Monkey Bread Recipe for Mother’s Day Brunch

Monkey-breadWe are busy putting together the plan for Mother’s Day brunch and we want to show mom just how special she is by making it memorable. We have a few things on the list that we have to have — eggs, fruit and mimosas — but we wanted to do something special for our sweet treat. One of our favorites is monkey bread: little bites of dough wrapped in cinnamon and sugar. These little nuggets are hard to resist — unless she doesn’t have a sweet tooth, your mom’s going to love them! Here’s our monkey bread recipe for Mother’s Day brunch.

This version uses an enriched yeast dough (brioche) with a caramel sauce to make it sweet enough for dessert but not so sweet that it can’t be served for breakfast.  If you’ve never made brioche, this is an excellent introduction to it as it doesn’t have to be perfect to get it right. This is a very forgiving recipe.

For the Dough: For the sugar coating: For the sauce:
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 TB active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the bowl
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • ¾  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 TB cinnamon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter

Monkey-bread
Dough: Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until it reaches about 100℉. Remove from the heat. Place it in a mixing bowl fitted to a stand mixer with a dough hook. Sprinkle in the yeast and sugar (don’t stir). Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cardamom. Add to the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until everything is combined. Add the butter, egg and vanilla. Mix until thick and slightly sticky. Knead on medium speed until the dough gathers around the hook, 6 minutes. If it’s too sticky, you can add up to two more tablespoons of flour.

 Monkey-bread

Remove the dough and shape into a ball. Put the remaining tablespoon of melted butter in a large bowl followed by the ball of dough. Turn the dough in the butter a few times to coat the dough. It should be shiny from the butter.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

 In a medium bowl, whisk together the cinnamon and sugar. When the dough is ready, pull off small pieces of dough (1”) and roll them into small balls. Toss them with the cinnamon and sugar to coat them and place them in a cake pan prepared with cooking spray. You can bake them in a tube pan to remain loyal to tradition, but I divided them up into three ramekins for individual servings. Set aside while you make the sauce.

 Monkey-bread

Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until smooth. Pour over dough. Cover in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or overnight if you’re making it in advance (It also freezes well unbaked if you want to save some to bake at a later date).

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 11-14 minutes or until the top is browned. Let cool and serve. If you want all of the reward without the work, you can also use crescent roll dough (the kind that come in the cans) from the refrigerator section of the grocery store. No one will know the difference.


Let The Lakeside Collection help you plan your Mother’s Day celebration! We have ideas and products to make your mom’s big day unforgettable.

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National Stress Awareness Day: 4 Ways Gardening Relieves Stress

GardeningApril 16 is National Stress Awareness Day — we’re all victims of stress and there are many ways to manage but, since we’re in the middle of spring, we’re looking toward the garden for stress relief. Here are 4 ways gardening relieves stress.

Exercise Gardening isn’t quite like running a marathon, but it’s an activity that gets you moving. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise reduces tension, stabilizes mood, reduces fatigue, as well as improves alertness and concentration. Pruning and weeding makes your garden look nice, but the up and down motions and repetitive actions require your muscles to have a range of movement that gets your blood pumping through your body and brain. If you look at gardening as something you get to do rather than something you have to do, you’ll be on your way to a stress-free summer.

Garden-ScooterQuiet When we think of gardens we think of a quiet place where nature rules. Leaving behind your smartphone to tend to your plants and flowers gives your brain space and peace. It makes sense, but researchers in The Netherlands have facts to back up the claim. They found that spending just 30 minutes a day in the garden doing chores actually reduces the amount of stress hormones your body creates. If you’re feeling stressed, maybe it’s time to take a break from daily stimulus and get in the garden for a few hours a week to relax.

Sunshine Plants need sunshine to survive and working outdoors alongside your precious plants exposes you to the same sunny goodness. While we know that sunshine gives us vitamin D to help strengthen our bones, it also boosts serotonin — the neurotransmitter that helps us feel good. We need bright light that we get from summer sunshine (brighter than anything we can get indoors) to get adequate amounts of vitamin D to improve serotonin levels (which is why we see so many cases of seasonal affective disorder during dark winter months). Working in the garden to spruce it up for as little as ten minutes a day can give you a good amount of sunshine to help with your vitamin D and serotonin production to make you feel relaxed.

gardeningThe Right Plants While some budding shrubs and flowering plants are easy on the eye, some are also easy on the brain. Plants like lavender are known to relieve stress through their scents. Lavender can relieve stress just by being next to it and inhaling its fragrance, but lavender, along with other herbs like chamomile and lemon balm can be used as tea to relieve stress. Whether you’re pruning your lavender or harvesting chamomile for tea, your garden can have the calming effect your brain and body craves.


Daily stress can get in the way of good moods, so if you’re playing with the idea of starting a garden, let stress relief tip the scale in favor of getting it growing! The Lakeside Collection can help you get started — we have ideas and products for a lush garden this spring that will thrive all summer long.

National Pecan Day: Pralines Recipe

 

Pralines-recipe

April 14 is National Pecan Day — we love pecans at The Lakeside Collection and we have a few favorite recipes for these magical nuts. If it were November, we’d be making pecan pie or tartlets, but since it’s spring, we thought a recipe we can whip up quickly would be in order so we can head outside and enjoy the weather we’ve been waiting for. With that in mind, we thought we’d share our American pralines recipe — it’s quick and it originated in New Orleans, so it’s not something that will heat up the kitchen when it’s hot outside!

If you only know pralines (pronounced praw-leans) through the ice cream flavor pralines and cream, you haven’t experienced real pralines. They’re sort of like a very rich cookie (some people describe as fudge-like, but it’s a little more delicate than fudge). Technically, it’s candy, but it’s more of an adult candy than a lollipop or licorice. The original recipe was made with almonds, but because of the abundance of pecans in Louisiana, they were the obvious substitute for almonds. And it was a perfect substitute — the pecan praline has been an iconic confection in the Big Easy for hundreds of years.  Pralines are surprisingly delicious and, just like fudge, they make a nice gift or party favor — which is why you can buy them on just about any corner in the French Quarter. But you can’t get to New Orleans every day, so here’s our recipe for pralines.

Pralines

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat until it’s hot to the touch. Add pecans in one layer on the bottom of the pan. Stir frequently (or toss, if you’re good at that) until the pecans are hot and fragrant — about 2 minutes. Set aside. Over medium-high heat, add the brown sugar, butter, cream, and milk to a sauce pan.

Pralines-recipe

Stir the mixture frequently as the mixture bubbles up. Keep this up until your candy thermometer reads 238℉ — this is the softball stage of heating sugar. Add the pecans and stir vigorously for 30 seconds before turning off the heat. Continue stirring and add the vanilla extract. Continue stirring for four minutes until the mixture just starts getting a little stiff — this part is crucial. It should still be a thick liquid when you spoon the pralines onto your cookie sheet. Set aside to cool.

Pralines-recipe

The result should be a lump of delicious nuts and sugar with a consistency of a very delicate cookie. The timing is difficult to get right and if you don’t, there is nothing you can do to correct it. You may end up with a crumbly mess or caramel clusters — either way, you can use your mistakes to top vanilla ice cream (delicious!). But this recipe is a small batch — it makes about five pralines, so if you don’t get it right the first time, you won’t have mounds and mounds of  caramel to repurpose.

Pralines-recipe

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Mother’s Day Gifts

The countdown to Mother’s Day has begun! You have plenty of time to come up with thoughtful ideas to spend the day and pick out the perfect present to please your mom — if you start now! We have a few ideas of our own to get you inspired. Here’s this week’s The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Mother’s Day Gifts.sunflower-bird-house

Gardenista For the mom who loves her garden and all the critters that come with it, she’ll be able to welcome feathered friends with this Sunflower Birdhouse. The metal flower has glorious yellow petals that draw the eye and adorable birds to add a little more life and beauty to her yard. The opening to the birdhouse is in the center, complete with a perch for all her feathered friends.sport-mom-tote

Soccer Mom A soccer mom (or basketball mom or football mom) can never have too much room in her bag for the next big game! She can pack up everything she needs for every sporting event with the Sports Mom Organizing Utility Tote. The spacious, open interior lets you prepare for sporting events, the pool, grandma’s house and more. There are 2 patch pockets on the front for drinks and water bottles, and each of the sides has an elasticized mesh pocket for extra storage. The front has an embroidered design with your sport of choice. Double shoulder straps for easy toting.wooden-baskets

