Procrastination, Last Semester Baking and Night Owls

I love to bake.  Not cakes and things that have to be decorated, but I love to bake bread: rolls, croissants, cinnamon rolls, scones, baguettes (which are a staple in the McBride house), matzah, tortillas, challah bread, etc.  I have tried bagels and donuts.

Tonight, img_2065-2instead of catching on up on my Aroma Chemistry and my final Aromatherapy class, I am making Pull Apart Bread, just because of some damn photo I saw somewhere on Instagram when I got up.  I found Ree Drummond’s description and decided to give it a chance using the cinnamon roll recipe from my old school Better Homes & Gardens book from 1989.  Obviously, a high school graduation gift.  And it fell apart years ago.  I don’t remember it ever really being bound since I started using it.

This semester is my last for my Diploma of Aromatherapy.  After the first couple of weeks, I got behind because of moving, then no Internet at the house, then travel, then just so much chaos of getting settled in.  I am going to have to file an extension because I am not giving up on these two classes.  I have come too far.
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But for now… It’s baking time so that I don’t have to worry about much tomorrow morning besides throwing it in the oven! (Plans changed. It was cooked tonight.)

Here are their directions for Sweet Rolls, with a few edits from me because it didn’t list ingredients at the top of the recipe:

4 to 4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 package yeast (I used 2 1/4t. out of a jar)

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter (I will never suggest margarine)

1/2 t of salt

2 eggs

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Combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast.  Heat and stir 1 milk, sugar, butter and salt until warm (120º to 130º F) and butter almost melts.  Add to flour mixture with eggs.  Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl.  Beat on high for 3 minutes.  Using a spoon, stir in as much of the 2 to 2 1/3 cups of flour remaining as you can.

Turn out on a lightly floured surface.  Knead in enough of remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes).  Shape into a ball.  Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once.  Cover and let rise until double (about an hour).  NOTE: I don’t knead that much anymore because I let my KitchenAid Artisan Mixer* do all the work.  I mix it until it’s the same consistency and then let sit for an hour.  Although, if you bake breads a lot, I’d go with a KitchenAid Professional Mixer*.

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From here, I go onto Ree’s directions**.  Here’s where I start, though:

1 stick Butter, Melted

1-1/2 cup Sugar

3 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon

Icing

3 cups Powdered Sugar

2 Tablespoons Butter, Melted

1 Tablespoon Maple Extract or Coffee or 1 t vanilla (I used Maple syrup and coffee)

1/3 cup Whole Milk

Dash Of Salt

“Roll out dough onto a floured surface. Drizzle on melted butter and smear so that it covers all the dough. Mix together the sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle it all over the surface of the dough. (Dough should look very covered.)

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Cut the dough into 6 to 8 strips, then stack all the strips into one stack. Cut the stack of strips into 6 slices. Place the stacks sideways into a buttered bread pan. Do not cram the slices into the pan. (You may have a few leftover.) NOTE: I cut this in this recommended way the first time and ended up with smaller stacks.  On the second batch, I only cut into 4 strips initially and then cut the stack of strips into 6 stacks. You can see the difference in the two bread pans.

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Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, checking at 20 minutes to make sure it’s not getting too brown on top. It’s important to bake the bread long enough to ensure that the middle won’t be too doughy, because if it is it won’t pull apart easily. If the top looks like it’s getting too brown, cover it lightly with aluminum foil for the rest of the baking time. REPEAT: IT’S IMPORTANT TO BAKE THE BREAD LONG ENOUGH FOR THE CENTER TO NO LONGER BE DOUGHY.

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Remove the pan from the oven when it’s done. Run a knife around the edges and take the bread out of the pan. Mix together the icing ingredients and drizzle over the top, allowing it to sink into the crevices. Serve warm or room temperature!” (Pull-apart bread, 2012)

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I started to prep and cook tomorrow, but we are night owls, so I am cooking these at 11:30 pm.  If River eats them while we are sleeping…

The icing tastes delicious, by the way!  River told me I had reached perfection again.  The kids gobbled down and licked their plans part of the one with mini pull-part bread.  Hunter said it could be considered breakfast because it was after midnight.  Our kids.  Thank goodness for our years in virtual school.

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Still want home-cooked meals

The dilemma I face when we have professional work to do is how to still feed the family real, home-cooked meals while having to meet a rigid schedule on some days.  There are days where we have no schedule besides school or working via home.  Then there are other days of performances, fittings, photo shoots, you name it.  We have to be there on time and ready to go.

We had one imageof those days a few months ago and the photo is what our stove-top looked like at 8:20am.  Not only were all 4 kids in the photo shoot but we also had Geoff coming in from a long trip from Virginia, so I had to make sure that everything was in order before we left.  I started this post that day, but life has been really hard to catch up with lately, so I am finally getting around to completing this post.

I didn’t want to catch lunch on the run.  That’s expensive for all of us and it’s unhealthy overall.  I had everything timed perfectly.  Then, when we had to be there at 1:30 and it was 12:50, Zuri decided she had to sit on the potty for 10 minutes trying to pee.  Thank goodness, I had everything cooked and Hunter had set the table, including all the pots, serving spoons, etc.  He even add the cloth napkins and only the ones that had been ironed!

When we got to the shoot, it was one of the coldest days we had this year in NWFL.  The kids were freezing and had to look like it was summer.  They had fun, but it was a slightly crazy day being outdoors in summer clothes in January.  You can tell by Zuri’s face that she’s freezing her tushie off, but she did amazing and the magazine layout was adorable.  image

For me, it’s difficult to try to plan meals because cooking from scratch does take a lot of time and there are days that are just simply insane with our schedule.  Part of what my goal is to show others that real food can happen with an unpredictable lifestyle.  Much of what I post from now on will be able this subject because it has become important to me to help other families see that real food can happen even on a crazy schedule.

You won’t find deliberate sugar-free, gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan ideas here, but you won’t find a lot of crap in the food and recipes that I suggest.  Been there, done that.  Simple, high quality, real food is what is important.  Local food that has been raised without pesticides is best, beyond that organic food from the chain grocery stores is recommended second.  I’ll have a post soon about what I really think about USDA Organics and what it did to a lot of small farmers who are more “organic” than many of those who sport the organic seal.

What I look forward to sharing are simple ways to create amazing food from simple ingredients.  This morning, we had cinnamon crepes with caramel sauce, not because we are “all that,” but because those were the ingredients that I had in my kitchen and it was that or another morning of muffins.  No one wants muffins every damn day.

I promise to post more. A lot has happened in the last few months and a lot is happening in the near future.  It is exciting yet calm at the same time.  Thanks, for “listening.”