Archive for the ‘Food’ Category


So, this year, we will be hosting the company Christmas get together for Bad Pants’ work group.  Now, this doesn’t mean the entire company, but rather those he works closely with here in Atlanta.  We have a large, lovely home designed for entertaining.  I love to cook and I think it would be a lot of fun!

I expect approximately 20 people, 10 guys and their wives.  And apparently wives are kinda optional.

I know this is way in advance, but I want time to try out lots of different recipes on family and any unsuspecting visitors.  🙂


My question is this:

What are some of your favorite appetizers and hors d’oeuvres?  Care to share the recipe?


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I’m going to be up front and say that I AM PISSED OFF!  If that offends you, go away and come back some other day.  Please.  Go now.  I don’t have much patience to wait.

Ok, well, hopefully the easily offended are gone now.  I’ve been in a bitch ass mood all day and it’s not getting any better.  Not at all.  It’s been the kind of day that Mrs. Mom says makes Satan quake in his boots and say, “Oh Shit!  She’s UP!”  Yeah, that kind of day…

And just as I thought it was getting better, I went on Facebook.  Oh, I can hear it now!  Y’all are wondering why the hell I went and did something like that when I’m already in a rank mood.  Because, apparently, I can’t decide if I’m sadistic or masochistic today.

Tosca Reno, a woman I admire, who has really caught the media’s eye with her Eat Clean lifestyle, has pushed me over the edge.  What is it she said, you wonder?  Here, I’ll directly copy and paste her quote from Facebook for you:

“I have opened a can of worms but not with ill will.

I want us to think about what we are eating. It may not be popular for me to express my opinion but if it isn’t food that is making us sick then what is? Miss Deen is in a position through her TV and books to teach people how to eat therefore she has a responsibility to the public to include some awareness about what is healthy to consume daily or not. 

It makes me upset that so many of us are fooled about food. There has never before a crisis of health in our nation as there is right now regarding diabetes, particularly diabetes Type 2, a totally unnecessary disease. We can’t be casual about our approach to food. 

Do you think for one second I don’t enjoy birthday cake with my kids or a glass of wine? I have even tried some of Miss Deen’s recipes. What is missing from this whole situation is the plea for common sense. This means limiting those foods that act like poisons to our body and make us sick. I’m not on a high horse about this. I just think it is a terribly sad situation that people would rather defend the delicious taste of a cookie than their own health. My compassion for people is not to profit from books or seminars but out of a genuine concern for what is happening to us. Look at us. Just look at us. I’m frightened by what I see happening. 

So let me keep hearing from you because I need to know your thoughts on this whole issue. It is very important to me.”

– Tosca Reno, Facebook, 1/17/2012 @ 10:30 pm EST

And this was my response to her comment:

 “I’m sick of this ‘blame someone else for our problems / let’s all find a scapegoat garbage’ going around. Look, Paula Deen never made anyone eat her cooking, or cook her recipes, or buy her books or even watch her on TV. Trust me, I’ve turned her off plenty of times. Enthusiastic southern women just kind hit a nerve (and I live in the South). Has nothing to do with them, that’s MY deal.

You want someone to blame, let’s blame the fact that we’ve had 100 years of corporate interests advertising worse and worse things for us to eat. Blame a goverment system that has completely failed the greater good of it’s citizens. Want to blame someone? Blame Monsanto. Blame General Mills. Blame everybody who voted in a politician that appointed a bureaucrat who sold out our children for the expediency of corporate funded health studies paid for by the people trying to sell Americans the crap they claim is healthy.

WE did this. Our Parents did this. Their Parents did this. Paula Deen did not do this! She is not shoving food in OUR faces making little airplane noises or loading OUR grocery carts! She does not force us to buy her cookbooks, eat at her restaurant, cook the things she makes, or force us to watch her shows.

We don’t fix this by blaming a woman who has books and a tv show about regional cooking…we fix this by addressing the REAL problem. WE need to take responsibility for OURSELVES.

-This comment brought to you by Americans sick of everybody finding a new horse to beat to death and then try to ride.”

Now, to be fair and give credit where credit is due, Bad Pants listened to my inarticulate rage and watched me storm around his office absolutely fuming, then took what I said and put it together for me.  Which I deeply appreciate, because, we all know Satan and His minions were cowering in some far corner of Hades, trembling in fear of my wrath.

