Monday, October 25, 2010

Breakfast of champions

I love pancakes! I love they are so versatile, you can alter them to fit whatever mood you're in! But alas! Even with a "Just add water" mix I have a knack for messing pancakes up. In fact, the unofficial rule in our house is that the first two pancakes must be thrown away.

While visiting my parents in August, my mom whipped the most incredible pancakes. Her's came out somewhere between traditional pancake and crepe. Even though I was still in the throes of morning sickness, I couldn't help but at least half a dozen everytime she made them.

Before we returned home, I made sure that I had a copy of the recipe safely tucked away in the memory card of my cell phone. Camera phones do have several advantages!

Two things make these pancakes so special. The first is that you use fluffed up egg whites. I was a little concerned that this step might be too time consuming, since we have a small window for breakfast between PT and formation in the mornings, but as long as you aren't whipping your egg whites by hand, you should be fine.
The second thing is yogurt. The style of yogurt you use directly affects the thickness and texture of the pancakes. My mom used a thinner yogurt and her pancakes came out thinner and almost sponge-like on the inside. I like my yogurt thick. The thicker the yogurt the taller fluffier the pancake.

Yogurt Pancakes
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups yogurt
1/4 melted butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Beat egg whites. Mix beaten yolks, sugar, butter and yogurt. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold egg whites in the batter. Cook on a hot greased griddle.
When reverse bubbles begin appearing on the batter, it's time to flip the pancake.

These are fabulous with blueberries inside of them, or as we discovered this morning, with a homemade strawberry syrup.

Strawberry Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries

Bring to a boil in a small sauce pan. Once the strawberries are thawed, mash with a vengence.
For a thicker syrup in a small bowl combine 1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch with 1 scant teaspoon cold water. Add to the boiling syrup and stir well.

Oh and for the record, I have never had to throw out the first two pancakes, since I converted to yogurt pancakes!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I also need a small break from the kitchen.

In a progressive move of "Clearing out the freezers 2010", I pulled a roasting chicken out of the freezer and threw it in the crockpot before bed. It cooked all night on low, and then when I woke up I threw in some sweet potatoes, celery and an onion, and left it alone for a few hours.
When I pulled the bird out and deboned it. The small pieces went back into the crock for chicken soup and the main body of the bird was sectioned into 4 oz pieces to make some free-carb freezer meals for that cute husband I am so fond of.

There was a full crock of chicken soup, and since I am not eating meat, I wanted to do something with it. So Alex and I made a chicken pot pie. The very first completely from scratch pot pie I have ever made. I made a second smaller veggie pot pie for myself, and I have to admit it did put the freezer pot pies to shame.

I realized later, while I did remove a chicken from the freezer, I replaced it with single servings of:
Chicken Florentine
Chicken Marinara
Enchilada'd Chicken
Smothered Chicken

So I guess it's one step forward one step backward for "Clearing out the freezer 2010".

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chair makeover

Today is one of those magical days where you suddenly feel accomplished.
Alex and I have been recovering our dining room chairs. A task I have attempted on multiple occasions, but never completely finished. Sitting on freshly covered and recushioned chairs is niiiice.

So the backstory. We were blessed with a dining room table set as a wedding gift. Upholstery + Children = Not the prettiest after a few years. So for my birthday I got a new table. Older and wiser, we agreed on NO UPHOLSTERY for our dining room chairs. Unfortunately we couldn't find chairs that went with our new table that didn't have upholstery. So we waited.

It may be pregnancy, or antsy-ness but I've been pushing out completed DIY projects for a few weeks now, and decided to make the best of it while I could.


We cut up a foam mattress topper to use as a extra layer of cushion, before replacing the fabric.
Then as an extra step of protection for the upholstery, we chopped up a vinyl taple cloth and covered the bottoms of the chair. I know the vinyl tablecloth won't last long, but I'm hopeful it will last long enough for us to get our new chairs.

Total cost: $19 to redo six chairs.
Canvas tablecloth $5 at a thriftstore
Vinyl tablecloth $3 at
Staples About $1 at
Mattress topper to use as cushion foam $10 at walmart

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Baba Yetu

It's amazing what a good playlist can help accomplish.

I've been Fall Cleaning the main living areas of our house in an attempt to not clean my bedroom.

I know.

In my defense, part of the floor in my bedroom has to be worked on. This will involve a lot of sanding, which means sawdust. Everywhere. It's scheduled for tomorrow morning, so hopefully I'll be able to being the de-sawdusting of my room sooner rather than later. My sinuses are already tingling in anticipation.

But back to playlists. When my brother got married, he passed out cds that he and his wife had personalized with songs that were full of meaning to them. One of the tracks was Baba Yetu, the opening song from Civilization IV. Now I've never played any of the Civilization games, so I had no idea where the song came from. Even before I discovered what the song was, it struck me as an amazingly powerful song.

I am completely awed that listening to a rendition of the Lord's Prayer in Swahili can still render me speechless.