Sweet quick bread is topped with rich brown sugar cinnamon swirl & drizzled with sweet powdered sugar icing; classic cinnamon roll flavors without the work. It’s no secret that I love an easy take on a classic cinnamon roll. My cinnamon roll bars with cream cheese frosting are one of my favorite treats. They’re dense and chewy and smothered in a decadent amount of fluffy frosting. Sometimes, though, I want something a little lighter, both in calories and in texture. When I do, I make this cinnamon roll bread. It’s a light bread with a touch of cinnamon and a rich brown sugar cinnamon swirl. Instead of traditional cream cheese frosting, it’s topped with a powdered sugar glaze. While I wouldn’t try to classify this bread as healthy, it is much lighter than most alternatives. The bread itself contains no butter or oil; it uses plain Greek yogurt and just a half cup of sugar. The ribbon of rich cinnamon and brown sugar adds just the right level of sweetness without overpowering the subtle flavor of the bread. And then- because, let’s be real, we can’t call it cinnamon roll anything without frosting- the whole thing is drizzled with a powdered sugar glaze. [Read more…]
I think there are a lot of people out there who consider themselves pretty competent in the kitchen. They can follow any basic recipe, maybe even add their own spin to things, and come up with a tasty end result.
But a lot of those people are scared of yeast.
There’s no need to fear yeast. In fact this recipe right here is not only the reason you shouldn’t be afraid of the stuff, it’s the reason you should full-on, open-arms, big-wet-sloppy-kiss embrace it.
Here’s the recipe. But first, a few rules:
Get a pizza stone. If you’re ever going to re-create restaurant-quality pizza at home, a pizza stone is a must. It’s the only way to get that crispy, chewy bottom crust without over-cooking the top. You can pick one up for around $20. The money you save from no longer ordering delivery (we don’t buy frozen pizza anymore, either) will quickly pay for the stone.
Use Parchment Paper. In this recipe I preheat the oven with the pizza stone inside. Do you know how easy it is to transfer a floppy, raw pizza to a piping hot pizza stone? It’s not. It’s actually pretty near impossible; I’ve tried it several times. Most attempts included two people, four spatulas, and lots of spilled toppings. Save yourself the trouble, and the cleanup, and buy a roll of parchment paper. It’ll last forever and, like the pizza stone, it will more than pay for itself.
Now, the good stuff:
1/2 c. hot water
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
4 c. bread flour
2 tsp. Oregano, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp. garlic salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/4 c. lukewarm water
2 tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing
toppings of choice (might I recommend making a jalapeno popper pizza?)
In a measuring cup or bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/2 cup of hot water. Water should be warm, but not so hot that you can’t stand to hold your hand under it as it comes from the faucet. Set the mixture aside for a minute or two.
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, briefly stir together the flour, half of the Oregano, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the garlic salt.
Add the lukewarm water to the yeast mixture and stir gently until most of the yeast is dissolved. Add the olive oil.
With the mixer on low (for a KitchenAid, this is the “stir” setting), add the yeast mixture to the flour. Mix for about a minute until the dough starts to form a ball around the paddle. Remove the paddle attachment and replace it with the dough hook. Mix (KitchenAid setting 2) for 4-5 minutes. The dough should be cleaning the side of the bowl. The dough might be sticky at this point, but it should be smooth and shiny.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, or remove the dough from the mixing bowl, clean and spray the bowl, and put the dough back in. Turn the dough so the oiled side is facing up. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.
After dough has risen, remove the plastic wrap and punch the dough down. Place your pizza stone in the oven on the second-to-bottom rack and preheat to 475 degrees. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and, using flour-dusted hands, knead the dough once or twice and shape it into a ball.
Divide the ball into two balls of equal size. Cover them with a damp towel and let them sit for 15-30 minutes.
**This recipe makes two pizzas, hence the two balls. If you want to freeze one chunk of dough for later use, do it now. Rather than cover the ball with a towel, simply wrap it in plastic wrap (the piece you used to cover the bowl of rising dough will work perfectly), place in a freezer bag, and put right in the freezer. To prepare the frozen dough, just remove the bag from the freezer and place it in the fridge 24 hours before you plan to use it. Prepare using the rest of the steps. Or, you can use the second half to make thesehomemade freezer calzones.**
When dough is finished resting, use a rolling pin or your hands to shape the ball in to a large circle. Lightly flour your hands, the pizza, and your work surface as needed. If dough doesn’t spread and springs back as you try to shape it, cover it with the towel and let it rest for another 10-15 minutes before trying again. Once pizza has reached your desired size (10-12 inches works best) transfer it to parchment paper. Using a fork, dock the dough by poking holes all through the crust, being sure to leave an un-docked one-inch rim.