So, Paula Deen is a spokesman for the Danish diabetes medication company, Novo Nordisk, and apparently that also has Tosca Reno upset.  Well, she’s no more directly responsible for the diabetes of America than Nell Carter or Wilfred Brimley, and they were also spokespeople for diabetes medications!  Or, Patti LaBelle, because she has diabetes and wrote a cookbook for diabetics!  I know!  How about holding any famous person responsible that represented Firestone responsible for the death and accidents that happened before and during Firestorm?  Doesn’t that make as much sense?   The whole thing is utterly ridiculous!

WE are each individually responsible for what we put in our bodies and allow our children to put into their bodies.  No one is forcing us to eat crap!  It’s time people took responsibility for THEIR OWN ACTIONS!  Quit blaming everyone else, America!  It’s each our very own individual fucking fault if what we’re eating is making us unhealthy!  Not some celebrity!

WAKE UP!  We all have free will!  We get to choose what we eat or don’t eat, what we do or don’t do!  BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF!

Oh, and Ms. Reno, that agave nectar you’re so fond of in your cookbooks?  Yeah, it’s about as natural and “clean” as margarine.  It’s also “processed” and animals won’t touch it in the wild.  What makes YOU think it’s so great for the rest of us to consume?  Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

(see herehere, and here.  Oh, and here.)


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I made these cinnamon rolls, found here, tonight, utilizing the power of my bread machine.  Partially, I wanted to try out the dough function on my Zo, and partially because I wanted to see what the difference might be if I did.

Now, the ingredients were a bit different than the other recipes.  First, I used bread flour.  Bread flour has a higher gluten content, which does change the texture of the bread.  Next, this recipe called for granulated sugar and nutmeg, also very different.

This was an extremely easy recipe. The dough rolled out easily.  I could tell from that point that the rolls would be lighter and fluffier than the other recipes.

On a taste level, I consider these 4 stars.  I would have liked more filling and perhaps cream cheese icing.  Bad Pants agreed and I’m pondering a hybrid of the first recipe we tried and this current recipe.  Perhaps the dough and nutmeg of these paired with the filling of those.

If you’re looking for a light and fluff sweet roll, these are the ones you want!

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Well, it took 3 days to eat all the first round of cinnamon rolls.  It was a lot of rolls to eat in such a short time period, but Dude and Bad Pants were up to the task.

This evening, I made our second batch, Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls.  They were…  acceptable.  A perfectly lovely, middle of the road, Pillsbury-out-of-a-can like cinnamon roll.  Nothing to write home about, but not bad either.  They were pretty darn sweet, used nearly a pound of brown sugar (and the recipe author claims she uses more than I did!  Way more!), and the frosting was thick.  I think, had I to do it again, one of the things I’d do is trade in the frosting for a glaze as the frosting itself really added to the sweetness of the rolls, making them a bit overpowering.

Rating: 3 Stars

After the first batch I made, these were pretty “meh” to me.  Still, all in all, they were a good, standard cinnamon roll.

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The most favorite cinnamon rolls in our household are from Cinnabon.  We love them with cream cheese icing.  So, to kick off the Bake-Off, I decided to start with a recipe that claims to be the gold standard, A Copy of a Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll.

However, after reading through the recipe, I discovered an important step left out.  At no time do they tell you when to add the milk-yeast mixture.  And they aren’t really clear as to how to make the filling mix.  Are you supposed to put the butter in the mix?  Or do you spread it on the dough?  And is it really necessary to preheat your oven almost 2 hours in advance?  As these issues are very important, I am posting the corrected recipe below, as I made them:

Copy Of A CINNABON Cinnamon Roll

You Will need to gather your ingredients first before starting this recipe. You must follow the recipe step by step in order to achieve the true cinnabon flavor.

2 1/2 TABLESPOONS OF FRESH GRATED CINNAMON (I used ground cinnamon)

Gather these ingredients and set them aside to start your dough recipe first.


Take your 1 cup of milk warmed to about 100 degrees and disolve the packet of yeast, mix well into the milk making sure there are no clumps in the bottom of the bowl or on the spoon.

In a large bowl mix together the flour,sugar,salt, butter and eggs. Mix well, add the milk-yeast combo.   Mix some more.  Knead the dough until well mixed and doesn’t stick to your hands. Knead this into a large ball, Using your hands lightly dusted with flour place into a bowl with a drop of oil in the bottom of the bowl and cover in a warm location to allow to double in size.

Once the dough has risen for about an hour you will remove it from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface to roll out. Take your rolling pin and roll the dough out in the shape of a rectangle. Let this rest for approx. 10 minutes.

While this is resting take the cinnamon that you have grated and combine in a bowl with the brown sugar and mix in well and set aside.  Once your dough has rested take the butter and spread it on the dough evenly, then slowly sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mix all over the surface. Next, roll the dough up and seal it with a little bit of water on a pastry brush to allow the seam to stick during the baking process.  Cut the roll into 1/2 inch sections and place on a baking sheet and allow to rise again until doubled again in size. About another 30 minutes should be enough time.

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 400 DEGREES while waiting on this final rise.


Bake the rolls in a preheated oven until golden brown about 15 minutes, While rolls are baking, Beat together the cream cheese and butter with the confectioner sugar and vanilla and salt. You will want to spread the frosting on the cinnamon buns as soon as they have cooled but just for a few minutes as the best time to add the frosting is while they are still warm and will disolve the frosting allowing it to soak into the cinnamon bun.



If you’ve compared the recipes, you’ll see that I’ve changed up some of the wording so as to not give you a headache with the creator’s bad wordage.  Ugh!  Apparently, they didn’t pay attention in “How To Write A Recipe Class”.

So, I made them.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have started with these as Bad Pants said, “Damn, Babe!  You didn’t have to knock the Pillsbury Dough Boy out in the first round!”  I don’t know if it will be possible to top these.  However, I’m more than willing to give it a try!

But, in order to do that, folks, I need more recipes from YOU.  Send me your Aunt Betty’s famous cinnamon roll recipe!  Send me Grandma Ida’s fabulous recipe!  C’mon!  Even if it’s not YOUR recipe, send me your favorites!

(Picture of rolls to follow)

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The Bake-Off

Once in a while, I have to admit I’m human and have faults.  Unfortunately, a few of these faults lie in the kitchen.  I cannot, for the life of me, cook sticky rice.  I used to be able to.  But, apparently turning 30 caused me to lose that skill.  I cannot make pie crust, unless you’d like to be able to replace the soles of your shoes with it.  I also cannot make Shake ‘n Bake chicken via the microwavable recipe on the box, or your fork just might break.  You can ask The Marine about that one.  (And who cooks chicken in the microwave anyways?  Who decided that was a skill?)

We changed up our diet and began eating less processed food when we lived on the farm in Oregon.  We cooked more foods and relied on packaged less.  We also ate out A LOT less.   Dessert, which my kids thought needed to happen every day, was relegated to days that start with “S” or holidays.  Sugar breakfast cereals quickly joined the ranks of desserts.   Yeah, they weren’t too keen on either of those changes, but took it with as much aplomb 8 yr olds and 15 yr olds can muster.

Then, this past January, we changed up our diet some more.  We began only eating things with ingredients we could readily identify as food.  That means, even if we knew it was a chemical, what the chemical was used for, and could recognize it, we still wouldn’t eat it unless it was naturally occurring as food.  Anything with food coloring went right out the window.  (An aside here- removing ALL sources of food coloring from Dude’s diet has really changed his behavior.  Without food coloring, he no longer needs medication for his ADHD, and is a perfectly pleasant, nice kid.  It was sheer dumb luck we stumbled across this).  Breads, desserts, snacks, and the sort all became either purchased at the local Farmer’s Market, or were made from scratch.  Yes, I made a lot of food from scratch.  I bake my own bread.  Even in the summer.  (I use a bread constructing miracle product in the summer.  It’s a sweet little machine called the “Zo”).

We got into the habit of going to the Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning.  We usually buy pastries for breakfast from the French baker there.  Doodle absolutely loves her cinnamon rolls.  I love her authentic croissants (another thing I can’t make!), and BP loves her apple turnovers.  Dude eats pretty much whatever you put in front of him, so there is no accounting for taste.  😉  I jest!   Dude is a fan of her cinnamon rolls as well.

And so after one particular sunny day in which the younger kids burned themselves to a crisp, we decided to forego the market instead of exposing the kids to more sun.  This did not go over well.  Not at all!  They wanted their cinnamon rolls!  So, I decided to make cinnamon rolls from scratch for the kids.

Now, I can bake my butt off with the best of them.  Don’t believe me?  My butt is flat as a pancake!  Really, there’s nothing there to hold up my jeans.  Seriously!  Alright then, ask Bad Pants.  He’ll tell ya he didn’t marry me for my rear end.  So there!  Proof I cake bake my butt off, because it’s already gone!

Having not made cinnamon rolls from scratch in many a year (they’re time consuming- so sue me!), I could not remember which recipe I had tried last.   And I wasn’t about to stoop to buying them out of a can, as Doodle came to us believing that “homemade” cookies came out of the refrigerated section of the grocery store.  So obviously, I had to really, really make these rolls from scratch!

