December 26, 2011 by Katie
Hi Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with family and friends! I certainly did! It was great to relax and spend time with everyone, and it reminded me just how blessed I am with my wonderful family. Oh, and Molly had a pretty good Christmas too.
Speaking of family, a couple days before Christmas, my mom, grandmother, grandfather and I took a trip out to my Great Aunt Avis’s farmhouse. She had a farm about an hour outside of the city where she lived for most of her life. She passed away right before Christmas last year, and my mom wanted to go look around her house for a few things and make sure it was in order since it’s being kept in the family. There are no words for what an impressive and kind woman she was. She was an entrepreneur, incredibly intelligent, and always giving back and if I would be so proud to be anything like her one day.
We stopped going out there years ago when she moved into the city to have better care and be closer to family, so it was nice to see her house. It definitely brought back a lot of memories of exploring the land, finding turtles and frogs, orange jello (she always made it) and some great times with family.
Inside the house she had tons of pictures of our family. In the middle of the shelf here is a picture I’ve shown on the blog before of her and I together when I was about 3. I love that picture.
I also remember taking this big family portrait. Mostly I remember I was told to sit cross legged, but I kept putting my legs to the side to be just like my two cousins, Allison and Ashley, over on the left (I’m the furthest right child on the grass with some amazing jean overalls…).
And these are portraits of my mother along with her older and younger brother. I always thought that it was cool that both my mother and I are the middle child between two brothers.
Along with seeing everything, I got to take home a little momento. A jewelry box that I found on her vanity, with her initials carved into the silver lid. Definitely something I will be keeping for a very long time.
Last year, when she passed away, I promised myself that I would make her cinnamon rolls next Christmas in honor of her. Before she had to move into the city, Avis would make cinnamon rolls every year and bring them to our house on Christmas morning. According to my mom, Avis would make these for Christmas even when they were children, and they would watch her pull them out of the oven and flip them over to reveal the gooey topping.
I started by making the dough a few days early and leaving it in the refrigerator. I’d never worked with yeast before so I was a little nervous, but I think it turned out alright.
On Christmas Eve morning, I made the cinnamon spread to put in the middle, after I had rolled the dough out into a rectangle. Then I rolled up the rectangle and sliced it into pieces.
Now this is the special part. I put a secret gooey mixture into the bottom of the pan, and placed the cinnamon rolls on top. I let them rise to about doubt the size and then put the tray in the oven. When they were done, I pulled it out, let it cool for a few minutes and then flipped the tray over.
TA DA!!! They turned out exactly like her cinnamon rolls, with gooey goodness on top, no need for icing! My mother, and everyone else, told me that they tasted exactly like Avis cinnamon rolls. I tasted some of the gooeyness on top (okay, a lot of it) and that tasted just like I remembered. I might have to make this a yearly tradition… I don’t think my family would mind.
Do you have any special family recipes?
Do you have any family members you hope to be like?