Christmas Cinnamon Roll Reindeer Breakfast {Or, The Illusion of Being Busy}

Reindeer Christmas Cinnamon Rolls

Well, it’s that time of year again . . . when it’s actually NEXT year (January) and I still have yet to post any of my Christmas projects or recipes. Never mind Halloween or Thanksgiving . . .

And when I took a close, sobering look at my blog, I see that I haven’t updated it in over six months.

Six MONTHS, people.  And not just that, but I haven’t been updating my Facebook page either, let alone Twitter or Pinterest.

I seem to be a tad behind.

So here I am:  feeling the need to make arguments for how busy I am.  And of course I’m busy – but aren’t we all?  I could make a very long list mentioning my full-time job and my two young kids, and how I moved recently and adopted a new kitten and how my schedule and stress levels were completely thrown off when Hurricane Irma rolled through . . .

But those are all just excuses.  We find time for the things that are important to us.  And this blog is important to me.  Sharing crafts and books and recipes that connect me to my children is important to me.

So here I am.  I also realized that this past holiday season I remade a lot of old recipes (already posted here) with my kids and don’t have a lot of new things to post, but there ARE still things to share.  And I’m going to make the time for it.

Starting with these Cinnamon Roll Reindeer, because, I mean, aren’t these just the most adorable cinnamon rolls EVER?

Reindeer Christmas Cinnamon Rolls 2

This past holiday season I spent a lot of time striving for recipes and crafts that embraced simplicity.

These yummy treats are a representation of that.  In the picture below you can see the 3 things I used to make them:  Grands cinnamon rolls, miniature candy canes, and M&Ms.

I made sure to unwrap the candy canes ahead of time, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the plastic wrappers before my coffee kicked in, but other than that task, these were thrown together in no time.

I used the Grands because they have little pockets, so to speak, to slip the candy canes into.  They’re made in a roll shape instead of the little cake-like cinnamon rolls that are one solid piece.  This way the candy canes just slid right in and were supported with no problem.

After baking the rolls according to the package directions, apply the icing.  Before the icing hardens, add two M&Ms for the eyes and a red M&M for a Rudolph-like nose.  Put two candy canes on each side of the “head” to represent the antlers.

You’ll need 4 candy canes per roll.  So if you have a package of 5 rolls like I did, then you’ll need 20 miniature candy canes.

Reindeer Christmas Cinnamon Rolls 3

I served these with some sausage and fruit.  They were a lot of fun and certainly enjoyed by the kids.  I plan to make these a regular tradition.

Happy Baking ;)

Roaming Rosie Signature

 

 

Advertisements

Do You Wanna Build an Olaf Doughnut Snowman?

Do You Wanna Build an Olaf Doughnut Snowman?

For a little winter fun, I made some snowmen doughnuts for my girls that mildly resembled Olaf.  Vaguely.

Anyway, these little guys were made by placing 3 small white powdered doughnuts on a plate, smooshing some broken pretzel pieces into the sides of the middle doughnut for arms, placing some milk chocolate chips upside down inside the bottom two doughnuts for buttons, and an orange peanut M&M inside the top doughnut for a carrot nose.

I then added mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth.  Since they don’t stick, what I did was make a hole with a toothpick where I wanted the eyes and mouth pieces to go, and then I could gently push the miniature chocolate chips into the doughnut where the holes were, with their pointy tips facing down.

It may not be my finest piece of artwork, but the smiles on my girls’ faces were enormous.  :)

Roaming Rosie Signature

Make Your Own Snow

make your own play snow

Some of our friends had six feet of snow in their backyards during the polar vortex.

Here in Florida, we experienced a gentle misting of ice coating our cars and grass.  Good for me (I didn’t have to abandon my flip flops) but bad for my preschooler, who still remembers romping through the snow during our vacation last winter.

Solution:  make our own snow.

I found the Erupting Snow Recipe at Growing a Jeweled Rose, and I thought it looked like a great idea:  realistic play snow and a science experiment, too!

make your own play snow

It was super simple to make, since it has only two ingredients.  My daughter even helped me mix it.

make your own play snow

You just empty some baking soda into a container (we used an old Tupperware) and mix in some shaving cream until you reach a consistency where it will form snow balls that don’t fall apart.

We used two small boxes of baking soda and what I believe was most of a can of shaving cream.

We mixed it with our hands, which is why my hand looks coated in the stuff in the top photo, but once it’s mixed, it doesn’t stick to your hand too much.

make your own play snow

And we played with it on a disposable, plastic tablecloth, to contain the mess.  And just vacuumed up any that spilled on the carpet.

