Momma Told Me: December 2019

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Spiced Rum Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Hot Buttered Rum Cinnamon Rolls- AKA Spiced Rum Rolls, Use a dark spiced rum or substitute with rum flavoring and extract. National #HotButteredRumDay is January 17
Momma Told Me: Temptation takes many forms.

As colorful and crazy as I get, my closest friends will tell you I'm also the square peg at a party. I simply find it more entertaining to watch others 'indulge' than to partake in the libations. I'll have A drink at maybe 4 or 5 social events throughout the year, and even then I find myself thinking the calories would have been more enjoyed as an extra round of appetizers or a second dessert. So, rounding out this week's 'Day of' celebration is National Hot Buttered Rum Day, yet another national fun day that seems slightly late and off season.
Hot Buttered Rum Cinnamon Rolls- AKA Spiced Rum Rolls, Use a dark spiced rum or substitute with rum flavoring and extract. National #HotButteredRumDay is January 17
For those who have never heard of hot buttered rum before, this delightful beverage dates back to early colonial days when the export of molasses from Jamaica became increasingly popular. In the 1650's New England residents began adding distilled rum to hot beverages such as toddies and nogs, resulting in the creation of festive libations like eggnog and hot buttered rum. Hot Buttered Rum, in particular, was especially popular in the Winter months for it's warming 'kick' the rich and hearty blend of buttered rum batter, nutmeg, cinnamon, and dark rum provides. You can make a poor man's version of drink at home by combining 2 cups water, 1/4 C unsalted butter, 1/4 C dark brown sugar, 1 TSP ground cinnamon, 1/2 TSP ground nutmeg, 1/4 TSP ground cloves, a pinch of salt and 3/4 C dark rum over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Today's Hot Buttered Rum recipe features many of the same ingredients in both the dough and filling, though it can be made without the rum, substituting rum flavoring or extract, if desired. Confession time- I've only tried a Hot Buttered Rum drink once- but it was a flavor, and textural experience that has stuck with me. It reminded me of fresh cinnamon rolls on a Saturday morning- so these Spiced Rum Cinnamon Rolls are truly the perfect work around to enjoying this national holiday without the guilt this Sunday.
Hot Buttered Rum Cinnamon Rolls- AKA Spiced Rum Rolls, Use a dark spiced rum or substitute with rum flavoring and extract. National #HotButteredRumDay is January 17
I'd never made cinnamon rolls from scratch before- It's usually something I do on a whim by popping open a blue Pillsbury can and peeling pre-made rolls apart before tossing them on a baking sheet. But let me tell you- there is no comparison for homemade, flaky, all the frosting you desire, gooey, sticky, cinnamon rolls. And these rolls have just the right 'extra' kick of rich nutmeg and clove flavor with a generous rum essence to delight everyone from the lightweights to boozy friends. Just keep in mind, if you choose to go the rum route for flavoring (and the spiced rum route IS a delicious route) the icing has rum in it too, which will not be baked off, as it is added after the baking process.
Hot Buttered Rum Cinnamon Rolls- AKA Spiced Rum Rolls, Use a dark spiced rum or substitute with rum flavoring and extract. National #HotButteredRumDay is January 17
Of course it was ever so hard not to sing 'hot cross buns' or 'A pirate's life for me' as I was whipping these bad boys up. Maybe it was the Kraken Black Spiced Rum watching over me, or the delicious aromas wafting up from the work bench. Cinnamon rolls are really one of the baking skill staples- and this no rise dough is easy to make and bake. Just pack your rolls loosely so they can expand into each other and you will avoid any doughy spots near the center of your batch. Of course, if you like your rolls extra sticky and a little doughy you can certainly bake them just a touch less- there's no egg, and they will reheat perfectly in the microwave!
Hot Buttered Rum Cinnamon Rolls- AKA Spiced Rum Rolls, Use a dark spiced rum or substitute with rum flavoring and extract. National #HotButteredRumDay is January 17
Hot Buttered Rum Cinnamon Rolls- AKA Spiced Rum Rolls, Use a dark spiced rum or substitute with rum flavoring and extract. National #HotButteredRumDay is January 17
Hot Buttered Rum Cinnamon Rolls- AKA Spiced Rum Rolls, Use a dark spiced rum or substitute with rum flavoring and extract. National #HotButteredRumDay is January 17
The spiced icing for these cinnamon rolls reminded me of a peppered gravy, thick and sticky. I found the recipe yielded more than enough to pour over the bath in pan, and even offer as a dip when served individually. If you're making these in advance be sure to frost them before refrigerating as they will help maintain moisture and keep them fresh and fluffy when re-heating.
Hot Buttered Rum Cinnamon Rolls- AKA Spiced Rum Rolls, Use a dark spiced rum or substitute with rum flavoring and extract. National #HotButteredRumDay is January 17
Hot Buttered Rum Cinnamon Rolls- AKA Spiced Rum Rolls, Use a dark spiced rum or substitute with rum flavoring and extract. National #HotButteredRumDay is January 17
So I won't exactly be enjoying a Hot Buttered Rum drink for the holiday this Sunday- but I will be enjoying one of these delicious spiced rum rolls with a tall cup of my favorite coffee. I already brought a batch to the alley this past Thursday, served in quarters with serving toothpicks, and they disappeared so fast I actually had complaints for not bringing more! Not convinced Hot Buttered Rum Day warrants it's own celebration? Just argue you're celebrating our nation's history and toss out a few facts about the colonial spice trade. One bite in, anyone will forget why they were arguing. After all, who doesn't love a fresh cinnamon roll?