Entertaining Mom Give mom the gift of a little country with a Set of 2 Lined Wood Baskets. The stylish baskets have cutout stars along the front and back, revealing more of the red-checkered fabric lining. Each basket has 2 leather handles for easy carrying from the kitchen to the table. Get these for Mother’s Day and she’ll be all set for her Memorial Day cookout! handprint-wall-art

Sentimental Mom Delight mom with a sentimental gift she’ll cherish through the years! All you need to do is add handprints to this Framed Handprint Wall Art with your own paint. Personalize the potted plant in Mom’s Garden of Love with her kids’ handprints to create a wall hanging that will be admired well after the kids go off to college. The finished art is protected under plastic in its wooden frame. Comes ready to hang.prayer-box-charm-necklaces

Faithful Mom Prayer Box Charm Necklace makes a wonderful gift for a mom of faith. It features a prayer inside the pendant and comes with a prayer card inscribed with the same words that can be carried in a wallet. You can choose from a prayer for a mother or daughter, the Lord’s Prayer, or the Serenity Prayer.

The Lakeside Collection has gifts and ideas for every holiday and season. From trinkets for mom on Mother’s Day to kitchen gadgets to put together a fall party, shop The Lakeside Collection for great products at the best deals.

Gadgets To Keep Pests Out of Your Garden

Spring is here and our garden prep is well underway! Making our gardens bloom is one of the more satisfying summer activities, but it does require work. Some of that work includes keeping pests out of our flower beds and yards to help our plants thrive. But there are a few gadgets to make pest control a little bit easier. Here are 5 gadgets to keep pests out of your garden.solar-animal-repeller

Buzz Off Pests don’t have to be bugs to bug you — they sometimes have four legs and fur! The Solar Animal Repeller keeps critters like rabbits and woodchucks from wrecking your grass and plants without having to resort to cruel traps and poisons, plus it’s easy to install. Just stake it in the ground and it charges in sunlight to activate a built-in infrared motion detector. When pests come within its 20-foot detection range, it triggers powerful, ultrasonic waves that turn animals away. It only activates when motion is detected, so it can run around the clock when it’s charged.pest-diffuser

Good Scents The Patio Egg Pest Diffuser slows down the menacing whir of mosquitoes with good scents! The egg uses a DEET-free formula of essential oils that mosquitoes and other pests steer clear of. Fragrance diffuses through the porous egg and into the surrounding area, darkening the egg as it absorbs oil. The pleasant floral scent will “hatch” within 24 hours and be effective continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Protects up to 200 sq. ft. for up to 4 months. Hang it with the included plant-fiber net or set it on a flat surface.citronella-streamers

Double-Duty Decor Don’t let bug spray ruin your next cookout! Repel bugs with style with this Set of 8 Citronella Streamers! The streamers add whimsy to your outdoor decor as well as fight off bugs —  each colorful streamer is coated with lemongrass oils and natural citronella that mosquitoes and pests don’t like. The scent lasts up to 48 hours so you’ll have protection from the start of the party all the way through cleanup!wasp-traps

Nature’s Bug Bait Don’t let wasps ruin your day in the garden with this Set of 2 Wasp Traps. They use all natural ingredients you mix up at home — just sugar and water! It lures wasps to three spots where they can get in, but they can’t get out. You can hang them from a tree branch or put them on the porch where there’s a flat surface. They’re long-lasting and durable so you can use them day after day.fly-pistol

For the Kids Lock and load a Fly Pistol and get rid of pesky bugs with a pull of the trigger. Just take aim and pull! The hands clap together, squashing the flying pest. The  target on the inside of the hands turns bug swatting into a game. Check your accuracy and aim as you go.

5 Kitchen Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Needed

We’re always looking for new, fun ways to make household chores a little bit easier — especially in the kitchen! With all of the spring parties and barbecues coming up, we need all the help we can get to shave time off prep so we can entertain! The Lakeside Collection has a few products that can do just that — here are 5 kitchen gadgets you didn’t know you needed.

Corn-StripperPain-Free Prep Get ready for your summer bounty with this Set of 3 Specialty Kitchen Gadgets. Summer sweet corn just got sweeter with the corn stripper — remove all the kernels with just a few strokes! With the pepper tool, the stem and seeds are gone with a twist of the wrist and the mango pit is no longer an obstacle to your breakfast smoothie! With one or all of them, making fresh food is simple and painless.

