Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday, UNFinished Crafts Beginnings, & Cloverleaf Rolls Recipe

Today was... interesting? I can't sum it up in 1 word, so I'll tell you (or just myself if no one is reading this today). I overslept. I probably got up close to 10, which really isn't a huge deal, except that the kids were up and Robert got up and was feeling haggard. Although Robert would never complain or even feel resentful at taking care of the kids while I sleep, I still feel a bit guilty and lonely waking up without him there. I finish/polish my Primary lesson on Sunday mornings, so I eventually got to that after reading my scriptures (the reading for Primary, of course) and was lost in trying to do that while my stupid Adobe Photo Deluxe (which was not made for Windows Vista) kept being stupid and I kept losing focus b/c I hate studying the war chapters. I don't consider myself a truly Valiant person, but I definitely identify with the Anti-Nephi-Lehis more than any other group in the Book of Mormon. I'm a pacifist at heart. So it's hard for me to read through all the blood and war and death, even though I know there is great symbolism in the history for our Spiritual war we are waging now. This morning flew by as Robert and I both were spectacularly unfocused for some reason and ended up leaving the house just after 2. We plan to leave the house at 1:40 on Sunday afternoons, in order to get there early and set up my class and try to settle everyone in before church starts. And everyone knows you have to get there early to get those choice first-row seats! (*grin) So, even though we weren't late at all, it felt late and I was just off. I had been feeling kind of sick this morning before we left (maybe that's why I was unfocused, and no, I'm not pregnant yet), and about halfway through Sacrament meeting I had to leave and go to the foyer b/c I felt so sick I needed to get up and walk a bit. I took a Dr. Pepper with me and some cinnamon almonds. I figured the sugar and protein would help (usually it's either my iron or sugar that's low). I stayed out there until the end and went back in feeling that if I took more than 10 steps at time I would pass out. A sweet friend of mine noticed I was looking tipsy and offered me her arm to get me back to my family. I went to set up my classroom after that. I like to make the room welcoming and comfortable instead of just an empty blackboard, so I put up 1 or 2 pictures relevant to the lesson and a couple of pictures of Jesus and write a short welcome message on the board. I felt like I hadn't overdone my planning and was prepared for a nice succinct lesson, but I was very scattered. And some of the kids were very distracted by the thunderstorm going on. Overall, I felt practically useless trying to teach, as a couple of my sweet kids kept talking over me, making me feel dumb. I know these kids are amazing. They are smart, talented, fun, and generally actually respectful. But they are all "lifers." They have heard these stories and lessons every year since they were in nursery and I feel like I (who probably doesn't know the stories as well as they do) don't really know how to inspire them. I don't know how to show them how much I love the Gospel. And how wonderful and amazing it is. It's like someone who has grown up with nothing better than McDonald's hamburgers their whole life, suddenly being able to eat steak, really good, juicy, flavorful, tender steak. Then trying to explain to a billionaire, who has never been subjected to anything as base as a cheap burger, how good it tastes. Weird, huh? I know the Spirit leads me every lesson I teach, it's just frustrating walking along in the dark until I'm ready to be taught myself and stop being selfish in what I am doing (i.e. trying to look good and have cool visual aids and treats instead of focus on the scriptures).

On a total tangent I promised a girlfriend I would tell the story of how UNFinished Craft Days got started and how they all go, and write down my recipe for Dinner rolls, which -in all truthfulness- is not my recipe. I got it from my Family Meal Management class at BYU, where I also got the tip on how to make them brown and serve, which I will also share.

