A note to my son.

7:29 PM

There's peanut butter and jelly smeared on your face, coffee in my hand, markers spread out across the table, remnants left behind from dad's quick stop home before heading out until the dark hours of the night, Jon Foreman playing in the background, and here we sit. Just you and me. You smile at me with your perfectly white little teeth each with a gap in between the other and I cannot help but smile back. It's a Thursday morning. And this is our everyday.

These are the mornings I'm reminded how lucky I am, how lucky I am to have you, how lucky I am to spend my days in and out with you. All the while your dad is hard at work to make this our reality.

Laundry in the corner, dishes in the sink, toys strewn about, you make this mess beautiful.

We love you Holland Cooper.


Morning glory muffins

8:20 PM

Today was one of those try a bunch of new recipes kind of days. I like days like this. We made some muffins, quinoa bites for the little guy (and probably myself), and chia seed jam. I've been wanting to try chia seed jam for a while now. We went with blackberry. I'm not sold on it yet…though I want to be. Especially to slather on a warm muffin first thing in the morning. Though peanut butter would also do. I know there's a ton of recipes out there, so I'm not giving up yet.

But back to muffins. Muffins are popular around here. They're quick, easy, store well, and most of the time fairly healthy. I try, at least. And toddler friendly.

These are no exception. They're sort of like the carrot cake of a (healthy) muffin, sans frosting. Muffin, check, coffee, check, 70 degree weather in January (!!!), check, good morning…yep!

Just look at that muffin, basking away in it's own glory.

Morning Glory Muffins
Yield: 1 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 apple-peeled, cored and shredded
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (or coconut oil in liquid form)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (to evenly sprinkle on top of muffins)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with parchment or paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in carrots, raisins, coconut, and apple.
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir into carrot/flour mixture until just moistened.
Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with sunflower seeds.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until muffins are firm on top. When touched, the muffin should spring back just a little.

Cool slightly and enjoy!


Overnight Cinnamon Buns

6:30 PM

For Christmas morning I wanted to make something special, something we don't eat everyday or even every week. Something that could quite possible become Christmas breakfast tradition. We settled for cinnamon buns. I liked the idea of that and so did my husband. I mean who doesn't like a freshly baked cinnamon bun? Well folks, I think we found our Christmas morning breakfast tradition. They were out of this world delicious!

And, for those of you with busy enough mornings as is, do not fear. I am right there with you. Most of the work is done the night before for these lovely cinnamon buns. And the result is fabulous, a super easy, yeast-y cinnamon bun. All you need to do come morning is give these buns a quick proof and a thirty minute bake in the oven. Just like that, breakfast is ready.

Overnight Cinnamon Buns
Yield: 8-10 large buns

The dough
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

The filling
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons butter, melted

The icing
1 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
a splash of milk

Note: If you're in a hurry, you can skip the overnight chilling step. This brings out a yeastier flavor in the bun. It also saves you work in the morning to make your dough the night before. But maybe you are a total morning person. In that case, just proof the raw buns in a warm place for 2 hours and then bake. 

In the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook (alternatively a large bowl) add water, yeast and 1 tbsp of the sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes until the yeast starts to froth. In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg and oil. Add this to the yeast along with the rest of the sugar and mix until combined. Pour in 2 1/2 cups of the flour and mix, gradually add the rest of the flour while mixing. Knead for 5 minutes, until the dough comes away from the bowl and does not stick to your fingers. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let proof for 2 hours.

In a small bowl mix together the filling ingredients except the butter and set aside. Roll the dough out to approximately 12 inches by 16 inches and brush with melted butter, making sure to leave 1 inch around the sides. Sprinkle filling mixture over the butter. Tightly roll the dough from the shorter side (to make thicker buns) and pinch the ends together to stop the filling from spilling out. 

Score dough every 1.5 inches and slice through. Place buns in a parchment lined brownie ban, it doesn't matter if the buns are touching each other. Wrap pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight and/or up to 16 hours. When you are ready to bake, fill a jar with boiling water and place on the bottom shelf of the oven. Put the buns on the top shelf and let proof for 30 minutes. Take the water and the buns out of the oven of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Let buns cool slightly while you prepare the icing. Whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth and runny. Pour over buns.  Best eaten the day they are baked, but will last covered and refrigerated for 3 days! Hopefully you won't have any leftovers. ;)

Do you have a cinnamon bun recipe to share?


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