After our return flight from Kauai landed last Monday, I glanced down at my toes as I stepped off the plane. They were bright white, pale as ghosts, and completely numb. Thanks for the wintery rain, San Francisco… It’s supposed to be almost summer!
While rubbing my feet during the car ride home, desperate to get the blood flowing again, I wished I was back in Hawaii—and not just for the warm weather!
Things I love about Kauai…
Waking up to the waves crashing outside my window. It didn’t even begin to compare to a noise machine… And it came with a gorgeous view too!
Hawaiian culture. So friendly and inviting, with lots of ancient traditions like hula dancing, paddling outrigger canoes, and honoring sacred landscapes.
Hiking the Nā Pali Coast. I already mentioned it once, but it’s worth talking about twice! Breathtaking views, beautiful (and movie-featured!) waterfalls, and sandy beaches. Exercise got 100x better!
Hula Pie. Ice cream + oreo crust + chocolate sauce + whipped cream. So good that I made my own!
Spending time with my family. With such busy schedules, the four of us mainly see each other for holidays and the occasional birthday, so hanging out for a week was a real treat! We splashed around in the pool (Dibble Dabble and Monkey-in-the-Middle may have turned into competitive contact sports), ate at fancy restaurants (so many amazing fish dishes!), and played cards at the condo. Sharing new smiles, laughter, and inside jokes with my family will always be my favorite part of any vacation!
Yet after the past week in California, there are a few things I love about home too: the lack of humidity, wider roads, and far fewer sunburns. But I mostly appreciate my well-stocked pantry with more than popcorn kernels and Aunt Jemima syrup! (Crazy condo kitchen…)
I can finally feel flour between my fingers instead of just sand between my toes. Both are equally satisfying, but one results in something far tastier—like this cinnamon roll pizza!
This is a healthier version of the cinnamon bread dessert many pizza restaurants serve. Even better, it actually looks like a giant cinnamon roll!
½ c + 2 tbsp warm water (100-110°)
2 tsp yeast
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 c whole wheat flour
½ c all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 tsp cinnamon, divided
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened
¼ c powdered sugar, sifted
¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Combine the water, yeast, salt, and 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes until slightly frothy. Mix in the remaining sugar, whole wheat flour, ¼ cup of the all-purpose flour, and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon. Continue adding more all-purpose flour until the dough is no longer sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead for 3-5 minutes, or until the dough springs back when you press your finger into the top. Coat a large bowl with nonstick spray (canola or butter-flavored), and roll the dough around until coated. Place a clean towel on top of the bowl, and place in a warm draft-free place to rise for 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- While the dough rises, combine the brown sugar and remaining cinnamon in a small bowl. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto a baking sheet, and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and punch it down. Divide the dough into 12 pieces.
- Working with one piece at a time, roll it out into a long ½”-wide rope. Flatten slightly, and lightly mist the flattened top with nonstick spray. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, and gently press the sugar mixture into the dough. Turn the flattened rope on its side and coil the dough around itself with the cinnamon sugar side on the inside of the roll. Make the next rope, and add it to the end of the coil, pinching the two ends together to seal.
- Once all of the ropes have been added to the coil, it should look like one huge cinnamon roll. Transfer the pizza to the prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly (if necessary), and sprinkle any remaining cinnamon sugar in a spiral on the top.
- Preheat the oven to 400°, and let the pizza rest while the oven heats. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden. Let the pizza cool on the pan for 5 minutes before sliding the parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool further.
- To prepare the icing, stir together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Spread or drizzle over the top while the pizza is still slightly warm. Serve warm or once completely cooled.
Note: Neufchâtel or regular cream cheese may be substituted for the fat-free cream cheese, if you prefer.
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