The weather is cooler, fall colors are everywhere, and pumpkin has invaded every corner of the food world. Personally, I love it, though I know a lot of people are over it. (Especially with the hashtags #psl, #pumpkinlatte, #pumpkinstakeovertheworld…) It’s only one season, friends. Enjoy it. Embrace the pumpkin.
Every year I make my fair share of pumpkin bread and bars. Here I am offering a new recipe (in our house). Pancakes are a perpetual fave here, so I tried adding pumpkin and spices. Delicious.
We like to make a bunch and then freeze the leftovers. I space the leftover pancakes in a single layer on cookie sheets and freeze for a couple of hours. When frozen, I take the pancakes off the cookie sheets and store in a plastic bag for easy handling. They reheat easily in the microwave or the toaster oven.
Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Yield: 2-1/2 dozen 5-inch pancakes
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Hefty pinch of salt
2-2/3 c. whole milk
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 lg. eggs
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. dark rum
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cup canned pumpkin
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Whisk until mixed well. In another large bowl, mix all the wet ingredients, except the pumpkin. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold in the pumpkin.
Heat your griddle (pan or skillet) over medium heat – lightly oil or butter your griddle. Using a ¼ cup scoop, pour batter onto the hot griddle. Leave space for batter to spread. Flip the pancakes over when the bottom side is golden and the topside has popping bubbles. Cook until underside is light brown. Serve immediately, or hold in a 200 degree oven.
Happy first weekend of #autumn. Pumpkin spice pancakes on the table this morning. #nofilter
So, hello, October. We’ve been on the go over the last month. Not a bad thing, right? Be active, make memories, enjoy the outdoors… it probably helped that our laptop (what I work on the most) was acting all goofy, and I didn’t really make time to fix it. Until now.
This year I joined an online workshop, Ali Edwards’s One Little Word. I’ve wanted to try something like this for a long time, to be part of a creative community even if we’re all miles and miles away.
Earlier in the year I worked on intentions, taking a look at different facets of my life: spiritual, physical, emotional, creative, relationships. It took a while, but I also came up with a symbol for this year. The fleur-de-lis. I love this symbol for so many reasons: it reminds me of Montreal, (where my husband and I went on our honeymoon), New Orleans (vacation spot and amazing culture and food), and it reminds me of St. Joan of Arc (incidentally also the name of my elementary school). And if you don’t think she was daring, I don’t know who is.
I made actions cards that have goals and ideas for the year. Some have been successful, while others… not yet. I’ve reflected on letting go. One month, I put together pictures that connect with my word. It’s been so much fun making time to be creative and introspective.
The best part of all of this has been meeting a pen pal and connecting with the community in a private Facebook group. My pen pal was chosen randomly, but holy cow, it’s crazy eerie how we have a lot of similar craft tastes. She and I send happy packages of mail to each other (last picture in the gallery).
Most recently I created artist trading cards with the phrase “I am” on each of them. I’m looking forward to sharing how I put these cards together.
We’re back from our big family trip to the Philippines and Seattle. We even added a few days in Vancouver, British Columbia. Summer heat, native eats, lots and lots of family time.
We visited my husband’s family’s pineapple farm. Oh my, the juiciest, freshest pineapple I’ve ever tasted. So tender and ripe, you could eat the center core.
We stopped for a little afternoon snack at a local resort one day. Super warm and sunny, but once in a while a breeze came by. Bummer that my son and husband broke out with heat rash…
While much of the Philippines is tropical, Manila is very metropolitan, very big city… and in the middle of the city is a Chinese temple where we visited my husband’s grandparent’s resting place.
We checked out the Oceanarium in Manila. So cool seeing different and diverse ocean life! And the fish were so active in their tanks. OMG, they have a fish spa… amazing. Crazy little nibble fish nipped at our feet.
We found ourselves back in the U.S. sooner than expected after a food allergy incident involving our son. (It’s still rough for me to talk or think about – The worst 24-hours for our family.) An emergency run to the hospital in a foreign country wasn’t how we wanted to end the trip, but know that it ended well, we all came home in one piece. And even though we weren’t home-home, it felt reassuring to be back in our home country.
I’d really like to return to the Philippines, sooner than later. So much has changed after (gulp) 24 years. Yeah, my husband was there more recently… 17 years. Yikes.
We made the most of our time in the Pacific Northwest with a side trip to Vancouver. My two aunts were thrilled to have us visit them. I crossed the Capilano Suspension Bridge this time… I tried about 30 years ago. (The bridge is 460 feet long and 230 feet above the Capilano River. Talk about nerve-wracking!)
Things were a little weird after being away from home for 28 days. Routines were out the window (summer vacation, oy), and it was a major victory when we all woke up before 10 am. Luckily that only lasted a few days.
We’re back on central time. I’m back in the kitchen, helping out with our parish’s vacation bible school. And I can’t wait to get back to the craft table!
I love cooking with chicken thighs mainly because they are so forgiving. You gotta do a lot to overcook them, and while I can bake and roast, sometimes my pan-frying or stir-frying doesn’t always turn out. So, after a lot of trying, I think I have it down now. I made this for dinner, and my kids loved that there was plenty of gravy to spoon over their rice. Keep reading for the recipe!
Continuing with some garden talk from earlier this week…
A few weeks ago, I relocated my mother-in-law’s plants to my house. She has some low maintenance plants, so with her traveling, you’d think they’d be okay. They still need care, and it only makes sense that the plants live with us since I look after them anyway. I know, I look wary…
And, I gotta say, I’ve never dealt with cacti before, but don’t they look sad? Poor plants…
After some reading and searches for cactus care, I thought I’d start with the Christmas Cactus (far left in pic above) and Jade (not pictured) since they were already shedding leaf segments. (Probably stunned from the move.) By the way, Christmas Cacti don’t live in the desert… they come from the rainforest. Who knew?
First I learned that the leaflets have to callous over, and they end up shooting out roots looking for water. I left them on a paper towel in some indirect light. With the Jade, an empty stem stuck in the soil started to bud.
Keep reading to see how they turned out!
Nicer weather means more daydreaming about the garden – the stuff that’s growing, not growing, the stuff I wish I planted last fall, the stuff that was planted and I’m hoping survived. And, since we had one heck of a winter, all this green is so enticing and welcoming that I’ve slowed down on projects and taken to the outside… even if that means some paperwork on the patio table! My outdoor goal this year is to do the least amount work possible – throw all the (carefully selected) seeds I have in the ground, plant perennials from my dad’s garden and leave it to the universe, no veggies, maybe herbs that are self-sustaining. Why? Partially because I’m lazy, and I won’t be able to really take care of a garden this year since we are taking a big trip when school lets out.
However, this doesn’t stop a girl from dreaming and doing something. (You know I have a hard time saying no to projects!) So for the last few weeks, I’ve moved almost all the houseplants outside, brought over my mother-in-law’s plants, thrown an abundance of seeds in the ground and plopped in some greenery from my parents’ yard (since they have plenty to share). When I remember, I jot down details in my garden journal (like this morning).
I tease my husband that this will be the year – the garden will be amazing because I’m not going to over-think things and we’ll come back from our trip to lush flower beds. HA!
Let’s find out.