Pretty Polish: Christmas Mani

Wishing you and your loved ones a fabulous Christmas!  If you’re still not in the Christmas spirit after seeing my nails (I wouldn’t be surprised…), then watch these great videos or read this.

Mani Info:

Base coat- Orly Nailtrition

2 coats- Orly Lucky Duck

Dots- China Glaze Vertical Rush

Top coat- Poshe Super Fast Drying

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Delectable Dinner Rolls

I have this thing for carbs called L-O-V-E…

I was fortunate enough to grow up on these rolls.  Every family gathering I remember asking if Aunt Janni was going to bring her rolls.  And every time she did, I’m sure I had like 6.  One time, I clearly recall stuffing rolls in my pockets so I could have some more later.  See?  Love.  🙂

Fast forward several years and I was baking for myself.  I was ecstatic when I came across my aunt’s recipe in a cookbook my mom gave me.  The recipe is surprisingly easy and quick.  I always use rapid rise yeast and from start to finish I only have to wait 2.5 hours for warm fluffy rolls.  I have never had this recipe fail me but a friend of mine didn’t have good luck.  I have no idea why.  But… she admits to be a horrible baker.  So I would love to hear how the rolls turn out for you!

You really are just going to be dumping ingredients and mixing.  For this recipe, you need a stand mixer.  The dough is super moist and it’s easier to have the mixer do the kneading for you.  You can try hand kneading but I expect you’ll have to add a lot more flour to it which will make your result different.  Sorry!  But the good news is that you now have a perfectly good reason to buy a KitchenAid!  😉  One thing you won’t need is a thermometer.  Just run your tap water at the hottest setting until it gets to its hottest point and use that.  You can also substitute up to half of the flour in this recipe with whole wheat and the rolls turn out great.

Now when you get to the kneading part, you want to make sure that you get to the point where your dough is smooth and stretchy.

Look at the beautiful texture!  And those pockets of holes are a good thing.  Smooth, strong, stretchy with holes… perfect!

Now you need the dough to rise.  I am the type of person that will try to save myself from doing more dishes so in that spirit, I scrape one half of the bowl and spray the scraped bowl with cooking spray then repeat on the other side.  Like thus:

If your kitchen isn’t particularly warm for the dough to rise (or you just want to speed up the process like me), then try this trick.  Turn on your oven to 350 degrees F.  When the oven is finished preheating, turn it off.  Keep your towel covered bowl full of smooth dough goodness on top of the oven.  The oven will radiate the heat and keep the dough nice and warm so it can rise.  Do not keep the oven on though or the dough can actually start to bake which makes for some strange rolls.  Been there, done that.  😛

Now time for my confession… I don’t care too much how my rolls look so you’re not going to be getting any lessons on how to properly shape your dough.  I just shape them into as equally sized rolls as I can and be happy.

They’re lumpy and happy rolls, I think.  I was going to say the rolls should be golf-ball sized but they are definitely bigger than that.  I am more impulsive when I get to this part and I’ll start making rolls by grabbing handfuls of dough.  If I realize that some are too big, then I pinch off dough and add it to the smaller rolls and reshape them.  Writing this makes me think I should come up with a better system of doing this so if you have some good ideas, let me know!  The second rise is much quicker than the first and soon you’ll be able to eat warm carby deliciousness!

Delectable Dinner Rolls

2 Tbsp (2 packets) yeast

2 Tbsp powdered milk

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

3 1/2 cup flour

1 egg

1/4 cup oil

1 1/4 cup hot water

butter

Add all ingredients to your stand mixer and mix until combined.  Then turn up the power a speed or two (I use speed 2 on my KitchenAid) and mix until the dough gets smooth and stretchy (about 4 minutes).  Use cooking spray to coat a bowl for the dough to rise in.  Cover the bowl and keep in a warm place to rise until doubled.  Punch down the dough.  Butter your hands and form rolls.  Place in a greased 9×13 baking pan.  Cover and let rolls rise until doubled.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bake at that temperature for about 20 minutes.

Men Are That They Might Have Joy

I haven’t blogged for almost a month!  

I’m not going to make any apologies though…

This past month has been full of inward reflection as my extended family and I experienced the death of my niece, Gracia.  This, along with five other tragic deaths in the past five months of our friends and family, I had to take a step back from this blog out of respect.  Respect for the precious time I have with my own family.  Respect of the blog my sister created about Gracia’s life.  Respect to the truly important things and people of this world.

I recorded this video of my two year old about a week ago:

The day was cold, windy but sunny.  He was playing outside by himself and as I peeked out the window to check on him, he had the biggest smile on his face scooting around in circles with one foot.

As I joined him outside, the challenges that I was facing and those of my loved ones came to my mind.  We all have trials.  We all make mistakes.  We have heartache and suffering.  Yet, men are on earth to have joy.

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

The pain we feel while going through a hardship gives us the opportunity to know what joy feels like.  It’s easy to succumb to the awfulness of a situation.  My son could have felt frustrated that he could only pedal the bike in a circle.  He could have felt lonely or cold or inferior to others who could ride a trike better than he could.  Instead, he was so happy about what he could accomplish.  He enjoyed the ride that he was on.

So, this parable of the trike has entered into my thoughts.  We know our life isn’t going to be all roses but we still dislike the thorns that come and that’s ok.  It’s ok to be sad, frustrated, angry.  But then we need to turn our attention to enjoy the ride the best we can.  Focus on what we can learn, how we can change and (perhaps most importantly) the joy that is in our life- not the imagined happiness if circumstances that we can’t control were different.

I know there are many people who have been touched by tragedy, especially with the recent Connecticut school shooting.  We may feel like we’re out here by ourselves in the cold barely touching the ground to just move in circles but the sun is shining.  The wind feels nice against our cheeks.  We have someone cheering us on.  And just yesterday we couldn’t move at all…