The Real Stuff

day 3

Most Saturday mornings I make cinnamon rolls for our family. Don’t get too excited, they’re just the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls from the can. The most effort that I put in to making them is the strenuous step of banging the can against the counter to open it. They’re yummy and delicious and don’t require hours of work, which for me, is their biggest selling point. I’m all about the easy stuff when it comes to cooking. Except on Thanksgiving.

Every year on Thanksgiving I make homemade caramel pecan rolls from scratch. They require hours of prep work and lots of ingredients but Oh. My. Word. Are they worth it! It’s becoming a part of our Thanksgiving tradition because if you’re going to eat a ton of food all day, why not start with breakfast?


Scott Peacock’s Secret Pecan Rolls, Better Homes and Gardens

Last year was the first year that my Judah Bug was actually paying enough attention to notice our Thanksgiving breakfast. I told him that we were going to have special cinnamon rolls and his big brown eyes lit up. I mean, it wasn’t even Saturday! He was thrilled until I placed his gooey roll down in front of him, the one that I had spent hours crafting, the one that felt almost like my third child I was so proud of it, and slowly, his nose turned up and a scowl over took his face like yeast in flour and water.

“I want real cinnamon rolls,” he said to me.

“These are real, buddy. I made them from scratch,” I said, still clinging to my ridiculous excitement.

“No, they’re not. Where’s the can? Those are real cinnamon rolls,” he said.

I was kind of taken aback, sad almost that he didn’t appreciate my masterpiece. The good stuff, the real deal was right in front of him but instead, he was pining for something else.

We do that a lot too, lose sight of the goodness, the greatness right before us. Sometimes, even when God has placed a blessing right in our path all we can think about is what we wish we had instead. You know, the grass is always greener…


As I was thinking about what gratitude meant to me this year, I decided that it was simply focusing on the good things that God has given me instead of always dwelling on the other stuff that I don’t have. To me, gratitude is about deciding to be content, joyful even, with all that I have, even if it’s not what I expected, what I originally asked for, or what I hope to have someday.

Maybe things don’t seem perfect to you but you can be sure that God has given you good things. He loves us dearly and we have so much to be grateful for if only we would focus on the blessings set before us.

If Judah had only tried the fresh, gooey, homemade caramel pecan rolls, he would have realized that they were so much better than the canned stuff any day. He would have realized that although this meal wasn’t what he had expected or hoped for, it was far better and more satisfying.

Maybe our lives are the same. Maybe, just maybe, if we choose to live with the kind of gratitude that focuses on the goodness of what we have, we would realize that it’s better than what we wished for. That satisfaction and joy and a life that’s dripping with gooey goodness is already in our grasp. If only we would taste it…

This Thanksgiving, turn whatever can of discontentment you have on it’s head. Bang it on the counter until it bursts open and then dump it in the trash. It was only an imposter after all. The real stuff is already waiting for you, it’s been rising up and it’s ready to be enjoyed. Gratitude is choosing to dig into whatever you have and then enjoying it. It’s savoring your blessings until the very last bite and then waiting for the next helping to be placed before you by the giver of good, good gifts.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Scott Peacock’s Secret Pecan Rolls


1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salt


1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup mild honey
pinch of salt
3 tablespoon water
1 cup pecan halves


1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted


In bowl of a stand mixer stir together water and yeast; let stand until foamy. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low, heat milk just until it begins to steam. Add the 6 tablespoons cut up butter and sour cream. Stir just until melted. Cool. Stir mixture  along with eggs and 1 1/2 cups of flour into the foamy yeast. Add the 1/4 cup sugar and the 1 tablespoon salt. Beat with the stand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Mix until smooth.

Gradually beat in remaining 3 cups flour with mixer for 3 to 4 minutes until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl and is only slightly sticky. Do not be tempted to add more flour.

Transfer dough to a bowl. Cover surface of dough with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with pan spray, then cover the bowl with a second piece of plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until double in size ( 90 minutes).

While dough is rising, butter the sides of a 3 quart rectangular glass baking dish. In a medium bowl stir together 1/2 cup softened butter, the 1 cup brown sugar, honey and a pinch of slat until well combined. Stir in 3 tablespoons water. Transfer topping to pan with a spatula to distribute in an even layer. Scatter pecan halves over the butter-sugar mixture.

Remove the risen dough from bowl and gently roll out on a very lightly floured surface, to an 18 x 15 inch rectangle.

Spread the 1/4 cup melted butter evenly over dough. In a bowl combine 1/4 cup melted butter evenly over dough. In a bowl combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar , cinnamon and pinch of salt; sprinkle evenly on dough. Distribute the 1/2 cup chopped pecans over the dough. Tightly roll the dough beginning at one long end, keeping the roll as uniform as possible. Pinch the edges to seal. Using a serrated knife, trim both ends. Then cut the roll in 12 slices. Arrange rolls in a baking dish, evenly spacing them in 4 rows of 3 each. Then use your hands to gently press the rolls into the pecans. Cover dish loosely with buttered plastic wrap and let rolls rise until fully doubled (60 minutes) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Uncover rolls and bake 40 minutes, rotating dish once and tenting loosely with foil when buns begin to brown too quickly. Let pecans rolls stand in dish of for 5 minutes. Invert onto serving platter. Serve warm. Makes 12 buns.