Sunday, March 28, 2010

Soft Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

If you think you can’t have a soft and tender cinnamon roll with whole wheat flour, think again!! These are rolls are sooo good. I have typically made cinnamon rolls using my bread recipe or my oatmeal dinner roll recipe and both are good. But I wanted to see if I could achieve a soft and tender cinnamon roll made with all whole wheat flour. And I do believe this is the ticket! Be forewarned.. these are not as healthy as they could be.. but they are a huge improvement over most recipes I see.. I did try to keep it as healthy as possible.. but what can I say..   I was in a cinnamon roll mood..

Here is the recipe with pictures as well….

Soft Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls
Crystal Miller

½ cup warm water
2T yeast
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup honey
4T butter
½ t baking soda
2 t salt
2 eggs
6 to 7 cups hard white (or red) whole wheat flour
*Brown Sugar or Sucanat

In a small bowl combine the warm water and yeast. Set aside. Heat sour cream in a sauce pan on the stove until warm but not boiling. In a mixer combine the warm sour cream, honey, butter, baking soda, salt and the water yeast mixture. Add half the flour and mix. Continue adding flour until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the mixer. Knead the dough for 5 to 12 minutes (5 minutes with a Bosch type mixer and 10 to 12 with Kitchen Aids ). Let rest and rise (in the mixer bowl) until double in bulk, about 45 minutes to an hour.

When the rising time is done, mix it again for a minute or so. Take the dough out of the mixer and divide into two pieces. 

Roll one piece into a large rectangle (approx. 15x18 inches in size).

Melt as little or as much butter as you want. I use about 6T. Spread the melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle brown sugar or Sucanat over the top of the butter. The amount you put on is really up to your discretion. I don’t usually measure; I just put on a nice coating of sugar. Now sprinkle generously with cinnamon.

Roll up the dough from the longest side. When it is all rolled up like a jelly roll pinch the seam so it stays closed.

Now you cut it into slices. I use a pair of scissors. I have tried knives and even dental floss.. but really the fastest and easiest method for me is scissors. I cut the dough in half, then in half again and then start cutting each section into approximately 1 inch pieces.

Spray a large jelly roll size pan (or these can be made in 2- 9x13 pans) with non stick spray and lay out your slices on the tray.

Now repeat this process with the second piece of dough.

Let these rolls rise until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.

If you want to frost them, do so as soon as they come out of the oven. Warm cinnamon rolls will absorb the frosting and make for an ooey gooey cinnamon roll that is nearly impossible to resist.. haa..haa.. :)

Cinnamon Roll Frosting
Crystal Miller

4 oz butter (1 stick), softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3 T coffee**
1 T milk
1 t maple extract or flavoring

Using a mixer combine butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar, coffee, milk and maple flavoring. Mix well. The frosting will be somewhat thin and pourable. You can pour and spread this on the cinnamon rolls when the come out of the oven.

**note: The coffee in this recipe adds a little color to the frosting to match the slight maple taste. If you don’t want to use this you can substitute all milk instead.


This makes a big recipe. If this is too many cinnamon rolls for you then you can freeze some after baking, or you can cut the recipe in half. If you do half of a recipe bake them in a 9x13 pan.

Now grab a cup of coffee or glass of milk and enjoy a cinnamon roll!! 


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Updates from the Homestead


Finally this morning I have a chance to sit down with my cup of coffee in hand and write a blog post.  I can hear the rain coming down outside and I just started a fire to take the morning chill off the house.  I love the quiet early mornings.  Soon my daughter will be up getting ready to head out the door and then the rest of the kids will be waking up and it will be time to move on with the our day.  I find my days of late to just be busy with the basics of life.  I really enjoy that..  I enjoy taking care of my home and cooking meals, etc.. because it gives me such a great sense of productivity and accomplishment and I feel like I am doing the work the Lord desires for me to keep on doing.  I feel much pleasure and contentment with life.   

Spring is here!!  I love it when winter is officially over (I am not a big fan of winter).  I diligent keep watch for all the signs that spring has arrived.  The improved weather, bulbs coming up, ground cover plants are blooming, tree leaves emerging, and frogs croaking in my pond…  awww.. love this time of year!  (not as much as summer.. but it means to me that summer will be here soon!)  

This last week I finally got all of my seed orders in and I am so excited to start some planting.  Tobin made me a little green house shelf in his shop so I am going to attempt to plant some tomato starts.  I have not had great success with this in the past so I am a little apprehensive, but I think I have a better idea on what to do make this successful.  I will keep you updated on my progress!     My peas that I planted in late February have started coming up.. but not at a great success rate.  So this week I plan to plant some more and get some lettuce, spinach and swiss chard planted in the garden.  Tobin was able to rototill the garden for the 3rd time on Friday.. in between rain storms.. We just have to have about 2 or 3 dry days in a row to be able to rototill before another rain storm kicks in.   

We (the family) made a trip to Port Townsend last week to see my in laws.  We had a very nice visit and enjoyed the little road trip.  It was only 2 days..  but we all appreciated the break.  My mother in law does a great job in growing seed starts so I picked up some valuable information and the encouragement to come home and get my seeds going.   

What’s Been Cooking in My Kitchen? 

Last week I made a gallon of fermented salsa.  We had run out of salsa and that is just not a good thing in this house!!   

