I’ve recently had a pretty major life realization and it came from watching college kids blow through four-way stops. There seems to be an epidemic in my town that coming to a complete stop and waiting for people is too big of a waste of time. From there, this extrapolated to seeing other various behaviors that made me realize, everyone seems to be in a a freaking hurry to go everywhere.
And then I realized, this included me.
When I was younger, I would hang out with my cousin who lived out in the country. For fun, she would go outside, sit, and just listen to enjoy the fresh air and surroundings. I on the other hand who get annoyed and go find other “entertaining” things to do. I think that this was the start of my downfall. From there, things only got worse. One of M’s big pet peeves about me is that I cut people off. If I’m walking behind slower people going into a store, I purposely speed up to get ahead of them (which I never realized I did until he graciously pointed it out.) I could spend hours giving you examples but I think you get the point.
It’s like a light bulb clicked and it only took my dog almost getting hit by a college kid who decided he didn’t want to wait for us to cross the street: There is really no point in rushing. Those 10 seconds or 30 seconds you gain by rushing aren’t really that big of a deal and always being in a hurry to stuff isn’t always important.
So Saturday morning I went out hiking with the dog and enjoyed. When we finished I let the dog explore and I sat basking in the sunlight, drinking coffee, and enjoying my surroundings. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. Sure, there will be times I have to hurry but this new found ability to slow down is amazing.
While out on this grand hike, I also had another idea. I’ve recently discovered the ability to mix flax seed with water and have the outcome be a gelatinous substance. The discovery first came while reading Gluten Free Girl and her discovery that you didn’t need xanthan gum when you used flax seed as a binding agent in gluten-free breads. From there, I began to research all about flax seeds and soon realized they could make for a great egg substitute.
I wanted to try baking something vegan that I have failed at before and cinnamon rolls fit that bill. Before I made cinnamon rolls with essentially the same recipe I use for pizza dough and honestly- it stunk. The basis for cinnamon rolls is milk, butter, and eggs to form a soft dough so I changed it to almond milk, sunflower oil, and flax seed.
Seriously, these were amazing. The filling oozed out and the cinnamon roll itself was amazingly soft-everything worked together perfectly. Had I left the icing off, these cinnamon rolls could actually be a healthy treat (the icing pushes the excessive sugar line.)
Whole Wheat (vegan) Cinnamon Rolls
- 3/4 cup almond milk warmed
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
- 1/2-1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1/3 cup sucanat
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons almond milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a small bowl combine ground flax seed and water, set aside. Heat almond milk (either in a sauce pan or microwave)- don't let it get too hot (I zapped mine in the microwave for about a minute.)
- In a stand mixer bowl, at milk, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for about five minutes or until yeast activates. Add in oil, flax seed mixture, salt, and the wheat flour. Give a good stir with a spoon and then turn on the mixer with the dough hook. Begin adding the all-purpose flour 1/4 cup at a time, letting it mix in before adding more. You want your dough to be soft (but not sticky) and the key to that is adding just enough flour so that it pulls away from the sides of the bowl but may still slightly stick to the bottom and letting it knead for 5-8 minutes.
- Once the dough is here, scoop out of the bowl, form into a ball, place back in the bowl, brush it with a oil, and let it sit in a warm, draft free spot for 1- 1 1/2 hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into a 8 by 12 rectangle. Brush oil over entire surface and sprinkle sucanat and sugar over the entire surface. Begin the the edge closest to you and roll away from you- tucking the dough in as you go (I always think of it as like rolling up a sleeping bag. Once you have the log, squeeze it just a little and mark eight rolls out (I use the cut in half method- Half once, Half each of those, half each of those). Place in a round 8" cake pan that has been rub with oil. Cover with a warm towel and let rise again for 45 minutes to and hour.
- After about a half hour of rising, pre-heat your oven to 350˚. Once rolls have risen and oven is up to temperature, bake for 15-20 minutes. Rolls should be firm to the touch and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly while you make the icing.
- To make the icing, place powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl- add only enough almond milk to get a thick consistency of the icing. If you find you added too much milk, add more powdered sugar. Also, if you want to leave these with a little less sugar, leave the icing out completely- they are delicious even without.
by Erin Alderson