Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Heaven On Earth... Oh I mean Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls...

Oh the joys of fall... How I love thee. The leaves, the air, the flavors...Too bad in this strange place called Houston I can only enjoy the last.....
Let's hope this record hot weather goes back to Hades.
I mean I guess maybe mother natures excuse is the fact we got spoiled with the best weather for TWO WEEKS in the beginning of October. Houston had never seen nicer days...
I'll say my weather god prayers and do my cool air dance, oh yeah and EAT PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS to bring the cold weather back.

Yes that is right my friends, pumpkin mother effing cinnamon rolls.
I mean COME ON.
Did someone really have to make this recipe.
It probably should be banned.
From life.

Now I know for a fact people are going to get all excited and then look at the recipe and PANIC... "OH MY GOSH!" They say.

Calm yourselves.
It's not that scary.
I mean there are much scarier things in the world like Justin Bieber...

Just follow the recipe and stay calm. Keep that brain in Alpha.

Slather on da butter

Sprinkle on the happy

Roll up da baby

Slice away

Arrange the rolls and allow them to rise to the heavens of happy

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

rolls from King Arthur Flour adapted by Good Life Eats
makes approximately 15-16 rolls


Roll Dough:
1/4 cup warm water (not hot, about 110 degrees)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, either fresh or canned
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups (approximately) Bread Flour
1 1 /4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 stick butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2-3 cups powdered sugar


In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Let rest for 5 minutes before stirring. Add milk, eggs, pumpkin, butter, 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom to yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Gradually add remaining flour (all purpose), a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead. Start with about 1 1/2 cups and increase if necessary. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Combine the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl, set aside. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16" x 12" rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough and then sprinkle with the sugar mixture.

Roll the dough into a log the long way; it'll stretch to about 20" long as you roll. Using a very sharp knife, slice the log into 15 slices. In order to cut down on drag, it helps to rinse the blade in hot water, and wipe it off, between slices. Place slices in a greased 9x13 inch baking pan (or in two 8 or 9 inch round cake or pie pans). Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 375°F oven. Bake the rolls till they're brown around the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center, about 20-30 minutes.

While rolls bake, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and lemon juice to a small food processor. Blend until smooth and combined. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending in between, until well mixed and desired consistency is reached. (I used 2 cups powdered sugar)

Frost warm rolls with the cream cheese frosting and serve immediately.

For night before prep: Prepare the rolls up to the point where you roll and place in the pan. Then, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove the pan from the fridge and proceed with the instructions where you left off. Rising time may be slightly longer than noted in the recipe due to the dough being cold vs room temp.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The abbreviation of the day is O.S.M.
What does is stand for you ask?!
Opera Sounds Magical?
Operation Silent Media?
I wish, but NO.

Oats Sunflower Millet?

There is this place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming called the Bunnery. It is a magical place, a place that when I am older (and retired from my lovely job as a ballerina) I will aspire to build a bakery/restaurant that will in hopes become as adorable and delicious as this place.
(WOWZA NOW THAT'S A RUN ON SENTENCE! Too bad I am keepin' it.)
Everything on the menu is sure to be delicious. On my first run in with the Bunnery, I had the Pesto Paintbrush Sandwich. A variety of fresh veggies that were so vibrant and bright it took me about 20 minutes to build up the courage to eat the thing. It was on their famous O.S.M. bread and slathered with homemade pesto and cream cheese. The bread is kind of out of this world. So after this delicious lunch I made a plan to make sure we hit this joint on the way back through Jackson to catch my flight home. This time the culprit was breakfast... DUN DUN DUN.

How can you resist?
(If you know how, give me a tip...... ha ha)
They were out of this world. Served piping hot with warm Vermont maple syrup... BOMB SAUCE. Nothing better, folks, nothing better.

Before the second rise

Baked and happy

Anywhoodle, I am here to give you the recipe to the O.S.M. bread I found on another blog. She also went to the Bunnery and get this... had the O.S.M. pancakes. I think she was about as excited as I was... Here is her recipe.

