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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Love in a Pan

Oh my ever-lovin' goodness. I am so ridiculously proud of myself this time I can't contain it. I made The Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls and orange marmalade rolls this weekend. Can I just brag for a minute about how "okay" I was with the crazy mess this made of my kitchen? You would be, too. It's the most delicious mess I've ever seen and it made me giddy.
And I think that picture was taken after R & I licked up half the sugary-orange-y-melted-butter off the island. See that streak up the middle? A finger swipe.
Because PW's recipe says to cut off the uneven ends, I did what she said. So would you if you followed her blog! And because I'm such a frugal gal, baked up those uneven, untidy, messy-looking, not-pretty-enough-to-serve-to-company pieces of rolls, and ate half of them meeself to test the recipe (gave R the other half - arent' I a saint?) Uh, Ree? You're my new BFF.

After greasing and sugaring them down, rolling and slicing them, they rose for about a half hour on the range, out grazing with Marlboro Man's Mustangs. Uh, sorry, mind wandered. And actually, the orange rolls didn't rise that much. Hm. Not exactly sure why. Was the dough too warm by then? The cinnamon rolls rose just fine, though. I made two pans of cinnamon and then one orange marmalade, and I thought I rolled the dough for the first pan of cinnamon too thick, and so then I rolled the dough for the orange ones too thin. Grrr. Over compensated. Since this is my first experience with actual yeast-raised homemade dough, I gave myself a little slack. Even after using a 1/2 cup too much flour and forgetting the salt. Jeez, when will I ever be able to follow a darn recipe?

But, not even the extra flour or missing salt could ruin this dough. It was amazing. I could hardly get my camera out while there were still rolls in the pans (one of the cinnamon roll pans was already empty, except for the delicious sticky yumminess in the bottom). Oh, and for those folks who have or will actually make this recipe, I reduced the temp to 375 per the advice of Ree's guest blogger, Deb from Smitten Kitchen, and baked them for a full 18 minutes, if not a bit longer. Soft, gooey, golden on top, and freakin scary awesome. It was a very good thing that we had ten hungry souls at home that morning to share them with. Or I'd be buying R & I (and our dog, Breezie) a whole new wardrobe. Breezie helped with the dishes, as you can see. She's such a sport. It was the maple syrup and coffee in the frosting that got her to help, I'm sure. Thank you, Ree, my new BFF. (HUGS from Michigan!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hoping for a Green Thumb

For the last couple months, R & I have been feeling kind of frustrated about our law practice transition being stuck in a rut so, in an attempt to do something productive, we went a little nuts at the greenhouse. AND we had a million yards of fill brought into our backyard to extend our lawn into the swampy abyss we inherited from the previous owners. Anyway, I'll get better pics soon but here's a sample of what it looked like before:
And during (that's R tossing some dirt around with my awesome general contractor who I fondly refer to as "Dad"):
For a splash of color, we planted all pinks, whites & greens throughout the backyard - verbena, impatiens, coleus, sweet potato vine, dusty miller, petunias, some white verbena-like thing, and some random ivy-looking creeper not pictured here. The tri-colored pink petunia "waterfall" in the corner of our pool deck is really spectacular and looks amazing in contrast with the aqua pool. Aahhh, soothing. In front we went all out orange - when the sun starts to go down the begonias are almost electric! These two planters on either side of the garage include coleus, licorice and dracena. Oh, and more dusties (because somehow we ended up with a thousand of them.) Along the driveway we went with a huge contrast to the house and planted all blueish-whites and they ended up being my favorites.
We also planted a whole slew of herbs including three different types of basil - yes, three - you should see them all. Helllllooo spaghetti pesto! What's in your garden/window boxes/hanging planters this year? Oh, and if you're in some lush tropical setting, please refrain from commenting about all your delicious exotica because, remember, I'm in Michigan, and my one lone rubber house plant likes being an only child, hogging all the skylight sun for itself. Thank you. xo ~ K

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Negril, Jamaica

R & I took our first extended vacation together in March and I'm just now feeling confident in my ability to select the *best* photos to post here. Every moment of the entire vacation was amazing, and the pictures turned out so incredible it was a tough choice. Here are just a few. I highly recommend taking a trip to Negril if you ever have the chance. The food, the people, the sunsets, everything exceeded my expectations.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bake Sale Today!

Last night my mom & I decorated our latest batches of baked stuffs for her office Bake Sale today. Mom took the Wilton Beginner Decorator Course last month and came away with some amazing SKILLZ! I'm so impressed. Especially after I actually tried my hand at some of the techniques and decided I have no natural ability to pipe, and an attention span of about forty-one seconds. My dark-chocolate-white-chocolate-bird-nest-cupcakes turned out pretty cute, depsite my initial reaction ("DAH - FAIL! AGAIN!") to the concave shape of the cakes when they came out of the oven. I won't be using that recipe for cupcakes again (from the Cupcake Deck - chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream). While they taste amazing, and the batter is so good it's worth making just to eat it out of the bowl, in three attempts they just never rose. Mom said it's because I used the wisk attachment to my mixer; I should be using the paddle? (Anyone? Anyone?)

We loved my little baby three-tiered cake! My mom's was a 6", mine was 4".

In the pics below, you'll see that my mom had the ingenious idea of using a wine bottle for a rose-pic-holder (to the shock and awe of all her dry, un-fun Wilton classmates), and that her cake (on the lower right) is REALLY FABULOUS while my cake (lower left) is REALLY LAME. Luckily she let me use one of her early practice roses as a topper. The leaves I piped around it totally ruined it. I shudder at their sliminess. My dot edge isn't too terrible, but it's nothing like her shell edge.

I bet all of my mom's co-workers detest her this morning for bringing in such lovely creations. ;) Jealousies. (Evil laugh.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ignoring the April Snowstorm

And pretending it's still sunny & 60 like it was on Saturday. The dogs received a much-deserved field trip to the beach this weekend and I still have warm-fuzzies from the joy it brought us all. Evidence:

Maya in heaven - look at that amazing stick!
Isn't that the most painfully sweet Westie face you've ever seen? I can't believe I got it on film because it never lasts more than 0.2 seconds. It is followed almost instantaneously by sloppy kisses and wet dog tongue up one's left nostril. Love from Nory, take it or leave it.
Breezie on the prowl.
PS ~ I'm getting the hang of this cheap digital camera while my Canon is in the shop. Or, at least in a box ready to go to the shop while I muster the courage to send it away.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I love any excuse to bake things and give them away. So my mom's invitation to join her in making stuff for her company's fundraiser next week inspired me to no end. These are the cupcakes I made at Valentine's Day. Cocoa-spice with chocolate buttercream. AWFUL! Tough, hard cakes with t00-sweet frosting. FAIL in every sense of the word. But, I am not deterred. I'm anxious to retry for the bakesale. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

February Tablescape

Pinks & reds just would not go in our decor, so this Valentine's Day I decided to go orange. Here's what's on our table.
That fabulous runner is from Amenity (mine is Pier 1) and the votive holders (similar to mine, but mine are smaller and more amber-colored than orange). The tulips were $6 at Meijer. Beachstones were free, collected on several trips to Lake Michigan.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winter Photos

Northern Michigan on a macro- and micro-scale, January 3, 2009 ~ the first sunny day of the year... amazing how the blues dominate the landscape...