I’m gonna start out by telling y’all that it is probably not a good idea for me to post today. My normally scattered mind is even more so, thinking on a million different things as I race to finish up my book. I’m trying to make sure my heart is in every story and that I haven’t overlooked a single cherished recipe. My hands are shaking when I stop typing because my heart and nerves say “Go! Go! Go! One more…tell them one more!”.
It’s a race to share my love for you and the wonderful upbringing I have been fortunate enough to have and I want to make sure I eek out every bit of it that I can. Like when an old friend is about to leave and you have to give them that last, urgent hug where you squeeze just a little bit tighter in hopes that they’ll feel how much you mean it. When all is said and done I hope you’ll all read this book and know how very important you have all been in the process of writing it, and I hope you’ll be able to feel how grateful I am and how very much you mean to me.
That said, I’m gonna try to get through this post with the proper instructions, the links where they should be, and not overlook any glaringly obvious details!
But before we get to that, my little soap box has been feeling awfully neglected as of late and so I promised it I’d take it out and dust it off a bit….
~clears throat, stands up straight, and grasps her right lapel as she prepares to address the audience~
I’m often asked how I do it all. How I have time to maintain a home, take care of my kids, keep a blog going, answer emails, write a book, and still manage to put supper on the table at night. The funny thing is that every time someone asks me how I do it, like most of us, I can’t help but wonder the same thing myself.
The course of writing this book was probably one of the most stressful times in my life to date. Juggling everything has become increasingly difficult and I had to send out a few S.O.S. calls to friends and family members – bless them for answering.
One particular day last week, as my deadline was drawing close, I found myself dreading my daughter coming home from preschool. It had been a very productive morning and I caught myself thinking “She’s going to be here soon. She’s going to interrupt me all afternoon and I won’t get a single thing more accomplished on the book.” I could feel the stress building and I huffed in frustration “Why can I not just have a day without interruptions?”
At that moment, I experienced an epiphany. In the midst of the churning inside, it hit me right in the pit of my stomach just what those interruptions were and more importantly, what my life would be without them.
A day without interruptions would be a day without my kids, my family, and friends. A day without interruptions would be a day without emails from the wonderful people who read Southern Plate and take time to let me know that I’ve somehow managed to speak my heart in a way that has touched theirs.
Sometimes it’s a phone call from my mother in the middle of a blog post. I’m so fortunate to still have her in my life and to count her as my dearest friend. Sometimes it’s a little face peeping around the computer screen who has a habit of starting every single sentence with the world “Mama” and I’m reminded that my greatest dream has come true in that I am a mother to two beautiful children.
In that moment, I saw interruptions in an entirely new light. Not as annoyances, but as blessings, God’s way of checking in with us and reminding us to take a moment to appreciate the things that really matter.
How do I do it all?
After that one moment I can tell you without a doubt that the secret to any success I may have and anything I may achieve is owed entirely to the multitude of interruptions in my life.
As you go about your day, checking off your growing to do list and wondering how you are going to fit it all into the waking hours, I hope you are as fortunate as I am to have the wonderful interruptions that make it all worthwhile.
~steps down and takes a deep breath~ I feel better now. ~grins~
And now for the recipe. This is my personal roll recipe, that I serve whenever an occasion calls for them. They are pretty easy as far as yeast breads go and I hope your family will enjoy them as much as mine does. I especially like to make them whenever I bake a ham, using the leftover rolls and ham to make little sandwiches with the next day.
You’ll need: All purpose flour, sugar, salt, yeast, vegetable shortening, two eggs, and melted butter or margarine.
You’re also going to need some hot water and aren’t we fortunate to be able to just go get that out of the sink?
Lots of folks don’t have such luxuries.
I don’t like to use packets of yeast because I have the patience of a nervous lizard so I use the jar yeast which can be purchased beside the packets.
This way I just measure it out. The back of the jar will tell you how many teaspoons equal a packet. In this case I’m going to use four and a half teaspoons.
I’m going to just put the packet measurements at the bottom, though, because that is what most people use.
This little jar will keep forever if you put it in your fridge but I usually go through a few each year – at least.
Measure your sugar, salt, 2 cups flour, and yeast into a bowl.
Cut in shortening with a long tined fork.
You can use a fancy pastry cutter if you want to but that’s just one more thing to clutter up my kitchen so I got rid of it years ago.
After you get your shortening cut up in there real good, add your eggs.
Flash was on in this picture so if it looks a little whiter that is why.
Beat up your eggs a bit.
