Thursday, June 30, 2011

Grandma Ruth

Warning: this gets sentimental.

So it's hot outside (heat index of 90) and I decide to take a walk with Lola. She loves walks...and smelling every single tree, bush, and blade of grass along the way. Needless to say it takes us an hour to walk a block (slight exaggeration but you get the idea). Tonight was exceptionally pleasant as there were no other crazy people out walking in this heat. No other person besides the sweetest old lady I've met, and I only say that because she reminded me of someone I love. My grandma. Grandma Ruth passed away years ago but I still think of her often. Many of my summers as a child were spent at her house picking raspberries and chasing butterflies (no really, it's true). She didn't smell like old people. She smelled like Trident gum, lilacs, and plastic hair curlers. She'd sing to me while washing my hair in the kitchen sink. Every morning she'd wake me up to the smell of pancakes or my favorite, french toast. And buy me the latest shoes for my Barbie (it was hard to keep up with the trends). She was the best! So when this sweet neighbor lady's dog came running up to Lola, she came running after her dog. It's what she said that stopped me dead in my tracks. "Say, now!" What? My grandma used to say that to us when we were causing a ruckus. Did this lady just say this to her dog? I must meet her! So we chatted about her adorable lab and the tree she recently cut down. I was even offered some free wood. The whole time we talked I couldn't help but feel like we had been friends for years. She maybe didn't smell like my grandma but she had the same sparkly eyes and spunky energy. It's times like these that make me miss Grandma Ruth the most, always when I least expect it. If I could I would hop on the next hot air balloon and ride on up to heaven for a little neighborhood gossip while we exchanged the latest issue of the National Enquirer. Love and miss you Grandma! "Talk at cha later!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Cinnamon Rolls

Everything is better when it's mini...and covered in frosting...and on a stick! I made this for a baby shower brunch this Spring. Super easy. Super cheap. Super cute!

You'll need:
One slab of frozen puffed pastry sheet (thawed)
Brown sugar
Candy sticks (found at specialty baking stores or Michael's Crafts)

How to make the mini morsels:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay the puffed pastry sheet on a floured surface. Cut in half the short way. Roll one half out slightly to help stretch and add more surface area. Set the other half aside to make more rolls later or use for another delicious baking adventure (see below for more ideas). Mix together about 1/2 cup brown sugar and about 1 tablespoon cinnamon in a bowl. (Really though, mix however you'd like. If you want sweet rolls, use more sugar. If you want a strong cinnamon flavor, use more cinnamon. Customize to your palette.) Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter until watery. Brush butter over puffed pastry sheet and then sprinkle some or all of the sugar mixture evenly on top. Roll the sheet into a log (tip: it's easiest to roll towards you instead of away). Cut up into about 1 inch pieces. Grease a mini muffin tin and place a cinnamon roll into each cup. This will help keep the roll small and tight instead of spreading out while it bakes. Pop in the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until tops are nicely browned. Remove and cool on wire racks. Once cool, top each candy stick with a mini roll and frost!

Great for baby shower brunches, kids party snacks, or any day of the week. And if you want to get fancy, you can display them upright in a foam block, wrap them individually in mini cellophane bags and give as gifts, or rest them gently in mini cupcake paper wrappers.

This is only the beginning people! Try doing the same thing but with pizza fillings. Trust me, you'll never want to eat pizza the traditional way once you've had it mini, rolled, and on a stick. Donuts, cheesecake, and anything dipped in chocolate is also highly recommended to be consumed this way as well.

(Thanks to my husband for being such a wonderful hand model. Even though he was less than thrilled to hold this roll for 15 minutes while I ran him around the house finding the right lighting. All the poor guy wanted to do was eat one! Oh, the sacrifices we make for love...)