Feeding Folks- Body and Soul

My grandmother - my Mimi - always told me that we "eat with our eyes first... and maybe even our noses too!"  Before we have taken the first bite, we see a beautiful table set with flowers and generations of dishes and smell the scents of herbs or bread or maybe a pound cake that immediately have us ready for seconds - all still before the first bite!

Walking into her kitchen, especially when she had just made her Cinnamon Rolls, was such a joy! We knew there would be a treat in store for us as soon as those pillows of cinnamon and warm, yeasty bread were taken from the oven and lovingly placed on the counter to then drizzle with sweet, simple icing. Not long after their icing, a treasure hardly more glorious than anything else awaited us - Mimi's Cinnamon Rolls were the highlight of her baking for us as children.  It is my firm belief that there is hardly anything better than a cinnamon roll, biscuit or cornbread right out of the oven! I'm sure y'all will agree!

Today, as a cookbook author, I glean from those experiences and tips, too, I gathered as a child while in the kitchen with Mimi. "Recipes are to inspire us..." she would say.  “Learn from them, learn from your mistakes too, but always have fun!"  I came to learn from Mimi that what makes good cinnamon rolls – or any good dish for that matter –  are good ingredients. The ingredients and trusted names from Spice Islands Cinnamon and Fleischman’s Active Dry Yeast are integral to a successful recipe and adventure in the kitchen. Having the confidence in your ingredients will shine through in your recipe – especially when your confidence is rooted with great brands such as these.

The kitchen is the heart of the home - from there we are nourished and revived and set to tackle the tasks of life at hand and the day ahead. I love to encourage folks to cook and try new things and create a place of joy and delight.  Taking the fear or timidity out of cooking and baking became a passion as I hope it does for y'all too! Truly, the best dish we can serve is confidence. These cinnamon rolls may be a close second, but having the confidence to read and study a recipe, bring it to life from the pages of a cookbook, a magazine, a blog or recipe card from your grocery store is truly remarkable. Confidence and assuredness will translate into love and warmth as you prepare the dish and feed your friends and family. Time we can spend in the kitchen together or sharing love and goodness from the oven with our loved ones is time well spent. But our time is precious as our family members and friends too - so this recipe for my version of Mimi's Cinnamon Rolls I hope can still fill our bellies - and souls too - with love and goodness -  and not take up too much time.

Mimi also instilled in me that we "feed people body and soul" when they are at our table. It is a gift and high honor to cook and serve someone from our kitchen. Her legacy of love taught me this - and I feel this is the highest honor I can carry on and hope y'all can be inspired too. Sharing something from our kitchens is an act of kindness and generosity – heartfelt and warm! I love gifting baked goodies – especially these cinnamon rolls – to my friends and family. A cute craft box, some raffia and ribbon or a great sticker can make the presentation just as warm and visually delicious as the gift itself.

Frozen, these cinnamon rolls make great gifts in a waxed craft box. They can be thawed on the counter or baked right away for instant enjoyment by the lucky recipients. I love to bake them and send them while they’re warm to my favorite folks with a little pint-sized jar of extra icing… because who doesn’t want a little bit of extra icing? The icing can have an extra bit of fun and flavor too with a touch of Spice Islands Lemon or Orange zest… and of course their great vanilla extract is a key ingredient to the icing itself. A touch of almond extract never hurt either.

Maybe these cinnamon rolls can be a reason to celebrate being together, a shared dish with old friends or new ones too, or maybe even your first venture with cooking and baking. I hope to encourage and inspire y’all to cook and bake for your family and friends, cherish time in the kitchen with loved ones and help yourself to the first cinnamon rolls as they come out of the oven – that’s the cook’s prerogative, right?

 I can't think of a better way to bring folks together than a pan of these cinnamon rolls - you'll find out just how many friends you have when they come out of the oven indeed!

From this Farmer's table to yours, I hope y'all enjoy!