First, I’d like to wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year! It’s January again, the month where we gladly, or reflectively, bid adieu to the past year and anything about it we weren’t necessarily pleased with. It’s a time for resolution and a time for change. In my case, it’s a time for the biggest change in my life and about time I make a little confession to you, my readers, concerning a sensational secret I’ve been keeping the past five months: there’s a bun in the oven. And, I’m not just talking about one of these ooey gooey buns that you’re looking at above, but an equally sweet little baby that we are expecting this spring. I’m not quite sure how I’ve kept it from you so long, as it’s been the biggest thing going on in my life and, quite frankly, we’re absolutely over the moon with excitement and anticipation.
Together, Joe and I have had many things to think about since we first found out the news, such as how we want to live, where we want to live, and what our new priorities will be. Not to say that we haven’t pondered these things before, but when you find out someone’s going to be joining you for a lifelong ride in a matter of mere months, that it’s not just the two of you anymore… Geez, you feel a little more accountable and don’t want to screw anything up. So, as you can guess, personally and professionally, we’ve both had and have a lot going on.
I’m several months away from formally earning the title “mother” (scary, huh?), but I already feel like I’m learning a lot about what that moniker means. Now, I think about every single function I perform daily, from eating the right things to drinking enough water to working out, and how that’s going to affect the little monkey growing inside. As far as diet’s concerned, there haven’t been too many changes to make, as I prepare 95% of my own food, never cared much for deli meat or soda, and could take or leave sushi. As far as what I drink, historically, I’m just awful when it comes to drinking enough water and run a dehydrated little shop around here. That’s had to change because I know there’s now a little ”someone else” who can’t just grab a bottle of Poland Spring and needs that water more than I do. Hydration aside, I think the biggest challenge I’ve faced is adapting my workout regimen and accepting my changing body.
Running is and has been my favorite go-to workout for a number of reasons; namely, it packs a huge bang for your buck (less time than walking and greater burn), is amazing for trimming fat, and it’s a welcome opportunity to be alone with your thoughts. Pre-pregnancy, I managed to get away with eating most anything I want by countering it with my running habit. Not so much anymore. Now that I run for two, I’ve had to make some major modifications to my regimen, while other changes just happened naturally. I’ve watched my heart rate increase dramatically to levels of an all-out pre-pregnant sprint, but at a seemingly “normal” pace. As a result, I’ve had to slow it down big time, as I’m trying to keep my heart rate within certain parameters. Now old folks and newbie runners glide past me effortlessly. Early on in the pregnancy, this was enough to make me crack. I’d come home from a run (more like a jog) with tears in my eyes and the feeling that the effort was futile. As time has gone on, I realize just the fact that I’m getting out there is what matters. Exercise in moderation is good for me and, most of all, good for junior. More recently, I’ve been relishing in my growing belly and enjoying increased looks and smiles from other’s as we pass on the boardwalk. I like to imagine they’re thinking “Hey, she’s running slow, but she’s running for two people. Good for her!” I think any physically able pregnant woman staying active is awesome. Cheers to the fit mamas!
Here’s a short list of what I’ve learned/noticed so far – I welcome any additional insight from other pregnant ladies or mothers out there in the comment section below:
- Leggings are a pregnant girls best friend.
- It’s not how fast you run, it’s the fact that you got out there and logged the miles.
- People have a lot of opinions such as how pregnant or not pregnant you look [my favorite: "Are you sure there's not two in there?"], what you should name your child, and whether you should find out the gender. The sooner you learn to take these opinions in stride the better off you are.
- Bows suck. Words for consideration I’d like to pass along to maternity clothes manufacturers from my fellow pregnant girlfriend, Melissa, “Stop putting bows on maternity clothes. I am not a present meant to be unwrapped.”‘
- You’re not proving anything to anyone by suffering in your pre-pregnancy jeans. Embrace the panel.
- Speaking of panels, everyone, men and women alike, could benefit from maternity pants at the holidays. Lots of room, people! Just saying…
- When you see your baby on an ultrasound or hear the heartbeat the first time, you immediately know there’s something much bigger out there than all of us. It’s really a miracle.
- People are really nice. It’s overwhelming how many people are genuinely happy for you when you share your news, especially those that are parents. I suppose it’s more affirmation (if you need it) that you’re about to endeavor on a really wonderful journey.
Now, on to today’s recipe. I figured some sort of “bun” recipe would be apropos for my big announcement and since we’re all wrapping up the season of decadence, why not go out with a bang? I bring you rum raisin cinnamon buns: sweet dough wrapped around gooey pecans and drunken raisins, topped with a boozy rum frosting. Hey, if everyone except me is having cocktails, why not just get my food drunk? I kid. Anyhow, this is a really stellar recipe that can be made the night before; a perfectly decadent and impressive treat for overnight guests or just yourself. Enjoy!
Rum Raisin Cinnamon Buns
For the dough:
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
For the filling:
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 Tbsp. spiced rum
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 Tbsp. half and half or light cream
In a large bowl, combined 2 1/4 cups of flour and yeast. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt over low until just warm and butter is almost melted. Test with your fingers to ensure it’s not too hot and add to the flour mixture. Stir in the eggs and beat with an electric mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups of flour as you can. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover and let rise until double, about one hour.
In the meantime, begin the filling. Combine the raisins and rum in a small microwave safe dish and cook on high for one minute. Set aside and let soak at least 45 minutes.
Combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well. Cut in remaining butter until crumbly. Set aside.
After dough has finished rising, punch it down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Sprinkle the sugar-flour mixture on top, leaving a 1-inch border all the way around. Drain the raisins and dab gently with a paper towel. Scatter raisins and chopped pecans on top of the sugar mixture. Roll jell roll style and pinch edges to seal. Cut the log into 8 pieces, beginning by first cutting in half and then halving each section again and again. Arrange dough pieces cut side up in a greased 13×9-inch baking pan. Cover dough loosely with clear plastic wrap leaving room for rolls to rise. Refrigerate for 2 – 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Uncover cinnamon rolls and let stand for 30 minutes. Break any surface bubbles with a greased toothpick. Brush dough with half and half. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until light brown. If necessary to prevent over-browning, loosely cover with aluminum foil.
Remove from oven and brush again with half and half. Cool for one minute. Drizzle with rum frosting. Devour immediately.
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. corn syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. spiced rum
2 Tbsp. half and half
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well.