Buttermilk Pancakes

This long holiday weekend has given me the chance to get back in the kitchen more than I have for a long while. First on the list was a trial run of a yellow layer cake (more about that in my next post), which called for the use of buttermilk. Since I knew I would be making the cake twice, I bought a half gallon (I didn’t write down the amount of butter milk on my list when I went to the store), and ended up with a bunch of buttermilk left over.

So, what’s a girl to do with a bunch of buttermilk? Make pancakes from scratch of course!! Now, I have made scratch pancakes in the past, but since buttermilk is something I never had on hand, I always went for recipes that used regular milk, or tried making my own imitation buttermilk (seriously just use the real stuff). Which meant, off to Pinterest in search for a recipe!

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I ended up going with these Melt in Your Mouth Buttermilk Pancakes from Oh Sweet Basil. The recipe was easy to follow and I had the batter ready to go in no time. The only thing I can say was a bit of a negative for me was the cook time. It seemed to take longer to cook than when I make pancakes from box mix. Maybe it was the cooking temperature: the recipe said to set the griddle to medium heat rather than a specific temperature, so maybe my griddle’s medium is different than theirs? I also noticed that the pancakes cooked right after butter was put on the griddle took longer than the next batch that went on without new butter, however these did have a more buttery flavor (who would’ve guessed!) so I was okay with that.

They were nice and light and thick and fluffy – everything you want in a pancake 🙂 And do I think they had more flavor than what you get with a box mix.

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Seriously! Look how thick and fluffy that baby is!

All in all, a good recipe for homemade buttermilk pancakes. Great for weekend breakfasts when you have a bit more time (or a better griddle!). Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

Why I’m Rooting for John Scott

A Guy Like ME

*If you’d rather not read through my whole post, you can scroll to the end where I link to the article pictured above that inspired my post and is really worth a read.

Not really sure how I didn’t hear about this before this weekend, other than scrolling through facebook the other day and seeing the headline that “John Scott All-Star jerseys sold out, you’ll have to settle for Patrick Kane.” At the time, I thought who the heck is John Scott; I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him; and why are we “settling” for league-leader-in-points-goals-and-assists Kane? But then realizing, while I recognize a lot of big names, I can’t possibly know them all. Besides, a name like John Scott is about as generic as John Smith – not necessarily one that’s going to stick in your head like Pekka Rinne or TJ Oshie – so maybe it was just me and my horrible memory. I scrolled on.

Then, as I was watching the Skills Competition, they kept making a big deal about Scott being there, and talking about how the fans and players have really embraced him. I’m starting to wonder what the heck is so special about this guy? And they’re joking around (as they’re want to do; All-Star weekend is 1st and foremost about having fun) about what events he’ll be taking part in, and how he’s not a big goal-scorer. I’m thinking, ok, 5 goals on the season? not great, but he is a defenceman. No. It’s 5 career goals – wait, what?!

At this point, I’m really starting to wonder what in the world is going on. So, I google it. I see a couple interviews: they ask how he’s handling it; Scott says it’s been pretty crazy, but all in all he’s happy for the chance to play. I’m still not quite sure what the whole story is here. But then I start to get the big picture: I find an article describing how fans starting voting for him as a joke, and then he’s traded and sent to the minors, making him ineligible to participate in the All-Star weekend, but that fan backlash ultimately made the NHL reconsider and allow Scott to play (as a team captain, no less).

So, okay, Scott really probably shouldn’t be there as an All-Star, and I’m not a bad fan for not knowing his name (and yes, he did play for the Blackhawks 5 years ago, when I first started getting into hockey. But really, do you remember every player from your favorite team from 5 years earlier when you were still learning about the game?). Everything is starting to make sense: why Scott is a bigger talking point than most of the other players (pretty much all of whom I’m familiar with to some extent), why it’s important that the players have made him feel welcomed, why the fan support is so huge (remember, the votes started out because he is a “bad” player).

But what really made me – someone decidedly against fighting and excessive physicality in hockey, someone who just wants to watch a good, clean game and was rather proud of the fact that the 2013-2014 Hawks had about half as many hits against their Western Conference Finals opponent, the LA Kings – what made me a fan of this big, bad enforcer that I’d never heard of was his article for The Players’ Tribune “A Guy Like Me” . It makes you realize that while you might not like a player because he’s really good when he plays against your team, or maybe you don’t like his playing style, they are all, for the most part, pretty good guys. They’re NHL players who’ve earned their spots, and as such deserve our respect as players and people. Even the ones that are 6’8″ and whose main role in the game is to make the other team hurt. It’s not like they are jerks with slicked back hair playing for Team Iceland in D2: The Mighty Ducks. Those guys are just evil and we can hate them to our hearts’ content.

Star Stitch Baby Blanket

As I’m wont to do whenever a someone has a baby, when my friends announced they were pregnant, I made a blanket for the little-one-to-be. They’re having a little girl, but since they are not pink people, I decided to go with a light purple and green. But I wanted to do something a little more intricate than my go-to chevron or tunisian checkerboard.

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After looking through numerous stitches and patterns, I settled on the knit star stitch. A simple repeat of four rows, creating texture that gives great visual interest in a single color, as well as a nice star-like look when using two colors. The stitch also creates loft, for a thicker blanket, which is perfect since Kaylee will be making her appearance in December.

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I used Red Heart Soft: Baby Steps in Green and Lavender and size 8 circular needles. The border is crochet camel stitch (a knit look-alike) with size I9 hook.

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Star Stitch

Multiple of 4 + 1 stitches

Make Star: purl 3 together, leaving stitches on left needle, yo, purl same 3 stitches together again, then slip stitches off left needle

Row 1 (right side): Knit

Row 2: P1, *make star, P1; repeat from * to end.

Row 3: Knit

Row 4: P3, *make star, P1; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, make star, P3.

Camel Stitch*

This knit-look-alike stitch is worked in the round and created by crocheting into the loop on the backside of the stitch, leaving the “V” formed by the top loops exposed on the front side of the work.

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Blanket

 With Color A, CO 185 stitches. Work Rows 1 and 2 of Star Stitch in Color A.

With Color B, work Rows 3 and 4 of Star Stitch.

Continue alternating colors every two rows until blanket is desired length.

Break yarn and weave in all ends.

Boarder

Using boarder color, join yarn about 1/2 inch in from edge of blanket and ch 1.

Round 1: Continuing to work into stitches 1/2 inch from edge, sc around blanket, making sure to work 3 sc for corners, join to starting ch 1 – you will have a round of sc on top of your blanket with a margin of blanket extending beyond it.*

Round 2: Ch1, work in Camel Stitch around, working 3 stitches into corners. Join to ch 1.

Round 3: Ch 1, work Camel Stitch into previous round as well as very edge of blanket. (After inserting hook into back of stitch, insert into a stitch along the edge of the blanket as well, then continue to work stitch as normal, treating the 2 loops as one. This secures the edge of the blanket to the boarder.) Again, work 3 stitches into the corners. Join to ch 1.

Round 4*: Ch 1, work Camel Stitch around. Join to ch 1.

Break yarn and weave in ends.

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*Camel Stitch is traditionally made using half-double crochet, but I found that it lay better on my blanket using single crochet.

*For my blanket and gauge, I found that 3 crochet stitches to every 4 knit along the top and bottom edge of the blanket, and 3 crochet to every 4 rows along the sides worked best. I strongly suggest crocheting a practice swatch of camel stitch in the round to check your gauge and do the math to figure out how many st/in you have in both the blanket and camel stitch. I did not the first time, and I had a very wavy blanket edge because I crocheted into every stitch with a larger hook.

*I found I did not need to work 3 stitches into the corners for Round 4.

When I started working the body of the blanket, I did know that the star stitch fabric would curl, and by the time I realized it, there was no going back. That is why I chose to work the boarder on top/over the sides of the blanket; to fight the curl. This was definitely one of the trickier boarders I’ve done, so if you’re not sure it’s for you, I would suggest playing around with a boarder that is worked at the same time as the rest of the blanket, like a seed stitch or garter stitch boarder.

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As always, questions and comments welcome! Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Flower Button Scarf

Last month, my sister asked if I could make this Bow Scarf from Little Inspiration for her friend’s little girl. It was such an easy and quick knit, and it turned out absolutely adorable in grey with a light pink bow – I really should have taken a picture of it before I handed it over to the sister – that I decided I would make one for my own little niece.

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I used pink Red Heart Soft Baby Steps left over from the cabled hat I mentioned in my post December in Review last year. Because this is a weight 4 rather than the weight 5 or 6 recommended in the original pattern, I did use smaller needles (US 10.5) and cast on 20 stitches rather than 13; but of course you can use whatever you need to achieve your desired width and gauge. Since we were watching my niece for the weekend, I just determined the length by testing it out on her as I went. I think it ended up being closer to 28 inches long.

Instead of a bow, I decided a flower would be more fitting to her personality and wardrobe. I followed this pattern from 5 Daughters, but I used a magic loop rather than ch 6 to start, and I only crocheted the first two rounds. This cut down on the bulk of the flower, making it easier to pull through the button hole. White yarn tied it in with the white pom-poms on her hat.

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The basic design of this scarf is so simple, and you can go so many ways with it to achieve a variety of looks. And since it’s such a quick knit, it’s a great last minute gift too! (Although, thankfully we are not down to the last minute yet!)

As always, questions and comments are welcome! Hope you enjoy your weekend!

Felt Reindeer Ornaments

We have a Halloween costume contest at my work each year. This year my friend and I decided we’d do a group costume, and rope another co-worker, who doesn’t normally dress up, into it with us. We went with a Frozen theme, which is very fitting since Joy and I are like sisters and we almost always end up belting out Frozen songs on any type of road trip. We told our co-worker to just wear brown and we’d take care of the rest (we’d decided he’d be Sven, the reindeer, but of course we didn’t tell him until the day of). Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any reindeer antlers in the stores, so I ended up making them myself. Didn’t turn out too bad, if I do say so myself! And he was really such a good sport about it all 🙂

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So, what does this have to do with ornaments, you ask? Well, there was left over felt, and I thought as a little joke, I’d make a reindeer ornament for Sven to remember the time he dressed up for Halloween.

And it turned out so cute, I just had to make another one!

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For the shape of the reindeer, I traced a cookie cutter onto a piece of thicker glossed paper (Sephora mailing) that way it held up to multiple tracings. I did make some changes to the antlers, going with a single outline, rather than two separate antlers that were in the cookie cutter, just to make it easier to cut out and stitch. With the dark color of the felt, I found a black Sharpie worked best, and cut 2 shapes for each reindeer, flipping the stencil so that any sharpie marks would be on the inside of each piece. I sewed the 2 sides together using a blanket stitch (you can find a great tutorial over on futuregirl) and stuffed with a little bit of fiber fill as I went.

I used an old button I found in our button tin for the 1st reindeer’s nose. The second reindeer got a mini pom-pom nose. To finish it off, I stitched a loop of ribbon onto the back of one of the antlers, with a dab of glue to keep the ribbon from unraveling.

Seriously, these are so adorable, I think I’ll be making more! And they would be a good craft for older kids too! And you can really do any shape you want, add whatever embellishments you want. The sky’s the limit!

Anyone else starting their Christmas crafting yet? I’d love to see what you’re up to. And if you decide to make your own little felt reindeer, please share

Footprint Christmas Art

It’s November 1st, and you know what that means: it’s the start of the holiday season! Christmas movies are on TV, decorations are in the stores, and I’m pretty sure there are at least a few radio stations playing the periodic Christmas carol.

In keeping with this theme, when the little nephew was over today, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and paint his little feet. Naturally, the inspiration came from Pinterest.

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As you can see, the little guy wiggled a bit for the first print, but that adds some charm (and subtracts a couple toes, lol). We learned our lesson though, and for the second footprint, we held his foot still and brought the canvas to his foot, rather than pressing his foot to a stationary canvas.

At a year and a half, Brayden is a bit too young to understand what we were doing, but slightly older kids would absolutely love this project and could do most of it themselves. The canvas is 10″x10″ and was just the right size for Brayden’s feet, so if you do make it with older kids (or even a family of mistletoe), you’ll probably need to do 12″x12″ or bigger.

I think this is just so darn cute. And it would be fun to do some sort of variation on the foot/hand print theme each year to see how the kids grow.

As always, questions and comments are welcome!

Homemade Marinade

I got this recipe from a coworker after I commented on how delicious her lunch smelled one day. She happened to still have it saved on her phone after sharing it with a friend of hers, and I went home and mixed it up that night.

Marinade
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

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My coworker always uses this to make shish kabobs, and marinates the pre-cubed meat (chicken, steak, whatever you wish) in the refrigerator over night, and marinates the vegetables in the fridge for 3-4 hours. She will then use the left-over marinade from the vegetables to baste the food while it grills.

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I’ve only used it for chicken so far, but I’m absolutely in love. It’s got great flavor, without being over-powering.

What’s your favorite marinade? Questions and comments are welcome, as always!