I know they didn’t do anything to ya but sometimes things like this happen with no provocation.
Those eggs were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And mix them up in there.
Now we add our melted butter or margarine. You want to melt this and then give it time to cool so that it isn’t too hot.
The thing about yeast breads that is most tricky to folks is getting their liquid ingredients the right temperature. A good rule of thumb that has always served me well has been to make sure liquids are about the temperature as baby’s bath water. Yes, I stick my finger in the melted margarine, it doesn’t hurt anyone.
If it’s as warm as a baby’s bath water, but not hot, then it is a great temperature.
Add the remaining flour.
and the water, again making sure the water is the temperature of baby’s bath water.
If you don’t know what temperature a baby’s bath water is then you could always go borrow a dirty baby, I suppose…
Stir that up good.
It’s going to look like a lumpy blob when you’re done.
Cover that with a towel and let it sit for twenty minutes.
After twenty minutes, it’s going to look like an even bigger lumpy blob.
This is good. You have done well, grasshopper.
Now we need to flour a surface and pour our blob out onto it.
I just put out a sheet of waxed paper to save cleanup and sprinkle a good bit of flour over it so my dough doesn’t stick.
You need to knead..
~pauses and reads that again~ That just looks funny…
Okay, so you need to knead your dough a time or two and what I do is just put some flour on your hands, press the dough into a ball, and then smoosh it out with the heel of your hand. Then put it into a ball again and smoosh it out again with the heel of your hand.
Then wonder what crazy person decided to call that part of your hand a heel because that makes no sense at all to me.
I know, I’m in rare form today but if you think this is bad, you should see me when I’m caffeinated.
From here there are two ways you can go with these rolls.
Okay so in reality there are countless ways you can go with this but I am going to show you the two ways that I use.
I’ll start with my favorite and the less maintenance one.
My favorite Method #1
After kneading your dough two or three times, shape it into a rectangle.
If this doesn’t look like a perfect rectangle to you then squint your eyes until it does…
Cut into strips with a pizza cutter.
And then cut cross wise.
I like this method best because it’s easy and ends up yielding larger and smaller rolls which seem to suit company better anyway.
Spray one 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
Arrange in pan and spray tops lightly with cooking spray.
Cover with towel and let rise for twenty minutes.
Pat your dough out into a circle, about twelve inches in diameter.
With a pizza cutter, cut the circle into sixteen pieces.
Spray two 9×13 inch pans with cooking spray.
Roll each triangle up beginning on the big end and rolling towards the point.
Space them out a bit and put them in two 9×13 pans.
I spray the tops lightly with more cooking spray to have prettier rolls when they are done baking and to help prevent them from sticking in the next step.
Cover with a towel and place in a warm place for another twenty minutes.
note: My oven is not on in this pic.
Another note: Terri gave me this dish towel when she came to visit Bountiful this past summer. Ain’t it purty?
After twenty minutes, preheat oven (without rolls in it) to 350.
Bake for about twenty five minutes. Brush with melted butter or margarine when done.
My mother in law, Linda, myself, and Mama just before Christmas day dinner at Bountiful.
We had sweet potato casserole, fresh corn, Mac and Cheese (for Katy), sweet and sour green beans, baked ham, Jordan rolls, and Mama’s Velvet cake. I think the best dinners are served out of mismatched dishes around a family table. Keeps the focus where it needs to be anyway.
- ½ C solid vegetable shortening
- ½ C Sugar
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 2 pkg fast acting yeast**
- 5 C all purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 stick butter or margarine, melted (plus more for brushing baked rolls with)
- 1½ C warm water (like a baby’s bath temperature, this is key with working with yeast)
- Place sugar, salt, 2 cups of flour, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with a long tined fork.
- Add eggs, beating lightly with fork before stirring them in. Add remaining flour, melted butter, and water. Stir together well. Mixture will look like a big old lumpy blob.
- Cover with a dish towel and let sit in a warm place for twenty minutes.
- After 20 minutes, turn out onto a floured surface. Sprinkle flour over the top and knead three or four times.
- Pat out into a square that is about ¾ inch thick (or see method #2 above). Cut into squares with a pizza cutter.
- Place in greased 9×13 pan and cover with towel. Let rise another 20 minutes. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until tops are golden.
- Brush hot rolls with additional melted butter.
**Note: I use a fast acting or “rapid rise” yeast. It is perfectly alright to use regular yeast, your rolls will just need longer to rise.
“Strength comes from the inside,
but must be fed on the outside to be able to grow.”