Friday, January 23, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting for the Bread Machine.

Wow, I think I should have halved the cream cheese frosting part of the recipe as well.  I initially did, but then when it made enough dough for two pans, I went ahead and made the entire amount of frosting.  I just ate one and had to scrape off frosting.  However, these rolls are better after being refrigerated overnight.  Even the massive amount of frosting is good.
Here's the recipe I adapted to be made with a bread machine.
Cinnamon rolls for Bread Machine.
1/2 Cup of warm water
1/4 C
1 package or 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 Cup of milk
1 Tbsp of butter
3/4 Teaspoon of salt
1 egg
2.5 Cups of all purpose flour
2 Tbsp butter
2 Teaspoon of cinnamon
3/4 C Brown sugar
1/2 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 package (4 ounce) of cream cheese
1 Cup of powdered sugar
1/4 Cup of butter
Cooking instructions:
1.  Put 1/2 cup warm water 80 degrees. 
2.  Add egg and milk.
3.  Add flour, 1/4 C granulated sugar, salt, 1 Tbsp melted butter.
4.  Add dry yeast.  (If using timer function, make a well in the flour and put yeast in the well to avoid mixing early).
5.  Start the bread maker on the dough setting. 
6.  Stop bread maker.  Remove dough from bucket.  Turn out onto lightly floured board punch down.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.  
7. Shape into an 18 x 9 inch rectangle (approximately). Melt 2 Tbsp of butter and brush the rectangle with melted butter. Combine 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon.  Sprinkle half of the sugar mix over dough. Roll each up to make 18-inch roll. Seal edges firmly. Cut each roll into several pieces, mine made 26 about a ½ inch wide. The ends usually have little to no filling, so I hold back a little in reserve and dip them in it.
8. Place, cut side up, in a greased 9 inch round cake pans or greased 8-inch square pans. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Bake in moderate oven (350 F) about 20-25 minutes, or until done (golden brown). Remove from pan and place on plate to frost.
9.  CREAM CHEESE ICING: In a medium microwave safe bowl cut cream cheese and butter into pieces.  Microwave for 30 seconds or slightly longer if needed.  Using a mixer on low mix until creamy. Beat in the vanilla. Beat in the sifted powdered sugar and mix until smooth scraping sides as needed. Put the icing on the hot rolls and let it cool down a bit.
10. Enjoy.
Adapted from Fleischmann’s Creative world of baking (mid 1970′s) as found on Blog of Alexandra titled I Adore Food. 
Changed by Donna Robb to be able to be used in a bread machine, which included halving.  Also changed margarine to butter.  The granulated sugar for the filling to brown sugar. 
Still makes about 24-26 smaller rolls.  Also changed proofing and finishing process.
Updated 5/9/15 to add more butter and cinnamon to the filling and clarify some steps. Renumbered to break into more logical steps.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Print ads I was asked to create for KWLS US 107.9 Real.American.Country.

Last week my old classmate, Amy, asked me if I could work on a project with her to create some moving billboard and print ads for the new radio station where she works. She knows I've been unemployed and we had worked together on our class reunion this summer. Recently when she was consulting at another business, I saw some print ads for it that totally horrified me. Everything I learned about what makes up good print ads in my marketing and advertising classes, was missing. I went over the ad (she didn't create or place it, it was before she started consulting there) with her. Told her all the many things that were wrong with it. Gave suggestions for a replacement ad.

So when her new station needed some ad copy for a campaign they are beginning, she asked me to help. While I'm not a graphic designer, I am a geek, have a good eye, and marketing training and background. Plus this station plays primarily traditional country music (i.e. Country and Western to those of us who grew up with it). But they have a syndicated show that plays newer country too. The cool thing is they are the only FM station in the Wichita Metropolitan area playing the classic country. They also play a variety of bluegrass, honky-tonk, and other sub-genres that I'm not really sure I've ever heard of referred to as a genre before.

Having been forced fed "Hee Haw", "The Grand Ole Opry", and "The Porter Wagoner" show from a very small child, I know quite a bit about "Classic Country". I've even grown to appreciate and reminisce when I hear old Country & Western. Quite a few songs they play remind me of my late Aunt Cheryl, who had Down's Syndrome and only ever had the intellectual capabilities of a three to five year old. She couldn't speak, read or write either. But she certainly had no problem curating a huge collection of old 45's and 33's recordings. She later moved to cassette tapes. I remember setting on the floor of her bedroom in Liberal for hours as a child listening to her play song after song for hours. She would always amaze me that I could ask her for any song and she went right to it in it's huge stack (amongst several other huge stacks) of 45's approximately 3 feet high. At first I thought she had them alphabetized or categorized in some fashion. Then I noticed most of the labels were worn off with use. It was only as an adult, I finally snapped to the fact that she couldn't read even had they not been worn off. To this day I have no idea how she knew where each and every record was that she played. So Country music has become a big part of who I am. Although, I can't think of a music genre that I don't appreciate. I truly love music.

As I grew up I remember the change over from classic country and western to the country music and artists that are popular today. Things started changing around the time "Rhinestone Cowboy" came out in 1975, sang by Glenn Campbell. In 1980, John Travolta starred in the pivotal movie "Urban Cowboy". Then 1981 saw the song "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" sung by Barbara Mandrell. That six year period seemed to me to be the end of Country and Western as many knew it. What came after were many wannabe Cowboy's and music that went along with the new Country craze and popularity. Many C&W aficionados had/have nothing but disdain for the "new Country". So I tried to separate marketing techniques for the new Country artist and make this totally separate, solely focused on Country & Western fans, not "new Country." With all of this in mind, last Friday, I downloaded a new graphic editing software Gimp. Found a blog that explained how to make photo collages with it. Thank you very much Erin of Life On Spin Cycle blog. With the recent death of Little Jimmy Dickens a couple weeks before, I came up with the concept and the initial ad. Frank at the station loved it. Gentle Ben and Amy helped with the wording and which performers we should put on the new ads. My thought was to have all the same feel and look, but have different artists that would appeal to different age demographics and musical tastes.

My main concern was that the artists used were readily visually identifiable by their photographs. I also wanted to keep the same theme, not necessarily the same wording or images, but that the styles and visuals would be consistent. Since three ads were going to be on a moving billboard, I insisted we keep the word count down so that folks could actually get the message in the short time they will be exposed to it.

Here's what we came up with. Let me know what you think.

Please note, I am still looking for a new career. Would love to find something that I love.  My preferred positions have people, planning (i.e. event planning, travel planning, etc.), and technology included.  I also enjoy most things to do with marketing.  If you would like to know more, please visit my LinkedIn profile the sooner the better!

Donna Robb
Inspired Acts with people, planning and technology.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Bread making lessons I am learning.

Well, my goal today is to make some lighter yeasty bread than the recipe with my breadmaker calls for.  So I got out my trusty Joy of Cooking - the blue one.  The new one is awful.  I decided to use a basic recipe for two loaves of bread as the one for three was too large for my bread maker.  Well, the ingredients fit for two loaves, but after rising I would probably have a huge mess and a non-functioning bread maker:-(  I hadn't added the yeast mixture yet, so I scooped out all the flour down to the milk mixture.  Let that cool down to 85 degrees (didn't see that step even after reading three times).  So I popped it and a kitchen thermometer (best investment ever for a kitchen device after the bread maker) in my fridge.  Took about thirty minutes to cool down after scalding it.  Then I had to add the milk to the yeast and start stirring in flour, manually.  Then yep, you guessed it, I had to knead it.  Hopefully I did it long enough.  My hands were killing me.  Now it's raising for two hours before I have to deal with it again.  Now I know to halve that recipe and do it in the bread maker next time.  I am using all purpose flour as the loaves with the "bread machine" flour has so much gluten, it's way more dense than I like.  John said he could understand now how people lived off of bread and water in the past as it's super filling.  Good but just not as tasty as what I remember Grandma Wilson (Dad's mom) made.  I don't think they worried about things like bleached vs. unbleached flour back then.  So I used regular old all pupose flour like the recipe called for.  Now to go clean up my mess and start a recipe for cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting.  Mom and Dad are particularly anxious to try those!

I don't know what's gotten into me lately but I have been a bread making fool.  So far I have finished twelve loaves.  Today will be the equivalent of four more.  Biologically both my birth Mom and half-brother Loris were both big into breadmaking or so I have been told.  So maybe it's been "bred" into me. . . Har, har!

Boy the yeast from that rising dough sure smells good.  Y'all have a good day.