Yesterday and the day before that, I was all alone in my office at work. That’s a hard thing for an extrovert like myself. Very hard. I tried to compensate for the lack of the others in my entire department (almost everyone on the main floor) by singing loudly to the Showtunes station on my ipad.

I’m an excellent showtunes singer-alonger. I don’t know if I should admit that – but I just did. I sing with gusto. As if I could quite possibly win a Tony award in office-singing-showtune- accompaniment. It was awesome. You totally should have been there.

You see, almost everyone in the entire building was away at a staff retreat. I could not go. This is one of the hard things about living a million miles away from any family when you have children. You are stuck. No one says, “I need to see my grandsons/ nephew/cousins…send them over.”  And sometimes (like this past few days for me) a million miles away is a really hard place to be.

You know, not once when we were driving around, breathing the midwestern October air on our interview here, did I imagine I’d NOT be homeschooling the boys. And yet, here we are – boys in public school and me working. I love my job. I love the people I get to work with. This week I realized how much I counted on them to make my days brighter and so much more fun.

Which brings me back to showtunes. It’s true, you know. People who need people are the luckiest people in the world. We need others to make us stronger, braver, and more polished (even when the polishing process is a bit painful).  We need people to make us laugh, to comfort us when we cry and we need some special people who won’t judge when you scream and throw a pity party because everyone else got to go on a getaway and you didn’t. I know this to be true. I just lived it. Even if you are not an extrovert like this girl, you still need people.

And just for you, Melanie…I do have a great new recipe to share. It’s tasty. I made it two ways: regular and vegan.  Baking makes me happy. Make it soon. Share it with others. Thank me later.

Cinnamon Roll Cake (Regular version first, vegan substitutions in parenthesis)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cake Layer:

  • 3 c flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 &1/2 c milk (I used almond milk)
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 2 eggs (1/2 c unsweetened applesauce)
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 c butter (1/2 c Spectrum Shortening or Earth Balance PLUS 1/4 t butter flavoring)

Swirl Layer:

  • 1 c butter (1/2 c Spectrum Shortening or Earth Balance PLUS 1/4 t butter flavoring)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 Tbl flour
  • 1 Tbl cinnamon


  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 5 Tbl milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 t vanilla

Mix everything for the cake layer together first, adding melted butter last. Pour batter into a lightly greased 13×9 pan.

In another bowl, mix ingredients for swirl layer. Drop by large spoonfuls onto cake layer. Use a knife a swirl into the cake layer.

Put pan into oven and bake for 28-32 minutes.

While cake is baking, mix icing. Pour over cake after it has been out of the oven for 5-7 minutes, but still warm.

Enjoy! It’s great warm or cold.



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melanie Walker
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 06:47:27

    Thank you, Janna! I will make it this weekend, my fellow show-tune singer/lover, extrovert friend.


  2. Martha Benavides
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 11:57:55

    i still remember the delicious cinnamon rools i ate Nov 2009. I did not share with anyone. Recovering from the c-section with a baby boy, milk and your baked goods, made it so much easier. Thanks for bringing back such wonderful memories. Although, I am fully recovered from my second c-section in January, i will make this this weekend and think you are here with us. MIss you lady!


    • Janna
      Sep 07, 2013 @ 13:07:50

      Ah, Martha! I haven’t had a real cinnamon roll since November. I wish I could enjoy one with you! Miss you!!


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