Real Food for the Holidays
My husband and I have been on a real-food journey for almost a year. It’s drastically changed the way I cook and the way I look at food. I still love cooking, eating, and sharing meals with family and friends. But the ingredients I use and the food I make are better for us.
However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t taste good! Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it. Here’s a (mostly) real-food version of cinnamon rolls. “Everything in moderation” is my motto when it comes to food, and although 90% of what I cook and eat is real, whole food, there’s nothing wrong with some cream cheese frosting every now and then! If you’ve always thought cinnamon rolls were hard to make, think again. This recipe doesn’t require letting the dough rise, and it looks much more involved than it really is!
Both recipes I’m sharing with you are from the cookbook I co-authored this summer with two of my blogging friends, Jami and Elsie. I was thrilled to release Real Food for the Real Homemaker with them this August. If you’re interested in more simple, delicious, real-food recipes, check out our website!
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
1) In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or 2 cups white whole wheat flour) with sugar, yeast, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
Add soured milk, water, and melted coconut oil or liquid fat of choice. Beat until moistened.
2) Stir in enough remaining all-purpose flour (or more white whole wheat flour) to form a soft dough (dough should leave the sides of the bowl, but still be moist). Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Let rest 10 minutes.
3) Heat oven to 400 degrees. Soften 1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter. Roll dough into rectangle 1/2-inch thick, approximately 10×18 inches. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with rapadura (or brown sugar) and cinnamon to taste, or about 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. Starting from a short side, roll dough tightly, and pinch seam closed. Cut into 12 rolls.
Rolling up the dough
To make thicker (taller) rolls, cut into 12 instead of 16. This photo shows 16, but I usually make 12.
4) Bake in a greased 9×13 pan for about 17 minutes (watch for doneness). Rolls should be golden-brown. Immediately top with frosting of choice (in order to let frosting melt into rolls), or use recipe below. (To make rolls ahead, simply put pan in refrigerator overnight, and bake as directed in the morning.) I used to make these rolls on a large jellyroll pan (as shown in the top picture), but I’ve found the best way to make them is in a glass 9×13 pan so they rise higher and are softer on the sides. Either way works!
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2-2 cups all-purpose flour (may use all white whole
wheat if desired)
1 Tbsp sugar (to help yeast rise)
1 Tbsp yeast
1 tsp salt (3/4 tsp if you use Kosher or sea salt)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup warm soured milk*
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter or coconut oil (or liquid
fat of choice)
1/3 cup warm water
*To sour milk, mix 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 cup milk in
microwave-safe container; heat for one minute on full power or
until milk is quite warm to the touch. Milk will have curdled.
Buttermilk can be used in place of the soured milk, or substitute
3/4 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup water.
Cream Cheese frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese (half a package)
1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-3 Tbsp milk
1) In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on low speed till well combined. Beat in vanilla.
2) Alternately add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 tablespoon milk until desired consistency is achieved (more or less sugar or milk may be needed).
3) Spread on hot rolls.
These rolls would make a phenomenal Christmas morning breakfast! Make the rolls on Christmas Eve but don’t bake them. Cover the pan, refrigerate overnight, and bake and frost in the morning. Then for Christmas dinner (or New Year’s), pop this easy roast in the slow-cooker and everyone will think you’ve spent hours in the kitchen–when it really takes just a few minutes to prepare! The time you save on cooking you can spend with your family.
Slow-Cooked Herbed Pork Roast
1 pork loin for roasting, approximately 4 pounds (does
not have to be an expensive cut)
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp herbes de Provence (or a combination of
rosemary, savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and lavender,
as you have herbs available)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 cloves garlic, halved
1 sweet onion, peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, if desired, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups water
1) Heat skillet to medium-high heat.
2) Rub meat with olive oil. In small bowl combine herbes de Provence, salt and pepper; use fingers to rub and crush to release the oils in the herbs. Or, if you have it, use a mortar and pestle to do this. Massage the herbs into the meat on all sides, covering thoroughly.
3) Place onion, celery, and carrots in bottom of slow cooker.
4) In pre-heated pan, sear meat on all sides. Watch carefully to prevent burning. You are not looking to cook the meat entirely; this step is just to brown the
outside and cook the herbs into the meat. To keep the meat steady, use two sturdy spoons or spatulas to hold and turn the meat in the pan.
5) Place meat on vegetables in slow-cooker. Use a sharp knife to poke several slits in the roast, about 1/2-inch deep. Insert garlic slices into slits. Pour water over meat and vegetables. Cook on high for four hours, or until meat reaches internal temperature of at least 180 degrees F. You may cook it longer; the meat will remain tender and juicy, and will simply fall apart to a “shredded” consistency if it’s in the slow-cooker longer.
6) Remove cooked meat from slow-cooker to slice or shred. Vegetables in slow cooker should be discarded unless you want them for another purpose. The resulting broth can be saved and used in a soup or other dish if desired.
Tip: The meat can be eaten as-is for the main dish of a meal. It can also be used for sandwiches, and is delicious with barbecue sauce mixed in.
Holiday cooking doesn’t have to mean unhealthy cooking. These recipes are great crowd-pleasers and will help make your holidays simpler, yummier, and better for you!
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