Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Warm, Gooey Goodness

I've been a little obsessed lately with yeast breads. Especially the sweet kinds--like cinnamon rolls. For those out there that are interested in a divine piece of winter comfort food, read on.

Here's my basic recipe that I prepare in a stand mixer with a dough hook. You can, of course, mix by hand or in your bread machine.

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 envelope)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup melted and cooled butter
1 tsp. salt
4.5 cups flour (or half white, half wheat flour)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Cinnamon

Mix sugar into warm milk and add in yeast. Let sit in a warm place for 10 minutes. In mixer, beat the eggs, salt and melted butter. Add in yeast mixture and then slowly blend in flour. Add in additional flour if needed1 Tbsp at a time until dough is smooth and cleans sides of the bowl. Add 1 tsp of water at a time if dough is too dry. Knead for 5 minutes then cover with saran wrap or a tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface, punch down and let it sit for 10-15 minutes (letting it sit again will make it easier to roll out). Roll into a 16" x 22" rectangle and spread the softened stick of butter all the way to the narrow sides and to within 1 inch of 1 of the longer sides . Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon and evenly cover the butter. Roll up the dough starting on one long side and then seal the edges with a little water to "glue the ends together. Using a sharp knife or the good ol' dental floss method, cut the roll in half, then in half again. Cut your quarters into thirds--giving you 12 evenly sized cinnamon rolls. Place into a greased 9"X13" pan, cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Now just bake 'em off at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes, frost and ENJOY!!

Mix 4 oz of cream cheese, 1/2 stick of butter and 1 tsp vanilla until well blended. Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Urge to Purge

Yes, the "Urge" has struck our home yet once again; this time it comes in the form of old toys, clothing and various sundry items that have been posted on Freecycle, given away as hand-me-downs or donated to charity. Each year I go on a MAJOR binge. My children hide, my husband cheers me on until I discover his secret stash of random computer parts/cables or his favorite pair of shoes that have seen better days and I work myself into a sweaty lather and need to reapply deodorant more than once before lunch time rolls around. What can I say? A fun time is had by all.

Seriously though, soon after Christmas it seems that I get a feel of what the kids don't need anymore or what they're not going to play with and I feel empowered to rid my apartment of all the extraneous schtuff that we've accumulated. A select few items actually hit the eBay auction block, the rest just isn't worth the time it takes to list. Those items are actually things that people in the real world would want--go figure.

If you have been hit with The Urge, I'd encourage you to check out a site like Freecycle or Craigslist and see if someone in your area would be interested in what you've got. It keeps one more thing out of the landfill and makes one person a few dollars richer. Call it karma, call it paying-it-forward, whatever way you look at it you'll feel better when it's all said and done.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I've got a few Works In Progress right now but I've set them aside for a little while in order to bring some peace into the midst of my chaotic stash. I spent two days (hey, little kids are VERY demanding) folding all my fabric into 11"X7" parcels. Now I need only to get a cabinet to house them. They're currently looking very sad in a large clear storage tote. It's a rather large tote. They are so pitiful in there--they need to be housed in a way that declares, "I am something wonderful!!"
Anyhow, my WIPs are a cute little baby blanket for one of Bill's coworkers who just had a baby girl, a blankie for my cousin's baby boy, a gaucho set for my 9 year old 2nd cousin, a pair of mosaic jeans for Micaela (see the DIY kits offered by Megan of Creative Outlet Designs) and a pair of mosaics for Lara. When all of my WIPs are done I hope to share some of my stash with you all. :) Fun times here in the Kunkel house.

On a side note: Lara's much better, just tired and Hailey... well, I think she's on the mend. Still sharing some ketones.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Update: Vomitron 2K8

Well, despite my optimism, Lara and Hailey took another ride today. The Pediatrician says that all will be well in time. He also put to rest my 5 year long concern with the rubbing alcohol smell that my children sport when they're sick--it's ketones. Give 'em a little gatorade or pedialyte and smell-begone! Apparently people give off ketones when their body is trying to burn energy and there's nothing left to give. It's the smell of body fat being eaten up, which really isn't good for little kids. It can actually lead to hospitalization so he suggested giving them some quick sugar to burn and keeping them hydrated with a caloric drink. Long term: make sure they're taking in enough to eat. It's actually pretty hard to do that when they're sick and not keeping things in, so short term fix: sugary drink. Treatment at the hospital: sugar-water administered via IV.

Man... if only I could figure out a way to give off some ketones myself--I could use a solution to my overly adequate lovehandles.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Goodness Gracious!

The Plague entered our home 2 weeks and 2 days ago. It still resides with us. How on earth can a bug last this long??? It seems that each of us has had a relapse of the flu bug this go around, some us us had a more violent recurrence of the ickies than others.

After a relatively quiet morning here I am optimistic that none of us will have to ride Vomitron 2K8 again but I'm not hanging up the ol' puke bucket yet--that thing has proven to be worth its weight in gold. Our apartment has the lovely aroma of Crisp Cotton Lysol greeting all who dare to enter and all the Kunkels are sporting a lovely eau de Purell.

Fun times. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

No Way

Just had to post: Hailey's been running on about 6-8 steps per try the last few days. Today she blew the record away with a whopping 21 steps!!!

What's in a name?

Ever since Lara could talk, she's been amusing us greatly. She is soooo sensitive to any attention and she's very shy so we have to be careful to not hurt her feelings by laughing at things she may say while not intending to be funny. Case in point: Last night she was eating dinner and I asked her where her food goes after she puts it in her mouth. Most kids would answer, "My tummy!!" Not Lara. Her simple, matter of fact answer was, "In my butt." ::points to her bottom:: Bill and I laughed, Lara cried.

All that aside, Lara frequently makes up her own words. She used to name all of her dances... we had the shabba dooba dance, the pringa, the pop-tart dance, etc. Soon after she ran out of dances, she started to make up her own names for her toys. The trend may have started during my pregnancy with Hailey when we were trying to come up with baby names, I'm not sure, but whenever it started, she went full force at it.

Over the Christmas holiday, each of the girls got a little toy frog. It is a little plastic frog, opaque with two little metal contact points on the bottom. Whenever you hold the frog in your palm or put him in the water he has little LEDs that flash inside and he lights up. Lara immediately felt compelled to name ALL of the frogs. Let's see... we have Fronsen, Froggert and Fronnah. Fronnah is our only female froggie. I can sort of see where the names come from--they're all derived from the fro- prefix found in frog. This is a systematic approach that I could rationalize. It's the trend she follows frequently; her animals are often named by their color. She has her popples: Pinky, her puppy: Black'n'Brown, her ethnic Barbie: Brownie. You get the picture.

Things took a turn this week when we made a quick stop at McDonald's. She got a My Little Pony toy and was overjoyed. Her little pony comes with a vanity that you plaster with little accessory stickers that illustrate a mirror, brush, comb, compact and a few other vanity-esque items. She has a little pedestal that she locks onto to sit and primp herself in front of the mirror when she needs some extra attention. I'm cool with all of that. I will say though that I was mildly alarmed at the name she chose for her new pony: Fashion.

Last night Lara slept with Fashion. This morning Fashion watched Lara eat her cheerios. I'm only hoping that Lara sticks with her pony instead of label shopping for a few more years.
In the mean time I'm going to quit watching the Style network.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Beginnings

Well, here is my very first post on Blogger! Up to this point, I've been casually blogging on EC whenever I get around to it, but I thought that I would try something new in this NEW year.

It seems that life is moving quicker that I can keep up with everything going on around me so get ready for my little whirlwind of thoughts--hopefully I don't lose any of you!