Monday, May 30, 2011

My Favorite Pancakes & Syrup

Here in the Huber house we love our pancakes. I like to change it up, sometimes just maple syrup & butter, sometimes a fruit sauce or fresh fruit. Sometimes I like to doctor up the syrup and sometimes the pancakes. I'll start by sharing the basic recipe. Then we can get into the fun stuff :)

My Favorite Pancakes

1 1/2 c. flour
3 t. baking powder
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1/3 c. milk
3 T. oil

Combine all the dry ingredients with a whisk to ensure they are thoroughly combined.
Lightly beat eggs in a large glass measuring cup, pour in milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the wet mixture into the center. Stir until combined. There should be lumps. If you mix to far the pancakes will be tough.

You can adjust the thickness of the pancake by the amount of milk (less milk = thicker pancakes)

Pour into a non-stick pan set to medium heat. Make sure you give your pan time to warm up before you get cooking. If you rush this the first round will turn out light and dried out.

Wait to flip until the pancakes have a good amount of bubbles.

When you flip the pancakes should have a nice golden brown color.

Keep them warm in the oven set to warm or 200 degrees.


Now, the syrup. Thanks to my sister-in-law I've learned a great trick for making inexpensive syrup super tasty.

Cinnamon Vanilla Syrup

1/2 c. syrup (I usually get Log Cabin)
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla

Combine. You can adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Other pancake ideas...

In the fall I like to simmer diced apples with a little apple juice & corn starch to make an apple topping. Simmer in a pan on medium high heat until thickened. I also add some apple pie spice mix to the flour mixture.

If I have some frozen berries I'll use whatever I have to make a fruit topping with a little water and corn starch. Simmer in a pan on medium high heat  until thickened.

What are your pancake ideas? I would love to hear what you do in your house!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy 80th Birthday Grandma!!!

I can't even begin to imagine what life has been like for our grandparents and their parents as well. To see the world evolve over the course of 80, 90, 100 years. How things have changes. All of the inventions, wars, technology, political evolution, fashion styles, music. I could go on and on. I stand in awe of this generation.

And then I wonder... what will we see? What does our future hold? Things beyond my imagination I'm sure. But one thing I am certain of, the earth will not look as it does now. The people will not look as they do now. I sure hope the future is a bright place filled with wonder and kindness and peace. A beautiful place for our children and our children's children.

Happy Birthday Cora Beth Hollinger. I love you!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ring Bearer Pillow Tutorial

Today a friend of mine came to me with a look of need in her eyes. The wedding is this weekend and due to a family eemergency, she has been given the task of making the ring bearer pillow, and she does not have a sewing machine!!! I could not in good conscience let her hand sew this pillow which would take hours when I could whip it up in 30 minutes. So I thought I would share since this is not something I would normally have the opportunity to make.

Here are the materials I was given.

She mentioned that the ring bearer was a 3 year old little boy so I decided to make the pillow 10". The fabric was quite slippy so I cut an 11" square allowing for a 1/2" seam.

Next I cut 4 strands of ribbon and shaped them into a bow. I did not tie the ribbon so there was not a lot of bulk in the center. Instead I sewed the ribbon right to the pillow.

Then I layered the other square on top (right sides together) and pined making sure that all of the ribbon was inside the pillow.

Sew all around the outside leaving a 3" hole to turn the pillow right side out and stuff. Use a paint brush or other long & thin object to push out the corners when turning right side out.

Next, stuff the pillow. Start by adding stuffing deep into each corner to be sure the corners are well defined. Then add small pieces throughout the inside of the pillow being sure that you distribute evenly. I have found that if you add too much stuffing all at once the pillow ends up looking lumpy. This fabric was extra thin so this step was very important.

Then you need to hand sew the opening using a blind stitch and using thread that is the same color as your fabric. Since this fabric was thin I did not pull my stitches too tight to avoid a puckered or gathered look.

Finally, I sewed a button in the center of the bow. I started by coming up through the back of the pillow, through the button, and then back through the pillow, finishing with a knot in the back. I pulled the thread tight so that the button would recess down into the pillow adding nice dimension.

The rings will then be tied to the tails of the bow to secure onto the pillow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Guacamole Recipe - Bonus - How to prep an Avacado

For many years I would not go anywhere near an avocado or guacamole. I thought it looked gross. Then one day I grew up and decided to try some guacamole.

Who knew guacamole was so delicious?!?!

So today I would like to share my spin on guacamole and the bonus of how to prep an avocado.


1 Avocado
1 T. cilantro, chopped
1 lime
1 clove garlic
1 T. pickled jalapenos, chopped
salt & pepper

We'll start with prepping the avocado...

First let's talk about the ripeness. When you squeeze an avocado it should give just slightly. Letting it sit at room temperature always does the trick. If you want to make guacamole that day be sure you buy your avocado ready to go. Otherwise, buy it when it's a bit firm and check it as the days go by. A hard avocado is usually ready in a few days. If it's past its prime it will have brown spots on the inside. If there are just a few you can usually cut them out. It won't taste bad or make you sick, just won't have that pretty bright green color. The one I used for this recipe was just right!!!

To cut and open the avocado, you want to run your knife lengthwise around the pit. Then you can give a good twist and the two halves will ealisy come apart.

Then the fun part - getting out the pit. Take your knife and give a good whack into the pit so your knife sticks. Then a little twist and the pit will pop right out sticking to your knife.

Next you need to get all that goodness out of the shell. Run your knife through the avocado making a grid pattern and then use a spoon to scoop out the fruit. If you are using the avocado in a salsa just make the grid very small and you won't have to do any chopping!

Next you need to prep the other ingredients.

Take a scoop of pickled jalapenos and chop them up nice a fine.

Chop up the cilantro

To get the most juice out of the lime, roll and press on the counter a few times. Then cut it into quarters and squeeze into your bowl.

For the garlic, I like to make a garlic paste. I don't want to bite into a big hunk of garlic in my guacamole, salsa yes, guacamole no. So... I mince up the garlic clove and then pour a little salt on the garlic pile. Then I use the flat side of my knife and press and roll it around. The salt acts as sandpaper for lack of a better term, and helps to turn the garlic into a paste like consistency.

Then I throw in a little fresh ground pepper and a touch more salt.

Finally, use a potato masher and combine all ingredients to the consistency you like. Personally, I like mine rather smooth with just a few chunks here and there.

I like to put it into the refrigerator to give it a little chill. This recipe makes enough for a good snack for 2 people.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing

Salad season is upon us. One of my favorite things about the warmer months is my herb garden. I have the perennial chives, thyme, oregano, mint, lavender and for some reason parsley (though I don't think that's a perennial). Then I always add basil and cilantro.

Today I thought I would share with you my basic recipe for vinaigrette dressing and a tip to avoid having your dressing separate.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

4 T. Assorted herbs chopped
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. fresh ground pepper
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely minced
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Gather your herbs. In this batch I used (from left to right) Italian parsley, Thyme, Oregano.
Wash, dry, & chop.

Gather your other ingredients

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT oil.
Whisk together.

Now this is the extra step/skill I was mentioning so that your dressing doesn't separate. Now you will emulsify your oil into the dressing.

As slow as you can handle it, pour the oil into the bowl while whisking.
Never stop whisking.
I use a small pour spout on my oil so that it almost comes out as a slow drip. By the end my forearm is sore and I really want to stop but the result is always good. Perfect looking dressing that never separates.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mmm... Granola

Today I made a batch of granola. Though it is slightly different each time depending on what I have on hand, this is the basic recipe.

Almond Granola

3 c. Rolled Oats
1 c. Slivered Almonds
1/4 c. Sunflower Seeds (shelled)
2 T. Flaxseed Meal
2 T. Wheat Bran
1 T. Cinnamon
1 stick Butter
6 T. Honey
1 c. dried fruit (I used mixed berries this time)

Mix dry ingredience together.

Melt butter and honey in a pot over medium high heat.

Add to dry mix and stir until distributed
Bake @ 325 for 30 minutes stirring half way through

Yes, I have an avacado green stove. It's one of the last of it's kind.
Darn thing won't die!
Cool completely and mix in fruit

Happy Mother's Day

Today was a wonderful day, all that I had hoped for. I am one lucky Mama!!! Me and my boys (hubby too) went to Middle Creek Wildlife Preserve for a nice walk.

My dear Nathan picked me flowers, lots of them...

I snuggled my baby

And we watched the beautiful birds. This one let me get really close. I don't have a good zoom lense for my camera yet so I had to get close. I think I was about 8 feet from this bird!!! The picture doesn't do it justice, the back was so metallic. It was beautiful!!!

The of course we did the tour of Lancaster so see the other Mom's in our life. We are so blessed!!! What a happy day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day One

So here it is... Day One. I have been wanting to start a blog for quite some time. It's an intimidating task you know. Making the leap. I'm super excited about this new venture because I believe I have a lot to share.

Here you will find things that are crafty and tasty, fun and innocent, simple and inspiring.

Here goes...