Yeah, well, unfortunately, they were a flop!  I extremely dislike the recipe I used.  They- they were more than just a disappointment.  They were hard enough to play baseball with.  Or build houses.  Or potentially skip on the surface of a pond.  Actually, I might have been able to solve the termite problem here in the South if we HAD built houses of them.  No self respecting insect wanted to touch them!  And they tasted like…  styrofoam.  A total and complete flop!  Of course, Doodle was very happy with them and polished off the pan.  (There’s no accounting for taste in children).

Since that time, this particular baking failure has been haunting me.  It wakes me at night from a sound sleep.  It’s always there, just over my shoulder, in the rear view mirror, right around the bend.  And I am determined to get this proverbial monkey off my back!  I can and will take back my title of Baking Queen!

So, in order to do this, I have decided that my family and I will taste test different cinnamon roll recipes over the next xx number of days.  (Well, until I tire of them or Bad Pants begs me to quit making them, whichever comes first).  I need your help, Gentle Readers.  I need you to send me the best of the best!  Email me your best cinnamon roll recipe and I’ll test it out right here on this blog!  Each day’s recipe will be featured here, along with a review on ease of making and taste.  The winning recipe will become the new, go-to recipe for the Sunshine-Pants household and be crowned champion!

So, find those recipes and email them to me at: oregonsunshine21@gmail.com

How long do YOU think I can hold to making a recipe a day?

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First, I called Mrs. Mom today.  When she answered, I said in my best sick-whine, “Mo-om!  I’m sick!”

Later, I made chili from scratch.  When it was done, I decided I wanted pb&j instead.

Sometimes it’s great to be 6 again!

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This afternoon, my study session with Dude was interrupted by a couple loud thumps on my front porch.  My house shook with the thumps.  When I went out to find out the cause, I found a small white box that the mailman apparently “dropped”.  (Cranky, maybe?)

Once inside, I opened the box (photo withheld to keep address private), and this is what I found:


Yummy Chummies for the dogs!

Books and keychains!

Did you get a close enough look at the cheese?  Well, look again:


Thank you, AKPonyGirl, this is one of the most touching gifts I’ve ever received.  We will think of you with every bite!

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Mr Handy

A few weeks ago, Bad Pants made a simple change in the kitchen that has made our lives A LOT easier.

Our kitchen really hasn’t been updated since 1940.  And since this is a rental, things sometimes are in roughish shape.

In this instance, our pantry was missing a shelf.  Or should have had a shelf.  Or something like that.  You can see the shelf BP put in for me below:

Nice handiwork, huh?  Now, imagine instead of a shelf, there was just a gaping hole and the bottom was filled with clutter.  Yeah, I was trying to be organized and cook with that mess.

Now there is a shelf!  And cannisters to hold ingredients!  So much tidier and easier to find everything!

My husband, he’s a handy guy to have around!  Thanks Honey!

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Today, I made dinner rolls from scratch.  Yummy, scrumptious, perfectly poofy and sweet rolls.  They were supposed to be part of our dinner and my main inspiration for making dinner.

Bad Pants pulled them out of the oven when he noticed that the timer on the stove said “End” and I clearly hadn’t heard it go off.  Lucky, I suppose, as he’s saved them from burning.

We each tried one, hot from the oven.  They were…  heavenly!  The best I’d ever made!  So, BP put them to cool on the counter, covered with a clean dish cloth.  He went back to his office to finish up some work and I, I went out to feed the horses and check Casey over since he seemed a wee bit lame.

Bad Pants came out to help me after about 15 minutes.  We spent another 10-15 minutes with the horses and came back in.  He asked, “Honey, where are the rolls?”

“On the counter where you left them.  Why?”

“Um, they’re not there now”.

Instantly I KNEW.  My good dog, this sweet face:

This wonderful dog who helps me day to day, this dog who got upset with her daddy when I was sobbing yesterday (over Freya- she blamed him for my upset), this same dog who put herself between him and I, crawling into my lap and warning him away from me.   This same dog who HAS NEVER counter-surfed ever before,


Yes!  This dog, the one Aunt Krissy called a “marshmallow”.  The dog who cuddles with me every morning after Bad Pants gets out of bed.  The dog who has taken care of me when I’m an emotional wreck and who tells me when somebody is at the door, or when a “friend” shows up hopped up on something.

Roxie Lynn ate my dinner!  She almost became a new pair of shoes.

Could you stay mad at that face?  Me neither!

From now on, I’ll push the rolls back away from the edge of the counter.

No more rolls for you, Roxie Lynn!

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