Sticky Bun Monkey Bread

It’s Babymoon time!!!!

We are going away for a quick Babymoon this weekend. I am so excited!!

Last time, we took a trip to the Florida to visit The Keys for a long weekend but since we are here in Florida now, we are just staying local. I’d love to take another trip to The Keys but I didn’t feel like flying, err spending money on flights, really.

Price found a local resort and spa for us to visit. The idea of a prenatal massage and bumming it by the pool without a toddler asking you to go in and out and in and out again is pure bliss.

Generally, I feel good at 32 weeks but I am so blah and sore all over so I just need my slightly ever present charlie horses to be worked out. (Seriously, they are the worst things ever to wake up to in the middle of the night!!!) Thankfully, Price snagged the last one available for the day and I picked up the required doctor’s note so I am just counting down the minutes until the appointment.

The worst part is that I keep reading things included in our package and it just makes me want to stay forever. Well, more specifically, go back AFTER the baby is born for the unlimited drinks. Hello, unlimited mimosas at brunch!

If you aren’t going away this weekend, I insist you make this Sticky Bun Monkey Bread. It’s stupid good. And goes great with mimosas too. (Truth be told, everything goes with mimosas. It’s a fact!)

 

But seriously, this Sticky Bun Monkey Bread is a real crowd pleaser. It tastes just like a sticky bun with the sticky caramel syrup that you drizzle all over the cinnamon and sugar coated biscuit pieces.

I used refrigerated canned biscuits to make this process easier, but you can follow my recipe for Homemade Monkey Bread for the dough, and then add the nuts and caramel sauce to it.

The caramel is everything. Whatever you do, don’t just dip a finger in there to try it. Nor is it a good idea to immediately grab a piece of monkey bread right after you flip it out on to the serving platter. No, I def didn’t try that and burn the crap out of my fingers and then my mouth as the quickest thing I could think of was ‘ahh my fingers!’ so shoving it in my mouth was the next logical thing to do. Nope…

Let’s fast-forward to the weekend, shall we?

I’ll be ready for my prenatal massage and you will be ready to enjoy this Sticky Bun Monkey Bread. And a few mimosas in my honor.

Sticky Bun Monkey Bread

Makes 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 biscuits per can)
  • 4 ounces of chopped pecans
  • 3/4 Cup butter
  • 1 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 Cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Process

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Spray a tube pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nuts in the bottom on the tub pan.
  4. Cut the biscuits in 4 equal pieces. Roll them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture
  5. Add half of the coated biscuit pieces into the tube pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 more nuts. Add the rest of the coated biscuit pieces and then the remaining chopped nuts.
  6. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar. Melt together over medium- high heat. Mix in the cream and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla extract.
  7. Evenly pour the caramel mixture over the coated biscuits.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes.
  9. Flip over onto a serving dish. Enjoy!
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Spring Time Pasta Salad

I just signed up for a weekly co-op package in the community where we live and it’s making my gleefully excited.

I used to do a delivered co-op years and years ago when we were in Boston. It was so great since it was all organic and it helped us get creative with meals when things like kale, watermelon radishes, pea shoots, etc. The variety was nice and it helped us be creative with our meals as we tried out new recipes to use the fruits and veggies we received.

A neighbor told me about the co-op that is hosted on FB so I checked it out and immediately signed up. It’s affordable at $20 for a small box and $30 for a larger one. But they aren’t small to begin with, you get plenty of things! You can swap things out and even add things on. It’s great.

I think it will help save us money since this box is really affordable (not everything is organic) and will help us eat more fruits and vegetables throughout the week. This week the box I purchased included: 3 Beefsteak Tomatoes, Mangoes, 1 Hydro Bib lettuce,  Miniolas (Honeybells), 5+ Yellow Squash, Gala Apples, 1 bunch Asparagus, 2 Avocados,1 bag of Mini Carrots, a bunch of Bananas, 1 Red Onion, and 1 Yellow Onion. A total deal for $20A As well, they had a 1 ounce bag of microgreens from a local farm as a bonus that was added to the box. There are always add-ons you can select but I stuck with the standard box for now, but I know I’ll be checking them out too in the future.

 

The pickup for our community is on Tuesday nights and we already have been using up the goods. Apples sliced up at breakfast, avocados added to turkey tacos, and the bunny and I split a tomato.

I was really excited about the bunch of tender asparagus since and I just knew what do with it… Pasta Salad!!

I whipped up this pasta in no time to serve along with some chicken. It was such a great side dish for some chicken that we were having for dinner. I certainly could have just steamed the asparagus and squeezed some lemon on it, and it would have been great, but I really wanted something extra fun as a side dish.

The rotini is a great shape for pasta salads, but if you don’t have that on hand then grab a box of penne or bow ties. I almost used a box of whole wheat rotini but I didn’t think it would be as pretty. ha!!!