I made a double batch of granola too.  It was a request by my hubby.  He loves granola and I usually don’t make it in the winter time as my kids prefer to eat oatmeal.  But he requested it and I was happy to make him some.  The kids have been enjoying the change from oatmeal too.  You can find my granola recipe here:  

I was also blessed with an abundant amount of eggs from my mother in law so when I had some guests this last week (Emily and Leanne had some College Plus friends come by and stay with us) I made quiche for breakfast.  I made 3 of my bacon spinach quiches.  They were so yummy and got eaten up with no problems! I divided one pound of bacon between the 3 quiches and added extra spinach and onions to them.  Here is my recipe: 

Crystal’s Spinach Bacon Quiche
Crystal Miller

1lb bacon, cut into small pieces
1 onion, chopped
3 cups fresh spinach
3 cups grated cheese, your choice of type; my family likes cheddar
8 large eggs
2 cups half n half
2t salt
1t pepper
2- 9 inch pie shells, unbaked 

Cook bacon and onion in a frying pan until the bacon is browned and well cooked.  Drain.  While bacon is cooking wilt spinach.  You wilt spinach by putting a small amount of water in a frying pan and add spinach and cook on medium high until is starts to wilt. Remove from pan and drain excess moisture. 

In a blender combine eggs, half n half, salt and pepper.   

Layer spinach and bacon/onion mix between two pie shells.  Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top.  Pour egg mixture over this, dividing it between both pies.   

Bake at 375 for 40 to 45 minutes.  Allow to sit 10 to 15 minutes before serving.   

I also tried out a recipe for blueberry scones.  That was yummy as well… 

Blueberry Scones
Crystal Miller

2 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup cane juice crystals
1 T baking powder
¾ t salt
¼ t baking soda
1/3 cup butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup soured milk or buttermilk
½ cup frozen blueberries 

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.  Add the egg and milk and mix together.  Add the blueberries.  If needed add more flour so the dough holds together.  Knead a couple of times and pat the dough out on the counter top.  I cut the dough out with a 2 inch biscuit cutter.  If you would rather you can divided the dough into two pieces.  Shape into a circle and cut it into wedges (like you would a pie).  Transfer to a baking pan (11x15 if you are cutting them with the biscuit cutter) or a cookie sheet (if you are baking them in wedges) that has been lightly sprayed with a non stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes.  Serve warm with a little extra butter.   

When I made the quiche I used my Bosch pie crust recipe.  It makes 4 pie crusts.  So I had one pie crust left over.  Last night Sierra was in a baking mood so she made us a chocolate cream pie.  She cut the recipe in half (the recipe makes 2 pies).  It was her first pie making experience and she did a great job.  You can find my recipe here:  

Plus there were the usual kitchen happenings like bread baking and dinner preps.   

That is all the updates from my homestead for now.  I hope you all have a blessed week on your homestead! 


Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Baby!!

Yesterday was my youngest son, Isaac’s, birthday!!  He turned 12 years old.  The years have really flown by and I am amazed that my baby is 12. He is my easy going, polite, considerate and generous son.  He loves his air soft guns, bow and arrows, and building tree forts (he currently has a big tree fort in the making in the favorite tree!).. he also will open car doors or store doors, offer to help where he can.. just an all around gentleman.  His latest interest is in ballroom dancing.  Leanne has been taking lessons now for several months and has been teaching Isaac a few basic dances and he really enjoys it.  He goes to the ballroom with her on occasion and when I stop in with Leanne all the instructors and even some of the students come to tell me what a little gentleman he is and how well he dances!  They really seem to enjoy it when he comes and gets out on that dance floor.. LOL..   

We celebrated his birthday with quite a houseful.  He had three of his friends here, plus a few other friends and family..  had to pull out a second table to serve dinner.. but it was lots of fun!   

Here are a couple pictures of my boy and his special day.. 



Love you so much Mr. I !!   

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Trim the Budget: Sandwiches


    My husband takes two sandwiches to work every day.  Typically I was using lunch meat.  He liked lunch meat and it was easy and convenient for me.  But it was not great for the budget or a healthy choice either.  Lunch meat is processed and full of non healthy ingredients and loaded with sodium.   

So here is what I have been doing to cut the cost of purchasing lunch meat and improving health while I am at it!  

When I started I took a whole chicken and cooked it in the crockpot.  When it was done I deboned the meat and chopped it up into small pieces.  I divided the meat into 3 containers.  One I used the week I made it and the other two went in the freezer.  To make a sandwich I took the chopped chicken meat and added a little salt, pepper and mayonnaise to it.  I used this chicken spread for the week.  My hubby loved it and I loved the savings.   

Sandwich meat can run anywhere from $3.00 to $6.00 per pound (and up, but that is the range I have paid).  I buy about a pound or so a week.  My chicken cost me about $5.00 and I had enough meat from it for 3 weeks.   

The second type of sandwich meat I made was beef.  I will have a harder time giving you an accurate cost calculation on this because we buy our beef from a local farmer and buy a whole cow each year.  But I can tell you what I did.  I put a small beef roast into the crockpot (I will guess maybe 4lbs) and let this cook for a good long time… until the meat was falling apart.  I then removed bone and fat and chopped this up and was able to divide it into 4 containers (I figure about 2 cups of meat is what I need per week).  I used it the same way I used the chicken. I added salt, pepper and mayonnaise to the chopped meat and used this to make sandwiches.  I also added a little Dijon mustard as well and that gave it a really nice flavor.   

The cost of this meat would be determined by how much you paid for the roast.  You can use an inexpensive cut of roast like a rump roast or a chuck roast to do this.   

Putting the meat into the freezer also means that I have the added bonus of this being very convenient (one of the reasons I liked lunch meat).  After cooking just one chicken and the roast I ended up with enough lunch meat for 7 weeks of lunches. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New eBook from The Family Homestead: Handmade Soap


Handmade Soap:
A Step-by-Step Photo Tutorial
by Crystal Miller


This eBook will teach you how to make soap step-by-step!

This 45 page eBook includes photo tutorials on making 3 different types of soap. I walk you through the entire soap making process in pictures!

The Cost of this eBook is $10.00

For more information click here: