Monkeying Around

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you have imagined.”
 —Henry David Thoreau

Today is the first Monday of my new adventure as a stay-at-home copyeditor/writer (Friday was actually my first day “on the job”). My favorite part so far — not having to get up at 6:30 with the alarm. I can sleep until I’m ready to wake up, which so far has been around 8:30. Such a wonderful perk!

Other benefits? I get to spread my work out over the day — working a couple hours at a time and then “breaking” to go wash some dishes or throw a load of laundry in the washer or dryer or run up to the store. It’s a pace much more conducive to creativity, and it allows me to make sure that I am at my best when focus and diligence are required (which is all the time with editing).

Working from home will also allow me to be more flexible about fitting in a daily devotional time, exercise, craft time, and time off with my husband, and it gives me more time to monkey around in the kitchen trying new recipes that I can then share with you!

In honor of this sweet benefit, the recipe I decided to try this past weekend was Healthified Monkey Bread from EatBetterAmerica.com. It was so easy to make and soooo delicious! I will definitely be making this again.

The ingredients: sugar/cinnamon, refrigerated biscuits, chopped pecans or walnuts, caramel topping, and vanilla. That’s it. You can click on the blue link above for the recipe specifics, but I think once you make it one time, you won’t even need to measure the ingredients; you’ll be able to simply throw it all together and still create a masterpiece. Notice that I used a pre-mixed cinnamon sugar combo, and I didn’t use fat-free ingredients as listed in the recipe. I will probably try the fat-free next time; I simply used what I already had on hand. You can decide for yourself which you prefer.

Preparation: Pour the cinnamon and sugar into a 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag. Open up the cans of dough and separate the biscuits. Cut each biscuit into quarters. (I placed about eight quarters at a time into the sugar mixture, held the bag closed and shook the bag to coat the biscuit pieces.)

Once biscuit pieces are coated, begin to layer them with pecan (or walnut) pieces in a bundt or fluted tube cake pan. I used a stone Pampered Chef pan.

When layering is complete, mix caramel topping with vanilla. Since my caramel sauce had been in the fridge, I took the lid off and microwaved it for about 20 seconds first. Then, I poured it into a small bowl with the vanilla. After mixing, I drizzled it over the biscuit pieces.

With this pan, and my oven, it only took about 30 minutes rather than the 40 – 45 suggested in the recipe. I recommend checking it early.

Now you just have to have the patience to let it cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before you invert it onto a serving plate. Since it is best served warm, dig in and enjoy immediately. (It does warm up well in the microwave if you have any left over the next day.)

We took this over to my sister-in-law’s house to share and it was a hit. To those of you whom I used to work with — I’m thinking about making this for you when I come to visit sometime. Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to try the recipe yourself. Even if you are not a regular baker, you CAN do this.