Friday, May 27, 2011

A Little Breakfast Heaven...

It all started this morning. First, I stayed up too late last night, and when I woke up, I regretted that decision instantly. I just wanted to roll over and snug down into my delicious blankets and ignore my alarm. But I had parents dropping children off in 40 minutes and didn't want to look like Cruella Deville when I answered the door! So I lazed around a bit, twittered, facebooked, and emailed ANYWAYS, with only one eye. Then decided I really should get up! But now, there was only 15 minutes til doorbell time. Crap. I guess it's ponytails and a bad attitude today ( I don't do well without my morning shower). 
The morning got worse as I went along and I was just about to throw in the towel. Then I decided not to let  the morning's events get me down. And what's the best way to do that??  Make something yummy, that's how! So I stuck my nose in my fridge to see what fixin's I had for whippin' up a yummy, quick breakfast. Kids wanted pancakes. I wanted heaven. I NEEDED heaven... so this is what I came up with. Enjoy!

...and here's what you'll need...

Put all those ingredients (up until the lemons) into a mixing bowl in the order they are written. When you add your milk, add it slowly as not to pour in too much. You want it sloppy, but not soupy. Then add the juice of one lemon and the zest of both. Set aside the juice of the second lemon for mixing with the mascarpone cheese topping. No mascarpone cheese or sugar will go into the batter. Mix it all up with a wooden spoon. The batter will be quite thin and bubbly.

Paint your hot and ready waffle iron liberally with olive oil so you can get a crispy waffle that doesn't stick. Pour 1/3 cup scoops onto your waffle iron. I use a 4 square iron, and 1/3 cup for each waffle works perfectly.

It may appear to be too thin, but don't worry. And DON'T OVERCOOK or they will be dry crackers and you will be really disappointed! They should be a nice golden colour but still soft on the inside. They will not be thick and cakey. They will be light, airy, and crispy, with a bit of chewy softness in the middle.

This is a perfect colour!

To make the mascarpone cheese topping...put your tablespoons of cheese in a small bowl. I used a small squeeze of lemon for each tablespoon of cheese. Mix it up quickly with a fork or whisk. Spoon it on to the top of your waffles and serve with syrup and a sprinkle of raw sugar. (I used 2 waffles per serving)

Doesn't that just look like heaven on a plate? It IS. So next time YOU are having a Cruella kind of day, mix up a little lemony sunshine for yourself or your family and just let it all go. It works every time. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Liberating the Pumpkin Pie...

Yesterday, my smallest daughter reminded me once again that I had promised to make her a pumpkin pie. I had been putting it off and putting it off...baking all sorts of other things instead. Things that seemed more "seasonally appropriate".  You know, things like lemon bars, strawberry cakes, and sugary muffins. All these things were springy and bright and colourful...just like the weather was becoming. I had barely scraped through a long, cold winter. Why in the world would I want to bake a Thanksgiving Pie?? I had had enough of all things "last season"! But she looked at me with those big brown eyes and reminded me that I had PROMISED! Dang! 

Now I had to make her that pie. And so I did. And it was the best pumpkin pie I have ever made. Ever. Same recipe I have used since college and baked year after year. But this time, something was different. It was better. I think my smallest daughter may have been on to something...pumpkin pie needed to be liberated from the shackles of it's cold and snowy reputation. Hehehehehe...Pumpkin Pie tastes even better in the Spring! 

So, let's get started...

Simple Pie Crust...

Mix up 2 and 1/2 cups white sifted flour with 1tsp salt
Cube up 1 cup of lard into your dry ingredients
Use pastry cutter to mix 
Lard should be pea sized before you add any water. 

Now you can begin to slowly add nearly 80z (250ml) of cold, cold water.
Mix with your hands to make a soft dough ball.
Do not mush or mangle. Try to keep those chunks of lard intact.

     And there you have it...enough pastry for a bottom and a top, or two bottoms!

Now that you have a nice soft dough ball, divide it in two and roll out on a floured surface...

Roll it and flip it a couple of times, then roll until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Then fold it in half, place it over your deep pie dish and unfold...

Then slice the edges off with a sharp knife...

With the remaining dough, you can choose to make your pie a little prettier by cutting out little circles and placing them on your pie's edge with a little cream...

When your pie crust looks the way you want it to, paint cream on all the edges and sprinkle with white sugar...

This will make your crust crispy and sweet on the edges.


Whisk 4 eggs together...

Then pour in a 28oz/796ml can of pure pumpkin, 2 cups packed brown sugar and the following spices..
                          2 tsp cinnamon  1 tsp nutmeg  1/2 tsp ginger
Add 1/2 tsp kosher salt
And mix
Pour in 350ml of evaporated milk and stir well.
Pour into your empty unbaked pie shell.
Cover your pie edges with foil or baking paper so your pretty crust doesn't burn, as a deep dish pie has to bake for quite awhile.
Bake at on top shelf at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and bake for 50-60 minutes longer

Let cool.  Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, and enjoy!

Happy Spring, Pumpkin Pie!

The Recipe in Short...
2 and 1/2 cups white flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup lard
8oz or 250ml cold water

28oz or 796ml pure pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp kosher salt
350ml evaporated milk (or 2x3/4 cups)

Bake at 425 15 min
Reduce heat, bake at 350 for 50-60 min


Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Smallest Things...

This long, cold and seemingly never ending winter has certainly taken it's toll on my soul. Everything seemed dull, grey, brown, and dirty. I felt caged in. And with all my little charges underfoot, it seemed even worse. My little house started to close in on me and I was tripping on stuff and children ALL the time. I found myself bursting into tears with an intense ache in my soul that I couldn't give a name to. I was simply miserable. Not everyday...but a lot of them. 

And did I ever complain? Oh ya. You bet I did. Laundry piled up. Dishes were left in the sink. Beds didn't get made. Bathrooms were get the picture. 

And then the sun came out. And I am not talking about the big ball of fire in the sky.(Although, that DID come out too!) I looked at my wall. The same wall I walk past every day. The same wall I see as I come down to the kitchen every day. But this time, I actually saw it. And the sun came out...from somewhere inside. Slowly at first, it was out just the same. What was so special about this wall?? Well, I will show you...

You see? I had spring and sunshine right here in my house! I didn't need to look any further. These small things were there to brighten my day all along. And I had my eyes closed. And so, as the sunshine spread through my muddled soul, I began to bring in a little more colour in other corners of my home. I decided to make my kitchen the first corner.

So I went to my happy place...HomeSense! Lol! And i bought this pretty bowl, along with a few others in assorted sizes. And well, wouldn't you know, there was an antique show this weekend in my city! When you look for will find it. 


It makes me giddy just looking at it. It really does. I am in love. This table is from the 1920's and it was found in an old barn up in Barhead. And she's all mine. And the chairs were waiting at that antique show JUST for me...waiting to  soothe a worn-out Mumma of 6.

When my kids came home from their dad's tonight, they ran right in, "dibbs-ed" a chair colour, grabbed a pot of crayons, and sat down to create some more "small things."

And so we have come full-circle...

The smallest things DO take up the most room in my heart. I just need to remember to shove the rest of that crap out of the way. The doubt. The fear. The impatience. The sadness. The crankiness. There is no reason for all of THAT to take over...not when there is so much colour everywhere! So let the sunshine in!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

If She Could Be in Kentucky Today, She Would Be.

My oldest daughter is an old soul. She has been responsible and mature beyond her years since the day she finished being colicky. So often she is taken for granted...Oh, Emily will be there. Emily will do it. Ask Emily. She goes about her day fulfilling all her school work, house chores, and babysitting duties without much complaint.  All of this makes her a really great to have around. But to be honest, the thing I like the most about her, is her love of the horse. On friday nights, when every other mother is picking teenagers up from the mall, the dance, the movies, or jail (hehehehe), I am picking my 16 yr old up from the barn. She is not a girlie girl who worries about make-up or the right shoes. She would rather be mucking a stall, jumping her mare, oiling her tack, or scrubbing her boots, than be any other place doing any other thing...

Emily and can't have one without the other. The two are the best besties I have ever seen. Emily and Jessie have been together since middle school. They play together. They work together. They breathe together.

A long while back, I spent the afternoon with Emily and Jessie just shooting photo after photo. All of them beautiful.The wind was just right, the light was perfect, the colours fantastic, and my subjects were lovely...

These two girls share a good laugh, a great afternoon ride, a kiss,  a game of hide and seek treats, puddle splashing sessions...they even share the same hair colour.

And so, with the Kentucky Derby horses running today, I was inspired to share these great photos of two truly lovely ladies. They have sat in my computer for too long now. 

Emily and I have talked about one day going to Kentucky and watching the derby...but we keep saying, "maybe next year." My "un-girly" girl said she would even wear a fancy hat if she got to go. She graduates from High School next year...maybe that would be the thing to do for a girl always on the honour roll?!

Well, I have to run and take my lovelies to the swimming pool. I will leave you with one last very favourite one, with Emily's favourite quote...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Oh Breakfast...How I Love Thee!

Yes, yes, It must be said. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But forget all the "blah blah blah about getting enough energy for your day yadayadayada"...breakfast is the most important meal of the day because that's MY most favourite one to prepare! And by the way, there is no rule written anywhere that I have found that says breakfast must be served before 11am...except maybe at McDonalds. So whether it's at 7 am or 7 pm, we really ARE allowed to enjoy a good breakfast.

In my line of work, I feed a bunch of little hungry birds every morning. I plan my menus ahead to make sure my little peeps get all the nutrition AND yumminess that I can pack into one meal. Breakfast to me, is more than just eating food in the morning. It is an occasion. So if have to pour my syrup out of the plastic jug and into the little enamel pitcher just because it looks nicer on the table, I will.  Even if it means more dishes. Nothing makes me happier than listening to a table full of kids, chatting and planning how to change the world over a plateful of homemade pancakes.

And for those of you out there that are still using a pancake mix because it's too much of a hassle to do it from scratch...I challenge you to make a change!! Use this simple recipe...and when you have done it enough times, you can start adding stuff to it (like yogurts, cottage cheeses, avacado, cream of wheat, pumpkin, molasses, etc) and make it your own. The sky is the limit. With this simple base, you can make a hundred different kinds of pancakes, I am sure.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"What the Thing?"

When my 4 year old son is baffled by something, he says just that. "What the thing?" Well, I am baffled by this whole concept of blogging. I am inept at most things techno, and I am as about as computer savvy as a gnat.  But here I am, all the same.  A mother of six.  A photographer.  A day home caregiver of 5.  A foodie.  An aspiring yogi.  A wanna be traveller.  A reader. A newbie blogger. 

I am learning as I go, so things may be a bit rocky at first...ok, who are we kidding? Things will be rocky for a loooong while! But I will hit up my 14 yr old son for some blogging and web lessons (he taught me how to Twitter), and things should be a little smoother.