Insta-cooking

I was putting some pictures together from my phone and I realized a food trend.  I know I cook 95% of our meals at home, but I seriously take a LOT of pictures of food.  I don’t always show people, but I’ve been taking pictures of food since before it was cool.   Cooking is imperative to me as the one taking care of my family every single day.  It can get exhausting being the ONLY one to plan, shop for (with kids), unpack, prepare, cook, and clean-up the meals every day.  No respite.  However, I wouldn’t trade any job or position for what I am able to do every day in this home for my love, my kids, and anyone else who pulls up a chair to our table.  This week I have been so encouraged by friends in regards to food and ways you can change meals up for your families.  There are SO many easy/new/different/cool recipes out there for us to try…it will never get boring.  If my positive energy isn’t working, try my “Ridiculously Yummy” board on Pinterest.  There are tons of amazing recipes out there!

My pictures are just a tiny snapshot of my week.  This one was a busy one.  We are on our last week of the foster care process and just have our final inspection tomorrow (fri).  Above you will see some calm in the midst of business.

(from left to right, top to bottom)

1. Miss F and I made clay bread for her dollhouse.  So fun.

2. We had delicious meatballs Monday night from my rarely used Everyday Food cookbook.

3. Had a play-date with some home-school moms at a new park. They loved it.

4. Had some friends over Sunday for Jamie Oliver’s mushroom risotto

5. Had a foster care interview Tuesday and then ate at Claim Jumper.  The Mother-load disappointed.  Did it always taste that bad or has my tongue become that snobby. I’m thinking they’ve changed the ingredients…one more place to check off our list.

6. Finishing some foster paperwork and doing a little web design with Leonard by my side.  He can be so encouraging.

7. Celebrated a beloved friend’s 40th.  She’s amazing…one of those truly generous people who I love to be around.

8. Made cheese dip from here for an evening at home.

9. Enjoyed some Pocky and reminisced about Japan.

10. Made some vanilla extract with a friend.  Tutorial to follow.

11. Made Guinness Lamb Stew for a party tomorrow at the same time as calzones for our dinner tonight

12. My little buddy finished his first preschool book.  Woo!  He loves school way to much.

13. My little bean about to enjoy family movie night.  We finally watched Dolphin Tale which was truly one of the best family films I have seen.  Truly.

14. If you are busy like me, try Shepherd’s Pie for dinner.  Start with Alton Brown’s recipe but substitute a hearty stout or porter for the broth.  It makes an amazing yet easy twist!  I even make this when it’s just the kids and I.  My recipe to follow.

15.  Ed and I took CPR online Monday night and had our test/ evaluation on Wednesday night.  Thanks to my Mom for hanging with the kids for a bit Wednesday night :).  I was a little saddened by the NEW  Heimlich for larger children…oh how I wish we could be a healthier nation and not need this update.

16. Got to learn a few new plant-based recipes from my friend Leah on Saturday. She’s an inspiration to us all of good health and could definitely help the guy in picture 15.

Make anything good this week?

An easy pancake recipe for a Saturday morning

What every kid wants on a Saturday morning.

Kids always want pancakes.  My kids get RIDICULOUSLY excited about these puppies, but that might be because I don’t make them regularly.  About one pancake in (if they make it that far) they are over it, but for that 15 minutes that I am prepping and the 3-5 minutes they are eating them, they are super excited.

THAT makes it totally worth it.

I’ve tried so many recipes and I never really found “the one” until very recently.  Yes, we fell in love and are quite happy together.  No other pancake can come between us…but a waffle could possibly.  I read similar sentiments in a post from The Brown Eyed Baker about the recipe she had found so I knew I had to try it.  Anyone who loves a fluffy pancake with a buttery delicious crispy outside will devour this recipe.  No cake-y pancakes here.

I added this food to my Junk Food Remade series because of the following:

That’s quite a few more ingredients and other…stuff.  Now, I really love to use butter on my pancakes and that’s not the best choice in some ways, but at least I know what’s in my butter.  I think mine still cuts it WAY under 220 calories for 3 pancakes.  The cool thing is you can keep your dry ingredients in a jar or container and then add the wet on the day you make it.  That’s pretty close to shake and pour, right?  As long as you are making them at home you might as well make them right!

You can see the melted butter goodness and the textbook pancake bubbles.

Best Pancakes Ever

2 cups flour

2 T granulated sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

  2 cups milk (plus 1 tsp vinegar)*

2 eggs

¼ cup sour cream

3 T butter, melted and cooled a bit

butter or oil for the pan

Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk/vinegar combo, eggs, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined…it’s ok if there are a few lumps (resist the stirring!). Let it sit while your pan heats up.  Hot pans make the best pancakes :)  I prefer butter for my pancakes because I think it tastes Awesome  the best   perfect  irresistible pretty good, but oil is totally cool too.  Just grease your pan either way and cook until the bubbles start to pop .  Flip and cook 1 minute or so more.

