Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing better that hot, sweet and cinnamonny (that’s a word right!?!) buns.

I have been experimenting with a traditional cinnamon roll recipe and this is my version of Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze.

The great thing with the second prove overnight, you look like a baking legend when you rock up at the kindy shared lunch or work morning tea with warm buns!!

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INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

1 1/4 teaspoon dried yeast

160ml luke warm milk

3 cups plain flour

1/4 cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 free-range eggs

125g butter (melted)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste OR 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

FILLING

100gm butter (softened)

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 cup of dried fruit or chocolate (optional)

GLAZE

1 1/3 cups icing sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste OR 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

METHOD

In a bowl mix together the warm milk and yeast. Leave for five minutes. Make sure your milk is not too hot otherwise you will kill the yeast and your dough will be a dud.

In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar and salt. Melt butter and add to the flour mixture.  Lightly whisk the eggs and add the vanilla paste/essence then add to mixing bowl. Lastly add the milk yeast mixture.  Place a dough hook on your stand mixer and knead until a thick combined dough is made (roughly 8 minutes).  Place in a lightly greased bowl and stand covered in a warm place for 60 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

After it has risen roll out the dough on a lightly floured bench so it’s roughly rectangle shaped and 1cm thick.

For the filling switch from your dough hook to the whisk on your mixer.  Add the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and beat until light and fluffy.  Spread over the rolled out dough leaving a 0.5cm edge.  Here is where you add any fruit or chocolate. Sprinkle evenly over the filling.

Starting from the longest edge roll into a large sausage. Cut the roll in half then half again. You should then cut those halves into 3.  Making 12 rolls.

So there are 2 ways you can go from here. If baking immediately you can grease a baking dish and place the rolls in all comfy and let them proof again for 45 minutes OR you can place the rolls into a greased dish and place in the fridge covered overnight.  Don’t put the refrigerated rolls straight in the oven. Pull them out of the fridge 15 mins before hand to warm up a bit!

From here both of these need to be cooked in a preheated oven at 180 degrees (160 degrees if your using fan forced) for 20 minutes.  Then loosely cover with foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until cooked.  Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

In a bowl mix all the glaze ingredients. Spoon the glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls.

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Happy Baking.

Jx

 

 

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Tray Bake Pasta

This recipe has evolved from a stand at the stove gig to a throw it all in a pan gig.

I am all for making good food as easy as possible. I know the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is spend hours at the stove. Bonus ….. even a husband could make this one!!


TRAY BAKE PASTA

4-6 good quality sausages of your choice (head to your butcher for the best ones!)

1.5kg tomatoes OR 1 jar of pasata sauce if you need to sell a kidney for said tomatoes

1 onion (sliced)

2 springs rosemary

1 handful of thyme

1 pinch of dried chilli flakes (omit or pump it up depending on taste)

salt & pepper

2-3 glugs of good olive oil (I use garlic infused for extra flavour)

Pasta any shape/type but remember shapes are a great carrier for sauces (depending on how many you are feeding. I used 1x 500gm packet to feed my family of 5 with left overs).

Parmesan

Fresh basil leaves

METHOD

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Add tomatoes, onions, herbs, chilli, salt & pepper to a large baking dish.

Take each sausage and pull the insides into small meatballs. Each sausage makes 5-6 meatballs.

Give it a big glug of olive oil cover with foil and bake for 20-25 mins.

Uncover and smoosh the tomatoes with a fork (if you have used pasata sauce skip this step).

Bake for another 10-15 until brown.

While this is happening cook your pasta in boiling salted water until done. Drain and keep 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the baking tray, add the cooking water and with a wooden spoon chuff up the baked on goodness to make the sauce.

Serve with fresh basil and grated parmesan.

Enjoy!!

J xx

Winners and Losers

In life and adulthood there are winners and losers. Now I’m not talking about winning a race or a game of monopoly. Life is full of outcomes good and bad.

That job you really want. Sometimes you are successful and sometimes you are not. The hot guy that you have been seeing turns out to be a bit of a douchebag, you learn and move on. As Grandma would say plenty more fish in the sea!

A paper you have slaved over for weeks sometimes you pass and sometimes you have read the brief completely wrong and your lecturer wants you to re-write. Sitting your driving test and speeding and you get back to the depot only to be told “I am sorry I cannot pass you”. Life it FULL of ups and downs.

Why am I writing this?

Tonight I saw Maria from Happy Mum Happy Child shared a moment from her life on Facebook and it got me thinking …. We as parents try not to let our children fail or be disappointed but are we doing them a disservice in doing so?

Our choices and actions teach us boundaries. Even when they are small, children push those boundaries to learn how far they can go. It’s nature. Failure and disappointment is a natural part of life and in allowing our children not to experience this natural yet shitty part of life are we not teaching them a valuable life lesson.

Imagine getting to 18 and never experiencing disappointment or failure? You would not have the coping mechanisms and strategies on board to realise THIS IS NORMAL. You would not know what was happening and you would feel like your world was ending.

Now I am no expert but looking from the outside in I am seeing a generation of kids who have never experienced disappointment or failure. Never lost a game, race or been told no. There are always “winners” and “losers” in this world. Maybe the words are not the nicest but they are reality.

Are we setting our kids up to “fail” by not teaching them the crucial life lesson?

It saddens me when I hear of schools not allowing “winners” in a race, because the other children will feel disappointment. Does this also not allow the winning child to feel a sense of pride and achievement? It also allows us to be apart of society that cuts achievers down with extreme hatred ….. Tall Poppy Syndrome anyone?

Here in NZ our teen suicide rate is high, too high.

As a mother with a child heading into this turbulent time I hope that I have given him the foundations of life lessons to get him through. I hope I have instilled in him that there is more to life than what can seem like the end of the world.

I would love to hear others thoughts.

Like I said this is only my opinion. I am not a parenting expert or child psychologist. Just a mum speaking as I find.

CHOC CHIP COOKIES

Believe me when I say I am no baker. When I cook I tend to wing it so restricting myself to exact quantities and measurements just doesn’t fit my nature.

When I bake it has to be easy with minimal fannying around.

These chocolate chip cookies are easy, quick and you can double the recipe with out fuss for those school trips and shared lunches.

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INGREDIENTS:

125 grams of butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg – free range if you can get it (let’s be kind to those chickens)

1 and 3/4 cups of flour

1 teaspoon vanilla essence (we use the Equagold vanilla paste)

1 and a half cups of chocolate buttons (milk, dark, white or a mix)

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

Mix in the egg and vanilla.

Mix in the flour.

Mix in the chocolate buttons.

Roll into teaspoon size balls.

Bake at 180 degrees until lightly browned (15 mins). Cook for a shorter time if you like a chewy cookies or longer if you like a crisp cookie.

BLISS BALLS

I have an announcement.

I am no longer a maker of bliss ball virgin. My cherry has been popped.

Now I have eaten my fair share of them but to be honest I just couldn’t be bothered making them. I barely have time to pee in peace let alone get amongst a bliss ball recipe.

So I sucked it up got Mr almost 4 involved and it was actually surprisingly easy and he LOVED it!

When LUXE Fitness approached me to try their new protein powder I was a little dubious. I don’t do shakes and I definitely don’t do smoothies. Don’t get me wrong I like the idea but it’s a textural thing for me and I instantly feel like gagging …. moving on, even the thought is making me gag!

Instead of using it in a shake or smoothie I decided to check out their website of recipes and there in all it’s orby lucious goodness (channeling my inner Nigella here!) were the peanut protein balls.

In true me fashion I didn’t have half of the things in my cupboard so I took their recipe and threw my spin on it.

Crunchy Peanut Bliss Balls

1.5 cups oats
1 cup of pitted dates
1/2 cup LUXE protein powder
4 TBSP GO superfood Cacao powder
1/2 – 3/4 cup of crunchy peanut butter (we used Pic’s PB)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (we used Equagold vanilla paste)
water to bind

Method

It’s pretty darn simple. Chuck everything into your food processor. Blitz til everything in combined. Add water until it comes together.

Use a teaspoon and roll into balls. Dust with the Cacao powder and you are done.

Very Berry Bliss Balls

1.5 cups oats
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup LUXE protein powder
2 TBSP GO superfood Cacao powder
1 tsp GO superfood Camu Camu powder (if you don’t have this just add more raspberries)
1/2 – 3/4 cup FRESH AS freeze dried raspberries
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (we used Equagold vanilla paste)
water to bind
1/4 cup desiccated coconut (to rolls balls)

Method

It’s pretty darn simple. Chuck everything into your food processor. Blitz til everything in combined. Add water until it comes together.

Use a teaspoon and roll into balls. Crush the freeze dried raspberries into a powder and mix with the coconut. Roll the balls in the coconut and raspberry mix and your are done.

The only downside to this whole exercise is that I had to borrow my mother’s food processor because we don’t have one. Then I remembered why …….. they are a complete B***H to clean!

J x

SCHOOL HOLIDAY SAVIOURS

School holidays. Love them or hate them they happen 4 times a year.

For me if my kids are occupied and I can sit down for 15 mins with a coffee and not be interrupted then I am in heaven.

As a parent these are the small things that get you going!!

I will fully admit I suck at doing the educational play thing. I don’t make play-doh, I don’t make macaroni animals and I certainly don’t get amongst the messy play. Call me selfish, call me a bad mother but I don’t have the time or the patience for that kind of shenanigans.

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One for my best friends is a Early Childhood educator and she is amazing. The simple things she does with the kids gets their brains firing and your can see them drinking in the learning experiences.  I wish I could bottle her, turns her into a tablet and take my “GREAT PARENTING PILL” once a day!

I discovered Busy Bags last year at the Takapuna Baby & Kids Market. These bags take the idea of learning through play to a whole other level. For months I had been meaning to get some for Archie as he is one of those kids who loves sorting, matching and patterns.

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Aimee sent me 3 bags and we loved every single one!! The Busy Bags came with instructions and a breakdown of the learning opportunities your child will get. It also (MY FAVOURITE BIT) gives the parent little tips, tricks and advice so your little one will get the most out of the bag! I actually felt like THE best parent!!

The other great thing about Busy Bags is that you can do the learning activity outlined but you can also try different things depending on your kidlet’s ability.  We took the Bead Threading Kit which comes with pattern cards and then Archie decided to sort the colours and the shapes. Two in one learning = parenting win.

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By far our (I say “our”, I should say Archie) favourite has been the Order and Eat bag. For us this has been kiddy crack. He can’t get enough of it. We write the order on the menu, then Chef Archie gets to work and makes our pita. The felt tomato, carrot, pineapple and lettuce gets piled into our pita and then plated up with Gordon Ramsey efficiency.

Then we eat!

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Every single part of each Busy Bag is well thought out and allows the kids to have multiple learning opportunities.

We will definitely be adding to our new Busy Bags collection because they make me feel like a flipping great parent and I am down with that. The kids learning is just a bonus!!

You can find Busy Bags on Facebook and Instagram .

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