Good morning! I hope you have enjoyed all of the Guest Bloggers I've had here for you over the last several weeks. They really outdid themselves, didn't they!
Today's post is the last one until I return so please join me in welcoming Joan from Chocolate, Chocolate and More to the blog today, I'm so glad she's here and wait until you see what she has for you!
Who's behind Chocolate, Chocolate and More?
Let me introduce myself, I'm Joan, wife of Derick, mama to CJ, Cassie and Grace. We live in a small Georgia town where everyone knows everyone. We have 4 traffic lights, I did say it was small, didn't I? I love it, strangers still watch out for your kids in the neighborhood or at school events.
Kids, I think, are better behaved ( if they do something wrong, I'll know about it before they get home). Yes ma'am and no sir are words that come naturally to everyone. And the food, everyone cooks, a lot of the ladies cook from "scratch."
My favorite job however is baker of all yummy things! I firmly believe that chocolate makes everything better. The smell of something baking in the kitchen can completely change an attitude.
Knowing that some sinfully delicious dessert is at the end of dinner will make a boring, same old thing, I don't want to eat this dinner (guess what, I really didn't feel like cooking and that's why you have to eat this), worth it.
I bake from a box, I bake from scratch, I love to try new recipes, and I love recipes that came from someone else! I believe strong family values are built around food. It doesn't really matter the value we are talking about, what matters is that you have them, nurture them, respect them.
Food is the binding element. In my house, we have dinner, every night, together, around a table (usually ours) with the television off. (We even ignore the phone if it rings.) We eat and we ....TALK.
About whatever. No one can get by with silence, I want to know what's going on in my children's lives, at school, around the neighborhood, with their friends, good or bad, we talk.
Growing up, I didn't have this but I wanted it, so...we have it. To be fair, my oldest has just started high school so school events haven't been a big interference in our dinner schedule but we will deal with it when it happens.
You can read more about Joan at Chocolate, Chocolate and More!
I'm so thrilled to be here at Carrie's Experimental Kitchen. Carrie was one of my first "foodie friends" when I started blogging and I fell in love with her and her recipes. Healthy food doesn't have to be boring and tasteless, or require odd ingredients. Sometimes it takes just the right combination of simple ingredients brings out the natural flavors.
Carrie is an expert at finding these combinations. You really should try Carrie's Flank Steak stuffed with Brie and Zucchini. Thankfully, Carrie also has a sweet tooth, just like the rest of us so she's got a Pound Cake that would be perfect with any fresh fruit you have, for any season or even with a cup of coffee for a perfect afternoon snack.
Carrie also shares my love of bread making. Baking bread is a great way to get kids into the kitchen and with the right recipe, they can get hooked on fresh from the oven bread.
That's why I decided to share with you a simple Cinnamon Swirl bread that not only tastes incredible but is fun to make. The base for this bread is the same as my Simple White Bread.
I switched out some of the all-purpose flour for some wheat flour to make it a bit healthier (really what happened was I ran out of all purpose.) I think the wheat flour actually enhanced the cinnamon.
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Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- In your Mixing bowl, combine warm water and yeast. stir until yeast is dissolved. Add salt, sugar, shortening and milk, stir just till combined. The shortening will still be lumpy.
- Add first 2 cups of flour, combine well, then slowly add enough of the 3rd cup until the dough starts to chase the beater, pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
- Remove dough from bowl onto floured surface. Knead dough until no longer sticky, 5-10 minutes. (you can let the mixer do the kneading but I think by hand is more fun.)
- Place in a greased bowl and turn dough over to completely coat dough. Cover with a light dish towel and allow to rise until doubled, about an hour. Punch down dough with fist, then remove from bowl onto a floured surface, knead again for 3-5 minutes. Shape dough into a long log then roll out so you have approximately a 8 x 18 rectangle.
- Brush dough with melted butter, making sure to get to edges. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon then sprinkle evenly over dough. Starting from short end of dough, closest to you, start rolling the dough up. You want to keep the roll as tight as possible, using your fingers to tuck the dough in as you go.
- Once rolled, place loaf in a greased loaf pan, seam side down. Cover with cloth and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Just prior to baking, using a sharp knife cut 2 slits in the top of your loaf. Bake for 25-35 minutes depending on your oven. You are looking for a dark caramel color but not burnt looking. I usually double my recipe so we can eat one loaf fresh out of the oven then enjoy the second one for breakfast the next morning.