It was December 1st a day ago, and now it’s almost a week until Christmas. Crazy how time goes by so quickly. I actually bought and ordered our christmas cards at the end of November and thought I was on top of things. However, somehow they were only sent out this week. I probably should have sent them out at the beginning of December like I thought I was going to do. Oops.
I am on top of my christmas shopping though. Last night I think I actually managed to finish all of my shopping. There’s a few things I bought online this year and I am hoping they make it in time for the big day. One of them is actually at the post office right now waiting to be picked up, but when I went the other day there was a line up out the door to pick up packages. I think I’ll try again today and hopefully it won’t be so crazy. Maybe.
Now it’s time to wrap all of the gifts. Our family had lots of traditions growing up, including opening all of our gifts on Christmas Eve because that’s the European tradition.
Italians have a big Christmas Eve, and Christmas day isn’t traditional as it is in Canada. I never woke up on Christmas morning to a stocking, or the excitement that Santa had come. I had all my gifts Christmas eve, usually falling asleep on the couch waiting for ‘Santa’ to visit my Nonna’s house (usually my Nonno or my Zio dressed as Santa) after our massive Feast of Seven Fishes dinner. Which was fine by me because that meant I got to wake up on Christmas morning and immediately play with my toys. Some years my brother Nick or I would stay at my Nonna’s and sleepover there instead on Christmas eve, waking up with my Nonna and Nonno on Christmas morning.
Christmas day we spent with my moms side of the family, with a big dinner surrounded by aunts uncles and all of our cousins (my mom is the youngest girl of 6 children, so we have a lot of cousins). However, since we never did the whole Christmas morning thing, we never had a big Christmas day breakfast or brunch like a lot of families do. Usually it would be coffee for my parents and Panettone for Nick and I.
These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls would be a great addition to Christmas morning when you’re feeding a crowd, and you could even make them the night before just allow them to rise and then leave them in the fridge until morning. Take them out about 30 minutes prior to baking. I used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar, so they aren’t overly sweet since they are usually smothered in a sweet cream cheese icing. I found the original recipe here, and subbed in Almond Milk for regular milk, reduced some of the sugar and made it with half gluten/wheat free flour as well.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- ¾ cup almond milk, warmed to 100 degrees
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3 cups gluten free/wheat free all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 11/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm almond milk and 1 tsp granulated sugar. Sprinkle with yeast and let stand 10 minutes, until frothy.
- Next whisk melted butter, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, eggs and pumpkin puree together in a medium bowl.
- Use paddle attachment to beat 3 cups of the flour into the frothy yeast, then add in the pumpkin mixture.
- Switch to dough hook attachment. On the lowest mixer speed, add remaining 3 cups of flour one cup at a time until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer dough to an oiled bowl ( I like to spray mine with coconut oil), turning dough to coat completely with oil.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 ½ hours.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll it out into a rectangle about ⅛” thick.
- For filling, spread softened butter over the surface of the dough using your hands to cover evenly.
- Combine brown sugar and spices in a small bowl, and sprinkle over the butter.
- Starting with the edge closest to you, gently roll the dough into a long log.
- Using a dough scraper, or sharp knife cut into about 15-17 pieces.
- Arrange in a 9×13” baking dish, and one other small baking dish. Cover with a clean towel and allow it to rise somewhere warm until doubled in volume once more, another 60 minutes.
- Once ready, bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes.
- In a medium sized bowl using a hand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter. Continue to mix until fluffy and whipped. Add confectioners’ sugar. Beat until well combined. You can spread onto warm rolls, if you want it to melt a little. Otherwise allow the buns to cool and then spread on for a thicker icing.
Adapted from Foodess
Adapted from Foodess
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
In one week today it will be my birthday and I am super excited to hold my first ever giveaway on my blog! I’ve teamed up with a couple companies to provide my readers with a chance to win some foodie products. Be sure to check back here NEXT wednesday, my birthday to enter! =)
This week has been sort of blah – it hasn’t stopped raining in Vancouver since Sunday night. Three of my baseball games have already been cancelled this week. Classes have been dragging on as we sit and stare out the window at the gloomy grey clouds and constant rain. I haven’t even had a chance to ride my shiny new bike this week once.
I’m hoping this weekend is going to clear up, and I’m wishing for sun on my birthday next week. When I was younger I always loved that my birthday was a June birthday. I always considered June part of summer, the beginning of summer (though it doesn’t start officially until June 21st), and I was happy that we were still in school for my birthday so that I could celebrate it with all of my friends. I guess I self-proclaim myself as a summer baby.
However, I was reminded of the term that surfaced last year during this type of weather. Juneuary. We had a horrible June last year. I graduated from university with my BA a week after my birthday, and it was an outside convocation. Needless to say it was so cold, that the blankets they set out for the guests weren’t warm enough. It was windy and freezing. My biggest mistake was wearing a cute little dress under my robe – which no one saw anyways. FYI to anyone graduating outside: Wear a sweatshirt and leggings. You won’t regret it – and no one knows what your wearing underneath. I can attend my second graduation ceremony in October this year for my second bachelor degree, my Bachelor of Education, which I’m thinking might be warmer than last June with our wether here in Vancouver.
I’ve seen a trend on twitter this week with my blogger friends – we’ve all reverted back to warm and comforting dishes. Stews, soups, and carbs. Whenever the weather gets cool and grey we want comfort and warmth. I actually made these for our mother’s day brunch we held a couple weeks ago, along with my Vegan Carrot Cake. These are a spin on the traditional cinnamon buns/sticky buns. Adam’s sister loves lemon desserts, and so does my brother’s girlfriend’s mom so I thought I would make something each of the moms loved. I decided to add poppy seeds, because lemon and poppy seeds usually go together. And I like poppy seeds.
These sticky buns are soft, fluffy and have a delicious lemon filling. I used almond milk instead of regular milk, because it’s all I have on hand. It worked quite well still – so don’t worry about which kind of milk or milk alternative you use.
Lemon Poppy Seed Sticky Buns
recipe adapted from here
1 envelope (or 2 1/2 teaspoons) yeast
3/4 cup almond milk, warmed to 100°F
1 stick butter, very soft
1/4 cup white sugar
4 – 4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 lemons, zested
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
2 lemons, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons butter, very soft
Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 lemon, juiced and zested
In the bowl of a stand mixer sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a couple minutes. With the mixer paddle, stir in the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and one cup of the flour. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, and lemon zests. Stir in the eggs and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough.
Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and pliable.
Spray a large mixing bowl with cooking oil, and place dough inside, coating well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise until nearly doubled – about an hour.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the nutmeg, then work in the lemon zest with the tips of your fingers until the sugar resembles wet, soft sand. Stir in the lemon juice.
Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking dish with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface pat the dough out into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10×15 inches. Spread evenly with the softened butter, then pour and spread the lemon-sugar mixture over top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls, and place them, cut side up, in the prepared baking dish.
Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for an hour or until puffy and nearly doubled. (You can also refrigerate the rolls at this point. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the rolls, remove the pan from the fridge, and let them rise for an hour.)
Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a center roll reads 190°F.
While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small food processor (or with a mixer, or a sturdy whisk), whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and juice and blend until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy.
When the rolls are done, smear them with the cream cheese glaze. I cut mine into squares for a large crowd, or you can serve an entire roll. Serve while warm.
So I guess this is real life now.
A friend of mine from school was just hired THIS morning to a school district! We just finished classes on Friday! How crazy. I know I’m finished, and I have my teaching certificate but I still can’t believe that I can now apply for positions and TOC jobs. I still have to get my resume together and updated, and fill out a ton of forms and do paperwork but it’s feeling more surreal now.
I still have to take a couple courses this summer for my second degree, aBachelor of Education, but I could still be a TOC until the end of June since I’m only taking classes two days a week. Eek! No longer a student, I am now the Teacher!
Thankfully I have two weeks off before classes begin again, and there is a lot happening in those two weeks (aside from paperwork). This weekend is packed! Friday night we’re celebrating my Nonna’s 75th birthday with a great big italian dinner and dancing at a restaurant in Vancouver. Saturday I’m super excited to be making ‘Gender Reveal’ cupcakes for a baby shower, and Sunday is our House Warming with both our families. This week will be full of organizing, some painting, getting the house in tip top shape to show it off!
And on top of that, I have also decided to play baseball again this year! A friend of mine from school needed more girls for a Senior B Rep team, and asked if I wanted to join. I haven’t played in a couple years but I got pulled in! So there’s a practice and a game this week, and weekend which I might have to miss due to all our events! But I love being busy, and being home for two weeks after teaching full time in a practicum and classes would make me stir crazy.
We celebrated all day and night Friday after our last class of PDP, and then Saturday morning I woke up and had to drop off a few dozen cookies, banana bread and cupcakes to my elementary school’s bake sale to raise money for a new playground.
Caramelizing the bananas before adding them adds a rich deep flavour compared to regular banana bread. Great for school, bake sale’s or an afternoon snack.
Even better with a smear of Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread (Like Nutella, slightly healthier…sorta.)
Caramelized Banana Bread
Other Banana Bread Recipes Here and Here
- 2-3 well ripened bananas
- 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup butter melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- crushed Walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Whisk together thoroughly the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in bowl.
- In small pot on medium heat, add the butter, sugar and bananas. Mash with fork. Heat until sugar and banana are caramelized – about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Gradually beat in eggs one at a time.
- Fold in the banana mixture to the flour mixture, add walnuts (optional)
- Spread evenly in pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5-10 minutes before un-molding to cool completely on the rack.