Sunday, August 28, 2011

Braiding Bread!

Last year we learned how to make a wonderful Butternut Squash soup...and sometime around then I found a recipe for Butternut Squash bread.  It took me a while but I finally made it the other day - and was it ever worth the wait!

I  found the recipe while cruising from blog to blog checking things out  - click here to see the recipe.
One hint that it is going to be good is that it has brown sugar in it!
Look at that gorgeous colour...and it just smells so good while you are mixing it, then while it rises, and again while it is cooking!
Now a little patience is required while the dough does it's rising...
So...covered with one of my wonderful towels hand made by Auntie G...we wait...
there it is....
it just amazes me every time!

The braiding isn't as hard as you would think...of course I just did what I thought would work!  There might be some special baker's braiding technique that I am not aware of!

This recipe makes two you'll have plenty to invite friends over or share with a neighbor.  We were going to do that - but....we ate it all!!!
Voila!  Braided Butternut Squash bread...isn't it just something that you can make wonderful things like this right in your own kitchen!?
Don't of the first rules of bread making - you must sample it warm and delicious right out of the oven!

I want to send out a big Thank You to Stacy for bringing baking back into my life.  I used to bake a long time ago and for some reason I stopped.  It was so nice to cook with Stacy and Tatum this last year and get back to some baking!

Now off you go, bake some bread and enjoy!

xoxo        Elizabeth

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crepes...or as we say 'French Pancakes'

When I was just a young 'un' my grandfather - who will be from this point on referred to as Honey - made a special breakfast for us when he came to visit.  French pancakes...probably better known as crepes.

Honey was a special, special man....very much ahead of his time...and a great teacher for all of us.  His love shone through in everything he did and maybe that is why his French pancakes were so special.

So, in keeping with tradition I make French pancakes on special occasions...maybe a birthday, a sleep over...or a birthday sleep over!

This weekend the special occasion was....Mom wants French pancakes!
Out came the ingredients and we got started...

Here is the recipe that I have used for years

  • 1 1/2 Cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups flour (can be sifted or not)
  • 3 tb melted butter
You can mix all these ingredients in a blender, a mixer, or by hand...then let the batter rest for a bit before you start.

I usually have two pans going at one time...I use my crepe pan (top pic) and a small cast iron frying pan ( because I am too cheap to buy another crepe pan! The crepe pan really works the best.)
With some melted butter at the ready and your batter nearby you are good to go...
I am by no means a superior crepe maker - but here's a secret - they taste good no matter what they look like! Your pan should be warm (medium heat, but adjust as you go) and I spray with cooking spray for the first crepe.  Put between 1/4 and 1/3 cup (depending on the size of your pan) of batter in the center of your pan...

and with a circular motion spread the batter out to just about fill the pan...
cook the crepe until it isn't wet looking anymore and the edges are beginning to brown a tiny bit.  Sometimes you see crepes that are very pale and other times you see crepes that are golden brown...this is all a matter of taste - or in my case a matter of trying to manage two crepe pans, get the table set, cut up some fruit, get the juice get the idea.  Once you flip the pancake over butter the cooked side, give the second side a moment to cook and then fold it in half and then in quarters...buttering as often as you like!

We keep our crepes in a casserole or such in the oven til we are all done creating...that way we can all eat at once!
Here are a few kitchen pics to break up our crepe making instructions!  The shelf above the stove (don't look too close - we forgot to dust it when we cleaned the kitchen!)
My corner shelf with some goodies I've collected, you can see our chalk wall in the background...and a glimpse of one of my favorite things in the kitchen...a chair from my kitchen set from Nonnie and Honey.
This is a cool old knife rack from my Auntie Sue's house (my Nonnie's sister) and it has accumulated a crazy array of items! When it was in it's prime there was a piece of glass that slid in and kept the knives protected...I repainted it but never replaced the glass - it works better as a catch-all this way!
Back to our crepe making....when Honey was down to his last bit of batter he always made us a special little treat...he would fashion little creatures or such from the batter and each one of us would have our own little gift on our plate.  I am sure you can guess what is coming...we NEVER make French pancakes without making little creatures or here Madison is making something...can you tell what it is going to be?

Yes....a palm tree!
Here is a step by step tutorial for making a crepe batter ballerina....
First step the ballerina needs a head...
...the body...
the all important 'ballet bun'...
the ruffly tutu...
beautiful ballet arms...
and some jumping legs...because to tell the truth we ran out of room for any other kind!
and Voila!  a jumping ballerina for your plate!  Good job Madison!
So...with all our French pancakes in the oven (thanks Lane for helping so I didn't have to do both pans and take pics!) and all our special pancakes ready we set the table and sit down to enjoy.
My plate...with a flamingo!!!

We love to put sugar on our French pancakes...sometimes syrup or jam...and then we use our fork to roll them up...Yummy!!!!!!!
We tried something new the other day on our pancakes - and it was delicious!  The girlies put nutella and blueberries!

So there is a little tradition of you have one you want to tell me about?  I'd love to hear!

xoxo      Elizabeth

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Funny Twist of Fate

When I was a junior in high school....just before my boyfriend took me to the prom - I CUT ALL MY HAIR OFF!!!   I can not recall exactly why I did it...except that I had always wanted curly hair.  My new hair was very short and very curly (but without naturally curly hair I am guessing that there were some rollers involved - can't quite remember) and it was truly a 'round ball head' hair cut!

I wonder now just what that special boy - or young man - thought when he saw me...but he never made me feel anything but beautiful.

In a funny twist of fate just recently (and in her junior year!) my oldest told me she wanted to cut all her hair off!  This coming from some one who could be brought to tears by mentioning that her hair might need a trim....

Her wonderful Auntie Colleen agreed to do the honours....

 That is Madison's 'I'm excited and scared' face...and Colleen's 'getting ready to work' face.
A pony tail was made so the hair could be sent to Locks of Love...
...and off came the hair!  No turning back now...
careful consideration was given to each cut...
notice the red lipstick in anticipation of a wonderful new hair style!
...and Voila!  Our beautiful girl and her beautiful new hair style!

So my long haired beauty...
has turned into....
my short haired beauty!!!!!!

 and they are still friends - even after all that hair came off!!!!

Funny how two different people can at the same time in their lives do something so similar....maybe there is something to that old saying - Like Mother...Like Daughter

Your junior year....a time for change, for experimenting, for trying something new!

Wonder what Lane will do.....her hair is already short!

xoxo       Elizabeth

PS   Can you tell which are Madison's photos?  They are a little more artistic looking!