There is a lot of shallot in this recipe. It is not a mistake. Trust me. It cooks down and gets nice and mellow in flavor. It gives it a great complex oniony flavor without you just tossing in some red onion (which is delish, by the way) or garlic.

I used a sun-dried tomato basil seasoned one from Aldi, but a plain goat cheese would be just as awesome. Just make sure the pasta salad is nice and cool before you add it in or it’s just gonna melt through as you mix it in. Not a bad situation, but I think the little chunks of goat cheese as you take a bite gives it such a good pop in flavor.

Now, grab a blanket, some fried chicken, chilled rose, and this pasta salad to enjoy a picnic in the gorgeous spring weather!

Spring Time Pasta Salad

Makes 10-12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rotini pasta, or pasta with a similar shape
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 Cup diced shallot
  • 1 pound thin stalked asparagus, cut into pieces similar in size to the pasta (approx 1″)
  • 2-3 ounces of sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
  • 8 ounces of crumbled goat cheese

For the dressing

  • 3/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Process

  1. Cook the pasta in well salted water until it is al dente, according to the pasta’s instructions. Drain and rinse well, let cool in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat, saute the shallots until translucent and tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Add the asparagus to the shallots. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the asparagus is bright in color and soft, but still crisp.
  4. While the asparagus is cooking, mix together all of the dressing ingredients.
  5. Add the cooked shallots and asparagus to the cooled pasta. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and dressing. Mix well.
  6. Chill for 30 minutes prior to adding the goat cheese, mix well again. Enjoy!
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Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

So I jinx’d myself.

I have been all “oh pregnancy is no problem! I feel great. I’m a bit more tired, but it’s same old same old!” Because it really has been great. I’m one of those (annoying) people who just feels great when pregnant. I get tired but do not experience any significant pains (I don’t count my on again, off again hip pain since that is not related to being pregnant) or sickness or whatever.

But that all changed this weekend.

We were out for a walk and we ran into a neighbor and she asked how things were going. I gave my typical answer that I was feeling great and we continued on our merry way.

I swear, not an hour later I was on the floor like “ALL THE PAINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”. I think bent down to pick something up and my body was like ‘HAHA, nope” like everything from my lower back to my arms to my feet hurt. Not like a pulled muscle pain but an all over everything is gonna hurt like you just did the biggest work out of your life pain and lifting your arms over your head might be the death of you.

So I broke myself.

I took a bath and went to bed and started to feel better but it just goes to show you that I am the biggest jinx ever.

In other news, bring on the carrot cake!

My whole reason for ‘celebrating’ Easter is for the Cadbury Creme Eggs, carrot cake, and getting Autumn dressed up in as much bunny branded gear leading up to the hoppiest of days. Yes, I have that much stuff with rabbits on it for her. Judge away…

I couldn’t resist making Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls for this week’s edition of Monkey Bread Monday. (I will have a monkey bread recipe next week!) The carrot cake flavors in the fluffy cinnamon rolls and the cream cheese frosting, yes!

The hardest part of making these was deciding on if the raisins go in the dough or in the filling. I ultimately decided on adding the plump, juicy raisins to the filling to mix in with the crunch of the walnuts. I thought it would be a fun contrast. I know raisins can be a deal breaker for some people so do what ya gotta do and omit them if you must.

Enjoy these on Easter or any time you are craving some carrot cake for breakfast.

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 18 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients

For the Rolls

  • 1 Cup warm milk (100-110 degrees)
  • 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted (but not hot!)
  • 1 Cup finely shredded carrot
  • 4 1/2- 4 3/4 Cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Cup melted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 Cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 Cup finely chopped walnuts

For the glaze

  • 6 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 Cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Process

  1. Add the yeast to the warm milk. Let rest for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the cook attachment, beat the eggs, then slowly mix in the warm milk mixture. Add the butter and shredded carrot; just mix to combine.
  3. Add in the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a hook attachment, work the dough until combined.
  4. On a well floured work surface, roll the dough into a smooth ball. Add the dough to a large bowl that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Rotate to cover the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size, at least 1 hour.
  5. Once the dough is ready, preheat your oven to 350 F and grease 3 pie plates or 8×8 round cake pans
  6. On a well floured work surface, roll the dough out so it is approximately 14″ x 24″. Evenly spread out the melted butter on the dough.
  7. Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon blend, sugar brown sugar, raisins and chopped nuts.
  8. Roll the long edge towards you and then cut into 18 evenly sized rolls. Arrange in the baking pans.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Make the glaze by mixing all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl until smooth. Drizzle all over the cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!
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Nutty Chocolate Chip Banana Monkey Bread

Damn, toddlers are difficult.

Under statement of the year, right?

