Adventures In Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Little Man Making Bread

Ever since I received a FREE breadmaker from a fellow Freecycler, I’ve been obsessed with making my own breads.  Usually I just make loaves of country bread since they’re easy and simple, but recently I’ve been venturing out into specialty breads like Italian and, you guessed it, cinnamon.

bread

Not only is it much cheaper to make your own bread versus buying bread from a store, but you also get to control the ingredients that go into your bread.  I don’t know about you, but I quite enjoy knowing that there are no preservatives or funky ingredients going into my bread that should only have the basic baking ingredients found in every cook’s kitchen and the only way to know for sure is to bake it yourself.

Being a family of sweet-toothed individuals, it only seemed right that one recipe I try to conquer is homemade cinnamon rolls.  Because I assumed they were too difficult to make, I’ve always bought my cinnamon rolls in one of those tubes you find in the refrigerated isle of your grocery store next to the other cold, processed raw breads.  While it definitely takes more work to make your own cinnamon rolls from scratch at home, it’s worth the effort AND it’s something you can do with the kiddos!

This recipe was adapted from a similar recipe found over at The Enchanting Rose.  I found that, for me at least, the recipe needed more flour than was called for in the original recipe.

Adventures In Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
 
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Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2 pans

Ingredients
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons yeast
  • CINNAMON FILLING: ¼ cup melted butter, sugar, cinnamon

Instructions
  1. Put the first 7 ingredients in your bread machine {in the order suggested by your machine’s manufacturer}. Run through the dough setting.
  2. Dust your work space with flour and place the dough on the counter. Split the dough into two loaves. Each loaf will make one pan of cinnamon rolls.
  3. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin and pour the melted butter over the raw dough. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon {no need to measure – just put as little or as much as you want}.
  4. Carefully roll the dough into a log shape and slice with a knife into even chunks {1-1/2 inches wide or so}. Spray lightly with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm area until doubled in size – about an hour.
  5. Place into a greased pan and bake at 350-degrees for about 20-minutes.
  6. Once cinnamon rolls are cooked, drizzle with icing {if you don’t have a favorite recipe, just combine 2 cups of powdered sugar, a few tablespoons of milk, and a tsp of vanilla extract until desired consistency}.
  7. Cool slightly and ENJOY!

 

Like I said, this recipe does call for quite a bit more work than simply opening a can and baking the dough inside, but it’s worth the effort.  I chose to bake one pan and stick the other pan in the freezer after it rose. If you choose to do the same, just thaw out the frozen rolls before baking.

All-in-all, I probably won’t stop buying those processed pre-packaged cinnamon rolls, but I had fun making homemade cinnamon rolls with Little Man.  Plus, both my husband and son were still talking about our cinnamon rolls the next day!

Gabrielle

Copycat KFC Coleslaw

Copycat KFC Coleslaw Recipe

What says SUMMER better than a picnic and what says PICNIC more than coleslaw? It’s a classic dish and I’m yet to attend a get-together that doesn’t boast some type of homemade coleslaw.

That being said, Daddy has been hounding me recently to make some coleslaw and when asked what type he wanted, he replied with, “Well, I like KFC’s coleslaw… can you make that?”

Is that a challenge?

After checking my bag of tricks, and by “bag of tricks” I mean Pinterest, I found this Copycat KFC Coleslaw recipe and wasted no time whipping up a batch.  After all, I couldn’t let the boys figure out I don’t know how to make everything, could I?

ColeslawHere’s how *I* made it:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • dash of hot sauce
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix {you can make your own, but I just used a bag I found at Walmart}

As if the rest isn’t pretty self-explanatory, you mix the first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl and then fold in the coleslaw mix until it’s well coated.

Many recipes call for you to let the mixture sit for a few hours, covered, in the refrigerator, but Daddy dug right in and swore it tasted just like KFC’s version of coleslaw.  I will say, though, that if you’re looking for TRUE KFC coleslaw, you should make the coleslaw mix yourself so that you can cut the shredded pieces of cabbage and carrots smaller than pre-packaged. All you need is about 3 cups shredded cabbage and a cup of shredded carrots to equal what’s in the pre-packaged bag.

Hope you like this Copycat KFC Coleslaw recipe as much as we did!

Gabrielle

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Welcoming The New Walmart Neighborhood Market

Walmart Neighborhood Market

I admit it… Walmart is one of those stores I love to hate.  I hate that they seem to push small companies out of business, but I love the prices and deals you can find there!  It’s kind of hard to hate a company that allows to you stick to your family’s food budget every month.

That being said, I was so excited to find out that there’s a new Walmart in my town – a Walmart Neighborhood Market, to be exact.  I didn’t find out until after the opening, but the new store is only 3 miles from my house!  The difference between this Walmart and the old Walmart {which is only about 3 miles or so further than this new one} is that this Walmart is a Neighborhood Market and the other is a Supercenter.

How close is your closest Walmart?  Do you shop at it, or do you choose to pay a little extra to shop at a regular grocery store?

Gabrielle

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

The Best Chocolate Chip CookiesNothing says “Lovin’ From The Oven” quite like a batch of warm chocolate chip cookies. I think we all have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe that takes us back to the good ol’ days.  Whether it’s a crunchy cookie you dip in milk or a soft, warm, ooey, gooey chocolate chip cookie you couldn’t dip in a glass of milk if you tried, chocolate chip cookies are one of the most iconic cookies in the world.

I’ve been searching for a good chocolate chip cookie recipe for years now and until recently, I just couldn’t find one that gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.  I guess I always envisioned the perfect chocolate chip cookie being similar to those made by my Grandmother.  They were always chewy and because nobody knew how to replicate them, war always broke out in our household when my step-father would bring home a batch that my Grandfather had brought him during one their lunch dates.

Yes, they were good enough to take a boney elbow from my little brother over…

Well, folks, after all those years of searching, I have finally stumbled upon what can truly be called The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies!!  They’re easy to prepare, the dough is amazing {yes, I’ve eaten more raw dough than cooked cookie at this point…}, and the finished cookie is crisp on the outside, but chewy and moist on the inside.  They also stay that way for days after you make them; if they last that long!

cookies

This chocolate chip cookie recipe is adapted from one found over at Sally’s Baking Addiction.  The difference is that I didn’t use dark brown sugar {simply because I didn’t have any} and I didn’t use corn starch, I just substituted 4 tsp extra flour for the 2 tsp corn starch.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
 
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Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author:
Serves: TONS

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups + 4 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips {I went overboard, feel free to cut this in half}

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. The original recipe calls for you to chill the dough first… I found this unnecessary since I was seriously craving cookies and didn’t want to wait. hee hee}
  2. With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until they are light and fluffy. If you’re using a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla; mix until combined.
  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in the mixing bowl.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. You don’t want to use the mixer for this because it will break up the chocolate chips and make for a not-so-pretty cookie.
  6. Scoop by tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they start to brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let sit for 3-5 minutes. The cookies will be puffy so if you want them flattened a little, just pat them with the top of your spatula like I did.
  7. Let the pan cool completely before batches or you risk burning the bottom of the cookies before they’re done!

 

Just a little side note, this recipe makes for a LOT of dough.  I made a few batches, ate a bunch, and still have over half the dough I started with!  My best suggestion would be to either make all of the dough and then freeze the cookies in freezer bags, or scoop the dough onto a greased cookie sheet, freeze for 2 hours, and then put in a freezer bag.  You can cook directly from frozen, or put them in the fridge to thaw before you bake them.  Freezing the raw dough is my preferred method because it allows you to have fresh-from-the-oven cookies every time :)

Gabrielle

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Breakfast Casserole Recipe

Breakfast Casserole

Don’t you just love recipes that can be prepared, cooked, and served in the same dish?  I don’t have a dish washer, I do all our dishes by hand, and every dish I can eliminate having to wash is a bonus for me.

That’s why I was so excited when I ran across this recipe for breakfast casserole. It’s actually adapted from a crock-pot recipe originally posted on Shaken Together.  What I love about this recipe is that it’s completely interchangeable to what you have in your refrigerator and can be made in the crock-pot or the oven.

Here’s What You Need:

  • 1 package hasbrown potatoes {I used a smaller pan and ended up only using half the bag… you can also shred your own potatoes, if you want to put in the extra effort}
  • 6-8 eggs, slightly beat
  • 1/2 lb ground sausage and/or crumbled bacon {already cooked}
  • 1 cup shredded cheese {feel free to use more or less depending on your preference}
  • Optional:  While I didn’t use any additional ingredients in my casserole, there’s nothing to say that it won’t taste great with some onions, peppers, tomatoes, or anything else you’d throw into your favorite omelet. 

Now, all you need to do is assemble your casserole!  First, layer the potatoes on the bottom of a casserole dish {I highly recommend you spray it with some kind of cooking spray in case it tries to stick}.  Pour your beaten eggs over the potatoes, then add a layer of sausage {and/or bacon}, and top with cheese.  Throw it in a 350-degree oven for about 45-minutes and you’re done!  Let it cool slightly and serve.

