This September a major hurdle has come in my life – both of my boys are in school full time. Like most moms I have had days when this day couldn’t come soon enough and I have also dreaded this day like you can’t imagine. Someone once told me, “the days go by slow, but the years go by fast” and boy is that true. I remember tripping over countless squeaky toys while stressing out about whether or not my newborn infant was getting enough tummy time to have a strong neck and how will I ever get them to sleep through the night. Now, it is so much different. Will they be OK at recess? Will they have someone to play with? If they fall, who will kiss their scrape and hold them?
My babies are growing up and I have some sad days. Today was one of them, so I decided to make myself a special treat to warm my insides up. It is a Cinnamon Café au Lait with Spiced Whipped Cream. It was nothing close to having the arms of one of my boys wrapped around me, but for now, this will have to do – and it is pretty, darn good.
Cinnamon Café Au Lait with Spiced Whipped Cream
1 ½ cups low-fat milk
3 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
4 cups strong coffee
2 T sugar + ½ T. Sugar
1 ½ t. pure vanilla extract + 1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/3 c. very cold heavy whipping cream
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
Bring the milk, cinnamon sticks, and cloves to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the milk mixture to steep for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture, discarding the spices and bring it back to a simmer. Add the brewed coffee, 2 T. of the sugar and 1 ½ t. of the vanilla, and stir over medium-low heat until the sugar melts and the flavors are blended, about 5 minutes. It will look like this:
Pour the hot coffee into the heated mugs and add a dollop of the spiced whipped cream. Garnish with more nutmeg or cinnamon if desired.
Also, I had to add a picture of the angels I miss so much. They are the best…
I LOVE bread. Never once did I think I cold ever do one of those low-carb diets. It simply is not in my DNA. I NEED unrefined, processed, bleached flour. Preferably with butter. Unfortunately my efforts to make bread haven’t been very successful. It is not from a lack of trying, but if I do end up with a worthwhile product, often times I can’t honestly say it was worth the effort. I mean really – you can pick up a good loaf of bread at most grocery stores now days with zero effort. All this has changed now with this recipe…
Seriously, it takes TIME (you know the dough rising and all that), but in terms of actual hands on time, it is maybe ten minutes for the whole recipe. You dump everything in your mixer, let it mix for a few minutes, then let it rise, covered with a cloth overnight (in the same bowl – no transferring the dough to an oiled bowl or anything). The next morning shape it into a loaf, let it rise for one hour and then pop it in the oven for thirty minutes. Voila! Crusty, warm, homemade bread. Delicious!
Adapted from King Arthur’s Flour
1 1/2 cups water (temperature doesn’t matter, you don’t need to proof the yeast – LOVE THIS!)
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax (if you don’t have this, just up the whole wheat flour up by another 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. active dry yeast
Stir together all of the ingredients in a stand mixer with the dough hook. The dough will come away from the sides of the bowl and look like this:
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into the loaf shape of your choosing on lightly greased sheet pan. Let the dough rise for 1 hour. It will look like this:
I woke up on Saturday morning with this ridiculous urge for donuts – homemade donuts. Fresh, hot and right out of the oil. I couldn’t resist the urge and dug up an old recipe for some Zeppole, that are known as italian donuts.
I love this recipe because there is no rolling and they go straight from your saucepan to the hot oil without the mess of a rolling pin or a floured board. The result is a light, airy donut, zeppole, whatever you want to call it. To me and my family they are just fabulous. Unfortunately for my husband, he was golfing Saturday morning and there was only one left when he got home. Maybe next Saturday he will be around to enjoy some straight out of the oil…
Saturday Morning Donuts
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cottonseed or vegetable oil for frying*
Cinnamon Sugar (1/4 cup sugar plus 1 T cinnamon) or Powdered sugar for Dusting
In a heavy 2-quart saucepan (non-stick), combine sugar, salt, butter, and 1 cup water. Bring to boiling: butter will melt. Quickly add flour all at once; beat with wooden spoon until flour is moistened. Cook over medium heat, beating vigorously until dough forms a ball and leaves side of pan. Remove from heat.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating with electric mixer at medium speed after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth, shiny and satiny and forms strands that break apart. It should hold its shape when beater is slowly raised. Beat in vanilla. Dough should be fairly stiff, but sticky.
In electric skillet or large, heavy skillet, heat 1 to 2-inches of oil to 375°F (185°C) on deep frying thermometer. Using a small ice-cream scooper or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a tablespoon of the dough into the hot oil, frying in batches. Turn the donuts once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up, about 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon-sugar or powdered sugar. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately.