Meet Finland Smalls

Long time, no read! You may have noticed a lack of new posts recently. The last two months have been hectic with money being tight and splitting time between my thesis, two jobs and my new fur-baby. I’m slowly starting to set aside more time to blog and I wanted to introduce Finland Smalls to the world.

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I’ve been obsessed with pigs my entire life, my friends and family members can attest to that. Since I own my own home and have a decent sized yard I decided to start the pig adoption process last summer. A lot of research went into choosing the right breeder since many people try to pass off baby pot-bellied pigs as teacup, micro, nano or mini pigs.* I chose to get Smalls from Oink, Oink, Mini Pigs! in Florida which is the same breeder that @Prissy_Pig came from. I loved how open they were about the adoption process and all of the information they gave us prior to Smalls coming home. I had done a lot of independent research on mini-pig care but they sent us an entire manual with tips and suggestions.

Smalls was born on February 1st and arrived home on April 3. When we first got her she was 2 months old and weighed 2.2 lbs. Smalls was the runt of her litter so she’s tiny for her age. She should be fully grown in 3 to 5 years and weigh anywhere from 50 to 75 lbs.

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Her name is a combination of the name her breeder gave her (Finland) and a name I had picked out (Piggie Smalls). She’s energetic, loves to cuddle and goes crazy for Cheerios. Pigs are the extremely smart and Smalls already knew how to use the litter box when she arrived. Occasionally she pees on blankets and rugs, but we’re working on it.

Aside from a goldfish that I won at a birthday party when I was 8, I’ve never had a pet before. It’s opened my eyes to how much work goes into taking care of an animal but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My favorite part of the day is coming home to her little wrinkled snout. Eventually I want to get her a little pig brother or sister, but for now, it’s just us.

I plan to post regular updates on her life under the new “Mini Pig Life” tab on my website and you can see daily photos and videos by following her on Instagram @itspiggiesmalls. Have questions? Comment below and I’ll answer them!

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*There is no such thing as a nano, micro, pocket, teacup or toy pig. These labels are often used to make buyers think the pig will stay that size forever. Mini-pigs don’t reach adulthood until 3 to 5 years of age and no breeder can guarantee a pig’s size since it depends on factors like genetics, diet, lifestyle, etc.
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Slow Cooker Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls for breakfast are the best, but waking up early to cook them isn’t as nice. These slow cooker rolls can be pre-made the night before. Turn the slow cooker on in the morning and a couple hours later, voila!

Ingredients:

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Dough:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 and 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. salted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 5 Tbsp. salted butter, room temp
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Icing

  • 1 and 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. milk

Directions:

1. For the dough, warm the milk over low heat. When it becomes lukewarm pour the milk into the bowl if a stand mixer. Add the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir until dissolved. Cover with a towel and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes or until foamy.

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2. Beat in salt, butter, egg, 2 cups of flour and the remaining sugar on low speed until combined. Continue to beat on low speed while adding 1/4 cup of flour at a time. A soft dough will form and you can tell it’s ready when it pulls away from the side of the bowl. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes then let it rest for about 10 minutes.

3. To prepare the filling, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, roughly 14 by 18 inches. Spread the softened butter onto the dough then mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle it all over. Roll the dough tightly, cut into 8 to 10 even pieces and place in a slow cooker lined with greased parchment paper.

4. Place a piece of paper towel under the lid of the slow cooker to catch condensation. Turn the slow cooker on high and cook for 2 hours. Once done, remove lift the parchment paper to remove the cinnamon rolls.

5. Make the glaze by whisking the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and milk together until smooth. Drizzle over the warm rolls.

I love making the dough ahead of time so in the morning I can turn the slow cooker on and let it bake. To do this, make the dough through step 3 and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until morning and cook in the slow cooker as directed.

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Soft Gingerbread Cookies

You’ll find these cookies to be much softer than their traditional counterpart which is why they’re one of my favorite Christmas cookies.

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside.

2. Cream the butter and 1 cup sugar. Then beat in the egg. Stir in water and molasses and gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Roll the dough in 1-inch balls and roll in 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place them onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

3. Bake for approximately 10 minutes and allow to cool before eating. Store in an airtight container. 

Orange Glazed Cranberry Cookies

Cranberries are a Christmas must-have. Enjoy the tart berries with these sweet cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 oz. dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • a splash of milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugars together until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl mix the baking powder, salt and flour. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Once fully incorporated, stir in the cranberries.

3. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes or until edges slightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

4. For the glaze, mix the orange extract, powdered sugar and milk together until smooth. Drizzle over the cookies and enjoy!

Oreo Stuffed M&M Cookies

These cookies require a bit of patience and effort, but they’re worth it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 10 oz. of M&M’s
  • 1 package of Double Stuffed Oreos

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugars together until combined. Then add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda. Little by little, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Once the dough starts to form, stir in the M&M’s.
  3. Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes. Once chilled, take two spoonfuls of dough and place one on top of an Oreo and one on the bottom. Form the dough around the cookie until it is completely covered. Be sure to use as little dough as possible because it will spread when baking.
  4. Set the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool before serving and store in an airtight container.

Carmel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

The name of these cookies says it all. They’re chewy, gooey and so delicious you won’t want to share them.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 bag of Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Then beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs and beat until fully incorporated.

2. Gradually add the flour mixture. Form a 1-inch ball of dough around a piece of caramel. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place about 1-inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and cool on wire racks.

Miniature Mallomars

Mallomars were a treat growing up. These homemade versions are smaller, but just as delicious as the boxed kind.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups of mini marshmallows
  • 1 sleeve of Graham crackers
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Directions:

1. Break the graham crackers into bite size squares. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

2. Place the marshmallows and butter in a bowl and microwave for about 2 minutes. Stir well and spoon into a piping bag. Pipe the marshmallow mixture onto the graham crackers.  Allow the marshmallow to set.

3. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and coconut oil. Next, dip the marshmallow-topped crackers in the chocolate until they are fully covered. Place them back on the baking sheet and cool in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened.