Saturday, March 21, 2015

Butter Oat Sticky Buns

      I love a great sticky bun,  gooey, moist, and full of flavor.   Not all sticky buns are created equal.  Some look great, but lack flavor or are dense and heavy and still lack flavor.  Sticky buns differ from cinnamon rolls in that a glaze is placed in the bottom of the muffin tin and the roll is placed on top of the glaze.  After they are baked you dump them out and the bottom becomes the top covered with nuts and gooey caramel stuff.   I think they are best served warm with a glass of milk, ice cold or your favorite beverage.  I love baking and I enjoy sharing what I bake.   My family is under pressure to be constantly ready to try my creations and praise me when I share them with everyone.  That is the fun of baking,  sharing.  I have also found out that when you go into it with the desire to share it ups the success rate.

      This recipe I did at 8:30 at night and within a hour I have these rolls out and in front of my family for a before bed snack. They loved them,  the evidence is the empty tray.  They can tell me they like it, but the real indicator is how long does it last.

Fresh baked sticky buns.  Be Still my heart.  Moist, light, and full of flavor.  

I roll the dough out  and spread it with coconut oil, cinnamon and sugar and a splash of water.

Rolled tight and cut.  I get 12 nice rolls that fit in the extra large muffin tins.

Butter, nuts, and coconut sugar make the glaze.

The cut rolls are placed on top of the glaze.

I use extra large muffin tins.  They usually have six spaces.

There is nothing healthy about this roll.  Evidence is the pad of butter I place on the roll as it is proofing.
This way the butter melts slowly into the dough.

The rolls in the oven.  The butter melts quickly into the bun.

After baking I dump them out onto a parchment paper.  The glaze is hot so it will flow well.  

The End or the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
The Recipe

For the Dough
1 cup oats
1.5 cups hot water
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons salt
3 to 4 cups *CLEAN white flour
1 tablespoon yeast

In your mixer place hot water and oats.    Let set for 2 minutes.  Add eggs, oil, butter, salt, and 1 cup of flour.  Place yeast on top of flour and turn on mixer.  Let mix to combine all ingredients.  Add more  flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides.  Mix for 6 minutes.  Remove from bowl and place in oiled bowl and let rise for 10 to 15 minutes.

For the Rolls
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup cinnamon sugar blend.  1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1-2 tablespoon cinnamon
Roll out dough into large oblong circle.  Brush with melted butter,  spread cinnamon sugar mixture over dough and spread evenly with hand.  Lightly Sprinkle with water, this moistens the dough.  Starting on the side away from you start rolling the dough towards you.  Tighten it as you roll.  Once it is rolled tight, cut into rolls and place in large muffin tins.

For the sticky bun glaze
Coconut sugar, butter, and nuts.
In the bottom of each muffin tin place one tablespoon each of sugar, butter, and nuts.

*Clean White flour is flour that is free of chemicals.  Especially Bromine's, they are harsh chemicals that effect the thyroid gland and the immune system.   King Arthur and Wheat Montana's flours are chemical free and bake excellent breads.  

Baking is a great adventure.  I love to bake and I love to share what I bake.  The smell of fresh baked bread is like non other smell in the entire world.   Add the smell of cinnamon to that and life is better Enjoy your baking adventures.   Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Third Sunday Dinner Report~March 2015

     I get great calls from friends all over  that tell want to tell me their stories and adventures in doing Third Sunday Dinner type events.   One of the most recent calls  was from a good friend in Utah that has started "Third Friday Pizza Night".  I loved hearing that.  She took the idea and made it work for her.  She stated that she just could not get the Sunday thing down, but wanted to do something.  I love hearing the success of her adventure and was able to impart some ways for her to make it more effective.  She is having great success and now people text her to see if it is still on.    For pizza night she invites them to bring a topping of their choice or paper goods.  People want to help she found out but don't know what to do so she actually put up a jar for donations.  What a great idea to off set the cost.   No one is made to feel obligated to help, but most are delighted to be able to do something.  Her event includes friends of her children,  from young girls at home to college age and young marrieds.

      I love hearing about your adventures and success and even failures.  Feel free to send my your stories with photos so I can share with others what others are doing.  You can e-mail me at

     March is a great month in Arizona for an outside event.  Most months are.  This month is especially wonderful with the orange blossoms in bloom.  It smells heavenly and just adds to the charm of being outside.

      I decided to do a baked potato bar with salad.  Who doesn't like a good baked potato.  It worked great.  I baked about 80 lbs. of potatoes that I was able to by for $12.  Great for a budget.   Cheese tends to be pricy right now so i opted for a canned cheese sauce that I have my good friend Nathan Botts fix up.  He chopped up fresh cilantro, herbs, and chilies from the garden to make an absolutely wonderful cheese sauce.  At $7  or less a can you cannot beat it.   Sour cream, butter, and pickled peppers make for a great baked potato.

