Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yes, I said "day off"!

A few days ago, I announced to my office staff that I intended to take a day off. "Don't book any appointments! I'm taking the day off."
I had the day planned. It didn't include a leisurely morning, up late. It didn't include a matinee. It didn't include any shopping. No lounging. No napping. I think I took a lunch break....
The day was the perfect day for lighting a fire, baking up a storm and listening to my favorite Christmas CDs. We had a beautiful snowstorm that created a Christmasy atmosphere and set the stage for a day with the oven to be well used, my Bosch mixer to be constantly in use, multiple cups of Candy Cane Lane herbal tea--pretty much pure joy! I love staying home. It's a rare pleasure and while I didn't sit down once all day (and well into the night!), I had a great, productive "day off" resulting in the following:

18 mini loaves of cinnamon bread
3 large loaves of raisin bread
a triple batch of my friend Shannon's homemade granola (fabulous!)
1 super good chocolate cheesecake with chocolate ganache glaze
16 "gifts of love" selected from my personal favorite belongings and wrapped

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, didn't check email messages once all day and didn't speak with a single client!
I thought you might enjoy the photo documentation of the day.
Bright eyed and looking forward to a productive day!
My Mother's recipe for our family's favorite sweet roll dough--you can make cinnamon bread, sweet rolls, caramel pecan rolls or any number of other breads requiring a sweet dough. Yum!!
I started out the morning with the first batch of cinnamon bread. I opted to mix up two different batches because it can be stressful trying to roll out, fill and shape 18 loaves at one time! 9 at a time, definitely more manageable. As my mother would say, "it was a good dough". I love the look and smell of bread rising.

The first of three batches of Shannon's homemade granola--her Grandfather's recipe, seriously delicious, not to mention festive once the craisins are added. If you like mincing, chopping and dicing, this is for you! If you enjoy a great private breakfast or snack with your yogurt---yum!
Here it is going into the oven......

And here is the finished result, after cooling, in my favorite egg shaped robin egg blue bowl. And, the orange hounds tooth tea towel just makes the perfect visual!

After the dough was kneaded and beginning to rise, I went about retrieving my mini loaf pans, tucked above the cupboards where pans not used on a daily or weekly basis are stored. I wondered if they felt like tiny toy soldiers who come to life once a year! Their time had come. Out of the cupboard and ready for the ceremonial Holiday baking.

This designer silicone rolling pin (aqua, no less!) makes the job easy and bright. I highly recommend this type. Pie making and dough rolling--a breeze!

With the dough separated into equal portions , a prep bowl of softened butter and rolling pin in hand, I am ready to fill the pans for the final rising.

I used the very last of my finest fabulous spices (a gift from my sister Denise) in order to complete the project. These are the best ever!

Here is the first batch rising in the pans. Another 45 minutes and into the oven. Then the heavenly smells begin!
Right out of the oven the butter is brushed over each loaf.

The fruits of my labors.
Lastly, take a look at these "Designer" cups! Yes, designer as noted on the label. In the lateness of the hour, this is what I could find for our staff party.............I guess "Designer" is all up to personal interpretation. Don't expect this to be in my notation of style!

So there you have it, my day off as documented!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. Me included.


michelle said...

What a busy day! I love that you spent it making and gathering gifts of love.

I can't believe how many mini loaves you have, that's a sight in itself.

I love my silicone rolling pin!

charlotte said...

That looks like a lovely day!! Congratulations on your day off--it was well deserved!

Anonymous said...

Yummm, can't wait to try this recipe as I want to make cinnamon bread for a few of my favorite people! If I lived closer I am sure one of those delicious loaves would have been for me! Now as the CFO of your company I only have one thing to say, "get back to work" :)!

Jill said...

So even your very rare days off do not involve sitting, and are stylish and productive!

Denise said...

Wow. That's just about all I can say. Wow! I can almost smell the cinnamon bread by looking at your photograph--great blogger documentation!

I looked high and low for a silicone rolling pin for Mom for Christmas, to no avail. I finally settled on a Good Grips "non-stick" one, but I'm not sure it's really what she wants. Aqua, no less?! Only Susan. . . .

shannon said...

How is it that you mannage to look glamorous on days that you're just "staying in"--I love those times when I've committed the whole day to stay home and bake and nest.
The houndstooth dish towel is delightful!

shannon said...

How is it that I managed to spell "manage" so wrong? Maybe they'll hire me over at the Shady Brook's light show. I hear they're looking for people with not alot of sense. He He