Bake the un-topped crust for 5-7 minutes, or until it just begins to turn golden and lose it’s shine. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the outside crust with olive oil. Add your toppings and finish by sprinkling with Oregano.
Return the pizza to the oven for 6-8 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the crust is a dark golden color. Remove the pizza and immediately brush the crust with olive oil again. Don’t worry about the edge being greasy; the crust will absorb the oil. Sprinkle the just-oiled crust with garlic salt.
What are your favorite pizza toppings?
(this post contains affiliate links; to learn more, see my disclosure policy)
I conducted a poll on my Facebook page, asking my friends and followers what no- or low-cost gifts they would love to receive for Mother’s Day. The responses I received were creative and heart-warming, so I’m sharing my favorites here with you.
1. Write her a letter
Most moms, even those whose children are grown, feel unappreciated at times. One of the friends who commented on my post suggested something so sweet and simple that I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it yet myself: a handwritten letter.
Your letter could discuss any number of things: favorite memories, special lessons learned, hopes or plans for the future. If you’re a parent yourself, you could mention all the ways your mom has influenced your own parenting. If you don’t have kids, consider telling her all of the best parts of your childhood that you plan to incorporate into your own family.
Bonus points: continue the handwritten letter theme with these placemats.
2. Create a photo book
Photo albums are so 1999. These days, it’s much more efficient and fun to create a photo book online. Use your digital photos, or scan your old prints, to create a book that you can customize with text and templates. My favorite site to create photo books is Shutterfly <– (this is a referral link, but if you use it, you get a free 8 x 8 book).
Bonus points: rally your siblings and do something wild, like recreate photos from your childhood.
3. Take care of something she hates
Maybe mom loves having a clean, detailed car, but she hates washing it herself. Perhaps she’s been dreaming of repainting a room, but hasn’t yet found the time and effort. Maybe mom constantly reminisces about a memorable meal, but she lacks the skill or equipment to recreate it.
To really make Mother’s Day special for your mom, think about the projects or goals she has and how you can help her reach them. Often, the tasks she needs or wants done require more time than money, so this is an especially good option if you’re short on cash.
Bonus points: create something with your own two hands.
4. Gather everyone together
If you have siblings that are spread far and wide, gather everyone together to celebrate mom. Even if it can’t happen right on Mother’s Day, having all of her kids in one place will definitely induce happy tears. Most moms of grown children would tell you the greatest gift you can give is to get all of her babies in one place.
Bonus points: get professional photos taken while everyone is together.
5. Make it Mother’s Week
I remember wondering, when I was a kid, why there was a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, but no Kid’s Day. I didn’t really get it when my mom replied that “every day is Kid’s Day”.
I definitely get it now. Moms are incredibly underappreciated, so this year, fake her out by turning what she thinks is a Mother’s Day celebration into a week’s worth of love. Get her seven gifts to open, or plan seven special meals. The work you put into a weeklong show of appreciation will tell mom just how grateful you are for her.
Bonus points: create a theme for the week and center every gift, meal, or act of service around that.
Need Mother’s Day recipe inspiration? Check out these simple and tasty brunch recipes.
What Mother’s Day gift make syour mom cry happy tears?
(this post contains affiliate links; to learn more, see my disclosure policy)
Welcome to our April Blog Hop!
This month we are focusing on all things Mother’s Day…it’s only a couple of weeks away! Get ready for some great ideas, inspiration and how -tos as you move along through the blog hop.
You may just be starting, or may have come from Anna International on our Living with Style Blog Hop. If you get off track at any time, the full lineup below will help you move along from blog to blog so you make sure to see and learn from all of the articles featured here today.
I think I went to one of the only high schools in the country that still has an off-campus lunch period.
Every day, my friends and I had 35 glorious minutes of freedom. No cafeteria food for us. Sometimes we’d head to someone’s house, or to McDonald’s (hello, dollar menu), or to DQ.
Or sometimes, if we were feeling particularly gastronomically-courageous, we would walk to the little cinder block convenience store on Main Street. They served everything from chimichangas and burritos to pizza sticks and sausage pockets. Their smorgasbord of fried food was the type only teenagers can eat and live to tell about; remembering the way the smell would cling to my clothes still makes me cringe.
These oven-fried chimichangas are everything you wish you could get from your local hole-in-the-wall, but without the lingering smell and the quadruple-digit calorie count.
They’re baked instead of fried, so they’re much healthier than the version you might be used to. Before baking, the tops are brushed with butter and sprinkled with salt to achieve a delightfully crisp and crunchy outer shell while maintaining a melty inside.
