Bacon Cinnamon Rolls — The Great EXperiment

In 2015, a conversation with a member of my Civil Air Patrol unit sparked the idea of bacon cinnamon rolls.  We all thought it sounded like a fantastic idea, but I was a little apprehensive because I didn’t want to ruin a great thing.  (Anyone who has tasted my cinnamon rolls would understand.)

bacon cinnamon rolls on plateEarlier this year, the topic of the “Rick Rolls” (named after the man who inspired me to give them a try) came up again.  I kept saying, “Yeah, I’m gonna have to try that,”, but I hadn’t had an excuse to make cinnamon rolls.  Since life tends to give us what we need though, I had a chance to try the bacon cinnamon rolls for the first time last week, and it was unanimous.  The “rick Rolls” are amazing!

I based my bacon cinnamon rolls on the Perfect Cinnamon Rolls recipe that I’ve been using for ages.  Here’s how I did it.

Ingredients — Dough

  • 1 c water
  • 1/4 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 stick salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 5 c bread flour
  • 1 tbsp yeast

Ingredients — Bacon Cinnamon Filling

  • 1 stick salted butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c real bacon bits

Ingredients — Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 8oz brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
  • 4 c powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Note: The icing recipe is a quadruple batch because I almost never make just one batch of cinnamon rolls.  If I don’t end up using all the icing though, I’ve put it in the fridge and it keeps for a while there.  I haven’t tried freezing it though.

Procedure

The link to the original recipe has fantastic directions for making the cinnamon rolls.  I’ve used a bread machine to make the dough and I’ve used my stand mixer and dough hook to make the dough.  Both methods work well.  I have noticed though that if I use the “spoon and level” method for measuring the bread flour, I always have to add extra bread flour.  I’m fine with that though.  I’d personally rather start out with a dough that’s too wet.

When it comes to making the actual cinnamon rolls though, I do things a little differently.  I lay out a large piece of heavy duty foil on my counter and I grease it with some of the butter that was left over in one of the wrappers that I used in the recipe.  Then, I make my dough rectangle on the foil and I mix the cinnamon, brown sugar, and bacon bits together with my hands in a medium bowl.  Next, I spread the melted butter on the dough rectangle with my hands, and I sprinkle the bacon/cinnamon/brown sugar mixture on top.  I make that part even with my hands too.  It sounds messy, I know, but I find it easiest.

By making the dough rectangle on foil, it makes it really easy to roll the dough.  I start by picking up the long edge of foil that’s closest to me and fold it away from me so that the dough overlaps itself by a couple inches.  Then I carefully remove the foil from the dough that I just folded onto itself so I can finish rolling it.  When the dough has been rolled so that there’s only two or three inches of dough and filling left at the part that’s farthest away from me, I use the long edge of the foil on the other side to help me finish the roll.  I pull it up and toward me so that the dough and filling are brought up and over the roll that’s already been made.  Then just like I did in the beginning, I carefully remove the foil from the top of the roll so I can pinch the seam and finish the roll.

The original recipe claims that you can fit all these rolls in a 13″x9″ baking pan, but I’ve never been able to do that.  I usually get 15 rolls out of a batch and I rise and bake them in disposable steam table pans that I get from Sam’s Club.

I don’t understand why folks are intimidated by making cinnamon rolls.  Once you’ve done it a time or two, you get a rythm and discover that it’s really pretty easy.  It helps, of course, when you’re using a great recipe, and this recipe definitely qualifies!

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Meet Leader Dog Denver

Sarah & Leader Dog Denver

Sarah & Leader Dog Denver giving a Civil Air Patrol safety brief

On January 11, 2017, I met my third Leader Dog, an amazing Labrador Retriever named Denver.  Our meeting was a long time coming, but when I touched him for the first time, I knew that everything I’d gone through up to that point was absolutely worth it!

I still remember returning my second Leader Dog, Dream, back in 2006.  Because of the way my life was at the time, I had a hard time imagining that I’d want another Leader Dog.  Sending her back was the right decision for her and me at the time.  I remember thinking, “I’ll just let them issue dogs to the folks who really need them.  I shouldn’t use up those valuable resources.”

It’s interesting how things change over time though.  Kids get older, medical issues change, and perspective changes.  When I decided to apply for dog number three in 2015, I was determined to let nothing get in my way.  I missed the confidence that comes with a Leader Dog, and frankly, I missed the skill.  (While my husband and daughter are great guides, Leader Dogs are better!)