Breakfast Casserole Recipe
 
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Easy breakfast casserole in less than an hour.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 package hashbrown potatoes
  • 6-8 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ½ lb ground sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

Instructions
  1. Evenly spread the potatoes on the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Pour the eggs over the potatoes and then sprinkle the crumbled sausage over the eggs and potatoes. Cover the casserole with a layer of shredded cheese.
  2. Bake at 350-degrees for 45-minutes to an hour.
  3. Let cool slightly, but serve warm.

 

For those wanting to cook this in the crock-pot, just layer the ingredients as stated above and cook on low-heat for 3-5 hours.  I’ve never tried this method, but have read reviews that it turns out really good in the crock-pot as well. Just make sure you keep an eye on it, as some reported the cheese burning around the sides if left in the crock-pot too long.

So, what do you think?  It may not look the prettiest, but it was drool-worthy and everyone went back for seconds :)

Make sure you PIN this recipe for later!  You can use the handy button below…

Gabrielle

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FREE Redbox 1-Night Movie Rental {Valid 7/24 ONLY}

Redbox Logo

Oooo, check it out!  Another Redbox movie code for a FREE DVD rental from Redbox, valid today only.

To claim your FREE 1-night DVD rental code, just head to your closest Redbox kiosk, pick a movie you’ve been dying to see {like The Incredible Burt Wonderstone or Jack The Giant Slayer} and enter the code HGNN77TT.

Please note, you’ll still have to slide your credit card at the kiosk in case you choose to keep your movie longer than one night, but you won’t be charged for tonight.

Thanks, Budget Savvy Diva!

Gabrielle

S’mores Bars Recipe

s'mores bars

You know those cravings you get that just won’t go away and are so specific, that not even something SIMILAR to the food you’re yearning for will do?  Everything you eat or drink gets compared to that particular flavor your taste buds are screaming for and you just don’t feel right until you’ve satisfied that craving.

That’s how I was feeling about s’mores today.  I kept finding myself wandering into the kitchen and leisurely scanning the cabinets for something, ANYTHING, to calm my craving for s’mores.  Of course, this lead to me scrolling the pages of Pinterest for s’mores inspired recipes.

Nothing jumped out at me.

Then I came up with the idea to piece together my own recipe from the few that I found and pinned for later use.  This is what I came up with.

s'mores bars pic 2

What makes my recipe so special?

Maybe it’s the delicious chocolate chip graham cracker cookie base.  Or maybe it’s the toasted marshmallow topping with silky chocolate drizzle.  Whatever it is, this is one recipe you’ll be glad you added to your cookie arsenal!

 

Here’s What You Need:

  •  1 stick butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 jar marshmallow fluff {or 2 cups mini marshmallows}
  • Chocolate Drizzle {optional, but encouraged}:  1/2 cup chocolate chips + 1/2 can {14 oz} sweetened condensed milk… Mix together, microwave for 1-minute, stir, and drizzle :)

1.  Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

2.  Cream together softened butter and brown sugar.  Add egg and vanilla, beat well.

3.  In a small bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and sea salt.  Slowly add these dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

4.  Press the dough into a greased 8×11 baking pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through to the center {a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan should slide out clean.}.

5.  When done, remove pan from oven and turn on your broiler.  Immediately scoop the marshmallow fluff onto the warm cookie. The marshmallow will slowly begin to melt as you spread the marshmallow across the cookie.

6.  After the marshmallow has been evenly spread across the top of the warm cookie base, stick the pan under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.  Make sure you watch it carefully, as marshmallow can go from golden brown to BLACK very quickly.

7.  Microwave your chocolate drizzle {recipe above} and pour into a piping bag {a zip lock bag works just as well}.  Drizzle the chocolate across the top of the bars and let cool.  You’re done!

S’mores Bars Recipe
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: a lot

Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 jar marshmallow fluff {or 2 cups mini marshmallows}
  • Chocolate Drizzle {optional, but encouraged}: ½ cup chocolate chips + ½ can {14 oz} sweetened condensed milk… Mix together, microwave for 1-minute, stir, and drizzle

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Cream together softened butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla, beat well.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and sea salt. Slowly add these dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Press the dough into a greased 8×11 baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through to the center {a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan should slide out clean.}.
  5. When done, remove pan from oven and turn on your broiler. Immediately scoop the marshmallow fluff onto the warm cookie. The marshmallow will slowly begin to melt as you spread the marshmallow across the cookie.
  6. After the marshmallow has been evenly spread across the top of the warm cookie base, stick the pan under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure you watch it carefully, as marshmallow can go from golden brown to BLACK very quickly.
  7. Microwave your chocolate drizzle {recipe above} and pour into a piping bag {a zip lock bag works just as well}. Drizzle the chocolate across the top of the bars and let cool. You’re done!

 

The end result is an ooey, gooey s’mores bar that will definitely please every s’mores lover in your home.

