Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's about time...

Ok, I know, I'm sorry, I haven't updated my blog in....FOREVER!  We had final exams just before Christmas break, so I was busy studying my life away!  Sometimes I cannot wait to be out of school, I love the socializing and I do enjoy learning interesting information, but we all know everything is good in moderation.  Aka: cramming 48 hours studying for 2 exams...not exactly the smartest decision.

Anyway, since I've been home for break, it has been a whirlwind of attending different family Christmases and now we're currently in Iowa Falls visiting my grandpa :) What I've realized is that as each year comes and goes, the way I feel about Christmas changes just a little bit more.  When I was younger, I anticipated Christmas for like.....364 days.  I couldn't even sleep the night before and I would always try to sneak downstairs to "catch" Santa delivering my presents.  And as the years passed, I would still look forward to Christmas day, but the anticipation has definitely changed.  The in between stage, when you aren't the same little kid you used to be and you don't have kids of your own...is kind of...different.  I guess that's just how I feel.

Anyway, I've been baking up a storm in the kitchen with my mama!  I also baked a lot of goodies (banana bread, cake balls, chocolate covered pretzels, cranberry orange bread, tea rings, pancakes, granola...the list goes on and on and so do the calories ;) it's ok, it's Christmas!  I love making homemade gifts for friends and family because it's a great way to show your appreciation by dedicating your time and effort (in comparison to spending lots of money) and I think people appreciate it too.  I'll post the recipes and some of the pictures that I've made soon!

On another note, my wonderful, AMAZING, soon to be sister-in-law, Nicholle, threw an absolutely awesome engagement party for Bobby and me!  My mom and Bobby's mom were also a huge help and made tons of appetizers and desserts along with Nicholle.  We had the party at Nicholle's parent's brewery in Decorah, which I definitely suggest you all check out if you happen to be in the area!  The beers are so delicious and they have many different kinds. 
Here's the link: http://www.tgbrews.com/site/

Nicholle (pictured on the far left) has been such a great help with all the wedding planning (which I do from time to time...or not so much ;) but I am going to get better, I promise!  I am SO excited to be her sister!  She already has one sister, Natasha, who is also in the wedding.  Tash was just married last spring and lives in AZ!  Bobby and I visited her and Josh (her husband) a couple years ago and we loved it!  I wish she lived closer so we could all spend time together :) and I definitely miss her (and the Arizona weather)!  So I definitely have lots of help from family and friends!

Here's a picture of my two brothers (on both sides of me) and their friends at the engagement party.  :)

And in the picture above, my mom is on the far left, and then my "second moms" are on the same side.  My close friends from high school (who are also in the wedding), are on the right! 
Here's me with a tea ring I made for breakfast :) Delicious!
Here's the recipe


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  1. In a bread machine, put milk, egg, butter, sugar, salt, bread flour, and yeast in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle. Start. Butter 2 cookie sheets; set aside.
  2. Divide dough in half. Roll each piece out into rectangles, about 12x16 inches. Spread each dough rectangle with 1 tablespoon softened butter. In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, and 1/2 cup raisins. Sprinkle mixture onto rectangles. Roll them up jelly-roll fashion, along long side. Pinch edges to seal. Stretch and twist into rings. Place them onto prepared cookie sheets with sealed edges down. Pinch ends together to form a ring. Using clean scissors, cut 2/3 way of the way through the loaf at about 1 inch intervals. Spread each cut slightly. Cover with a clean towel and let loaves rise until double. At this time, you may cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until later.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. The loaf will be light brown on top and the filling will be oozing and bubbling through. Repeat for second ring.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine confectioners sugar, almond extract, and milk. Drizzle icing over warm bread.

So we've received a TON of snow here....check it out!

One of the roads I love running, covered with SNOW! So beautiful.

 My dog, who constantly begs for scraps while I bake...
The other one enjoys protecting the house from squirrels ;)

I'll post the other recipes soon! :)


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