June 22, 2009

Big Sur Camping Trip

Here's a smorgasbord of pictures from our super fun camping trip a couple weeks ago down at Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground. We live in such an amazingly beautiful place, and it was so fun to go camping as a family for the first time ever! The kids LOVED it and Carson was in his element...dirt, fire, water, s'mores, and a tent with a "pet den" that he slept partway in. :-)

The scenery is unbelievably gorgeous!

Livi waking up in the morning, smiling as usual. She slept the best of all of us.

We went on a beautiful hike to a waterfall, and then up further to a valley view.

Carson found the biggest dandelion we've ever seen....look at that dirty face! I think it was like that most of the weekend. :-)

Morning snuggles.

A powdered sugar donut breakfast. Yum!

It was such a great time. It felt like a good balance of relaxing, hiking, reading, playing, and all around memory-making. We taught Carson how to play Checkers and Battleship which were fun to play in the sunshine at our picnic table. Livi took a nice nap after our hike, so I got to sit and read in the sun while Carson and Jason explored the river for a couple hours. We are looking forward to going camping again this summer.

June 10, 2009

"The Best" Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe comes from a dear friend of my mom, who is known for her DELICIOUS baking and cooking....she is amazing and I hope to acquire some more recipes in the days ahead, especially her recipe for Snicker bar-like candies. Yum.

Janelle would bring these cinnamon rolls into the church office where I used to work and they'd be devoured quickly. When I was looking for a recipe that I wanted to become a tradition for Christmas breakfast at the Hughes' house, I immediately thought of these and tried to get her "secret" recipe. She sweetly emailed it to me and so I present it here since several friends have requested it...I can't help but share the love....Enjoy!

4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
1 pkg. yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup flour

In large mixer bowl combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour and yeast.

In a small saucepan heat the milk, 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup sugar and salt just till warm (120-130 degrees) and butter is almost melted, stirring constantly. Add to the flour mixture. Add eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups flour as you can.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover; let rise in a warm place till double (about 1 hour).

For filling, combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon. Cut in remaining butter till crumbly; set aside.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll the dough into a 18 x 12 rectangle.

Sprinkle filling over dough and roll up jelly-roll style and slice into 12 pieces (get some plain dental floss and use it to cut through for easy slicing that won't mash the dough....cool trick!)
Arrange in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.

Cover dough loosely with cloth or plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise. Let dough rise in a warm place till nearly double. About 45 minutes. OR instead of letting dough rise and baking immediately, you can refrigerate dough for 2-24 hours. Then when ready to bake, uncover and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes till rolls are nearly doubled.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until light brown.

While still warm frost with a powdered sugar glaze. I usually melt 3 Tbsp. butter, add 2 cups powdered sugar, and then thin it to desired consistency with half and half. Drizzle over warm rolls.


I didn't have any pictures to post with this recipe because all the evidence was eaten. :-)

June 5, 2009


If anyone lives near a Trader Joe's and needs a really delicious dessert....I have found a new favorite! We love ice cream in our house and we love the chocolate/mint combo....well Trader Joe's has their own Mint Chocolate Chunk ice cream and it is truly one of the BEST ice creams I have ever had.....something about it just is SO delicious....you've got to try it if you like that combo.

And to balance out the unhealthy part of eating a bowl of delicious ice cream....I've come upon something else at Trader Joe's that I eat daily as well. I know I should probably be taking a daily vitamin to make up for the things I don't eat enough of (veggies!) and to give my body other vitamins/minerals it needs, but I just don't enjoy taking a swallowable one that has a nasty aftertaste....so while buying my kiddos some vitamins at TJ's recently, I noticed they have a multi-vitamin in gummy form (for adults!!!). So I've been taking my daily vitamins now since they taste like candy!! Hey, it's better than no vitamin at all, right??

So if you can, head to your local TJ's and see what fun things you can find! I'm not sure how I lived all those years without this wonderful store.