From Dana's Blog:

Oat Sunflower Millet Bread (OSM Bread)

This bread is great served warm for breakfast, slathered in butter or covered with some fresh apple butter. It is also perfect for making sandwiches, and it makes some stellar toast.

2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) dry active yeast
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup canola or safflower oil
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup millet
2 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
3-4 cups whole wheat flour

Mix together the lukewarm water and honey in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and stir until dissolved. Allow the yeast to proof for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast rises to the surface and starts to foam.

Stir the oil into the yeast mixture. Then add 1 cup of bread (or all-purpose) flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour and beat with a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment until the batter is smooth and glossy. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Add the salt, oatmeal, sunflower seeds and millet to the bowl; stir down the dough and blend in. Add the remaining cup of bread flour and stir well. Gradually add in the remainder of the whole wheat flour. When the dough becomes too stiff to stir, turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes (or, switch to the dough hook on your mixer — this will take less time), until the dough is soft, but not sticky. Place the dough in a large bowl that has been oiled, cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Grease two 9″x5″ loaf pans and line with parchment paper, allowing the parchment to hang over the longer sides of the pan (this will make it easier for you to lift the loaves out of the pans). Punch down the dough and knead lightly and briefly to deflate. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a loaf, and place a loaf in each pan. Allow the loaves to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

About 20 minutes before you bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the loaves for about 40 minutes, until the loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when tapped (the internal temperature should be around 200°F). Allow the loaves to cool in the pans for a few minutes, then lift out of the pans using the parchment paper and let them cool completely.

Yield: Two 9″x5″ loaves

GEMMA! Back away from the dough...

Great Grandma Billie's Carrot Cookies

This is a secret family recipe.
Should I hold it hostage and torture you with pictures?
Nawwwww, I will give you the delight of trying these phenomenal cookies.
And you can even tell yourself you can have as many as you want, because you can get your serving of veggies by eating your cookies ;)

I have been home in Idaho for a week on my October layoff. I performed a Raymonda variation with my old school for an evening of dance and had a blast. My mom and I wanted to make my great grandma's carrot cookies to bring to the show. Even cooler we made them "garden to table". The experience of pulling little knobs from the earth and baking with them straight after picking inspired me to have my own sustainable farm when I am older. The idea just keeps growing in my head. I already have some recruits... Everyone can have their own task for the farm. I am in charge of all things crafting and baking. LE DUR! Mom claims she wants to be the "oversee-er" ontop of her hill in her own house surrounded by barbed wire and electric fences so no one can bother her until she wants to be bothered. Go figure. HA HA HA HA! Dad doesn't know yet, but I am putting him in charge of furniture building and all things woodmaking. This includes each of our own cabins... ANYWHO BACK FROM THE RANCH AND TO THE COOKIES! Mom grows the most sweet and delicious carrots and I couldn't imagine how phenomenal these cookies would be with them instead of store bought pieces of pooooooooooooooo.

So we went on a hunt in the garden, and took Sandee-Sue the schnauzer with us. It is her favorite place. She is constantly stealing delicious produce. I mean I don't blame her, it's the best in the world.

Grandma Billie's Carrot Cookies:

* 1 cup mashed cooked carrots
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 cup shortening (or butter if you are totally grossed out like mom and I ;) )
* 2 cups flour
* 3/4 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp vanilla

Mix together cooled carrots, butter or shortening and sugar together. Add an egg and vanilla and stir until combined. Sift dry ingredients together then mix into wet mixture.
Dollop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 18 mins.

Orange Frosting:
2 tbls Fresh orange juice
1/4 cup butter melted
2 cups powdered sugar
grated orange rind

Mix butter, OJ and orange rind together with a fork. Sift in powdered sugar and stir until smooth.

Dollop frosting on warm cookies and let it melt and spread over them.


Sandee waiting for her carrots

Friday, October 15, 2010


The question is, should I just stop apologizing about never blogging? Probably, it's not like I am Martha Stewart, or Joy the Baker, or THE PIONEER WOMAN. If they didn't blog daily people would probably revolt. There would be an Internet war, cyber guns guns guns.

Anywho, The first two reps of the season are already done. They flew by far too fast and threw us into Nutcracker rehearsals 2 months too early... Just think of snowflakes in Texas in September. LOVELY.
Our first rep was a triple bill of Stanton Welch's "Tutu" and "The Core" as well as Jiri Kylian's "Forgotten Land". Tutu was a ballet that I got to learn my apprentice year and fell in love with it. The costumes are midriff tutus, the leads in blue, red, and gold and the corps in periwinkle. The choreography has birdlike corks throughout and fittingly, we wear a sparkly birds nest on our head. Each of the leads has their own distinct quality. Gold starts off the ballet with a clap to the conductor and attacks the music with fast, sharp with dagger precision. Definitely a part for the small speedy dancers of the company. I remember watching my apprentice year and seeing Leticia Oliveira and Sara Web move at lightning speed with the cleanest technique I had ever seen. The red couple has this beautiful set of pas de duex that are sensual and seamless. The first time I saw Mimi Hassenboehler and Nick Leshche run the pas I was in tears because the music just ran through them in the most beautiful effortless manor. So inspiring. The blue woman begins the third movement with a variation that is every ballerina's dream. It is to the most gorgeous music and all about the insecurities of being a ballet dancer. She is continuously looking into the mirror observing her body and lines, struggling with the thing that is constantly bogging her mind. It must be the most nerve racking solo too, all alone onstage in almost complete darkness only light by a few dim side lights. I was apart of the corps. All about perfection. Lines, Lines, Lines. Ridged sharp movements with absolute precision. It's such a fun part to do onstage. Every single show there was something different I felt and had a feeling like I needed to strive to make the few seconds I was onstage perfect.

Sam as the Blue girl

The next ballet in the Triple bill was Jiri Kylian's "Forgotten Land". This was my first Kylian ballet and it was one of the most wonderful experiences I have had dancing. Even though I had a small dancing part, the entire experience from rehearsing with the lovely Roslyn Anderson to performing onstage was one to remember. The ballet starts off by walking upstage to just the sound of wind. All the timing of the movement is taken off the most upstage man so it can be different every show. The movement is very earthy and grounded which is more of a struggle for me. I have not had many opportunities to do this style of movement, but I hope I did it justice. For me all that matters is that I had an amazing time and it was an experience I will never forget.
Here is a description of the story.
"Forgotten Land 1981 explores memories, events and people that over time are lost or forgotten and how people sometimes vainly try to recover them, or a sense of them in order to regain their former power and value. The work its self is inspired and based on a painting of women on a beach by the Norwegian Expressionist painter Edvard Munch. The work mainly involves duets who move their arms in various stretched positions, as if they were reaching out for something. The dancers arch their backs and dance expressively, reflecting both the music and the haunting painting that influenced the work. Kylián makes a statement of lost homelands, lost lovers and lost times and there are also duets that reflect violent moods. These duets end up as a large ensemble 'and then the women are left on the shore, stretching their arms again like bids that cannot fly."
from wikipedia:

Me in Beige

From Louise, the picture is one of the paintings the ballet was inspired by.

The final ballet was a Broadway style ballet named "The Core". Danced to the classic sounds of George Gershwin. This was the second time this ballet has been performed while I have been in the company. The first time I was a neurotic "executive employee" who literally ran around the stage being overly dramatic the whole time ;). I was a little too good at that. Often getting called out for overacting. Whoops. This time around I got to be a equally over dramatic character. Gwen, a dancing girl who gets clobbered in the face by the "Diva" played by the very diva herself Kate Precourt (JUST KIDDING KATE! :) ) I often times had far too much fun in this part with my fellow dancing pals, Leslie, Cyd and Moira. Our role was to (obviously) be dancing girls. Performing the classic moves as a kick line and jazz hands. In the beginning when I get smacked in the face there is an understudy named "Jane" who tells the choreographer that she can go in and finish the dance while my character Gwen is passed out on the chair. I also got to perform the role as Jane (in another show obviously).

Gwen's Costume

The paparazzi

The Diva and the Choreographer

Nao as Moira

Lauren as Leslie

The USO girlies

Me as Jane

It was a great run of shows. Hope you enjoy the pictures!