 minutes.  Knead.  Let rise until doubled.  punch down.  Roll to approximately 1/2" thick.  cut into 1/2" x 10" strips.  Tie in knots and put on greased baking sheets.  let rise until doubled. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Orange Frosting Glaze
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup powdered sugar

Frost while still warm to form a glaze on the rolls.

Linked up with...The CSI Project

Friday, April 15, 2011

Map Inspired!

I love to travel - WE love to travel.  I have been so inspired by the many wonderful map projects I have seen recently and realized I had the perfect room to put this idea to work.  We have a small powder room on our first floor that I have struggled with an idea for some decor in this room.

BEFORE - When we bought the house
Please ignore the open cabinet and toilet lid being open!

Step 1 - Paint & New Mirror
When we moved in, this room was beige, just like the rest of the house.  We found a gallon of Martha Stewart paint in a soft, earthy blue on the Oops! cart at Home Depot.  It was perfect.  I also found an awesome mirror at one of the grocery stores for a meer $8.99 which was the perfect replacement for the builder grade frameless mirror.  As a bonus, the finish on it matches the light fixture in this small bathroom. 

We decided to remove the large towel bar since we really only needed a hand towel in this small powder room. This left a big, open wall. With lots of cabinetry and storage in this room (which is awesome by the way), there is also a large counter that seems somewhat bare. This bathroom sits under the steps so it has an odd shape to it as well.

I made some $2 apothecary jars using candlesticks and vases from the dollar store and thrift stores.  I filled those with some homemade decor balls using beans, twine and spray paint.  I found this great little tray at Goodwill and spray-painted it with an oil rubbed bronze finish.

Before                                               After

Found this globe at a thrift store.  The base and frame were kind of a cheap tin so I pulled it apart.  I then grabbed my trusty ORB spray paint and it turned out phenominal.

I headed to the web and found some great maps that I simply enlarged and printed out on my home computer and framed them up.  They are great and I love how they reflect in the mirror.  The colors were perfect with the blue walls.

Next time I am at the used book store (we have an AWESOME one here) I will trade for some travel books to set under the globe!

I love our new travel inspired powder room.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mmmmm! Pizza {on the grill}

Blog Shout Out:  I want to thank my big sister Janet for introducing us to the wonderful world of making pizza on the grill.  To be honest - we will NEVER make homemade pizza in the house again!  The grill is truly the only way to go.

Pizza {on the grill}
Pizza on the grill is by far one of our favorite treats since it is so entirely versatile, can be different every time we make it and is fun to get the kids involved in cooking.  Making it on the grill is a year-round treat for us living in Arizona where the weather is so cooperative.  However, we really fire up the grill in the summer since the thought of turning on the oven is frightful.

{the dough}
Up to this point, I have always purchased the premade pizza dough from Trader Joes.  They have a great dough in their refrigerator section that comes in plain, wheat and herb.  I usually purchase a bunch and keep it in the freezer for those evenings when we decide pizza is in order. I love this dough and it is relatively inexpensive, however I am a frugal girl.  So, I did a bit of research and decided to give making my own a try.  It turned out great and I will be making up a bunch for the freezer from here forward.

{homemade pizza dough}

     1 3/4 cups warm water (or more if needed)
     2 Tbsp honey
     2 1/2 tsp yeast (one packet)
     3 Tbsp olive oil
     5 cups flour (or more as needed)
     2 tsp salt
     Optional seasonings - basil, italian seasoning, garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.
With the water in a measuring cup, stir in the honey, then add the yeast and stir until dissolved. Let sit for approximately 10 minutes to proof.  The mixture will begin to bubble and grow which tells you that the yeast is active.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a little extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too sticky, add extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drizzle the inside of a clean bowl with olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free place, until the dough has doubled in size.

