Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Ice Storm Cometh

I know it can be destructive, but I can't help but like a good ice storm.

I love how everything looks, encased in ice.

We heard it was coming. We stocked up on milk, eggs, and bread. We filled up our gas tanks. We prepared a contingency plan for saving our perishables in case of power outage. We lined up flashlights, candles, and matches.

Thankfully, we only got accumulations equaling about a quarter of an inch.

Still, they say another wave is coming this afternoon. Maybe a half inch of accumulation...and snow on top of it, by Wednesday morning.

We're ready.

Meanwhile, we're going to enjoy the strange beauty of this winter storm.

This weather is perfect for making luminarias. Instead of using paper bags, though, I use the material at hand: ice. I was able to break off four large icicles from our upstairs eaves by leaning precariously out of the upstairs bathroom window. For this luminaria to REALLY shine, you need a few more...but I worked with what I had. I arranged a mound of snow on a level surface and arranged the icicles in a semi-circle, pouring a little water over each mound to help it clump up. Pat them into place.

These are so easy to make and yield such beautiful results. Once you've got your icicles arranged to your satisfaction, slide some candles inside the circle and light them. They look beautiful at night. What I'd love to do - but lack icicles - is to arrange these ice crowns on either sides of our walkway, and light them nightly. What a beautiful sight to come home to, and they last until the weather warms!

This cold weather gave me a perfect excuse to make a new hat. I've got some berets, but wanted a close-fitting hat. I considered a basic cabled hat, but fell in love with this design.

Spirals! It was really easy to do and a very quick knit. I'm pleased with the end result.

I'm also pleased that I finally finished the first "Gardner" sock. You can see that vines and flowers wind their way up the front of the sock...

...and on the back of the heel, a big garden spider!

These socks are a lot of work, though. Working toe up, using short rows, and working from two charts at the same time really wore me out. Sock #1 is done...my goal is to finish sock #2...by summer.

I've made a few small purchases lately in anticipation of changing the house with the season (thank you, Google Calendar!). I bought a series of plain white egg cups. Todd happens to love soft-boiled eggs, so they've already gotten some use.

This spring I plan on doing some interesting things with them...and I'll post it on here in case anyone else wants to try.

I also broke down and bought a popover pan. At last, the nice hollow middle that I've been wanting! These were a bargain from Chicago Metallic - only $16 on Amazon.com. I filled mine with diced cheese and turkey bacon - fabulous! Now, if I can get that pasta-making attachment for my KitchenAid...

Speaking of kitchen, I really tore mine up this week! I've made a pumpkin roll and chocolate cake for various get-togethers, besides my normal bread baking and meal-making. But when Todd needed a dessert for a day with his friends this weekend, I knew immediately what I wanted to make, and didn't hesitate to destroy my kitchen again.

I'm always trying to lighten up our meals and desserts, but in the back of my mind I've had a perverse desire to make something really bad. Not just bad, but truly artery-clogging. When I had the chance to make something that I knew wouldn't be staying out our house, I jumped at the chance to finally make the cholesterol-boosting dessert of my dreams...The Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls. TWO CUPS of melted butter? Yes, please!

I've halved the recipe here...the original recipe makes EIGHT PANS of cinnamon rolls!

Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls
The Pioneer Woman
Makes around 30 large rolls

2 cups millk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
4 cups flour
1/2 cup flour
1/2 "heaping" teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt

3/4 - 1 cup melted butter
3/4 - 1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cinnamon

1/2 bag powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter
a pinch of salt

First, combine milk, oil, and sugar in a pan and scald. From my research, it looks like that means stir frequently, barely bring it to a boil, and remove from heat. Let it cool until lukewarm. I cheated and put the pan in the refrigerator...it took about 20 minutes to cool off.

Now add your yeast, stir, and stir in 4 cups of flour. Cover and let it rise for about an hour. I was worried that the dough seemed a bit too wet, but it all worked out! After the rise, add the additional 1/2 cup flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Mix together well.

Here's the fun - and messy! - part. Flour your working surface and roll your dough out into a giant rectangle. Pour on the butter and, using a pastry brush, smooth it out to cover the rectangle. Will it spill over the edges and drip onto your floor? Oh, yes! Next pour on your cinnamon/sugar mixture. Now carefully roll up your rectangle. Cut off slices, one by one!

Mine was a little messy, but this was my first "real" cinnamon roll...so it's all right! I sliced my rolls about 1/2 - 1 inch thick. What a mess!

They sure look good, though, rising in the pan.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Let your rolls rest for about 30 minutes, and then pop them in!

What a fabulous rise!

Let them bake for about 15 minutes, until nicely golden brown. YUM! The house smelled heavenly, and these rolls cooked up nice and big.

Mix the glaze ingredients together (feel free to add coffee, cinnamon, maple syrup, or whatever you'd like to give your glaze a kick!) and pour over warm rolls.

These rolls are soft and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Who needs Cinnabon? And dare I say that Todd was the most popular person at the party?

I hate to admit it, but I took four of these beauties and put them in the freezer for us. Hey, everyone needs a little artery-clogging once in a while, right?



  1. I love those socks and the ice pictures - thanks for sharing :)

  2. What a cute blog you have! Love the idea with the icicles!