(Notice anything different about these photos? Like maybe that they’re a million times better than any that I’ve ever taken? That’s because they were taken by my oh-so-talented sister-in-law, Ashley.)
oven-fried chicken chimichangas
adapted from Big Oven
2/3 cup salsa (green or red both taste great; sometimes I use a combination of both)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on the heat of your salsa, or your personal preference, you might want to omit this)
1/4 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
1 cup shredded cheese (I usually use cheddar because that’s what I have; use your favorite)
6 medium flour tortillas
1 tbs butter, melted
garnish(es) of choice: sour cream, guacamole, salsa, cheese, tomatoes, etc.
It’s three months into the new year. Maybe your weight loss resolutions aren’t going as well as planned. Or maybe they are, but you’re growing tired of the same boring, low-calorie options. Here are three winstead wandering-approved recipes to break you out of your breakfast rut without busting your resolutions.
egg sandwich from a cup of jo
This recipe is touted as “the best egg sandwich you’ll ever have. While I have to disagree (the breakfast sandwiches J. and I make, my mom’s recipe, are hands-down the best ever) this is likely the best for under 300 calories. The recipe is actually written by Deb of Smitten Kitchen, so you know right off that it’s a winner.
The recipe basically has you beat an egg and and pour it into a pan. You cook the egg a little, like a crepe, pile cheese in the middle, and wrap the egg up around the cheese. When you put the egg-wrapped cheese on a toasted English muffin, you have a delicious treasure chest of hot egg and gooey cheese, all wrapped up in a 270 calorie* package.
*calories are based on using a whole wheat English muffin and a slice of American cheese
The days are longer, the temperature is warmer, and the local Piggly Wiggly has some beautiful produce.
Because it’s Spring, y’all.
What better way to welcome the season than with a batch- or four- of this sweet homemade strawberry sauce?
My favorite way to enjoy this sauce is in a glass of cold lemonade. The strawberry and lemonade combo? Red Robin has nothing on me.
In addition to the lemonade, strawberry sauce adds a sweet freshness to cheesecake, ice cream, or waffles or pancakes.
Or you can just enjoy it right off the spoon.
homemade strawberry sauce
2 cups sliced or diced strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Um, where did March go?
Between the whirlwind of the end of one term and the start of another, a week out of state for spring break, and all of the final decision-making before construction of our house is complete in a couple weeks, I feel like I barely blinked and the month is gone.
I did manage to write some posts in the midst of the craziness, though. Here are the most-viewed posts of March:
This is a recipe I posted a couple months back. The fact that it’s still getting a lot of hits is a testament to how ridiculously tasty it is.
Have a budget? Want to be clothed? Check out this post.
As a parent of two toddlers- G. is four and B. is two- the internet would have me belief that there are a ton of products out there that I have to have. As a mom who’s tried many of those products, I can attest that there are few worth spending money on. Here are my favorites.
These pouches aren’t just for babies. In fact, as a mom of picky eaters, I plan to buy them for as long as my kids will eat them. With flavors like Spinach, Pea, Pear and Sweet Potato, Apple, Carrot, I feel zero guilt giving my kids one of these as a snack. The bonus is that they’re great for tossing in a diaper bag when we’re on the go.
These pouches can be purchased individually at the grocery store for anywhere from $1.00 to $1.75 each, depending on the the brand and the ingredients, but the best deals are on Amazon.
We’ve owned a lot of sippy cups. A lot. I’ve chosen them based on price, reviews, characters. I’ve regretted some of the purchases I’ve made because, for one reason or another, the cups didn’t live up to expectations. After several false starts, I finally discovered our favorite sippy cup brand.
These Gerber Graduate Fun Grips cups are durable, leak-proof, and easy to clean. The lids are mix and match, so we don’t have to worry about keeping each cup with its lid.
I thought Shout Color Catchers were a gimmick when they first came out. After all, we don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets. But after I tried them and discovered that I could wash brand-new, brightly-colored clothes in the same load as older clothes, with no bleeding or staining, I was hooked. Now we always have a box on hand.
I got these pants a few weeks ago during spring break. I just don’t have words to describe how much I love them. The fabric is moisture-wicking and the perfect thickness. They’re fitted, of course,but without being too tight, and the waistline hits at just the right level.
My mother-in-law bought Big Hero 6, mostly for J., a few weeks ago. It’s been watched several times since, by all of us at one time or another. It definitely meets the standard that Disney set with movies like Tangled and Monsters, Inc.; it’s a movie our whole family loves.
What are you loving this week?
(this post contains affiliate links; for more information, see my disclosure policy)