December 8, 2010

Sadie, On the Eve of Your Turning Four, You Are...

You are quick and funny and silly and smart as a whip.
You are enthusiastic and impatient and can argue until your opponent just wants to give up and give in.
You are beautiful, inside and out. Pretty is as pretty does. And, Bubba, you do pretty.
You are snuggly and soft and crass and loud and shy and stubborn as a mule.
You will push your brother to the ground to get past him but also spontaneously declare your love for him.
You ask what the people's signs who are asking for help on the street corners say, and want to give them all something.
You hate admitting you are sad, but will admit to needing a hug. You feel things so deeply.
You love to draw and sing and dance and every day I am amazed at what you can do.
You are honest, except when you're telling silly little-kid fibs, of course. But you're honest when it counts.
You are your own delightful, wonderful, awesome, kooka-banana, crackerdog, shining soul.

You are the best little girl in the world. Seriously, how'd I get so lucky?
Don't ever change.

December 4, 2010

Pancake Sunday

Inspired a couple of months ago by Jim's Pancakes I decided it would be fun to institute our own pancake day where we try to make fun pancakes.
After all, I make pancakes a good bit and Sadie is always asking for an S or a gingerbread person or something interesting.

So, armed with my favorite pancake recipe* and a bunch of squirt bottles we have been doing some sort of pancake on Sunday mornings.

*Old-Fashioned Pancakes

1.5 c. all-purpose flour
2.5 tsp. baking powder (original recipe calls for 3, you can go with 2 if you want them not as fluffy)
1 tsp. salt
1 TB. sugar
1.5 c. milk
1 egg
3 TB butter, melted
1tsp. vanilla

In large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in center and pour in remaining ingredients. Mix until mostly smooth. For squeezing out of bottle you must blend or food process or use a mixer to make pancake batter smooth. Otherwise some lumps are OK.
Heat griddle and cook pancakes.

Our first attempts involved fairies and blueberries.

Then the next week we moved on to cats and birds with crowns and hearts. And I found out that trying to color the pancake mix with strawberries makes grey pancakes.

Grey pancakes are not so delicious looking. So, much to my chagrin I used food coloring.

Now I'm no fan of food coloring, but I'm not so stringent about whether they do get some in their foods. But actually adding it to something that I make from scratch using healthy and mostly organic ingredients just seems...wrong, you know?

Halloween. Pumpkins, of course! The brown is cocoa powder, much to Sadie's delight. I have found a source for natural dyes and intend to buy those soon, since this is a tradition that seems to be sticking.

Today Sadie asked me, Mama, what day is today?
Saturday, I replied.
That means tomorrow is pancake day! she says.

We went fancy one Sunday and made strawberry-banana pancakes with fresh whipped cream. Sadie will eat anything if it has whipped cream on it.

See, here she's eaten the cream and strawberries off and is getting into the syrup.
Real maple syrup, friends.
We don't hold with any of that brown corn syrup that passes for pancake syrup these days.

And another Sunday we decided to do a Dutch Baby.**
This is like a pancake, French toast and souffle got together in a pan and made a delicious, crusty, powdered sugar-sprinkled baby.

And can you see the oven mitt on the pan handle above? I have to put that on because my brain absolutely refuses to believe that that handle is hot after cooking the whole pan in a 425 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.
Brain says, Pan not hot. Handle what we hold to cook on stove top, not get hot then. Just touch.
So Hand touches, and gets burnt. Every. single. time.

But it's worth a burn. Look at it, covered with pear sauce.

And the latest. Turkeys, and a cornucopia.

I'm getting better at this, I think.
On the menu for tomorrow, as per Sadie's request:
Birthday cake pancakes. With candles.


1/2 c. butter
6 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour

Put the butter in the pan and set it into a 425 degree oven, then mix batter quickly while butter melts. Put eggs in blender container and whirl at high speed for 1 minute. With motor running, gradually pour in milk, then slowly add flour; continue whirling for 30 seconds. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk, you could totally use a hand mixer as well.

(With a rotary beater, beat eggs until light and lemon colored; gradually beat in milk, then flour.)

Remove pan from oven with the butter melted and pour batter into the hot melted butter. Return the pan to the oven and bake until puffy and well browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Mine always takes longer to puff up, like 30-40 minutes. But my stove sucks.

Serve at once with any fruit topping, i.e. canned pie filling, hot fruit, fresh fruit. Syrup or powdered sugar is good, too.

Tip: Have everyone waiting at the table when the Dutch Baby comes out of the oven, while it is puffed up.

December 2, 2010

If I Could Save Time In A Bottle

I would actually save a scent. The scent of my babies. Sadie had it, and Silas still does.

It's of new skin and baby sweat. It's sweet and spicy and buttery and breastmilky and so absolutely delicious and addictive that I find myself burying my nose in his neck and head countless times a day.
Time is running out, and I know that soon that smell will be gone for good.

There will be a time when my big, stinky teenagers will seem like they never could have been so small and sweet-smelling.
So I just want a bottle, a small one, with a tiny cork, that I can open and sniff 12 years from now.

But there's just no way to bottle it. So I'll have to get my fill while I can.