Dear Mama

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Today marks the beginning of Inspiration Week, and I wanted to kick it off by talking about the woman who has inspired me most throughout my life: my mother. I suppose the best place to start is from the beginning. My mother grew up in the small West Texas town of Abilene. She was one of the younger siblings in a family of 9, raised in a single-parent household by my grandmother, Eula Peoples. From the time I was young, she always told me that, though they lacked in money, there was always a wealth of love to go around. My mother never felt like she was lacking in anything. Her childhood was spent running around with my hilarious Aunt Evelyn and their cousin, Doris, doing absolutely hysterical things that only bored children from a small town would do.

  Mom and me in '83? '84?

Mom and me in '83? '84?

My mother was raised by women. Strong, Black, and beautifully Southern women. There is a certain amount of feminism that comes with that. So, from the very beginning, my mother fostered a sense of self love and awareness in her children. A deep and profound respect for our history, equality, and knowledge. It is something that I cherish when I think about my past. It is something that I try to radiate out into the world to this day. My mother was the first to leave home, not for marriage, but for career. She joined the United States Air Force as a teenager and spent over 24 years serving this country. To this day, she proudly works for the United States government as a civilian. My mother has always been my heroine, a success story about following your dreams and being fearless. I think about all the places I've traveled, all the cross country trips I've driven alone...and I am reminded of how my mother did it all before me and in a much more epic way. My mother survived segregation in the deep South. She survived growing up poor in West Texas. She survived being on her own at 19. She survived Saudi Arabia and countless months away from her children. She survived every obstacle she has ever encountered. And she's seen so many wonderful and beautiful things in her life because of it. She is my inspiration in every sense of the word. 

How does this tie into MoFo, you ask? Well, my mom also happens to be a culinary bad ass. People around the way know that if "Ms. Pam" is bringing something it is going to be LEGIT. I cannot think about my mother without thinking about her famous cinnamon rolls. These beauties have been my source of joy for most of my life. When I initially went vegan in 2001, she mothatruckin' veganized them! These rolls are featured at every Christmas gathering, and when I lived in California, she made sure they were ready every single time I came home to visit. Here they are in all of their wonderful glory. I did one minor modification for my own sanity and cut back a tiny bit on the fat. Feel free to add more! Peep game:

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MS. PAM'S CINNAMON ROLLS

Makes 12 rolls

Prep Time: About 1.5 hours  Bake Time: 25-20 min

Dough:

  • ⅓ cup non-dairy margarine, melted
  • 1 ½ cups non-dairy milk
  • 2 ½ Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt

Filling:

  • 2 Tbsp softened non-dairy margarine + 1 Tbsp non-dairy margarine
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp non-dairy milk or creamer
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, mix the yeast and 2 Tbsp of sugar together. Add the milk and melted margarine and stir until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Sift flour and salt into the yeast mixture and stir until everything comes together.  Knead in enough flour until you get a smooth and slightly sticky dough (usually no more than ½ cup).  Knead for about 5 minutes, and place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

While the dough is rising, prep the filling. In a medium bowl, add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp margarine.  Mix together using a fork or your hands. Set aside.

When the dough has risen, punch it down, and knead it into a ball again.  Roll it out into a rectangle that is 10x14 inches. Evenly sprinkle the sugar mixture onto the dough. Roll the dough up as tightly as possible. Close up the roll by pinching the dough together and pinching the ends. Divide into 12 pieces and place in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Brush the remaining tablespoon of melted margarine over the tops and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise again for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes, while you make the glaze.

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, non-dairy milk, and vanilla until smooth.  Drizzle over the warm rolls.

  Yummy giant cinnamon roll

Yummy giant cinnamon roll

Above all else, I want to thank my mom. Thank you for all of the stories about our family history. Thank you for every Black Barbie doll you could find. Thank you for Black Santas and allowing us to speak our minds at all times. Thank you for love and acceptance. Most of all, thank you for the neverending support. No words could ever express my profound respect for all you've done for me in my life. You are my inspiration. You are appreciated.