Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls or Donuts? Yes, please!!

When Samantha was a little preschooler, if somebody asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would tell them that she was going to be a doctor. If you ask Trey, he’ll tell you that he’s going to be a pilot someday. Toby, nutty Toby, always proudly told everyone that he was going to live at the Embassy Suites and work at the Krispy Kreme bakery.  He is a child with a passion for donuts, a fact he is quick to remind us of of every Saturday morning.

Every year at Christmas time, my family plays that crazy gift exchange game where you bring a gift that costs a specified amount, wrapped but untagged, and take turns stealing the best ones from each other (because that’s so Christmassy). You might snag something pretty nice, or you might go home with soap-on-a-rope. No pouting.  Now that they’re a little older, we let the kids join in the adult game. Toby, who has learned the strategy of stealing and clutching the most coveted gift while giving the evil eye to anyone who glances in his direction, brought home a mini donut maker last year.  (Can you guess who brought the mini donut maker as their gift?)

Of course, we tried it out as soon as we got home.  We made a mountain of mini-donuts, both glazed and covered in cinnamon sugar.


They were simple to make and turned out really cute. However, they tasted more like cake than donuts, and the thing is, we Davidsons don’t really like cake. So, I reluctantly found space in the kitchen to store away the mini donut maker, thinking that someday somebody might want one and I could secretly give them ours.

Then earlier this week, I saw a recipe on Pinterest for making cinnamon rolls in your waffle maker, and since cinnamon rolls and waffles are number 2 and 3 on Toby’s list of loves, I wanted to give it a try. However, because my waffle maker is a Farm Yard Waffler and makes waffles in the shapes of cows, hens, pigs, and barns, it was a little tricky and took more patience than I was willing to invest. Then I thought, “What if I put the cinnamon rolls in that donut maker?” So I did.


They were delish, super simple, really inexpensive, easy to clean up, and took only 1-2 minutes to make. That’s how I like to do it.

Here’s how you can:
1. Spray and preheat donut maker.
2. Unroll pre-packaged cinnamon rolls into strips. Cut into thirds.
3. Wrap into wells of donut maker and cook 1-2 minutes.
4. Drizzle with frosting.
5. Be loved.

(Notes: I used the store brand cinnamon rolls and they were the perfect fit. One can made about 18 donuts. Don’t worry if you need to cut a few extra pieces to fill in the gaps; they bake together perfectly.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Our Hillbilly Holiday

This year we broke tradition.  Rather than making our usual trip to Clear Lake, Iowa, to celebrate the 4th of July, we loaded up and headed south.  Every year, a group of girls from Sammie’s gymnastics team travel to Crossville, Tennessee, to attend Flip Fest, a summer gymnastics camp owned by Olympians, John Macready and John Roethlisberger.  Sammie was not going to miss out this year, so at 5:00 a.m. on July 1, Dave, Toby, Trey, Sammie, Maddie Roth and Allie Zimmerman (Sammie’s friends), and I packed the car (and I mean packed) and kicked off Summer Vacation 2012.

Seven hours later, we arrived at Lake Frances in Crossville and checked the girls in at Dogwood cabin for a week of back handsprings, flyaways, layouts, yurchenkos, dancing, tubing, tug-of-warring, tightrope walking, and  more.  The girls, who had been looking forward to the trip for months, were ready to jump in.  So we pulled away, leaving them in the 108 degree gymnasium and shouted, “Work hard and have fun!”

Since this was Samantha’s first year away at camp, we wanted to stay relatively close and had decided to turn the week into a trip to the Smoky Mountains.  Neither Dave nor I had been to the Smokies before, but we were excited to be spending the week exploring the great outdoors and were ready for a peaceful stay at the Riverstone Resort in the sleepy, little town of Pigeon Forge.  Silly us.

Here’s what we were expecting:

882x491_146_430becb930fac0025866d8fdfa38b3ad[1](photos from the resort website)

And this is a little bit of what we were greeted with as we drove into town:

What???  We had been bamboozeled!  This was not at all what we were expecting!  Why had our friends (that means you, Karen Grimshaw :) not warned us that Pigeon Forge, the delightful town “nestled in the foothills of the mountains with beautiful scenery for every season,” was not entirely that?  Shame on y’all, and  shame on me for poor research and overlooking the fact that our resort was located at 212 Dollywood Lane.

In fairness though, the resort was very nice and the mountains were really just a few minutes away.  So, we decided that even though a trip to the local Food City was a bit like NASCAR with grocery carts… and you needed to travel 20 miles to a liquor store to buy a bottle of wine that wasn’t Boone’s Farm… and you could roar down the streets with your kids rolling around in the back of your pickup truck…we were going to have fun with it. 

Here’s a little video we put together to help us remember the good times we had.  We’ve mixed in a little hiking, a little gymnastics, and a little of the local “culture.”  Feel free to clap along.

Hillbilly Holiday 2012 from Dave and Robyn Davidson on Vimeo.

The girls absolutely loved Flip Fest, didn’t want to come home, and are already making plans for their return next year.  That’s the year we’ll start carpooling like everybody else.  Although, there is one thing we will miss, which in my opinion was the crowning jewel of Pigeon Forge…corn fritters.