Tick Tock

We are celebrating the holiday simply this year.  Gift giving is minimized--we all have what we need, and our wants are small.  I have a wreath on the door, but I did not put up a tree.  No, I'm not  bah-humbug, but we are doing the things that are important:  spending time with family.

Oh...and one Christmas ho-ho-ho ended up being the old heave-ho of the hot water heater which gave way yesterday.  We noticed the water (well) was cloudy.  It has been dry; I had been washing clothes all day (but the new dishwashers and clothes washers use less water than a toilet flush), and was hoping that we were not suffering from the well giving out.  Mark said, "Let me look underneath and make sure that we don't have a plumbing leak."  He reported back shortly that we did.

No water heater could be had from Lowe's before the first week in January.  Home Depot (God bless them, every one) had one in stock.  We needed a short one because it is under the house.  It looks like the men-folk have installed it with a minimum of fussing/cussing.  (God bless them, every one).

Earlier in the week, my daughter's well pump failed, and her Christmas heave-ho was a new water pump.  Strange synchronisms this past week.  A former colleague died from a heart attack and another friend was hospitalized with a heart attack.  The man who was installing the 'community sanctioned mailbox' at my FD property (the community association did an inspection and the property was written up for leaves in the yard, gutter, non-compliant mailbox and a heat pump that did not have a screen.

The contractor had the lines marked, and they ran very close to the existing mailbox.  When I came back they were tamping the new mailbox in.  He all of a sudden said, "Whoa! Step back and don't touch the mailbox.   "Call Comcast!  he said to his wife.  I said that I had to go, but that I would be back.  An hour an a half later, I returned, and they were gone.  No caution tape was around the mailbox.  I called him to find out the what of the matter.

The what of the matter was not that the mailbox was electrified.  Rather, his heart defibrillator and jolted him just as he had touched the mailbox.  He promptly went to the doctor once he determined that all was well with the mailbox.  He's fine.

I believe that the two best gifts that we can give one another for Christmas is (1)  the expression of our heartfelt gratitude for the people in our lives and for the comforts, to whatever degree we have them; and (2) forgiving past grievances no matter the magnitude. 

In addition to those, I have a third item:  The gift of homemade cinnamon roles from Pioneer Woman's kitchen. (1) Yes, you can do this, and it isn't too late yet (but almost).  I'm making these for neighbors so that they can enjoy them on Christmas morning.  The dough can be refrigerated up to 3 days--which is a very helpful thing to keep in mind when you want to have 1/2 of the prep done on any yeast product done in advance.

Hope your countdown to the holidays is not stressing you out.

(1) Epilogue:  The reasons why I like this recipe so (and some tips) much are as follows:

Why I like them:
  1. This recipe is not as fussy as other dough recipes.  It is a hybrid between a quick bread and a yeast dough as it has both yeast AND baking powder and soda.  I'm a little uncertain as to why there is soda in it as there is no acidic ingredients.  Nevertheless, I'm not in test kitchen mode, so I do not question.
  2. The rise time is much reduced--so you can syncopate your batches.
  3. That refrigerator thing---which allows you to control the dough.
Some tips:
  • Consider using a baking stone that is warm to put your aluminum pans on to create a favorable environment for the second rise.
  • Do NOT use a medium saucepan to mix your milk, oil and sugar.  Rather, use at least an 8 quart pot.  Choose one that you can put a top on so that you can put it right into the fridge.
  • Consider adding some marscapone cream cheese (about 2-3 oz) (or regular cream cheese) and some sour cream (a couple of tablespoons. ) I found that this deepened the flavor and made it a bit lest cloying (not that cloying is bad, but some foil to the underlying sweetness of the rolls is good.
    • I also used maple syrup instead of maple extract and. .  .
    • I added a 1/2 tsp of vanilla
    • Remember....you are shooting for consistency and balanced taste--so don't be afraid.  Too much liquid?  Just add more confectioner's sugar.  It is very forgivin.
  • I used oblong pans with a plastic top.  There is just not simply enough room in the round pans to give everyone another taste!
  • Don't worry if your pan does not look full.  Space about 3/4 - 1 inch apart.  They spread.
And remember....everyone makes cookies....and they are yummy to be sure. However, you'll stand out from the crowd with this offering. Also....they are NO LESS difficult than handling cookies.  In fact, it is a lots more relaxing.


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