A few weeks ago, my sweet friend, Ginger, was supposed to be teaching a sewing class at the church. Well, the times got mixed up and apparently Ginger wanted it to be in the morning, but it was scheduled for the evening. She called me to see if I was going, and I said I would, even though it was on simple curtains and I honestly have been sewing "since my foot could reach the pedal" (is what I tell everyone), but I wanted to socialize and figured I could pick up some tips, too. Turned out that Ginger, her daughter, and I (along with all the younger kids and Robert in tow) were the only ones there. So we all just worked on the small sewing projects we had brought with us, and we chatted. And eventually one of us said, "You know, we ought to have a time when we women just get together like this and do whatever projects we're working on. We always have so many unfinished crafts laying around from service projects or Relief Society meetings." Well, it just sparked with me and I ran with it. I declared the next Tuesday "UNFinished Crafts Day" at my house (what else did I buy a house for, except to have people come over and use it?!)(btw, the UNF is capitalized b/c it looks good, maybe I will make it into a partial acronym sometime; any ideas?). I told people to bring the kids, a lunch, a snack to share, and their projects (anything from sewing to crocheting to jewelry making and more). I have moved it around each week just to see different people, and this week I'm going to do it Thursday night about 9, just to see if we can get stuff done without the kids around and make a girls night of it (Anne of Green Gables, anyone?). So that's it.

Here's the roll recipe, which also works for cinnamon rolls or fruit filled rolls, but doesn't work so well as loaf bread so far.

Basic Sweet and Dinner Rolls (Cloverleaf)
2 T yeast
1/3 C sugar (up to 1/2 c for sweet rolls)
2 t salt
6-8 c all purpose flour
2 1/2 c milk, scalded (brought to 110º-120º) in microwave
1/2 c shortening
2 eggs, beaten

*You'll note I do this using the dry method for this recipe, meaning I mix the dry ingredients together and make sure my liquid is the right temp, so I don't have to bloom the yeast.
Preheat the oven to 300º (if you want to freeze them and make them brown and serve) or 400º (if you want them that night, or as soon as one hourish). Mix yeast, sugar, salt, and 3 c. flour in your mixing bowl. Add shortening and mix until well-blended. Add milk slowly, and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs. Add remaining flour (possibly more than I say depending on your taste and your climate) to make a soft dough (but not sticky). Knead well: about 5-10 minutes in the mixer, or 15 minutes by hand (I do this in my machine, but you can do it by hand if you don't trust yours). Get it out of the bowl, and roll it into a large ball. Spray the bowl with Pam (or whatever) and put it back into the bowl. Spray the top of it with more Pam, cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel, and let rise about 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Shape into small balls and put 3-4 (about the size of a quarter in diameter) on the bottom of each cup of a muffin pan (You can actually shape them anyway you like, I just love to pull them apart). I usually get about 4 dozen rolls out of this recipe (just cover the dough with the plastic wrap between batches), which is why I freeze most of them for later. Bake at 300º for about 8-10 minutes (they'll sound hollow when you tap them when they are done, but they'll still be white). Then freeze them on your cooling rack or a pan (so they don't stick together), then throw them in a freezer bag until you want them. This way you can bake 1 or 2 in the toaster oven (you don't have to use the muffin pan after the initial baking) or you can do a whole dozen or more for dinner. To brown, just bake at 400º for 8-10 minutes then brush the tops with butter (or else they get hard and crusty outside) right as they come out of the oven. You can skip the 300º cooking if you want them all right away; it's just like par-boiling, instead it's "par-baking".

I love these rolls. There is nothing that can compare with the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house! I have fond memories of living in Wymount Terrace and baking these over and over with a girlfriend of mine. She never did them brown and serve b/c her family would eat the whole batch in one go.

and now it is late and Robert is trying to keep Horatio and EJ distracted (b/c H won't go to bed yet), while I finish here. Isn't he wonderful? Yes, I know. Let me know if you have any questions.


HoustonMamaJenn said...

Hey girl!! Thanks again for working so hard to put on all these events. It is so hard moving (I moved most of my life) and leaving friends. I have heard only amazing things about you (your talents, truffle making abilities, and beautiful singing voice) and I know that LOTS of people are excited about becoming your friend! Sorry I haven't been able to come to your Craft Days yet and get to know you better but I will be there on Thursday night!Have a happy week! Also- I am not that crafty but try anyways!!

swedemom said...

You are awesome. I thoroughly appreciate the explanation and recipe. Thanks!!! I really appreciate it.

I am happy to say that after trying so hard in Utah to be able to make good bread, I actually mastered it in Sweden and now feel confident that I can make your rolls. I just wish we could see each other to share!

Lewis Family said...

Ditto, Tiffany! Jenn, I totally believe we are all crafty at heart; after all, we are children of God who is so creative He had to make everything!