Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

I know everyone is on top of things and posting Easter recipes on their blogs. I am just now getting around to posting a recipe I made in Febraury, but I think cinnamon rolls will work as an Easter breakfast. And some people love to have them on LDS General Conference weekend, which is coming up.
This is my first attempt at making cinnamon rolls in a long time and they turned out well. I found them at They used a vanilla frosting, but we prefer cream cheese icing, so I just whipped up some of that to smother them with.  
Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

1 1/2 pkg. (about 3-1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1/2 c. shortening
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk
1 egg
4 to 5 c. sifted flour
Butter, melted
Brown sugar
Raisins (optional)

Add the warm water to the yeast and soak 10 minutes.

Scald milk; pour over the shortening. Add sugar and salt and cool to tepid. Add the dissolved yeast and beaten egg. Add 4 cups flour adding one at a time beating after each addition.

Dough should be soft yet firm enough to handle. Knead on floured board until elastic and smooth.   Turn dough into well oiled bowl. Let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Press dough down and divide into workable size. Roll dough out into a rectangle. Cover with melted butter. Layer with a generous thick layer of brown sugar. Sprinkle on cinnamon as desired. If adding raisins, sprinkle on a layer of raisins. Roll up jellyroll fashion.

Using a scissors or a piece of string, cut off slices about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Place slices in an 8 or 9-inch round greased cake pan. Place one slice in the middle and other slices around it. Press rolls down to even out and fill pan. Let rise until rolls fill the pan generously, about another hour.

Toward end of hour, preheat oven to 350°. Make icing while rolls are rising.  Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes. If rolls get too brown, cover with a piece of tine foil until the end of baking. Remove immediately from pan and ice while warm.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Utah Local: Kimball Art Center

I was so happy to have a week off of school for spring break, but was sad that it wasn't also my children's spring break so we didn't have a week to hang out together. But they did get Friday off. Elisa spent the whole day with a friend, but Alex and Sabrina went with me on a little road trip. We drove around through Heber and Midway and over to Park City.

We had lunch out and stopped by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, so that made the kids happy. I had looked up things to do in Park City before we went and saw that there was a Lego art exhibit at Kimball Art Center, so that was on our list too. It's a small art gallery just a block off of Main Street where all the shops are. I forgot to take a photo of the outside of the building so you'd recognize it if you wanted to go, but you can see a photo on their Hours of Operation page.

It is FREE, with a place to donate if you'd like. There is a little cafe on the left hand side and the art center entrance is just to the right of that.This colorful piano is right outside the entrance.
Right now and through April 21st (so go soon!) the main gallery on the main floor has Nathan Sawaya's "The Art of the Brick" Lego art exhibition. He has 4 exhibitions right now so the art he has at this gallery is only some of his Lego fun that he has created. If you go to his gallery at you can see even more of his amazing work. Make sure to click on "See All Work" on the right. Although the gallery is small, my kids really enjoyed looking at the art and we spent quite a bit of time looking at each piece. I don't want to give away all the fun by showing you too much here in case you'll be going there, but want to show some pieces in case you don't get to go.

I like this piece with the reflection of the boy in the puddle.
There is also a gallery downstairs that kinda wanders around different rooms and there's an exhibition called Geolines there now, but I didn't take any photos. Then there are a few photos in the cafe and right outside it in the gallery from an exhibition called Dwellings and are different embroidered homes by Stephanie Clark. They are small, but very detailed.

You don't have to ski to enjoy Park City in the winter. You can walk around, watch the skiers, shop, eat, look at art, take photos and walk some more.

Here's a tip if you don't know. Parking on Main Street has meters, but you can park for free on Park Avenue just a block over, at least where I parked, a couple of blocks down from Kimball Art Center.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ahlixe's New Adventure

I have sadly neglected my blog, not because I am tired of it, but because my organic chemistry class requires so much time. I doubt that any of the few blog readers I have left play the game Minecraft, but maybe someone will search it and end up here, or maybe some of my blogger friends will have children who play Minecraft.

If you've never heard of the game, you create a whole world with 3-D blocks online. It is really popular.

My 17-year old son Alex really enjoys the game Minecraft and has decided to put his knowledge of the game and of the computer to work for him so he can earn some money for his mission. He recently started making tutorials on how to play the game. How can he make money with videos? He signed up to have ads put on the beginning and end of his tutorial YouTube videos and every time someone actually watches the ad instead of skipping it, he gets some change deposited into his account.

He has high hopes for this "job" and has spent hours and hours with his slow computer putting the first 8 or so episodes together. He has already been improving from feedback and is getting a lot of experience with different software.

If you wanna learn how to create things on the game or if you just have a few minutes to kill and wanna help someone earn money for his mission, watch the episode below or click over to his YouTube channel and click on any of his episodes. The ads show up sometimes, but not always, so you might need to click on a different episode if you're just being nice and trying to watch an ad.

Thanks for any clicks!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Berry Cream Muffins

I'm not sure where I found this recipe, but I've been making these for years. Very moist muffins! Today I didn't have 3 cups of blueberries so I just used what I had, but they are usually even more bursting with berries.

4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
3 c. fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. (16 ounces) sour cream
1 c. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla extract

            In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add berries and toss gently. Combine eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.  Bake at 400 ยบ for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done.
Yield: about 36 standard-size muffins.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

To Be Tested

In an English class in 10th grade, my teacher asked the question, “In a few short words, what do you think the purpose of this life is?” I can’t remember what we were studying, but that question was an amazing opportunity to explain what I believed about such an important topic to a class where I was the only member of my church. We each had to answer and I was only the third one in the row so I didn’t have much time to think of a good answer, so out came one that made no sense to anyone, I’m sure. I just blurted out, “to be tested.”

Okay, I know what I meant and maybe some people with the same teaching and perspective that I have might understand, but it taught nothing and was very incomplete. Something as complex and essential is not easy to sum up in one sentence. I wish I would have figured out something better to say, but I do know that being tested and using our agency really is a big part of it.

We are here on earth where we cannot see our Father or Mother in Heaven or our Savior Jesus Christ, but we have been given the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost. We can know what is right and wrong. We are given different amounts of knowledge of right and wrong, depending on if we are exposed to the gospel or not in this life, and we are judged based upon the knowledge we have.  

Abraham 3:25
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

I re-listened to a talk called To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency by Elder Robert D. Hales last week and, of course, it has some great quotes that I’m gonna share with you.
“[Satan] does lie at our door, as the scriptures say, and he follows us each day. Every time we go out, every decision we make, we are either choosing to move in his direction or in the direction of our Savior. But the adversary must depart if we tell him to depart. He cannot influence us unless we allow him to do so, and he knows that! The only time he can affect our minds and bodies—our very spirits—is when we allow him to do so. In other words, we do not have to succumb to his enticements!”
"Are we following on the strait and narrow path that leads to God and eternal life? Are we holding onto the iron rod, or are we going another way? I testify that how we choose to feel and think and act every day is the way we get on the path, and stay on it, until we reach our eternal destination.

"The voice will be as soft as a whisper, coming as a thought to our minds or a feeling in our hearts. By heeding its gentle promptings, we will be protected from the destructive consequences of sin.

“But if we ignore those promptings, the light of the Spirit will fade. Our agency will be limited or lost, and we will lose the confidence and ability to act. We will be ‘walking in [spiritual] darkness at noon-day.’ Then how easy it is to wander into strange paths and become lost! How quickly we are bound in the chains of sin spoken of by Lehi to his rebellious sons.”

None of us can say that we are perfect and do not need repentance. Thankfully, that is available to all of us as often as we are willing to use it. But as Elder Hales says, “the light of the Spirit will fade” and the desire to return to the path may never be felt again. Some people think that they can play with sin for a while and then they will return, but sometimes those people no longer want to come back and so many opportunities, much happiness and freedom are lost to them and their eternity changed.

“Agency allows us to be tested and tried to see whether or not we will endure to the end and return to our Heavenly Father with honor. Agency is the catalyst that leads us to express our inward spiritual desires in outward Christlike behavior. Agency permits us to make faithful, obedient choices that strengthen us so that we can lift and strengthen others. Agency used righteously allows light to dispel the darkness and enables us to live with joy and happiness in the present, look with faith to the future, even into the eternities, and not dwell on the things of the past. Our use of agency determines who we are and what we will be.”

It must be wonderful to be able to say when we stand before our Father one day, “I was not perfect, but I chose your path and you can see that by the choices I made and by how my heart has changed. I was obedient because I loved you and because I knew you loved me.” The small choices we make each day add up to who we become and where we will spend our eternities.

Japanese Cheesecake

My son Alex, who was in Japan for 2 years, has asked me a couple of times to make Japanese cheesecake. I've never had it before, so I di...