Besides stating all the obvious things like them freaking the eff out over dumb stuff like what shoes they want to wear (I swear we can NEVER find the pair she wants to wear right that very minute!) or the Minnie/Dora/Disney Princess of the cup she wants, we have entered a whole new realm of ‘fun’.

We have now entered the fun bed time fights that involve me moving things because they scare her. Last night I had to move a stack of framed pictures and canvases sitting on her dresser to get hung up since they “look like an alligator” Say what?!?

Then a little while later I had to move a bag in the hallway since it, again, looked like animals trying to eat her. 

Can’t wait to see what tonight brings!

Also, I was asking her what I should put into the monkey bread. We settled on adding in chocolate chips (duh!) to the bananas and nuts. She was too into watching Shimmer and Shine on my phone (our cable isn’t hooked up yet… ugh!) to help me make it so understand what I was doing because…

as soon as it was ready and we offered her some “monkey Bread” she refused “EWWWWWW NO MONKEY’S BREAD.” Well then…

 

It’s like a

I almost called this Chunky Monkey Monkey Bread but I was afraid the double ‘monkey’ in the name would be confusing. Maybe?

And that’s all my silly stories for today!

Nutty Chocolate Chip Banana Monkey Bread

Makes 10-12 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 packages of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 bananas, thinly sliced (about 1/4″ thick)
  • 2/3 Cup finely chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans
  • 1 Cup chocolate chips
  • 1 Cup butter, melted

Process

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a fluted tube pan with non stick cooking spray
  • Cut each roll into 4 pieces.
  • Place half the banana slices, chopped nuts, and chocolate chips in the bottom of the pan.
  • Roll each piece into the blend of sugars and cinnamon. Then put into the tube pan.
  • Once half the pieces are in the tub pan, add the remaining slices of banana, nuts, and chocolate chips.
  • Finish putting the coated biscuit pieces into the tube pan then evenly pour the butter over all of the pieces.
  • Bake for 43-48 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before inverting on a platter for serving.
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Adventures in Strawberry Picking at Hunsader Farms

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When my brother and his family were visiting last week from CT, we took everyone strawberry picking. It was a great, delicious activity for everyone, especially the kids.

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Strawberry picking is fun but it’s a great, affordable activity for young kids. They get such a trill finding a ripe berry to pick. And depositing it into the bucket (or their mouths) is the best. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you have picked something.

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We went to Hunsader Farms in Bradenton since a friend suggested it. She was spot on with her suggestion since it was an easy, nice drive and there were plenty of strawberries to pick from from long rows of strawberries.

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Bring a bucket or a basket with you to Hunsader since they don’t have buckets for you. They have plastic grocery bags but for tender fruit like strawberries, I’d suggest a bucket to help prevent them not getting squished.

Also, don’t pull all the way down the rows in the strawberry fields, they are not open at the other end. Sure, you can try to drive through the ditch but the people who got stuck ahead of it wouldn’t suggest it. I suggest just parking on the main ‘road’ and walking so you don’t block anyone or get blocked in yourself.

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Besides the ripe, super strawberries that are warm from the sun’s rays, we snagged a few tomatoes from the plants that were past their prime picking season. Autumn eats them like apples.

Hunsander Farms also has a petting zoo but we just hung around the perimeter watching the talking birds. It’s $4 a person  for entry into the petting zoo and playground so not too bad but we just had enough time to enjoy it before heading back home to cook up all our veggies that we picked up at the store for our dinner.

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Not into Strawberries? Then be sure to check out all the other fruits and veggies that you can pick throughout the year. Want some Eggplant? Then go from Oct-Nov and then again in April- May. Or stop by in Nov- Dec and then again in May for tomatoes. And don’t forget that rhubarb is ripe in Jan-March!

I can’t wait to get back there for some green beans, zipper peas, and okra. And getting to visit the petting zoo next as well.

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Hunsader Farms

5500 C.R. 675

Bradenton, Fl 34211

941.322.2168

Mon-Sat 8am-4pm

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And some strawberry recipes for all those berries you pick!

individual-strawberry-monkey-breads-with-cream-cheese-frosting

Individual Strawberry Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

Strawberry Margaritas_04

Strawberry Margaritas with Homemade Strawberry Syrup

5 Minute Chocolate and Strawberry Shortcake

The Best 5 Minute Dessert Ever

Fudgy Strawberry Brownies-4

Fudgy Strawberry Brownies

Roasted Strawberries_04

Roasted Strawberries

Strawberry Agua de Fresca

Strawberry Agua de Fresca

Strawberry Nutella Waffles-1

Strawberry Nutella Waffles

strawberry pie_01

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Daiquiri_01

Strawberry Daiquiri

Fresh Berry White Chocolate Streusel Bars_02

 

Fresh Berry White Chocolate Streusel Bars

strawberry fizz

Strawberry Fizz

 

 

Posted in Exploring, Florida | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment