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Naming our traditions – easy cinnamon rolls

March 29, 2013

Verse for reflection: “Impress them [God’s commandments] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:7

Are you like me in that you always think other families are so original and creative in coming up with traditions and rituals that are theirs alone?

When I hear about families, for instance, who have a traditions of no TV on Saturday morning, and they sit around in bathrobes playing Scrabble and Monopoly drinking hot chocolate—it makes me feel my family would qualify for Disintegrated Family of the Year Award. When, I wonder, do such families do their cleaning or other chores? Or, don’t their kids play soccer?

I admire families from my church who use a special red plate for dinner for anyone in the family who brought their grades up, had a birthday, won an election, got promoted, but we never quite got around to adopting that.

My mom always served the same meal for Saturday night supper: hamburgers, celery, chips and ice cream. We rarely went out or had company that night. It was always hamburgers. And we loved it! Once in a while maybe sloppy joes, if we had eaten hamburgers in the middle of the week. That may sound boring, but the memory still stirs wonderful, family-togetherness feelings. I used to lament that I couldn’t quite get our own family into that routine, because with both my husband and me working, we would often go to town Saturday night or have company, because that is when it suited us.

Counselors say that family traditions help to create a healthy family—they give us an identity separate from other families and help us feel good about our own family. It doesn’t matter what it is—someone else’s tradition may not work for you, but naming things you are already doing as “our tradition” can end up being something special for your family.

For instance, I’m not sure when I started it, but it may very well have been for Easter that I concocted quickie sweet rolls (below) by using a can of prepared plain refrigerator biscuits. Some people stick up their nose at using this kind of convenience food, but this has become something my children (and now two sons-in-law), look forward to at our house.

Some traditions make Paska buns. I love the Mennonite Girls Can Cook (mostly Russian Mennonite) tradition. And this week I read a delightful story about how one of the women used to barter out homemade biscuit sweet rolls (similar to mine below, except the biscuits are homemade if you like that idea better) out of her lunch box! Love it!

Easter is certainly one of those times when we treasure rituals and traditions—dying eggs, hiding and hunting them. Just remember to name them and talk about them with your children and they become “your tradition.”


Davis quick sweet rolls

1 small can (5) biscuits
3 Tb. melted butter or margarine (use about 2 Tb for rolls, reserve 1 Tb for frosting)
½ c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon or to taste


2/3 c. powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp. milk or half & half
1 Tb melted butter (left over from rolls)

Spread the biscuits out flat with your fingers.


On a cutting board or bread board, make one big flat piece of dough by pinching the edges of the biscuits together.


Spread melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon on the dough.


Roll up the dough, slice into 5-7 pieces. Place close together in pan, even if you only use half the pan, so the rolls rise up together and keep their sides from becoming baked and hard.


Bake for about 10 minutes, watching closely. Remove from oven and take them out of the pan right away (or the brown sugar goo gets hard in the pan.) Put them on a serving plate. Top them with a simple frosting.


Frosting is best if it is on the runny side, to drizzle over the warm rolls. Serve warm.

For the two of us, I use a small can with 5 biscuits, but for more in the family, use a can with 10. When our family of five was all home, that was plenty without being too much. They are best eaten warm—they are not so good made ahead or served later.


For more recipes from my kitchen see Whatever Happened to Dinner: Recipes and Reflections for Family Meal Time; the publisher has a sale going right now of 30 % off on this book (almost 100 recipes) and all Mennonite cookbooks until May 8, 2013, including both of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook cookbooks.

  1. “they are not so good made ahead or served later”

    But that didn’t stop us from fighting over the leftovers on Sunday afternoon!

  2. Yes. I almost added that but it is better coming from you. 🙂

  3. Boy do those look good! I’ll have to give them a try. Thanks for posting.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Having company (not entertaining or a dinner party)! | findingharmonyblog
  2. Quick(er) Amish Dinner or Sweet Rolls – A two-fer | findingharmonyblog

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