Thursday, 26 February 2015

Recipe of the week - Easy Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls



For our Valentines Day breakfast this year I wanted to try something a bit different. I really, really fancied some Cinnamon Rolls and so searched around for a good straightforward recipe. There are quite a few available online and this is one that I have adapted from some of those that I found.


I wanted the dough to be made in the breadmaker. Paul Hollywood would not approve, I'm sure, but then he doesn't have five children to fit in around his bread making! Besides, the lovely Mary Berry is often heard recommending time saving gadgets so I know she wouldn't mind.


I also wanted to make up the rolls up to the point of cooking them the night before, so that all I had to do in the morning was pop the uncooked rolls into the oven for 15 minutes and then we could enjoy them fresh and warm from the oven.


I'm pleased to say that my technique worked and on Valentine's morning we did indeed have fresh warm Cinnamon Rolls. Those boys who couldn't eat them had our usual weekend breakfast of pancakes so there were no complaints from them.


The cinnamon rolls were so good that I may or may not have eaten one (perhaps two) for my lunch on Valentine's Day too. Let's just say that I'm glad that I'm still nursing a little 16 month old so as to justify those extra calories!


I really can't recommend these enough.


For the dough you will need:

1 cup warm milk

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup butter, melted

4 1/2 cups strong white flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup white sugar

2 1/2 tsps dried yeast


For the cinnamon filling you will need:

A little more butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon


For the glaze you will need:

2oz icing sugar

enough water to make up into a drizzable icing


- Put the milk, eggs, melted butter, flour, salt, white sugar & yeast into the bread machine, select the 'dough' setting and start it working.


- When the cycle is finished, turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle about 1-2cm thick. Spread the extra butter over the dough, as thick as you would if you were having some bread and butter.

- Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar and then spread it evenly all over your buttered dough.

- Roll the dough up like a Swiss roll, starting with the longer side.

- Cut the rolled up dough into about 12 even slices and place them in a greased, rectangular baking dish. Leave a little space between each roll as they will end up touching when they have their second rise.

- Cover with cling film and leave overnight. (Alternatively you could leave them to rise for about 30 minutes and then bake.)

- In the morning, preheat the oven to 180C, remove the cling film and bake the rolls for around 15 minutes until lovely and brown.

- While the rolls are cooking, make up a thickish icing .

- Remove the rolls from the oven and then drizzle with the icing.

- Enjoy as a lazy weekend breakfast.



Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Makings - Furniture Painting

At the beginning of the year I was putting something away in the shed when I discovered an old shelving unit hidden away behind a pile of stuff. It was an old display shelf that we used to have hanging in the study/spare room when we used to have one and before it became a bedroom. I think it must have been in the shed for nearly 10 years and I had completely forgotten about it!

It looked like just the sort of thing I was after to hang in our dining room as a little space for some of my things.

It was rather dusty and cobwebby and I wasn't so keen on the darkness of the wood but I was excited at the chance to try my hand at furniture painting!

After giving it a good hoover - in case there were any spiders lurking on it anywhere - and then a throrough wash, I was ready to give it a makeover.

As you can see above, I also had an eager helper!

When I went out to buy the chalk paint I had an idea in my head that I wanted something duck-egg blue. Then when I was looking at the colours in the shop I thought that since our walls are light coloured maybe it would look a bit bland and so I challenged myself to be a bit braver and go for a darker colour.

The colour I chose was called 'Belgrave' by Rustoleum and before I started painting I began to have a few doubts about whether I had done the right thing by being so bold!

Only a few strokes into the painting and I new I had chosen the perfect colour. I couldn't wait to get the second coat of paint on and get it hanging on the wall!

But before I reveal the finished shelf, first a little explanation about some lovely new china I bought to display on it.

My in-laws gave me a gift card for the lovely Cath Kidston as a Christmas present. 

By the time I got round to spending the card, the January sales were coming to an end with some major reductions and I was able to buy this fun set of cups and saucers with £30 off! Quite the bargain! And a couple of other matching items too.

Although I would have liked four plates to go with the cups, this was the last one in the store and there were no more left online either, so this is my special plate, perfect for a slice of chocolate cake.

Now, onto the shelf.

Remember how dark it looked before?

Look at it now!

Ah, I'm so pleased with how it turned out. The colour matches my tablecloth perfectly, as well as the colours in the china and everything else on the shelf. I love the 50s retro feel of it and I'm so glad I didn't go for the pale colour now too.

It's my little corner of pretty in this male dominated house and I find myself walking past and gazing at it with immense satisfaction that I transformed it from ugly duckling to beautiful swan.

The trouble is, now I seem to have caught the furniture painting bug and am wondering what I can try next!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Makings - Woodwork Projects & Blanket Update

Over to some of the boys for a few makes tonight.


Firstly, Calum (12) and his first completed project from woodwork at school.


In first year at high school they have to design their own spatula, thinking through what it will be used for before sketching it out and then making it.

Calum loves his pancakes and wanted to make a spatula that we could use when making them. He designed the front to be quite thin and also quite wide as well, so as to fit a pancake on it!


He engraved 'The Murray Spatula #2' on it as James' one that he made a couple of years ago was the first one.
That's he two of them below.


James (15) also brought home his latest woodwork project this week.
He has been designing and making a little side table, which he wanted to convey his love of comic books.


I think he certainly achieves that!
The colour on the top is much brighter than it looks in these evening light photos, and I love the retro comic feel of it.


He's done a really great job of the woodwork as well as the decor. It's the perfect size to sit beside where dad sits on the sofa so that he can put his coffee on it when he sits down in the evening.
James makes sure that dad has a coaster though so that he doesn't mess up that paint job!


Ally (5) has also been creating this week, this is his drawing of me and Fraser on the front of the Valentines card he made this week.


Finally, a wee update on my Cosy blanket.
This week I've just passed the half way point.


Here it is alongside a cute five year old for an idea of the size.



And since the colours weren't showing up as bright in the dull evening light, here is a closer shot, complete with a cute one year old making a bee line for the crochet hook!


Got it!


I'm still loving working on this blanket as much as when I started it and it now has the added bonus of being big enough to keep me warm as I work on it!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Visiting Edinburgh Zoo


Every time I went to blog this week I found a boy doing homework on the computer!


My blogging is usually done late at night when the boys are in bed, well the younger ones anyway, but with a teenager in the house who keeps late hours when assignments are due that hasn't been possible so far this week!


I think his work is all done now, but he's at Army cadets just now anyway so before it gets too far past the event I have jumped online to share our photos of a lovely trip to the Zoo we had at the weekend.


We went with the charity Eczema Outreach Scotland, who I have written about before. They organise events for families of children with eczema, where children and parents can meet others in the same situation and are able to support and learn from each other. They released the details of the Zoo trip before Christmas and we jumped at the chance of signing up. For the both the chance of a visit to the zoo as well as for the workshops they had planned.


Ally (5) was counting down the days for about 2 weeks running up to the day. Every morning he would ask how many more beds it was until we were going to the zoo. His excitement was mounting as the day grew closer!


The other boys were also looking forward to the trip, especially Calum (12) who is a huge animal lover - as we were walking round the zoo he said how it was one of his dreams to get one of those 'Zoo keeper for a day' experiences.


Once everyone had met up at the zoo, the children were put into groups and taken to see around the zoo by some volunteers. Each group was of five children so our boys made up a group of their own! While they were seeing all the animals the parents watched a presentation by a dermatologist which was followed by the chance for questions and discussion. Then a couple of dermatology nurses showed us a selection of creams and pastes.


By the time this was finished the children had returned and we all had lunch together.


They had been away for two hours and although I knew Fraser (1) would be fine with James (15) I didn't expect him to last the full two hours without James having to bring him back to me but I was wrong! He loved being shown all the animals by his brothers.


After lunch there was an art workshop for the children. They were asked to paint their favourite dream on a pillowcase. Calum, Ally and David (9) all did paintings but chose to do what their favourite dream would be rather than one that they have had.


Ally chose to draw superheroes - Ally's Avengers.


Calum drew a Landrover, some sheep and a collie dog in the countryside.


David drew a shinty match.


We were finished all of this before 1pm and so had the rest of the afternoon to see more of the zoo.


A couple of highlights of the afternoon were the high ropes walk that Calum and David did...







...and of course the penguin parade!


Rather than post the rest of my photos here I've made another Flipagram of them below.


It was such a fun day for everyone. Despite dealing with eczema in children for 15 years now I still enjoyed the talk from the dermatologist and meeting the nurses. If you have children with eczema and haven't already joined up with Eczema Outreach then I highly recommend it. The days out are fun but the support and advice are even better.


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Burns Night 2015

My husband's sister has hosted a Burns Supper every year for more than a decade now.
The format hasn't changed over the years. A haggis dinner is provided by my sister in law and the guests bring along puddings. Once the food is over there is usually a Scottish quiz and then after this it's time for the music - a few solos if anyone is feeling brave enough and then communal singing and playing of Scottish folk songs.
It's a chance for us to dig out our kilts.
James (15) was going to wear his dad's kilt but decided at the last minute that it was still a bit too big.
Fraser wore a kilt for the first time.
His one is actually the one that my youngest brother wore to our wedding! He was only 18 months old when we got married.
You should know by now that Calum (12) always has to take a few selfies of us when we are doing something special!
Our boys love haggis!
The pudding table is always impressive.
I made another of my chocolate finger and M&Ms cakes to bring along.


The Scottish Quiz required us to name these famous Scots. How many can you get?
Look who was on the winning team!
James has been looking at Scottish music in music at school just now and has just finished doing a group performance of a Jig, where he played the piano. He used Calum's accordion to play it at the Supper and was accompanied by dad on the guitar.
Then it was over to Calum (and dad on the guitar again) to accompany the singing of folk songs.
And at the very end, Alasdair (5) wanted to show everyone his violin that he is going to start learning.


Calum started learning it when he was about 8 before switching to accordion, so it's still a bit on the big side for Alasdair (I think it's 3/4 size but can't actually remember!) but he's determined he wants to learn it.


Maybe next year he will be playing a tune for everyone too.


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Makings - Granny's Cushion

Well the deadline worked.


My mum flew home on Friday night with a neatly wrapped cushion cover for my granny in her suitcase.


I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn but I don't know the name of the two purples as they were from my stash basket. I love how they look together though.


I ran out of the lighter purple when working on the v-stitch back so I decided to pretend that it was meant to be like this and finished it off with the cream since it's such a dominant colour on the front anyway.
And actually I'm quite glad that it worked out that way!


Granny loved it too, which was the most important thing.
I also had time to make up this sweet little heart hanging for my aunt.


The pattern for the heart is from, yes you've guessed, Attic 24!


Now it's back to my stripey blanket and to finish off January's cross stitch pattern before I can start February's!