Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolution 2010...

This year I am setting one resolution: less work and more play! Easier said than done, I know, but much more fun than setting resolutions that I know I won't keep- like flossing (ha!) or getting into shape (ha ha!).

We've been playing with our new toys.

Bath toys.

A new red scooter from Santa.

And, of course, the awesome new camera!


As family gathered at our house on Christmas morning, Sawyer took his first tentative steps, much to our delight. But wait, how can my baby be walking already? As fun as it is to watch him stumble his way toward toddlerhood, I can't help but feel a sense of disbelief and maybe even some sadness, too. How can he be growing up so fast?

This child is fearless. He is so determined. Can you see it in his face?

As you can see from this picture, if you are really good Santa puts beer in your stocking!

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Bon Appetit

These bad boys are not your mama's cinnamon rolls. Well, at least not if your mom was anything like mine. These are the full fat, untainted by (healthy) raisins or nuts or orange glaze, melt in your mouth, give Cinnabon a run for its money type. My mom made much healthier cinnamon rolls (but these ones are better!).

Start on Christmas Eve morning. For the dough you will need:

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Nonstick spray

Heat the milk and butter in the microwave for a minute or two- until the butter melts and the milk feels warm, but does not boil. Mix the milk/butter with 1 cup of the flour and the sugar, egg, yeast, and salt on low speed for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the flour and mix slowly until absorbed. Knead (or switch to the bread hook) for 8 minutes or so, until you have a nice, smooth dough. Spray a bowl, turn the dough to coat, cover and let rise until doubled- about 2 hours.

To make the filling you will need:

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

Mix the sugar with the cinnamon. When dough has risen, punch down and roll out to a 12 by 15 inch rectangle. Spread butter over the top and sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly.
Starting at a long edge, roll the rectangle into a log, pinching the dough as you go. When you finish, put the log seam side down and use a serrated knife to (gently!) cut the log into one inch slices. Spray a glass baking pan and arrange your rolls so that they barely touch. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

On Christmas morning, get up at the crack of dawn and pull the rolls out of the refrigerator to let them rise in a warm spot for an hour or so. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Flip your cinnamon rolls out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Leave them upside down for about 10 minutes and then ease them back into the pan.

For the glaze, beat together:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Top with glaze. Serve immediately.

Speaking of sweets, Jack found a chocolate Santa on his dinner plate at Grandma's house.

But wait- now you expect me to eat a real dinner?

Cousin Xavier is such a doll. He started walking on Christmas Eve, which is also his birthday. This has been quite a week.

We certainly got everything we wanted for Christmas. I hope you did, too.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On the Eve

Brent's IPA is in the bottles! We snuck a few preview tastes and all seems well. If only we knew for sure that the beer would be delicious we could have tied some red ribbons on bottles and been done with Christmas gifts..

Instead I kept busy at the helm of my sewing machine, cranking out stuffed owls (awesome tutorial here), baby blocks (tutorial), a train hat (another great tutorial), handprint ornaments, market totes, and an apron for Jack. It is a good thing that I like to sew.

Jack and I made up a batch of peppermint bark, following this amazing recipe. We will triple all ingredients for next year.

Most of our gifts were homemade this year. Jack and I spent most of the month of December planning and making special gifts for everyone on our list, which was really fun for both of us. I think we underestimate the attention spans of little boys sometimes. Jack and I spent hours in the kitchen together and he patiently sat on my lap as I sewed seam after seam, waiting for his chance to help by pressing the backstitch button. When we were in an epic line at the fabric store, he turned to me and asked, "Mom, when we get home, please can we sew?" The lady behind us was quite impressed.

We scoured the thrift shops for old mason jars and made some lovely holiday candles. Glitter embellishments by Jack.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year, New Camera, New Blog

Yay- you made it! Maybe you are following us over from our old blog The House That Jack Built or perhaps you are just joining us. Either way, welcome to The House with the Red Screen Door. We had been talking for quite awhile about starting a new blog- one that would be more of a family journal than a baby book. Also, after the birth of our second child, Sawyer, it seemed only fair to retitle the blog. We hope to maintain this site as a collaborative record of our everyday lives. We are glad to have you along for the ride!