I made a batch of cinnamon rolls last month, inspired by the season’s first dumping of snow and the frigid temperature dip.

Nothing says comfort food like biting into one of those warm, gooey treats on a winter-like day. The sugar-and-cinnamon delight was to be a main-meal side dish, accompanying a pot of homemade chili. Most of us here on the Western Slope believe that chili’s best sidekick is a warm chunk of cornbread or tortillas, but this combination of chili and cinnamon rolls is a real thing for those raised in the northeastern part of Colorado.

My husband Allen and his cousins often reminisce about their Sterling school cafeterias serving the students chili and cinnamon rolls for lunch and what a wonderfully good comfort food it was. I just shook my head at the thought. No, that doesn’t sound that appetizing. Cinnamon rolls are a breakfast food, not for dipping in chili.

During a visit to Allen’s hometown a few years ago, one of his cousins made a batch of cinnamon rolls and chili and I, a little hesitant, took my place at the table, unsure of the odd pairing.

Oh my — it was good!

That was the first comfort food combination that came to mind to fix for dinner when the recent winter storm descended on the Grand Valley. While the chili simmered on the stove I added cinnamon roll ingredients — flour, yeast, warm water, etc. — to the mixer and let it knead them into a nice soft dough, rolled it out with the rolling pin and spread the cinnamon/sugar mixture onto the buttered dough. I rolled it, sliced it into a dozen rolls and placed them in the glass dish, and covered with plastic wrap, to rise.

As the cinnamon aroma wafted through the kitchen, I watched closely, expecting them to more than double in size in an hour’s time.

“Rise, little rolls! Rise!” I urged, a few times, when I realized after a half-hour, they’d done no such thing.

“Rise!!!” I instructed more firmly, a half-hour later, as if I was speaking to a toddler who still hadn’t picked up his toys. The darned things weren’t rising at all so, to give them a little nudge, I placed the dish in a slightly warm oven, hoping that would do the trick, but all that did was have them swimming in melted butter.

Sigh. An hour and a half later, the rolls were still downright puny and I conceded that we might be having chili and cornbread, instead. It was so disappointing. I considered pitching the uncooperative dough in the trash thinking, it was a lost cause.

In a way, the half-sized rolls were a lot like how 2020 has turned out — so much anticipation, pre-pandemic, followed by much disappointment and concern over canceled or postponed events and the surge in COVID-19 cases. 2020 certainly hasn’t risen to the occasion, that’s for sure, but we can can’t just pitch it in the trash, either.

I fired up the oven and baked the runt-like cinnamon rolls anyway and, despite being really small they thankfully turned out just fine. And, once I added the generous spreading of vanilla frosting, they disappeared under the layers of sweetness and tasted delightful, dipped in the warm chili.

It was good.

Yes, 2020’s uncertainty will be with us for a while longer, but we must forge ahead, making the best of the situation. And when in doubt, just add more frosting.

If it seems like your 2020 has gone to the dogs, then perhaps you need to get a 2021 Dogs of the NCAS Calendar.

According to the Colorado Canyons Association website, the 2021 calendar features “our furry friends in our National Conservation Areas and proceeds help keep the lands accessible for everyone to enjoy.”

Colorado Canyons Association focuses on the three National Conservation Areas in western Colorado: McInnis Canyons, Dominguez-Escalante and the Gunnison Gorge, the website says. These NCAs are a part of the larger system of National Conservation Lands.

Dogs of the NCAS Calendars are available at coloradocanyonsassociation.org as is a list of retail locations where they can be purchased.

The Mount Garfield Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will have its monthly meeting on Saturday.

The DAR is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s furniture through better education for children.

Call 719-580-0948 for information.

The Colorado Aviation Business Association, Metro State University Aviation and Colorado Veterans of Foreign Wars is sponsoring the 10th annual holiday food/toy airlift to VFW Posts in Colorado.

A plane is scheduled to arrive today at the Grand Junction Regional Airport from Denver, carrying food and toys for veterans.

Western Slope VFW Post 3981 will be at the airport to unload the plane and transport the “cargo” to the Post Home, located at 503 1/2 Florence Road, a news release said. Holiday food boxes will then be prepared by VFW Post and Auxiliary Members for delivery, this and next month, to veterans and their families.

Last year, Post 3981 delivered holiday food boxes to 27 Veteran families in the Grand Junction area.

Operation Christmas Child Drop-Off locations will open Nov. 16–23 to receive Shoebox gifts — packed with toys and other items— from area donors during National Collection Week.

Go to samaritanspurse.org for information on preparing boxes and to find Shoebox Drop-off locations listed for Grand Junction, Fruita, Molina, Delta and Rifle.

The Grand Valley Lions Club yard sale, that took place Oct. 17, at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, raised about $900.

The clubs rounded up the total to $1,000 and donated the proceeds to the National Federation of the Blind, Colorado, “an incredible service to people who need corneal transplantation and other eye problems,” a news release said.

Submit community news items and frosting recipes by email to communitynews@gjsentinel.com, by fax at 244-8578, or by mail to 734 S. Seventh St., Grand Junction, CO, 81501. Online calendar items can be uploaded at GJSentinel.com/calendar.

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