If you like the recipe, make sure you PIN it!  I’ve included a handy button below :)

Gabrielle

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Quick & Easy Broiled Tilapia

A Quick & Easy Broiled Tilapia Recipe

Looking for a healthy meal you can throw together in a matter of MINUTES that will have the whole family complimenting your cooking abilities?  Then check out this Quick & Easy Broiled Tilapia Recipe that I threw together in less than a half hour

That includes the time it took to thaw the fish, chop the potatoes, and pre-heat the oven!

Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 fillets of Tilapia, thawed
    {if frozen, place in a large bowl of cool water for 15-minutes, replacing water every 5-minutes}
  • 4 Tbs lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Broiled Fish - rawPreheat your broiler and set your top rack to the top-middle half of your oven. Lay each piece of fish on a wire rack on top of a foil-lined baking sheet.  Pour 1 Tbs of lemon juice over each filet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Flip the fish over, pour the remaining lemon juice over the fillets, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the fish under the broiler for about 5-minutes or until the outer edges are white, but the center is still slightly pink.  Flip the fish fillets and broil until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  Serve with your favorite veggies and enjoy!

Quick & Easy Broiled Tilapia
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Lunch, Dinner
Serves: 2

Ingredients
  • 2 fillets of Tilapia, thawed
  • 4 Tbs lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
  1. Preheat your broiler and set your top rack to the top-middle half of your oven.
  2. Lay each piece of fish on a wire rack on top of a foil-lined baking sheet. Pour 1 Tbs of lemon juice over each filet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip the fish over, pour the remaining lemon juice over the fillets, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the fish under the broiler for about 5-minutes or until the outer edges are white, but the center is still slightly pink. Flip the fish fillets and broil until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Serve with your favorite veggies and enjoy!

 

When making this recipe, make sure you watch your fish carefully so it doesn’t overcook.  You’re looking for a moist, flakey fish. When the fish flakes easily with a fork, you’re done!

If you like this recipe, make sure you PIN it for others to check out!  I’ve included a handy button below for your convenience :)

Gabrielle

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Two Ingredient Cherry Cake Recipe {Weight Watchers Friendly – 2 pts}

Two Ingredient Cherry Cake

Now that I’ve given birth and am trying to lose all that excess baby weight, I’ve been trying to eat healthier.  Whether it’s baking my chicken instead of frying it, or throwing together a fruit salad and ignoring that delicious looking box of chocolate chip cookies, I’m finding little ways every day to get rid of the fat and substitute it with healthier food choices.

One thing that just isn’t going to give up, though, is that sweet tooth of mine.  I know me and eating healthy isn’t going to last if I’m not able to snack from time-t0-time.  That’s why I was so excited when I ran across this delicious cherry cake recipe on Pinterest!  Not only does it only take TWO ingredients, but it’s Weight Watchers friendly at only 2 points! {No, I’m not doing Weight Watchers, but if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me…}.

Cherry Cake IngredientsHere’s What You Need:

  • 1 box of cake mix {I used Super Moist White, but you can pretty much use any cake mix}
  • 1 can cherry pie filling or topping {Again, you can use pretty much any flavor, though… I plan on using blueberry next.}

Preheat your oven to 350-degrees.  Combine cake mix and pie filling.  Yup, that’s it!  No additional ingredients need :)  Pour batter into a greased pie pan and bake for 30-minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Two Ingredient Cherry Cake Recipe {Weight Watchers Friendly – 2 pts}
 
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Two ingredient cherry cake recipe that’s Weight Watchers friendly at only 2-points per serving!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 can cherry pie filling/topping {can use any other flavor, as well}

Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Combine cake mix and pie filling. Yup, that’s it! No additional ingredients need :)
  3. Pour batter into a greased pie pan and bake for 30-minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  4. Let cool and enjoy!
  5. Optional: Sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered sugar.

I know it sounds too good to be true, guys, but trust me, it really works and it’s BEYOND delicious!  I posted the recipe on my personal Facebook page and within a day, a cousin of mine had made this cake and was boasting about how yummy it was.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!  If you like it, make sure you PIN it for others to check-out.  I’ve included a handy button below to make it easy :)

Gabrielle

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Happy 7-Eleven Day!

logoSlurpee

 

If you’ve looked at the calendar today, then odds are you’ve realized it’s 7/11/13.  To celebrate the date that boasts the same name as their business, 7-Eleven is giving away FREE small Slurpees ALL DAY LONG!

SWEET!

All you need to do to claim your FREE Slurpee is head to your local 7-eleven, “grab a cup and do the dance”!

I plan on getting my favorite flavor, cherry :)  Which flavor of Slurpee do YOU like?

Gabrielle

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