     I am always looking for ways to make it simple and cost effective.  This month I was given a bag of gluten free corn bread mix.  Twenty five pounds goes along way.  I baked up three large pans of corn bread and tossed the salad and dinner was ready.  It just seems to get easier all the time.  I love Third Sunday Dinner and all it does for me.  I always feel lifted and blessed each month.  I love seeming friends that come and making new friends.   We never know who will be there, but my prayer each month is that those who need to be there will and that we will be able to give them just what they need.  That could be anything from a smile to hug, kind words of encouragement, or just a great meal.  What ever the need, if we listen we will know just what to do.

     Please take time to share if you are having adventures in your life.  Also if you have questions, please ask and I will post them and the response in the blog.  '

A few baked potatoes.  I baked 8 pans of potatoes.  The secret for a great potato is dip it in bacon fat and wrap it in foil.  Bake for one hour and wow,  what a potato.  

Fresh baked corn bread.  Always a treat.  

The Spread.    Well the end of the spread.  

We love the Mormon Missionaries.

And the youth in our area.

Its good to see everyone having a great time. 

The children love my garden.  Always something new to see.

Oh my.  I love these children.

And these big children. 

Smile,  I need a picture for the blog. 

I had to get a picture of this rose bush.  No one for years has ever seen it.
It was grown up into my tree.  I pulled it down a month ago so we
could enjoy the bloom.  It's lovely.

Very well behaved pets are allowed.

The end of another great Third Sunday Dinner Experience

     It amazes me how quickly each month passes.  Please share with me your experiences.   Each time I hear about someone else starting a Third Sunday Dinner or something like it,  I am thrilled.  I just know what is in store for them.  Wonderful cherished memories.   Until next month.  Chef Brad

Monday, March 2, 2015


     One of the best investments I have ever made was a Traiger Smoker.  I love it so much and enjoy using in more then any BBQ grill or out door cooker I have ever owned.  In fact my BBQ grill just sets there alone and unused.  

     I have owned other smokers over the years, but I hated the constant vigil of keeping the temperature perfect.  There are those that love that and I really admire the vigilant smoker that is dedicated to the entire process, but for me I love the ease of putting the pellets in the bin and choosing the temperature and leaving.  And the best part is everything turns out perfect.  

     It does take time to smoke meat well not matter what the equipment, but if you have the time and love smoked meats you might want to try a Traiger Smoker.  And just for the record they do not pay me to say that.  I bought mine at Costco and if you do buy one make sure it has the built in thermostat.  It is great not having to guess.  

     This weekend I smoked Pork Chops.  They were wonderful.  I used a oil and vinegar marinate and I used Penzey's Northwoods  for seasoning.   I smoked them for 1 hour on the smoke setting.  After one hour I raised the temperature to 300 and finished them off in about 20 minutes.  So tender and smoked just right.  

Fresh on the grill.  Ready to smoke.  

Smoked to perfection.  Really perfect.  Tender and juicy.  Good hot or cold.  

Just in case you were wondering what a Traiger looks like here is the photo of the one that I have.  It is perfect and not only for smoking, but it is the best grill ever.  Best burgers I have ever made.  

    Smoking meats is a perfect way to cook meats.  I love food and I really love good food.  Smoked meats combined with good foods is an amazing food adventure.  

Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy, or Smoker Guy,  take your choice.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Third Sunday Dinner Report~February 2015

     February is a great month on in Arizona.  The weather is perfect.  I love this time of year.  February and March are actually my two favorite months in Mesa.   March brings orange blossoms and gardening.  The weather has been so warm most of my garden is already in.  I am excited.  

     This month we decided to do Deep Fried French Toast again.  It is a Favorite and we do it at least once a year for Third Sunday Dinner.  Everyone loves it and it really is an easy one to do.  Often I will pick up day old bread at the local bakery, but this year I decided to bake the bread.  I used my mothers Good Ole White Bread recipe.  It is wonderful.  Nothing healthy about this favorite.  I like to serve this with butter milk syrup.   

     We are going into our 7th year of doing Third Sunday Dinner and totally are committed to the next  seven years.  We love the things we have learned.  All members of our family have learned so much and have grown from opening our home up for others.  We have created long lifetime relationships that we love and look forward to more friends we will meet.  When I think of the most important things I have learned is how much we need each other.  Often times we are to busy to really take the time to fellowship, and by fellowship I mean lift others by loving them.  For me Third Sunday Dinner provides a great place that allows for time to really lift others.   

    We never know who is coming to dinner, and our prayer is that those who need it will be there.  And guess what, that prayer is always answered.     

The bread dough.  I baked 36 mini loaves of bread for dinner.  I weigh the dough at 10 ounces   

A Simple trick I have learned it to cover the top of the oven and bread with an old sheet or table cloth.  It traps the hot air from the preheating oven and helps to proof it faster.

The Bread Baking in the Oven

The Finished Product.  It looks great.  I love fresh baked bread.

