Hi there! It's nice to be visiting here at Type A Decorating. The Kiefer Cottage is where my husband Ryan and I document all of our house decorating and homemaking shenanigans (at great length, too. we're writers. words are our meat, photos our icing, metaphors our failures -- Ryan). We try to have a sense of humor about it all: the successes, the failures, the absolutely ridiculous (yes, mostly ridiculous failures -- Ryan). Anyway, on to Christmas...
It's our first Christmas in this little house in Roeland Park. Last year, we got home (in Historic Northeast Kansas City) from the hospital on December 22nd with the tiny bundle Andrew Meriwether (my brother would've named him "loud sack of potatoes"). The girls were visiting grandparents in Georgia, so we decided on no Christmas tree, and our special holiday dinner consisted of Honey Walnut Chicken from Bo Ling's. Delicious? Yes. Worth repeating every year? Well, Drew was the last addition to the family, making it unlikely we'll be bringing a newborn home again, and we can eat Chinese food any time, so it's hardly *special*. While I'm not a fan of decorating the whole house and playing Christmas carols ad nauseum, I do want to start building some traditions.
Did I grow up with strict Christmas ceremony? Not at all. I don't really remember most of what we did when I was young, so I called my mom.
Me: Mom, did we have any Christmas traditions growing up?
Mom: Not really, unless you count poaching Christmas trees from private property.
Me: Did we do that behind a mall once? I have vague memories of shivering in the back of the Jeep while y'all traipsed around in the woods.
Mom: Yes! You were four years old. You are such an elephant with that memory of yours.
Hmmm...here in RP it's more difficult to go steal, I mean, liberate trees because there just aren't that many evergreens lying around. I saw some on the side of I-35 this morning, but they were about 30 feet tall. Since I'm not going for a Griswold family Christmas fiasco, perhaps I should look for tradition inspiration elsewhere. Wonder what Ryan did growing up?
Ryan here. We didn't have any strict ceremony, either, but like the good southern baptists we were, there were a few things we could always look forward to each Christmas, and they generally revolved around food. My brother and I each had a gigantic knitted stocking hung on the brick wall surrounding the wood-burning stove. They would be filled to bursting (I think one actually tore once) with our favorite treats, both savory and sweet. We would generally get to those last, after opening all other presents.
My mother, who didn't do a whole lot of sweets-making the rest of the year, would suddenly turn into Betty Friggin' Crocker and turn out all sorts of goodies. My favorites were her peanut brittle and chocolate-covered pretzels. My dad would get in on the act and make these incredible casseroles he never bothered with otherwise because they were so much work (when you're off work for the holidays, you've got no excuse!). I still demand his squash casserole to this day. He also makes a very cheese-heavy baked mac n' cheese that is better than anything you've ever had at even the best "home cookin'" country kitchen eatery. One of these days, I'll get the recipes from him and see if I can make them as good.
Starr, again. So if we have to choose between my family's only "tradition" and Ryan's, I think we know the obvious choice. There's a nice evergreen I scouted a few blocks away. I just have to find an extension cord long enough for our chainsaw. No? That's not obvious to you? Oh, okay, I agree. Food, it is.
Since the girls were down in Georgia for Christmas last year, Ryan wants us to have a special Christmas morning this go 'round. And what better treat than a homemade breakfast concoction! For our open house, I emailed Jennifer Joe at Mama's Minutia for some brunch food ideas, and she gave me the key to happiness. From scratch sweet rolls. Even better, they can be made ahead, frozen, and then reheated whenever you want them. On demand goodness just can't be beat.
So that's how we found our new Christmas tradition. Before I get to the recipe, let's get your mouth watering.
|Guys: this is the only time you can get caught staring at some hot buns and not get slapped.|
2. In a saucepan, scald the milk (that means make it very hot without boiling it). Take it off the heat and add the butter, stirring it until it melts.
3. Peel, chop, and boil two or three large potatoes until very tender. Drain well and then, using a hand-held mixer, beat the potatoes until they are smooth. Don't worry about a few lumps--we had some and there was no problem.
|You might not think the best cinnamon rolls on the planet (the PLANET) would start with potatoes.|
Man, my gut looks big.
|After boiling to oblivion and beating the snot out of them with a hand mixer, dough can start happening.|
6. Add the eggs and salt, stir well, and then add the remaining flour. Knead the dough until it is soft, sprinkle the bowl with flour, and then return the dough to the bowl and cover with a cloth (or plastic wrap) and let rest until it has doubled in volume (about two to four hours).
|Pound it like you're the big kid with problems at home taking lunch money from the tiny,|
smart kid with glasses that won't stay up who doesn't shy away from eating his boogers
while solving math problems for the whole class on the blackboard.
|Yea, and therefore doth it rise up like Lazarus.|
You won't need Jesus for this, though -- the yeast'll do the trick.
|When was the last time you rolled something so grin-inducing?|
|Gods those are beautiful...|
|They plump when you cook them. Like a hot dog, except awesomer.|