Lemon-SqueezerSimple Squeeze Add a bright splash of color to your kitchen with these Colorful Kitchen Gadgets! Have a fresh squeeze of lemon ready to go at all of your cookouts this summer with the Lemon Squeezer! A couple of lemon wedges turn to juice in the silicone container, leaving the peel and seeds behind! You can use as little or as much as you need, and the leftover juice stays fresh in the refrigerator once you close the screw-on top. The Set of 3 Knives is perfect for the precise work of trimming, peeling and slicing all of your summer vegetables and fruits.

Kitchen-gadget3Basket of Bags If you’re like the rest of us, you have a stash of plastic bags somewhere waiting to be reduced, reused or recycled! With this decorative woven basket, your plastic bag dispenser is more convenient and easier to look at than stuffing the bags in a drawer or under the sink.  Load the bags at the top, then pull them out through the hole in the bottom one at a time.

Memory-Foam-RunnerPleasant Posture You don’t know how comfortable prepping food at the counter can be until you’ve done it with the Memory Foam Kitchen Runner underfoot. It gives you extra support when you stand for a long time, and brings a punch of color to your kitchen. The memory foam conforms to your feet as you move and stand.

 

Wine-ChillerKeep Your Cool White wine lovers just got a little more excited to show up at your barbecue! The Wine Bar Bottle Chiller keeps your wine cool and refreshing while you socialize on the patio. Just place it in the freezer for a couple of hours and use it in place of a cork once your wine bottle is open.


The Lakeside Collection has hundreds of products to make your next entertaining adventure easier and fun! Keep checking back for more ideas and inspiration for every season and every holiday.

How To Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

hard-boiled-eggEaster is on Sunday — it’s only Wednesday, so you still have a little time to get all of your Easter decor out, dinner planned and, of course, dye your eggs. But, before you dye your eggs, you have to boil them. It sounds easy enough, but how you boil your eggs will determine what happens to the edible parts. They never have to be perfect, but it helps when you’re peeling them for the whites to separate neatly from the shell and, if you’re planning to make fun things like deviled eggs for your Easter dinner, it’s best if your yolks aren’t green. Here’s a fool-proof formula to make perfect hard boiled eggs.

 

1. Place your eggs in a sauce pan. Fill it with water until the eggs are just covered.hard-boiled-egg

2. Over high heat, bring the water to rolling boil.

hard-boiled-egg

 

3. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let it sit for 9 minutes.

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4. Remove the eggs from the pan using a slotted spoon.

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5. Immediately place them in ice water and let them sit until they’ve cooled completely — about 15 minutes.

 

hard-boiled-egg

Quick tip: Fill a bowl of water and stick it in the freezer for an hour to make ice water.

The result is an easy-to-peel egg with sunny, yellow yolks. The outside of the whites will be smooth and crater-free.

hard-boiled-egg

 

Now that you know how to boil perfect eggs for Easter, you can let the kids dye them, and you can set to work on planning the Easter egg hunt, putting together baskets and making a fabulous Easter dinner.

Happy Easter!

National Spinach Day: Cheesy Spinach Roll-Ups

spinachMarch 26th is National Spinach Day and we’re celebrating it because there are so many reasons to celebrate spinach. It’s one of the world’s healthiest foods — it keeps our eyes young, our bones strong and our blood pressure low. It’s also pretty tasty — though, for a period, it did have a reputation of being one of the most disliked vegetables. These days, it’s a little less feared and more liked and we want to share our easiest spinach recipe for National Spinach Day: Cheesy Spinach Roll-Ups.

Cheesy  Spinach Roll-Upsspinach

Cream Sauce:

  • 1 TB butter
  • 2 TB all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • ½ cube chicken bouillon
  • 3 TB Parmesan cheese, grated

Roll-ups:

  • 8 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 9 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 15 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder

For the sauce, make a roux by melting butter in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. When you have a really thick paste (almost dough), lower the heat and whisk in the milk and bouillon cube. Keep stirring until the bouillon is dissolved and you have a creamy sauce. Whisk in Parmesan cheese and set aside.

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Preheat oven to 350℉.

For the roll-ups, stir together the spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, onion and garlic powders. Lay out your cooked noodles on a flat surface.

Spoon out even portions of the spinach mixture onto each of the noodles. Spread the mixture so there’s an even layer of spinach on top of the noodles. Sprinkle about half of the mozzarella cheese onto the noodles.

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Gently roll up each of the noodles so that the spinach is on the inside of the rolls. Place the rolled noodles in a casserole dish prepared with cooking spray.

Pour all of the cream sauce over the noodles. Top the noodles with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and the sauce is bubbly.

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This is a kid-friendly recipe — not only will they love to eat it, but they might just be able to make it themselves! Of course, it’s tasty enough for an adult as well and it’s great for leftovers if you can’t eat it all in one sitting.

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Easter Recipe: Hot Cross Buns

Hot-cross-bunsWe’re close to the end of Lent with Good Friday and Easter just ahead of us. With the spring holidays, traditions abound and they come in all forms — our favorite form is food! Easter is loaded with fun food traditions, but Good Friday holds one of the more interesting one: hot cross buns.

Hot cross buns are more common in the United Kingdom, but there are a few Americans who carry out the ritual of making the buns and hanging one in the kitchen for a year for good luck or sharing one with a friend to protect the friendship. Though they’re made for the symbolism, they also make a pretty tasty treat. However, there are many more versions of the recipe than there are superstitions. Here’s our hot cross buns recipe.

Hot Cross Buns

  • ¾ cups milk, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (but not hot)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (about half of a packet)
  • 2 TB light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp  baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 egg (if you want extra moist hot cross buns, use two yolks in place of the one egg)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (traditionally, currants are used, but cranberries are tastier)

Hot-cross-buns

In a bowl fitted to a stand mixer, add butter, sugar, milk and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let stand for five minutes so the yeast gets foamy. Whisk together the remaining dry ingredients and add it all to the yeast mixture. Using the hook attachment, mix on medium-low speed for five minutes.

Hot-cross-buns

Add the egg yolk and continue mixing until it’s all well-combined to make a sticky dough. Add the cranberries and mix until they’re distributed evenly in the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic and set aside for one hour. Divide the dough into six balls and place in a prepared pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for one hour.

Hot-cross-bunsEgg Wash

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 TB milk

Preheat oven to 375℉. Whisk together the milk and egg white. Brush egg wash on each ball of dough. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops of the buns are golden brown. Let cool for about ten minutes.

Hot-cross-bunsIcing:

  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Pinch salt

Mix together all the ingredients. It will be a thick paste. Place in a sealable plastic bag. Pipe icing onto each bun in a cross. This recipe makes six muffin-sized buns, but it can easily be doubled or tripled for a big breakfast to celebrate the end of Lent.

Hot-cross-bunsThe Lakeside Collection has dozens of products and ideas to make every holiday fun, tasty and memorable. Whether you need cookware to put together a spectacular holiday meal or you’re looking for delicate decor for the big day, shop The Lakeside Collection for great products at discount prices.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Garden Items

Spring has sprung! We’re celebrating the first day of spring by planning our gardens and we are looking for fun ideas to make our outdoor space lively. We came up with a few things we want to put in our own gardens and thing we think you’d like, too. Here’s this week’s The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Garden Items.

gnome-tree-house

Put a smile on the faces of passersby with a Solar Gnome Tree House in your yard. This whimsical garden accent features windows that light up using the power of the sun.

humming-bird-feeder

Hummingbird Feeders will encourage these delightful birds to hang around so you can enjoy watching and listening to them. Completely functional and decidedly decorative, these feeders come ready for use–just fill them with sugar water and hang. Put them near a window or porch to attract hummingbirds for an up close and personal look!

rail-mount-planter

Dress up your deck or add color to your front porch or balcony with this Coco-Lined Rail Mount Planter. The metal hanger slips right over the railing and adjusts by hand without tools to fit rail widths up to 2-1/4″. Won’t blow away or fall off!

garden-bells

Add colorful decor to your landscape with a Set of 4 Beaded Garden Bells. The dainty bells provide a touch of melodious embellishment to your shrubbery. Each piece features bronze toned bells and colored beads and tassels.

cooks-vertical-garden

Enhance your meals using fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables you’ve grown yourself with this Cook’s Vertical Garden. You can add zest to pasta, make homemade salsa or eat fresh strawberries right from the vine.