Remember to grease your pan in between batches.

*Normally buttermilk is a great ingredient in pancakes, but who really has buttermilk when you need it for a spontaneous Saturday morning pancake session?  The old trick is to use 1 tsp of vinegar for every 1 cup of milk.  The milk “turns”  a bit from the vinegar and ends up pretty darn close to buttermilk.

To top it off…

…grab some preserves (like these that I made this summer) or jelly instead of maple syrup.  If  your kids (or you) prefer the pouring motion, try to use REAL maple syrup from the tree (I know it’s more $ but it’s totally worth it), honey, or heat the jelly up so you can pour it on.

Here is what’s in your old pal Auntie Jemima’s syrup:

INGREDIENTS: CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CELLULOSE GUM, CARAMEL COLOR, SALT, SODIUM BENZOATE AND SORBIC ACID (PRESERVATIVES), ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL FLAVORS, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE

She’s not watchin’ out for you anymore :/ Do you ever notice that we try to call it maple syrup but the closest thing to maple syrup it will ever be is sitting next to maple syrup on the shelf.  Just a few things we can ALL think about.  Know what you’re eating!

That’s why you are gonna make some pancakes from scratch right?

I thought so :)

Are you ready? I am…

 

The End

This year has not been my favorite.  2011…blech.  Actually, it’s only one of two years which I can distinctly remember not liking (2000 being the other).  A lot of bad things happened this year.  What, you say?  You had no idea?  I don’t tend to talk about negative stuff just as a personal habit to not keep icky things in my thoughts whenever possible.  I have definitely learned, this year, that I need to be more real and try to show weakness to you, friends.  I’m not trying to pretend my life is perfect on paper, I just am not a “dweller”.  In fact, I started this blog, in part, as a distraction from negative things.  When I’m frustrated, I clean…or sew…or bake…or organize my closets.  It’s not the best way to deal with problems but at least it’s productive, right?

This year I have been hurt by friends, been upset by horrible things that happen in this world EVERY DAY, been disappointed in people and myself, felt emotionally and physically weak, watch marriages fall apart around me, said goodbye to friends, thought a lot about my Grandma who isn’t here with us anymore, counseled a lot of people close to me who are have a difficult time,  and then cried over everything I just mentioned along the way.

But, this year I am MOST thankful for our new church.  I finally feel like we have a community of people that we love being with and that share a unique bond.  I am ecstatic about the new buddies Ed and I have both made there.  Mostly, I am excited about the cool things that we can all do together for Jesus.  I finally feel like we are where we are meant to be as a family.

So, 2012.  I am excited for everything awesome you will bring.  I don’t know what kind of year you will be, but I know that God has brought us across some difficult roads to a really cool place that seems way more peaceful.  I can think of 3567 things that were awesome about this last year, even with 3568 things that were bad.

You are faithful, God, and I’m thrilled to see how you use me for your good this year.

p.s. I couldn’t leave the year without one last craft to share.  If you have any boxwood around your neighborhood or any other long greenery, grab that, some green florist’s wire, and some ribbon.  Wrap the wire around the greenery and bend/snap to make your numbers or even letters.  I had planned to make a “J O Y” for Christmas but I got sick so I converted it to “2012”.  Hang each letter with some ribbon or set them on a shelf.  It just took a few minutes!

I kinda like them.

Some people couldn’t help but have a little fun with them, too.

Cheers to you are yours!  Happy Awesome New Year!

2011: The End

Twelfth Day: Branch Ornament Display

We have finally come to day 12.  It’s sad, true, but that means it’s Christmas, right?  I almost had to end on day 11 because a nasty cold came over our household.  I even laid down for a bit during daylight hours yesterday which is kind-of a big deal for me.  I’m thankful to just have a cold though, as opposed to the stomach flu or something.  Ick.  I’ve scraped up some late-night energy to bring you this finally piece of Christmas cheer.  It’s my favorite of all 12 days so it would be hard to keep me from sharing it.

I love awesome things that don’t cost anything to make.  This is that kind of project.  I’ve been searching for a way to display my Grandma’s ornaments where my kids can’t throw them around like baseballs accidentally break them.  I saw this pin on the very same day I had already decided I wanted to bring some tree branches in from our dead backyard tree.  So, I screwed in some hooks to the ceiling, attached some fishing line to the branch and then to the hooks, and shortened or lengthened the fishing line until it was the perfect angle for my taste.

 

I think vintage ornaments are beautiful, don’t you?

This one’s my favorite.  Yellow + polka dots.  What could be better?


I can see myself in this shot.  This reminds me of those string of Ebay pictures that different people took and posted.  The people taking the pictures didn’t realize you could see their reflection and some were naked, hairy, or just weird-looking.  Makes a person think twice before posting a photo.  Random, yes, but still relevant.

lovely.

I love the mood it sets when we sit down for a meal with it peacefully dangling above us.  It’s a an instant mood-changer.

Have any last-minute Christmas projects your working on?

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