Although Denver and I haven’t even known each other for a month yet, I have no doubts about our bond, the perfection of our match, and the success we’ll have as a team for many years to come.  Thanks to excellent breeding, and amazing puppy raiser, and skilled and caring Leader Dogs for the Blind staff and volunteers, Denver has my heart, my trust, and my confidence!

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Product Review: Nature’s Best Zero Carb Protein Powder, Banana Cream

As someone who has followed a low-carb eating plan off and on for almost 20 years now, I have extensive experience tasting protein powders.  With that said, I think I’ve just tasted my favorite of all time — Nature’s Best Zero Carb Protein Powder, Banana Cream Flavor.  It’s amazing!

Before today, I’ve only tasted two other flavors of Nature’s Best Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder.  The espresso flavor and the strawberries and cream flavor are both good.  In fact, until I tasted the banana flavor, I wasn’t certain I’d find a better tasting protein powder.  Now though, I have a new favorite! I’m not sure I’ll use anything else.

I make my protein shakes in a shaker bottle per the instructions, but this product is one of those rare products that could actually be stirred into water with a spoon.  It takes little effort to get it to disolve.

To me, the banana flavor is real; it isn’t overpowering or artificial tasting.  The sweetness is just right when you mix it per the instructions, and the texture isn’t grainy or gritty.  Best of all, with this one, it comes as close to tasting like it isn’t low-carb as a shake can get while actually being low-carb.

The wheels are turning.  I can think of a lot of variations so one doesn’t get bored, but it’s so good I can’t imagine that happening for me.  It’s DEFINITELY worth the money if you’re looking for a protein supplement that’s fortified with vitamins and minerals that also tastes AMAZING, this product is the way to go!

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Recipe Review: Pressure Cooker Beef & Broccoli

I’ve been experimenting with pressure cooker recipes.  Last night, I made Pressure Cooker Beef and Broccoli Recipe, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

image of beef and broccoli

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IN Cottage Food Law: Cream Cheese Frosting Without Cream Cheese?

The other day, a TSPN Zello friend from New York mentioned the sale of baked goods from her homestead, and it got me thinking.  Could I do the same thing here in Indiana? If so, what are the rules?

chef apron and hatAfter a little research, I determined that Indiana has fairly reasonable cottage food laws.  I can sell most baked goods, produce, jams and jellies, and even lacto-fermented pickles at farmer’s markets or at a roadside stand.  A commercial kitchen is not required because cottage food production doesn’t occur at a “food establishment”.

My research triggered a myriad of questions though.  What constitutes a “roadside stand”? Are there other regulations specific to my county? Can I combine the sale of products covered by the home based vendor law with other items like crafts, livestock, eggs, etc? Continue reading

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Sesame Orange Chicken & Rice in the Power Pressure Cooker XL

With still more inspiration from Pressure Cooking Today, I discovered another recipe that’s definitely a keeper! Here’s what I did.

sesame orange chicken on rice

Ingredients Continue reading

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Taco Chicken in the Power Pressure Cooker XL

After being inspired by a recipe I found on Pressure Cooking Today, I improvised some taco chicken with my Power Pressure Cooker XL.  I was very pleased with the outcome.taco chicken on a tortilla

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Rabbits at the Homestead — Goal or Dream?

cartoon brown bunnyI once remember hearing Dr. Phil say something along the lines of, “The only difference between dreams and goals is timeline.” In the case of the Wittekind homestead, that sentiment definitely holds true, so I’ve decided to set goals rather than dream when it comes to rabbits.

Some folks might remember me discussing last year’s trip to the PermaEthos flagship property for a TSPN Zello meetup.  One of the fine folks there let me “help” with the butchering of a rabbit.  It was at that point that I realized that raising rabbits for meat would be doable, but I didn’t have a solid plan.  I had a dream though. Continue reading

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Civil Air Patrol Adventures in Cheap Boots

Brig. Gen. Myrick and C/TSgt Abby Wittekind

Brig. Gen. Myrick and C/TSgt Abby Wittekind

At this weekend’s Civil Air Patrol Indiana Wing/Great Lakes Region Conference, I learned the most valuable lesson of my CAP career.  Cheap boots and my feet are a terrible match for one another! Continue reading

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My Daughter, Budding Photographer

homestead chickens foragingI’m so proud of my daughter.  She seems to really have an eye for photos, and she’s able to do a lot with her tablet and a simple app.  Maybe I’m biased, and I’ll confess that my opinion probably doesn’t mean much since I’m blind, but I’m comfortable with that. Continue reading

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