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Super Easy Cinnamon Rolls

July 21, 2015 2:16 pm · Posted by Lauren G

I haven't forgotten about you!! I don't know where the time went, but it looks like I almost took an entire year off! I'm hoping to get back in to the swing of things starting with this cinnamon roll recipe. My boyfriend always loved his Grandmother's cinnamon rolls, but it's a secret family recipe. I'm sure they'd give it to me if I asked extra nice, but what's the fun in that? Instead, get ready for a range of cinnamon roll attempts until we get it right. I started with this super easy 7 ingredient recipe.

Yum! These were so gooey and warm when I tried taking pictures that they were fogging up my lens!

Start by scalding milk and butter. I used almond milk because I didn't have any regular. You could also substitute butter for a vegan substitute to make these entirely vegan. After the milk cools, add your yeast.

Here's my rolled out dough after letting it rise for a few hours. Sorry I'm low on the picture evidence this time. Also, yes, that's a Halloween placemat that I use for all my dough rolling purposes.

All rolled up and coated with more butter. Aren't they cute?

And then top it all off with buttercream frosting. I don't know why my rolls cracked on the outside. Maybe I overbaked them or didn't measure my flour correctly.

Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 cup milk (I used vanilla almond)
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
  1. In a large sauce pan (or in a bowl in the microwave at 30 sec increments), heat the almond milk and 3 Tbsp Earth Balance until warm and melted, never reaching boiling. Remove from heat and let cool to 110 degrees, or the temperature of bath water. It should be warm but not too hot or it will kill the yeast.
  2. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle on yeast. Let activate for 10 minutes, then add 1 Tbsp sugar and the salt and stir.
  3. Next add in flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you go. The dough will be sticky. When it is too thick to stir, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so until it forms a loose ball. Rinse your mixing bowl out, coat it with canola or grapeseed oil, and add your dough ball back in. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin rectangle. Brush with 3 Tbsp melted Earth Balance and top with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 - 1Tbsp cinnamon.
  5. Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then with a serrated knife or a string of floss, cut the dough into 1.5 - 2 inch sections and position in a well-buttered 8x8 square or comparable sized round pan (you should have about 10 rolls). Brush with remaining 2 Tbsp Earth Balance (melted) and cover with plastic wrap. Set on top of the oven to let rise again while you preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Once the oven is hot, bake rolls for 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and then serve immediately.

(Inspired by Minimalist Baker)

Buttercream Frosting

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  1. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

(Inspired by Food Network)

The Verdict:
The rolls were too dense. Derek's Grandmother let them rise overnight which would give them a lighter texture. Also, she used glaze, not frosting. Next...


Donut Cookies

June 17, 2014 12:21 pm · Posted by Lauren G

National Donut Day was a couple of weeks ago! If you went to Krispy Kreme, you could have gotten a tasty one for free. (I most definitely went). I've tried making donuts once before it and was a complete disaster, but I was crusing Ralph's and I found this adorable Betty Crocker Donut Cookie mix. Seriously...adorable. You can ask my roommate how many times I looked at these cookies and commented on how cute they were. I don't think they actually tasted like donuts, but I rolled them out and used my donut cutter (be sure to add a little extra flour to the mix). The instructions on the back of the bag said you could also roll the dough into a rope and form a donut shape. I tried that and it didn't turn out that well. If you don't have a donut cutter you could use two different sized round cutters or even get resourceful with a cup and bottle cap! If you don't want to use the pre-packaged mix, you can use the sugar cookie and buttercream frosting recipes I included below.

Little donuts!

Time for frosting and sprinkles...

Delicious with a little coffee in my Krispy Kreme mug.

Perfect Sugar Cookies

  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium; add eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture gradually, beating until incorporated. Shape dough into 2 disks. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let 1 disk of dough stand at room temperature until just soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Instead of rolling dough on a floured surface, I like to use plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out. Cut out desired shapes. Transfer to baking sheets. Roll out scraps once, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough. Freeze until cookies are firm, 15 minutes.
  3. Bake in batches, switching and rotating sheets halfway through, until edges of cookies turn golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.
  4. Spoon royal icing into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip, and decorate cookies. Let stand overnight or until icing dries completely.

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (Ideal texture should be like ice cream)
  • 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk of heavy cream
  • Red food coloring
  1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed.
  2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn't blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter.
  3. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract and salt and beat for 3 minutes. Add one drop of food coloring at a time until desired color is achieved.
  4. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining cream 1 tablespoon at a time.
Filed under: dessert, recipe, Food Tagged with: national donut day, sugar cookie, Donut, cookie

Bread Pudding

May 6, 2014 10:55 am · Posted by Lauren G

I can't believe I've never made bread pudding before! It's one of the easiest things I've ever made, and it's so gooey and yummy. I added raisins, but left out the nuts since I made this for a party and nut allergies always make me nervous.

I used two kinds of bread because I thought it would add more flavors. I really couldn't taste the difference, but wont of them is whole wheat so at least I can pretend it's healthy.

<p>3 cups cubed bread, allow to stale overnight in a bowl
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 cups milk
2 cups granulated sugar

5 large beaten eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread cubed bread in an 13x9 baking pan. If desired, sprinkle with raisins and pecans.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
  4. In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, and butter.
  5. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.

(Inspired by Food Network and Allrecipes)

Filed under: noms, recipe, Food Tagged with: Bread Pudding, dessert

Carrot Pizza Crust

April 17, 2014 12:36 pm · Posted by Lauren G

If you thought cauliflower was weird, you're going to think I'm crazy today. But seriously, why the heck not? Carrots naturally have a lot of sugar, so I actually liked this crust over the cauliflower one because it had a hint of sweetness. (If you ever had any doubt about my sweet tooth, I even like sweet pizza!) This recipe is even easier to make because you don't have to cook the carrots before forming the crust. Just remember to squeeze out all the carrot juice you can! And maybe save it and drink it because carrot juice is stupid expensive when you buy it from Trader Joe's.

  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg


  • Preheat oven to 400. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a food processor, blend carrots until very finely chopped.
  • <li>
    Take the processed carrot and, using a cheesecloth or clean piece of material (like an old shirt or tea towel), strain as much water (carrot juice) out of the carrots as you can.
    4. Place the strained carrots into a bowl - you should have about 1 cup of carrot.
    5. Stir in garlic, cheese, and egg until well blended.
    <div class="separator">6. Using a spatula, spread out carrot mixture onto prepared cookie sheet to about an 8 inch circle.
    7. Bake at 400 for 10 - 12 minutes, until just starting to brown around the outside and top appears dry.
    8. Top as desired.

    <p>(Inspired by Jo and Sue)
    </li> </ol> </div>
    Filed under: Yum, recipe, Food Tagged with: pizza crust, gluten free, carrot, healthy, pizza

    Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bowl

    February 25, 2014 12:22 pm · Posted by Lauren G

    I've had spaghetti squash, but I've never tried cooking it before. Luckily, on one of my Costco excursions, I saw a couple and decided to be adventurous. Ummm, not to brag or anything, but these turned out amazing! Spaghetti squash isn't that hard to cook. Well, cutting it in half is really hard so prepare yourself, but the cooking part, not so much. You pretty much just stick it in the oven until the squash is tender. Then, you fluff it up with a fork. I was so amazed that it actually comes apart looking like spaghetti! Crazy! The spaghetti squash has a slightly sweet flavor reminiscent of a pumpkin, which in my opinion is way better than boring pasta and healthier too!

    Cutting the squash in half is a little tricky. You need a big sharp knife and some muscle. Here is a helpful video if you're having trouble.

    Ahh it's spaghetti!

    • 2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeded
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 pound ground turkey
    • your favorite marinara sauce
    • 1 cup low fat cottage cheese or ricotta
    • 1 tablespoon basil, chopped
    • 1 cup partially skim mozzarella, shredded
    1. Preheat oven to 400F
    2. Brush the inner flesh of the spaghetti squash with oil, season with salt and pepper.
    3. Roast, skin side up until tender, about 45 minutes.
    4. Note: You can also roast the spaghetti squash whole. Prick with a small, sharp knife all over and roast until tender when pierced with a knife.
    1. Meanwhile, cook the turkey, about 8-10 minutes, drain and add to your sauce.
    1. Fluff up some of the inside of each spaghetti squash half, divide the mixture of the cottage cheese and basil between them followed by the sauce and the cheese.
    2. Broil in the oven until the cheese has melted and turned a light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

    (Inspired by Closet Cooking)


    Grapefruit Cookies II

    November 21, 2013 12:39 pm · Posted by Lauren G

    I didn't like the way my first attempt at grapefruit cookies turned out. Luckily, my friend's tree is at it again, and he gave me another batch of fresh grapefruits. I loved these cookies! They were crisp and sweet with a beautiful cracked surface. 

    • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for dipping
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
    • 1 large egg, beaten
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons Ruby Red grapefruit juice
    • 1 tablespoon Ruby Red grapefruit zest
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Pinch of ground ginger
    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and either lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Cream together the sugar and the butter until well combined. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit zest until well combined.
    3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and ginger and then combine with the liquid ingredients until a soft dough is formed.
    4. Drop by rounded tablespoon two inches apart. They'll spread as they bake!
    5. Press bottom of glass into dough to grease, then dip into granulated sugar; press on shaped dough until about 1/4 inch thick.
    6. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just set. They’ll be puffy when they come out of the oven but as they cool they’ll flatten and form those glorious cracks in the surface. Continue for the rest of the dough.

    (Inspired by Homesick Texan)

    Filed under: noms, dessert, recipe, Food Tagged with: noms, cookie, dessert, grapefruit, Food, recipe

    Pumpkin Bread

    September 24, 2013 12:25 pm · Posted by Lauren G

    Pumpkin everything! Those cans of pumpkin are so big, and you usually only need a cup. What am I supposed to do with all of it besides make cupcakes, bread, and cookies (recipe coming next week). This secret family recipe came from a friend of mine. (I guess the secret is out now!) I still don't have a loaf pan, so I made a cupcake/muffin version. I just had to adjust the baking time, and they still came out moist and delicious!

    • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 cup oil
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin
    • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
    • 1 2/3 cups flour


    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 1 (12-cup) muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
    2. Combine all ingredients and mix on low speed until well blended.
    3. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full.
    4. Bake until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

    To make a pumpkin bread loaf...
    Pour into greased 55x9 loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-75 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

    (Inspired by a secret!)

    Filed under: Yum, recipe, Food Tagged with: Pumpkin Bread, pumpkin, dessert, fall

    Kale Chips

    September 12, 2013 12:51 pm · Posted by Lauren G

    I currently have an obsession with kale. I know it's been all the rage for a while, but I just recently started eating it when I discovered that Ralph's sells organic kale for only $0.99 per bunch! That's the same price as romaine lettuce, and I know I'm getting a lot more nutrients from kale. I've been pretty boring and either making salads or eating it sauteed, but why not try kale chips? They're actually one of the easiest things I've ever made, and so delicious.

    • 1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Sea salt, for sprinkling
    1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
    2. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
    3. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt.
    4. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.

    (Inspired by Food Network)

    Filed under: Health Food, Yum, recipe, Food Tagged with: Snacks, kale

    The Ultimate Guide To Healthier Baking

    August 1, 2013 12:14 pm · Posted by Lauren G

    Check out this amazing list of ingredient substitutions courtesy of Greatist!

    Filed under: Yum, Food Tagged with: Ingredient Substitutions, healthy, baking

    Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

    June 18, 2013 12:20 pm · Posted by Lauren G

    Time to make some cookies! And it'd be great if I could use up some bananas that are getting a little too ripe. What about some banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies because I already have all of the ingredients on hand. If you haven't noticed...I'm a little bit of a lazy baker. They turned out moist with the perfect amount of sweetness. Plus, they have fruit in them so they're basically healthy.

    • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2)
    • 1-3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
    • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
    1. Preheat oven to 375°.
    2. In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients; beat in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
    3. Add egg, bananas and oats; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
    4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.
    5. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. 

    Yield: 4 dozen.

    (Inspired by Taste of Home)

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