Using a fist, deflate the dough in the center and knead again about 10-15 fold-overs.  Place back in the bowl to proof a second time.  Punch down the dough and cut it into 3-6 equal-sized pieces. (I like to make smaller pizzas so we can make a separate, more traditional flavor for the kids and a more fun, modern combonation for my husband and I).  If making pizza right away, form the dough pieces into balls and put each into an oiled bowl. Cover each bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 1 hour. Remove the dough and wrap in plastic.

Refrigerate for up to 1 day or place in a plastic freezer bag, removing as much air as possible and freeze.  To thaw the dough, place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

{grilling pizza}
Now the fun part begins.  If using frozen or refrigerated dough, bring the dough to room temperature by setting on the counter for approximately 20 minutes.  Roll the dough out by pressing it out using your fingers and a rolling pin if desired.  We like to roll it to approximately 1/4" thick.  Place on the back of a baking sheet or pizza peel that has been lightly covered with corn meal to allow the dough to gently slide onto the grill.

Preheat your grill by turning on all of the burners and closing the lid.  You want the grill to be VERY hot.  Once hot, turn off half of the burners and place the rolled out dough on the side away from the flame. 

Close the lid and let grill for approximately 5 minutes.  The top of the dough should look dry but still raw when you remove it from the grill.  As long as your grill is super hot, the dough should not stick.  I generally use a large spatula and a pair of tongs to remove the pizza from the grill.  Gently slide the spatula underneath and pull the crust from the grill.  (I gave my husband a large metal pizza peel for Christmas that looks like an oversized spatual and it is awesome.  Highly recommend one of these if you eat pizza alot.  I got it from Amazon.)  Make sure that the lid to the grill is closed while you complete the next step so that the heat can build up inside the grill.

Flip the crust over onto your pizza peel or baking sheet and begin to place your toppings on the already cooked side.  You can use whatever toppings you would like (I will share some of our favorite combos below although the possibilities are limitless).  All meats should be pre-cooked for best results.  Carefully place the pizza back on the grill and close the lid.  The pizza should remain on the grill until the crust has finished baking and the toppings are warmed through and the cheese has melted.  This will vary based on the temperature of your grill.

{the toppings}
Oh, the toppings.  This is what makes me love, love, love homemade pizza so much.  We have tried some great pizzas.  It is fun to play with traditional ideas of pizza and then recreate some of the great flavors we have had or seen on restaurant menus.  So here are some of our favorites...

• pepperoni and mushroom
• Hawaiian - ham and pineapple (especially good if you use fresh pineapple and grill the slices of pineapple before you chop them up to place on the pizza - really brings out the sweetness)
• vegetarian

• pesto, goat cheese, shrimp
• bbq chicken with bbq sauce instead of redsauce, chicken, onion and cheese
• cherry pie filling and mozzarella cheese
• cinnamon streussel and then drizzled with frosting
• thai chicken using a peanut sauce, chicken, cilantro and red onion

What do you like to put on your pizza?  I would love to hear your favorites!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Summer Eating Series

It is HOT here in Arizona and it is only April 2nd.  It is crazy.  As the heat is on, it makes me begin to think about transitioning to "summer eating".  I do not want to be slaving over a hot stove, or firing up the oven when the temp outside is over 100° and the AC is working overtime just to keep up.

Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing my summer eating series.  This series will include a variety of recipes that are fun, delicious, quick and refreshing.

So what is summer eating?  When the heat kicks in, we tend to eat lighter and take advantage of the great fresh, seasonal produce.  These meals usually involve more made-in-advance ingredients that can be frozen and pulled out on a moments notice.  We tend to eat more cold meals like sandwiches and salads; meals made on the grill like meat, veggies and even pizza; meals that are made ahead and frozen like shredded pork, barbacoa and red sauce - essentially any meal that does not involve turning on the oven or slaving over a hot stove is a summer meal.

I will be sharing a few of our favorite recipes, go-to meals and freezer recipes that help our family navigate the crazy heat and hectic schedules of our Arizona summer.

Come back tomorrow for the first entry in this series...homemade pizza {on the grill} and homemade frozen pizza dough.