What I’ve Been Up To

Hello all!

I so apologize for neglecting you all the past few weeks. This summer has been insaaanely busy. How ironic is it that I feel more swamped during the summer than when I’m taking classes during the school year? Ahh.

Since the last time you’ve heard from me, a lot has happened. For one, I turned 21 on the 15th! I’m officially¬†an adult now. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend my birthday relaxing with my family (even though it rained all day).

Speaking of rain, we were hit by some pretty nasty storms yesterday here in Iowa. Our family farm suffered minor damage, with some tree wreckage and our new grain bin took a pretty big blow. However, we can be thankful that no one was hurt and nothing more severe happened.


This past weekend, I got together with my family again to celebrate Father’s Day. It’s kind of a tradition for me to bake my dad and grandpas something as a Father’s Day treat. This year, I made pecan pie and cherry pie bars.

This was the first time I’d made both of these recipes, and I was pleased to see how great they turned out!

Here’s the pecan pie (recipe here):



And the cherry pie bars (recipe here):



I’ve been staying busy tutoring this summer as well. This brings so much joy to me, and I very much enjoy working one-on-one with students. Would you all be interested in hearing how I set up my lesson plans for tutoring?

I’d like to hear more from you to see what you want to hear from me! Whether it be a recipe request, or a request for me to create an educational resource, please don’t hesitate to let me know! Leave me a note in the comments below and I’d be happy to oblige.

Until next time!



Homemade Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Before I even begin this post, I have to confess that it took me months to perfect the art of making cinnamon rolls. There were numerous times I failed, and then I’d be too frustrated to try again. However, I ran across this recipe on Culinary Couture about a year ago and never looked back.

So, today, I’m happy to walk you through my step-by-step tutorial for making homemade Cinnabon cinnamon rolls!

Begin by combining 1 packet of yeast with 1 T. sugar. (Also, I usually get out 1 stick of butter to soften to room temperature at this point).


Next, you’ll need 1 cup of water at a temperature around 110 degrees F. Pour this over the yeast and sugar, and let it rest for 10 minutes while the yeast activates.


Meanwhile, combine 1/4 c. buttermilk, 1/3 c. oil, and 1 egg. Pour this into the yeast mixture.


Add 1/2 c. sugar and stir. Then, add in 2 c. flour and combine.


At this point, I used the dough hook attachment on our stand mixer to make my life a bit easier. As the mixer was running, I added flour in by 1/2 c. increments, until I used a total of 4 1/2 c. flour (including the 2 c. from earlier).

Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead. I do this by folding the dough in half, working it down, and folding it in half again.



Place dough into a lightly greased bowl to rise.


I always turn the oven on when I begin to make the dough, and then shut if off once I get to this point. That way, the top of the oven is a warm place for the dough to rise. I also cover the bowl with a thin towel.


Let the dough sit for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Once you’re ready to roll out the dough, prepare the filling: 1 1/4 c. brown sugar, 2 1/2 T. cinnamon, and 2 T. cornstarch.


I generally set up my area to roll out the dough, too, complete with a pastry mat, rolling pin, greased 11 x 15 pan, flour, butter, and the filling.


After rising, the dough will look something like this:


Gently punch down the dough to let excess air out, and work until pliable.


Now, prepare for battle. At this point, you’re going to need to roll out the dough into a large rectangle (about 20″ by 30″) and let me tell you, this dough fights back. It’s a good thing, though, because it means your dough has the right texture. However, this will give you the arm workout of the day.



Spread the 1/2 cup softened butter over the dough.


Leave about an 1″ on each long side of the dough to allow the rolls to seal.


Sprinkle the filling over the top, and use a rolling pin to press it down.



Begin to roll up the dough, beginning with a long side.


Keep rolling until you reach the end, and lightly dab the un-buttered part with water to help the ends stay together.


I made 18 rolls out of this log, and I notch the dough beforehand to make sure the rolls are uniform size. (I made them about an inch and a quarter wide).


Use a sharp knife to cut the rolls, and place them in a greased 11 x 15 pan.




Cover, and let rise for about another hour and a half.


The rolls will have doubled in size.


They’re ready to bake! Place them in a 350 degree oven for 16-18 minutes, keeping a close eye on them towards the end. You want them to be golden brown, but not overdone, either.

While they’re baking, prepare the icing. Combine 2 oz. cream cheese and 1/4 c. butter, both softened.


Add in 1 t. fresh-squeezed lemon juice and 1 t. vanilla.


Gently mix in 1 and 1/4 c. powdered sugar, until this beautiful icing forms:


Take the rolls out of the oven, and admire the delicious smells that are filling up the kitchen.



Place a dollop of icing on each warm cinnamon roll, and spread to cover the top of the roll.



I wouldn’t blame you for eating one at this point, but otherwise, let them cool for a while.


Once they’ve cooled, they are best warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds before eating them. You can always make more icing, too, if you like.


If you’re looking for a printer-friendly edition of this recipe, head over to this link where the original recipe can be found.

And in the meantime, enjoy the rest of your day!