I have a bread slicer that comes in handy often

 So this month I thought I would clean out the pantry.  I had a bunch of cans of fruit.  Tropical fruits like lychee nuts, palm seeds, etc.  Strange and exotic.  I also had an extra large bag of carrots.  We diced the carrots and added chopped fruit to the cooled down steamed carrots.   It was interesting to say the least.

Canned Fruit

Chopped Carrots

I love these girls.  They are amazing.  I give them a vision and they make it happen.

The makings of the Carrot Tropical Salad

It was unusual to say the least.  The comments were really great.  Some absolutely loved it, others could not figure it out, some absolutely hated it, while others were just to polite to say.  It was a texture thing and the canned bananas really threw them off.  They looked like sausage.  It was a fun experience.  I love doing that.  Why stick to the normal.  And it has a lot to do with memories.  There has to be those memories that are funny.
In the beginning. 

Setting up the tables and chairs.

It's a party, Oh no not a party, it's Third Sunday Dinner. 

The French Toast was really great.  The fryer's fried over 300 slices of bread.  It is always a great meal.  I fry it outside.  I use my camp burners and dutch ovens.  It goes really fast and keeps the mess out of the house.

 This is our fry station.  Pans to dip the bread in.  They fried for at least 2 hours.   I mix the eggs up with milk and cinnamon and nutmeg in the Vita Mix early.  We used over three gallons of milk egg mixture.

 Another Third Sunday Dinner success.  It is always nice when it's all over and I can reflect on what happened.  I love the feeling of peace that comes into my heart.   I look forward for March and am already planning the menu.
Enjoy the Adventure~Chef Brad

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Third Sunday Dinner ~January

      January is a great month.  Right after the holiday's and all the bustle and hustle, it's great to take time off and relax and get back into normal.   This year in Arizona we have had mild weather so it has been great to enjoy the outside.  I did do a fire pit but it was not really needed.  It is sometimes a challenge to come up with creative things to cook that are easy and fit into the budget.  I love the challenge and look forward each month to what I can create with what I have on hand.    Each month brings a wonderful fun evening filled with great food that makes us all happy and full.  This month as I was looking in the pantry and the freezer I found beans and tons of tortillas.  Beans in the pantry and small tortillas in freezer.  I happened to stop by Smart and Finale and they had cheese sauce on sale.  So nachos it was.  And what a great time we had.  Enjoy the pictures below as I tell the story of another great Third Sunday Dinner.  

Roaster full of refried black beans.   They ate the entire roaster full.  Black beans don't cost a lot and go along way.  

Chips central.   I fried chips for two hours straight.  The nice part was I could do other things while each batch cooked.

There were five pans full of chips.

Getting ready for the salsa. 

If you have the right equipment the job is a lot easier.  This is my favorite Paula Dean chicken fryer pan.   It's deep and perfect for frying chips or anything as far as that goes.  

The boys making salsa.  My dear friend Nathan Botts come over and gave them a lesson on chopping and making salsa.  The only instructions were to make one hot sauce and one salsa.  A neighbor sent over  a large bag of fresh tomatoes out of her garden.  Yes we get fresh tomatoes in January in Arizona.  

The salsa group.  Wow I love them.  

The salsa group also created a salad with hominy, quinoa, and black beans.  Was great.

This was so much fun.  At Jewel's Bakery and Cafe where I work they bake cakes.  When decorating a cake they often cut the top off to make it even.  They save them for me and I take them home and place them in the freezer.  All different kinds, from chocolate, red velvet, to vanilla, each one is great.

By Third Sunday Dinner I have a freezer full.  I take them out early in the morning to defrost and collect other ingredients.

So the children made Trifles.   Three to be exact.  It was great.  They had a great time and they turned out great.

On this one she is placing chocolate cake and fruit cocktail.

Next she spread out vanilla pudding.  Some had lemon pudding, etc.

What a production it was, they had so much fun creating.  When I told them what I wanted and told them it was up to them they had a surprised look on their faces.  I have great confidence in them and let them go.  

Amazing.  Three wonderful desserts that were devoured and enjoyed by all.  They were pretty creative.

The back yard ready to go.  

The food looks great.  Salad, salsa, and canned pickled jalepenos. 

The chips and the cheese sauce.  Three gallons to start and added more later.  

Refried beans.  Yum yum

The dessert table.  

Fusion Grain Fans.  I was so glad they came.  Darling new friends forever. 

Getting ready to dig in. 

I love happy faces. 

My dear dear friend Kent Flake.  I meet Kent one year ago and his friend ship has blessed my life in so many ways.  

New friends.

Friends making friends.

     I love Third Sunday Dinner's,  I was talking to the youth recently about what they do.  The youth from church come faithfully each month early and leave late.  I was telling them that there is no way we can measure the good that comes from the amazing things they do.  Often times that is how life is,  we never see the result of what we do,  but this I do know,  it is the small, often times  simple things that we do that produce the largest, longest lasting results.   I have no idea what really happens, but I feel peace and happiness  in abundance at least once a month.  

Have a great Month.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy