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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!!

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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

ย 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.

Flower Button Scarf

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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,ย the inspiration came from Pinterest.

Mistletoes

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!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Hello! I hope everyone has been enjoying their holiday weekend here in the States. I’ve been staying inside working on a baby blanket for a friend as we’ve had the hottest weather all year the past few days.

Anyway, on to Peanut Butter Pie, because I know that’s what you are all here for!

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A couple months ago, I was disappointed to learn that Kellogg’s was no longer making Gluten-Free Rice Krispies. As I’ve not been able to find another brand with GF rice krispies at my grocery stores, my good friend Joy no longer gets her favorite dessert, Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats with Ganache. We’ve tried using rice Chex, but it’s just not the same.

Thankfully, around that same time, I came across aย BuzzFeed video on Facebook showing how to make peanut butter pie. I had to watch it a few times to make sure I had all the ingredients and amounts correct, but luckily for you, I have it all written down for you.

Crust
10 oz graham crackers (crushed)*
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
*I assumed this must be 10oz by weight, since volume is only 1 1/4 cup, and did not seem like enough crumbs when I made mine. I ended up using just under 2 cups of finely crushed grahams, and it has worked well each time I’ve made the crust.
*For oreo crust, see below.

Peanut Butter Filling
3/4 cup peanut butter
4 oz cream cheese
8 oz whipped topping (thawed)
1 cup confectioners sugar

For Crust: mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar until combined. Stir in melted butter until well combined. Press into pie tin (bottom and sides) to form crust. Refrigerate while making filling.

Graham Cracker Crust

I found my metal measuring spoon worked the best for pressing and smoothing the crust into shape.

For Filling: combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer until fluffy. *I find it helpful to fold the powdered sugar into whipped topping by hand before using the electric mixer to avoid a cloud of sugar flying out of the bowl.

Pour filling into prepared crust and refrigerate at least 1-2 hours. I’ve even frozen it for transport as it (obviously) thaws in the car.

Peanut Butter Filling

To make this gluten-free, you can use GF graham crackers just as you would normal grahams: no adjustments to recipe needed, just a not quite as quick to crumble using the rolling pin method.

You can also use oreos to make a chocolate crust. I’ve only done this with gluten-free “oreo” cookies, but I imagine it would come together pretty much the same using regular oreos. Just add the melted butter in increments, mixing and checking consistency until it looks right. You can always add more butter, but you can’t take it out.

Oreo Crust
21 oreos (finely crushed)
3 tbsp melted butter

21 oreos because that is what comes in the GF package. If you want a thicker crust, feel free to use more.

Top pie slices with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and whipped cream. I like mine from a can for this. (Sorry I don’t have a picture with the toppings. Once you get to that point it’s hard to remember to wait to dig in.)

Sooooooo good! Joy is no longer heart-broken about her lack of peanut butter and chocolate rice krispie treats. In fact, she says she may even like this better.

And of course, since cream cheese comes in 8oz packages, aluminum pie tins come in 2-packs, and you can buy 16oz of frozen whipped topping, I always make two pies. Easier than measuring 4 oz of cream cheese and wasting the rest, and, lets face it: you’re going to need two pies.

Two Pies are Better than One

As always, questions and comments are welcome! And to help make up for my lack of posts these last few months, keep an eye out for my favorite marinade recipe in the coming days.

Crockpot BBQ Chicken

Happy Saturday!

Have you ever bought something at the grocery store with every intention of making it for dinner that night and then get home and decide you’re too tired/too hungry/too whatever to spend time prepping and cooking it? Well that’s exactly what happened to me last week. I bought a package of chicken breasts that I was going to simply bake with some salt and pepper, and ended up eating left-overs from the previous day’s dinner. Thankfully I had the foresight to throw them in the freezer when I didn’t cook them Tuesday, since I didn’t end up using them until the following Monday.

But that turned out to have been quite fortuitous. Monday (which was Memorial Day), I decided to use up the chicken trying a new recipe. After perusing my Pinterest, I settled on this Crockpot BBQ Chicken recipe from Family Fresh Meals. It didn’t call for many ingredients and allowed me to throw it in the crockpot to cook for a few hours while I planted some flowers.

Photo courtesy familyfreshmeals.com

Photo courtesy familyfreshmeals.com

And it was delicious! We shredded it and ate it on hamburger buns (left over from a cookout the previous night) and had some chips as a side. I think some corn on the cob along with it would have been fantastic, but really didn’t want to run to the store just for that.

I will definitely be making this recipe again! So simple and can easily be increased to cook for more people. Great for summer cookouts as it is easy to keep warm in the crockpot once it’s done cooking.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tahlia’s Cinnamon Bookbinder Bread

Hello again!

So sorry I haven’t posted in such a long time. I guess I’ve just been too busy with seminars, friends’ weddings, reading, and PLAYOFF HOCKEY. Seriously, I love hockey.

Today’s post is actually thanks to a book I just read this weekend, Stray by Elissa Sussman. I finished it in just over 24 hours – picked it up on the way to work Friday morning, and was done mid-afternoon on Saturday (and I work Saturday mornings). At first I wasn’t sure about the book, but I quickly became engrossed: it has such an interesting take on magic, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Unfortunately, wait, I must – Stray was only published last fall, and the next in this series of four isn’t due to be published until 2016. I hate when I start a series that’s in-progress! I don’t have the patience! Thank goodness I didn’t find out about Harry Potter until they started making the movies. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d had to wait for each of the books to come out.

This cinnamon pull-apart bread is made by a couple characters in the book, and I was delighted to find the recipe provided at the end of the book! Maybe the author will have a new recipe at the end of each of the books ๐Ÿ™‚ But, you don’t have go pick up the book if you want the recipe (although I do recommend it for lovers of fantasy): you can check it out here.

Today was my mom’s birthday, so I had thought to make this for breakfast. It ended up taking a bit longer than I had anticipated (so I whipped up some chocolate chip muffins during it’s second rise), partly because I had forgotten to take the eggs out to come to room temp while I did prep work. Since the AC is on in the house with 80 degree days and high humidity, I used the pan of boiling water in the oven trick to help with the rise and it worked just fine.

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I loved the bread! I baked it for just over 35 minutes since the new oven seems to run a bit cooler, but I think I won’t bake it quite so long next time, as some areas seemed a little dry. But the cinnamon sugar crunchiness on top was wonderful, and the soft insides of the bread were heaven. Nothing beats fresh-baked bread! Unless it’s fresh-baked cinnamon bread!

As always, questions and comments are welcome! I’d loved to hear from you!