Oh, and, incidentally, the girls decided that it was best to play in the snow while wearing their dress-up outfits.  Just in case you were wondering about the frilly sleeves and skirts.  :)

make your own play snow

The snow is great for sensory play.  My daughters both loved sinking their hands into it…

make your own play snow

… and their feet.

make your own play snow

And when they were tired of playing with it, I put the cover on the Tupperware and we set it aside for a few days.

Then we pulled it out again to perform our “science experiment.”

Since I often use baking soda and vinegar to clean my house, my girls had seen the fizzle they produce.  But now they were going to use their snow to create it.

make your own play snow

We made little snow balls, using our melon baller to measure them out, and then tossed them into a vat of white vinegar:

make your own play snow

*fizzle, fizzle, bubble, pop*

make your own play snow

It was a lot of fun, and a great way to incorporate discussions of the seasons into our sensory play.

And if you’re looking for more winter activities, you could try out our Crystal Snowmen!

Roaming Rosie Signature

Merry {Caffeinated} Christmas

someecards.com - It's not a happy or merry anything until I've had my coffee.

True.  So true.

Perhaps that’s why I felt inspired to construct my latest BuzzFeed post around porn for coffee addicts.  But not just any porn.  Holiday porn.

Here are a few examples:

*shudders*

Oh, my… are you salivating yet?

If you haven’t abandoned your computer in pursuit of your favorite coffee mug, then check out the rest of the tantalizing photos at 45 Photos Of Holiday Porn For Coffee Addicts.

May your holidays be ever joyful.  And fully caffeinated.

Ice

Ice

My latest collage on Polyvore is a simple, understated bohemian look I titled Ice.

I can see myself curled up and cozy in this tattered snowflake sweater, offset by the color of my well-worn jeans, the infinity scarf hanging loosely off of one shoulder, the metal finger cuffs cool against my warm skin.

…sweater weather = love…

Ultimate Norwegian Spice Cookies

Norwegian Spice Cookies

These Norwegian Spice Cookies are my mom’s favorite Christmas cookie.

I know that, originally, we had copied the recipe from a magazine.  Many years ago I typed it up and put it in my recipe binder.  Unfortunately, I don’t know the original source.  But I’ve made a few changes over the years anyway (to turn them into the proclaimed “ultimate” spice cookie), and so my own version of the recipe is featured here, along with a printable version.

But first, all the yumminess my camera could capture:

Norwegian Spice Cookies

I just love how the shadow of the mixer in the mixing bowl looks like a Christmas tree.  :)

This is the butter and sugar about to be creamed together, with the eggs and vanilla waiting patiently nearby.

Norwegian Spice Cookies

When you blend together the dry ingredients (flour and spices) be sure to thoroughly sift them together.  I use a fork for this. You want the spices to be evenly distributed.

I know it looks like a lot of spice when you’re measuring it out, but don’t worry, it won’t look like that much once it’s all mixed – and the flavor is fantastic!

Norwegian Spice Cookies

The gooey, spicy, luscious dough…

Once it’s blended, it’s pretty soft.  At this point you need to divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disc, wrap the discs in plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for an hour.

I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is to lay out a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and scoop the dough into the center of it.  Fold the plastic wrap over the small mountain of dough and shape generally into a flattened circle as you pull the wrap over and around the dough.

It’s sticky, so using the plastic wrap to shape it instead of your hands saves you some time and aggravation.

Norwegian Spice Cookies

After you’ve had an hour to clean the mixer, sort through your cookie cutters, place some parchment paper on your baking sheets, and dance to a few Christmas songs, then the dough will be ready to be rolled out.

You could actually leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, but I don’t think I’ve ever left it overnight.  After a few hours the butter in it gets too hard to roll out and then it needs to sit at room temperature for awhile, but if you leave it too long then it gets too soft, and that just makes my life complicated… so, really, between 1 to 2 hours is best.

Usually, in the midst of Christmas cookie baking marathons, I’ll make this dough, put it in the fridge, make and bake another cookie (like chocolate chip, for example), and then cut out and bake these.  Works out pretty well that way.

Norwegian Spice Cookies

And look at the spices in those snowflakes:  you can SEE the cinnamon, the cloves… *mouth waters*  …mmm, you should smell the magnificence.

Norwegian Spice Cookies

And these reindeer cookies are a great way to illustrate that flour helps you cut out the cookies.  The dough is soft and will stick to the cutters, but dipping the cutter in a dish of flour before stamping out a couple of cookies will help the dough to fall right out of the cutter.

Also, peeling away some of the dough surrounding the cookies before trying to lift them will help.  As will using a spatula like the one pictured below, or like this.

Norwegian Spice Cookies

But, sometimes I peel away the extra dough, and sometimes I don’t bother.  I certainly don’t pull away ALL of the dough… except for in the above photo because I thought it would make a neat picture.  :)

But you really only need to do a little at a time to help with transferring the cookies to the baking sheets.

If you’ve rolled out the dough without enough flour under it, the cookies will stick to the counter.  Just dip your spatula in flour before sliding it under the dough to loosen them.

And remember, with soft cookie dough like this, flour is your friend:

Norwegian Spice Cookies

You should put flour under the dough, on top of the dough, on the rolling pin, on the cookie cutters, and on the spatula.  I mean it:  flour party.

If there is too much on the finished cookie, just blow off the excess before baking.  Any extra at that point will be absorbed by the egg wash that you put on the cookies just before baking.

Although, I have to admit, I sometimes forget to add the egg wash.  But that’s okay.  It’s not essential to the cookie, but it does add a nice shine and a silky smoothness to them.

Norwegian Spice Cookies

The above picture is what was left of my dough after I collected all the scraps, rerolled them, cut out more cookies, and did it all again.  I got two small stars out of the last roll.

But we don’t waste food in our family.

Especially cookies.

So, I rolled up these scraps into a circle, flattened it into an oval, and placed it on my last sheet of cookies to bake.  After all, sometimes these last-of-the-scraps creations are the best part of making cookies.  :)

Norwegian Spice Cookies

And really, these cookies are great two ways:  thick and soft or thin and crunchy.  My mom likes them crunchy, I prefer them soft.  Luckily, that’s an easy problem to solve when baking multiple trays:  just cook some longer.

So, even tho the directions call for 10 to 12 minutes, I’ve cooked some larger ones up to 14 or 15 minutes.  Just keep an eye on them, to prevent burning.

Once the cookies were fully cooled, I sprinkled them with powdered sugar.  This step is not necessary, and I wouldn’t suggest doing it until you are ready to eat/serve them, but it is a nice touch.

Oh, and I didn’t bake them in that little metal pan – it was just to keep the sugar contained.  :)  The cookies need to cool on racks before you add the powdered sugar.

Norwegian Spice Cookies

These ultimate spice cookies go great with coffee:

Norwegian Spice Cookies

And with Christmas trees:

Norwegian Spice Cookies

Ultimate Norwegian Spice Cookies

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg white mixed with 1 teaspoon water
Powdered sugar (optional)

Combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt in a bowl until well blended.

Beat butter and sugar in a bowl until creamy.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add flour mixture.

Divide dough in half, flattening each piece into a disc.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Roll dough about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness on a well-floured surface.  Cut out cookies with cookie cutters that have been dipped in flour.  Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet, preferably covered with parchment paper, and brush with the eggs white mixture.

Reroll scraps and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until just browning on edges.  Cool on wire racks.  Store covered.

Before serving, as an optional step, you can sprinkle them with powdered sugar.

*****

Click for the FREE printable PDF:  Norwegian Spice Cookies

Merry Christmas!

And Happy Baking!  :)

Elf-Sized Chocolate Chip Confetti Cookies

Elf Sized Chocolate Chip Confetti Cookies

Actually, all I had intended to do was make mini chocolate chip cookies… until my daughter said, “I want to put sprinkles on them!”

Whoa.

How did I ever come up with creative ideas before I had a 3-year-old to guide me???

Seriously.

Elf Sized Chocolate Chip Confetti Cookies

Anyway, as you can see from the batter, we actually poured the sprinkles right into the mix so they would be spread throughout the miniature cookies.

Elf Sized Chocolate Chip Confetti Cookies

And when we scooped them onto the cookie trays to bake, we made them smaller than normal, about a half of a teaspoon each.

Perfect for elf-sized hands.  :)

Elf Sized Chocolate Chip Confetti Cookies

Elf-Sized Chocolate Chip Confetti Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 375F.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl, with a mixer or by hand.  Add egg.

Gradually blend in flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and sprinkles.

Drop a half teaspoon of batter onto baking sheets.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Cool on wire racks.  Store covered.

*****

Click to PRINT the free PDF of the recipe:  Elf Sized Chocolate Chip Confetti Cookies

And, of course, don’t forget to share some cookies with your elf.

Merry Christmas!  :)