What Daughter Says: While some may be sipping this delicious beverage, I'll be quite content celebrating with a fork full of a different temptation- sugar!

Hot Buttered Rum Cinnamon Rolls- AKA Spiced Rum Rolls, Use a dark spiced rum or substitute with rum flavoring and extract. National #HotButteredRumDay is January 17
Spiced Rum Cinnamon Rolls
***Click here for printable Spiced Rum Cinnamon Rolls recipe.

Vegan Paleo Mock Snickers Bars Recipe

These Vegan Paleo Mock Snickers Bars are low sugar and simply indulgent with their raw cacao base!
Momma Told Me: When you get bored, challenge yourself.

While you certainly see a fair range of indulgent, not so good for you, treats and recipes cross your screen on this blog, I have found that anyone truly can cook scrumptious food. As Paula Deen infers adding a pat of butter to any recipe will surely make it instantly more delicious. And, while out Circus Animal Cookie Truffles have gotten decent traffic on Pinterest, I shudder every time I see or create a recipe that is merely mashing 2 or 3 already delicious ingredients together. Do you drizzle hot fudge on ice cream and call it a recipe? Yes, even I have my limits.
While making indulgent treats is satisfying, and I surely will continue to play with simple recipes that wow the eyes and tickle the taste buds in unexpected ways, I've recently found myself a little bored in the kitchen. I've also recently re-joined a local gym. Before you start congratulating me, I'll be the first to admit getting heart healthy is a multi-part journey and daily workouts will only go as far as overall health and core attainment. I'm not quite ready to turn in my frozen yogurt spoon, but these two ripples in my life have made me more aware of the dietary needs of others around me.
Pit Medjool Dates by creating a vertical cut with a lightly oiled paring knife.Every Thursday I bake something to share here on the blog, and bring it into the bowling alley for our mixed adult bowling league. Our teams are comprised of men and women, young and old, from all walks of life. As delicious as my sweet treats are, not everyone can enjoy them. We have several diabetics I try to accommodate with recipe variations, and now a team that is taking on a month long Paleo challenge. Couple this with our close friend who is celebrating a year as a Vegan and you have the perfect storm of recipe challenges. So I set out to create a No Sugar Added Paleo Vegan Friendly dessert recipe.
Pitting Medjool Dates
The more I researched the more I learned that several of the key ingredients in cooking for each need overlapped- the exception being Honey, which is considered an animal byproduct to most modern Vegans. For those unfamiliar with Paleo, which is actually a way of living more than a literal 'weight loss' style diet, the terms are fairly flexible to the person committing to it.

At it's core Paleo individuals do not consume processed or artificial foods and attempt to eat ingredients that would closely mimic that of a caveman's. This means a diet rich in protein and nutrient dense core ingredients like grass few beef, wild caught seafood and vegetables. Most Paleo followers will avoid sugar, gluten, and generally anything with 'artificial' in the ingredients list. While it can be fairly complex, depending on the person, consider it close to an Organic, low  sugar, gluten free diet that tends to lean towards raw or minimally handled ingredients.
These Vegan Paleo Mock Snickers Bars are low sugar and simply indulgent with their raw cacao base!
Many low sugar recipes and Paleo recipes will substitute several typical ingredients with coconut- which can tend to be an allergen for some. If you are suing coconut oil, butter, or flour in a recipe always make the recipients aware when serving. While most coconut allergies deal more directly with the pulp of the plant, raw oils can cause mild allergic reactions and should always be disclosed. If you are cooking low sugar and sweetening with a recipe that calls for honey, but would like a Vegan substitute, in most cases Maple Syrup will be a great alternative. There is also a Vegan apple plant based honey, which is entirely bee free, called Honee, sold online and in many organic or Whole Foods stores.
Acquiring the ingredients to cook just one of these categories (Vegan, Paleo, Sugar Free) will often cost a fair penny. The good news is that you can acquire nearly any ingredient necessary at Whole Foods, or a similar store, and in portions that will easily stretch through multiple recipes. If you're looking to begin cooking, or dabbling with, these categories, consider each shopping trip an investment. Chances are your spice rack wasn't built overnight, and neither will this arsenal of cooking tools.

These Vegan Paleo Mock Snickers Bars contain no added sweetener (aside from the natural Honee plant based sugars) and a dash of Agave syrup may be added to any layer if you desire a slightly sweeter end result. My bowling mates rarely ever question what I've made each week and these bites/bars disappeared quickly! Several people were floored to hear just how 'good for you' this dessert was, and a few even asked for the recipe. So, if you're in the fence, I'd say it's definitely a recipe worth trying. Not only are these the perfect treat (a little goes a long way to satisfy) but they can be frozen for enjoyment later as well! Do you have, or know anyone with, any special dietary restrictions you struggle to cook for?

What Daughter Says: This year I'm going to challenge myself in all aspects of my life, not because I need to, but because I want to!

These Vegan Paleo Mock Snickers Bars are low sugar and simply indulgent with their raw cacao base!
Vegan Paleo Mock Snickers Bars
*** Click here for printable Mock Snickers Bars recipe.

5 Incredibly Easy Ways To Be Proactive About Your Health This Year

 This post was sponsored by Metamucil as part of an Influencer Activation and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Not long ago I turned 30.

It was like any other birthday. Honestly, as much of a fuss as most of my friends have made when turning the 'big 3-0' it's really quite un-extraordinary. I'm a pretty firm believer that age is but a number to chronicle the passing of time, rather than mark the loss of it. And while it's true, as we progress on this crazy journey called life, there are legal and physical landmarks often associated with various milestones, one is only as young (or old) as they are in spirit and in heart.

This all being said our bodies are the vessel in which we progress through life, and more than any number on a birthday card, it's how we choose to take care of it through proactive health which ultimately weighs the largest on how much living we'll get out of it.
So, back to me and my birthday, there I was feeling no less or more extraordinary than the day before, having recently turned 30. I'd visited my personal physician for an annual checkup and he'd shared a few criticisms of his own. Side note: Am I the only one who feels as though they've let their doctor down when they get less than ideal feedback???? But I digress- I could go into the nitty gritty but it really comes down to this:

One's health is and always well be a complex and constantly changing picture painted by a number of factors. Some we can impact, while others we can only anticipate, and others we simply can't avoid. There is no magical formula, no paint by number, to perfect health.

When I asked my personal doctor what his best advice was for me, knowing I had some personal health hurdles to begin trying to overcome, his response was simple,

"The same thing I tell every patient. Make time."

Time, of course, for one's health. Whether it's researching new recipes that are lower in sodium/sugars/fats, researching one's family tree for hereditary dispositions, logging the amount of water drank in a day, or scheduling an annual checkup. So many people, myself included, express that their crazy lifestyles don't allow much time to really stop an care for themselves. But there are a few simple things one can do to help maintain balance within their hectic life.
1. Change the view.

Before you start yelling at me telling me how it's negative 50 degrees and you can't even see past the snow drifts at your window, hear me out. I know we can't all live in Southern California where 50F is a frigid Winter's day.

Studies have proven that natural light is how our bodies most signal the beginning of a new day, and help get our systems primed to tackle the tasks of the day ahead. An excellent start to the day means all of your body's systems are jump started and primed in peak condition. So, whether you quite literally dine on your front porch for breakfast, or merely open up the blinds by the kitchen nook- take a moment to let a little natural sunlight re-invigorate you.

This time of the year the sun rises quite early, as well as the rest of the Earth's natural creatures.

While you may not have sunny skies up above changes are there are other signs of a new day- including audible ones such as birds and wildlife outside your window. Take a moment to take a deep breath and stop and listen for these natural cues of a fresh day's beginning.
2. Go With Your Gut.

If you've ever heard the age old adage "You are what you eat"- it's not 'age old' advice for nothing. You most certainly are a reflection of not just what you put into your body physically, but inhale, spray on, and so much more.

Sometimes we can't, or don't, always make the best of choices when it comes to the 'into' part and the most frequent excuse is that we don't have the time. Being proactive about your health with some simple daily supplements and choices really curbs time spent on recovery or correction down the line, and can take just a few minutes a day with some supportive products from Walmart.

That's precisely why I always have an orange tub of Metamucil Premium Blend powder on my kitchen counter, right next to my coffee brewer. Having it out, and at the ready reminds me to keep up with my regular maintenance and helps avoid any excuses.

Made with 100% natural psyllium fiber, and available in sugar free varieties (with no artificial sweeteners or colors), Metamucil helps trap and remove the 'sludge' in my digestive track so I can not only enjoy a fuller feeling between meals, but also a lighter feeling day in and out. When you digest more efficiently your entire body benefits by the absorption of all the GOOD things you put in it and quicker processing of the things which aren't so good.

I typically drink a glass of Metamucil every other day- but find their Cinnamon Thins extra convenient to take my proactive gut maintenance on the go when traveling- they're pretty delicious too!

 3. Nurture your Skin.

And speaking of that which you put ON your body- Skincare is a huge concern year-round, but especially tough during the winter. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things one can do during the winter months- not only will great hydration help the body naturally purify, it will improve the appearance and health of your skin. Having a regular, and seasonal, skincare regimen will not only foster beautiful, hydrated, skin, but also reminds us to be on the lookout for any changes or skin-related symptoms that may be developing as an impact of age, stress and environmental factors. Try this recipe for our 3 Ingredient Nourishing Lotion to help pamper and nourish winter skin:

3 Ingredient Nourishing Lotion
3 TBS Heavy Cream
1/2 Ripe Avocado
2 TBS Honey
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree into a smooth cream. Apply directly to dry or rough spots and leave on for at least an hour. Rinse with warm water.
4. Honey Infused Garlic.-

My next proactive support secret is for the immune system, and one that many busy individuals have been relying on for centuries. For those with an aversion to garlic, marinating these 4 calorie cloves in organic honey can prove a delicious alternative that packs a powerful punch. Both honey and raw garlic provide sulfuric compounds and antioxidants. I keep a small mason jar of crushed or diced garlic cloves in clover honey for a variety of recipes, and even straight consumption.
5. Oven-Roasted Orange Chicken With Fennel.-  

You've probably already figured out how we were going to round this out. Honey Garlic makes for the most delicious, and sunny, Vitamin-C packed Oven-Roasted Chicken with Fennel. Not only does this meal smell delicious through preparation and cooking, it looks gorgeously ready to plate straight from the oven. Why not have a few friends over to unwind and bask in the genius of your chef skills (anyone can make this recipe, I promise)- having a strong social support system is, you guessed it, also good for the mind and body! Catch the complete recipe at the bottom of this post.
It stands to reason the biggest bang for your proactive health will be the integrating of all of these tips, and more, into your lifestyle. Busy lives often mean little time to focus on ourselves but it's important that we make the time not just when our body is telling us it needs attention! Naturally the best steps you can take to support yourself any time of the year are the ones that fit easiest into your lifestyle, to ensure you will continue to do them! I shop at Walmart for my on-hand proactive health support aids, such as Metamucil, and of course I get all my fresh oranges, honey, garlic, and more there too!

I've shared some of my favorite tips to keep up with a busy lifestyle, how do you support immune health?

Oven-Roasted Orange Chicken With Fennel- High in antioxidants and Vitamin C- Serve over our Green Tea Rice recipe! #24HourEsterC #ad
Oven Roasted Orange Chicken And Fennel
***Click here for printable Orange Chicken and Fennel recipe.

4 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Diced Cloves Honey Garlic
4 TBS Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
3 Oranges, Sliced Horizontally (1/4" Slices)
3 TBS Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Grain Mustard (Such as German or Stone Ground)
3 TBS Brown Sugar
1 TSP Salt
1 1/2 TSP Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (Cut to 1/2lb Sections)
2 Medium Fennel Bulbs, Rinsed And Cut Into 6ths
1 TBS Fresh Chopped Thyme Leaves
1. Combine Olive Oil, Orange Juice, Lemon Juice, Mustard, Brown Sugar, Salt and Pepper in a medium bowl.
2. Rinse and pat dry chicken and place in a large gallon sized bag. Add fennel wedges, orange slices, thyme, and fennel. Pour marinade over and seal bag tightly, gently massaging to combine and coat all ingredients. Refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 475F.
4. Place the chicken in the center of a 9 x 13" casserole dish. Distribute fennel wedges and orange slices evenly around chicken. You may add some halved baby red potatoes for bulk- but I prefer to serve this with my Green Tea Rice. Pour the marinade juices over the chicken and fennel/slices.
5. Place in the oven, uncovered and roast 40-45 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and transfer chicken, fennel, and orange slices to a serving dish. Cover with foil to keep warm.
7. Pour cooking juices into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup. Pour over the chicken and serve over a bed of potatoes or green tea rice.