Peach Pie Pancakes

I have only ever been truly convinced that I was going to die a handful of times in my crazy life, and one of the most vibrant in my memory involves peaches.

It was back in Ohio in late August and my mom and I were preparing peaches to can. It was my task to peel the fruit and not wanting to waste even the tiniest bit of succulence, I got the brilliant idea to eat the peels from a couple of them. I was utterly absorbed in my work and when it was all said and done I had unwittingly eaten the peels from every single one of a bushel of peaches. Aren’t you impressed? When I realized what I had done I dropped the slippery paring knife and looked at my mom in horror. What happens when a person overdoses on peaches? Would I have a sugar rush? Would I be poisoned by peach fuzz?

I am happy to report that other than having a slight stomach disturbance (which was totally worth it, by the way) I was just fine. We canned the skinless peaches, I wrote an overly-corny peach inspired poem and all was well with the world.

Several years later and it’s peach season in Vermont. Driving down Route 7, I can feel my mouth getting excited as I read sign after sign, “Peaches are Here!” “Ripe Peaches” and “Sweet Peaches for Sale”. It’s a wonderful thing how a tree made of wood can take a springtime flower and turn it into something so decadent come August. A peach is nothing short of a round, fuzzy miracle, and I love them so.

I stopped at the local market this week and bought a few large peaches and then turned them into peach pie pancakes, a slight re-imagining of the classic peach pie. Peach pie filling turns into a tasty topping for hearty yet fluffy pancakes made with oat flour and brown sugar, two of the main ingredients in a streusel pie topping.  They’re a little more involved than your ordinary ‘every other Monday’ pancake, but very worth it. It’s a good way to spread the peach goodness out as far as possible – without having to eat a bushel of skins!

Peach Pie Pancakes

*makes 8 cakes

 

For the Pancakes:

1 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

3 Tablespoons oil or melted butter

1 1/4 cups milk

 

 

For the Topping:

2 cups thinly sliced fresh peaches

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 1/2 Tablespoons honey (or sweetener of your choice)

 

The first thing is to make oat flour. This is done by putting the rolled oats into a food processor or a blender and pulverizing them into a coarse powder. 1 cup of rolled oats will yield about 3/4 cup of oat flour. Blend all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then add the milk and oil. Mix together and then add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring thoroughly but gently – over mixing the batter will result in tough pancakes.

Next step is to make the topping. Put the peaches and other ingredients into a small soup pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir often, this is going to simmer while the pancakes cook.

I fried the cakes over medium-high heat, pouring them out using a 1/3 cup measure. The pancakes are ready to flip when there are bubbles forming in the center of the cake, and the edges appear to be dry . They will need to cook about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the heat under them.

When the cakes are all cooked up, the topping should be done! I love it when a meal comes together. Serve these with a tall glass of milk and you have a breakfast (or brunch or dinner!) worthy of the fruit that inspired it.

Enjoy!

I’m Falling for Ten

It’s almost September, you crazy people! Summer is almost over and I want to run through our not-so-crowded streets sounding the alarm. We need to soak it up Now- the heat – the swimming- the watermelon –

Do All The Summer Things While You Still Can!

And then again, we are getting all sorts of scandalously awesome Autumnal things in at work which has made me go gushy over Fall. I love Fall.

But I love Summer too. And I hate being cold. But I love sweaters. Sweaters are warm and you can’t be warm and cozy in the summer – that’s a Fall thing.

Welcome to my life as a human being who borders on having a multiple personality disorder when it comes to the seasons. I love all the seasons; I love to see them come and I love to see them go, always ready to move on to the next one. I would never survive in a place with no seasons.

 

10 Things I am Looking Forward to About Fall

1) Big Sweaters – because I love them. There is something infinitely attractive to me about being cozy and shapeless at the same time. My wardrobe is rather disproportionately made up of sweaters.

2) Bonfires – because who is crazy enough to go sit by a roaring blaze when it’s 900 degrees out and you’re under attack by a demonic squad of mosquitoes and other hideous summer bugs. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

3) Fall means it’s almost Christmas! (Not really, but kind of)

4) Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday forever and for always.

5) Leaf-peeping tourists. I love a good tourist! Last year I had my picture taken several times as a quaint ‘local’ – how fun is that? Where else can I, a random stranger, be considered a part of some British person’s vacation memories than in Vermont in Fall? And I love the accents, and the clueless driving (although it’s kind of dangerous) and the tour busses full of smartly dressed elderly people from Georgia who can’t understand the way Yankees talk…

6) My body tells me that it’s time to start eating heartier foods so that we can build up enough fat to survive the coming winter. Silly body, we don’t *need* to do that anymore – but let’s anyway, shall we?

7) Warm weather foods! Yay shepherd’s pie and beef stew and hot cocoa and pies. I don’t want to see another salad until May. I’m going to go bake scones and have some tea… ILOVESCONES.

8) Did I mention warm clothes? I talked about sweaters, but I really love all cold-weather clothing. I like being all covered up and warm.

9) The colors. The colors. The colors. I must say, the mountains have their own sort of fireworks display and it’s put on by the trees – the fall foliage is incredible. No wonder people from all over the world come here to see them.

10) Those gray, raw days when it rains and the streets are covered in leaves and everything feels pensive and a little bit sad and so you huddle up inside and drink tea and knit and listen to your favorite music or watch a good period drama. I love that.

Are you looking forward to Autumn? Why or why not?

granola soul

My husband eats more cereal than any person I’ve ever known. Ever. He loves the stuff, and with that much of it going in him, I really want it to be good for him.

It’s not that I don’t trust the national brand cereal companies, but I don’t really. Even the all-natural, organic hippie stuff – I just have enough nerve to think that I could do better given some oatmeal and other random crunchy stuff.

I am that kind of person.

So, I decided to make my own. We stopped buying commercially produced cereal last month and I have been making granola for my love to eat and feel much better about the whole situation. It’s easy, cheap, tasty, healthy and relatively pain-free. I say ‘relatively’ because it *is* so good, one must be careful not to eat too much of one’s own delicious granola and blow oneself up…

 

Soulful Granola

 

Old Fashioned Rolled oats

Millet

Flax Seed

Salt

Coconut Oil

Maple Syrup

“The Good Junk” as in; craisins, raisins, chopped nuts, other dried fruits, chocolate chips, peanut butter…

I make this en masse using the ‘we LOVE oatmeal’ sized container of rolled oats, up to a third cup each of maple syrup and coconut oil, a little bit of salt and a ton of “good junk”.  It depends on what we’re wanting. I like dried fruits and nuts in mine, so I use a lot of chopped almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, craisins, apricots, prunes, raisins, etc. Alex likes his a little on the sweeter side and hates dried fruit so I’ve made chocolate peanut butter granola for him. I cut the coconut oil amount in half and stir in a good clump of peanut butter then half a bag of chocolate chips. Last batch I made maple butterscotch with maple syrup and butterscotch chips. Yum… he loved it.

Everything gets stirred together well (except the dried fruit – which I have learned from experience will harden during the cooking process) and then I cook it over low heat in my big cast iron skillet in three batches until the oats are golden brown and the millet starts to pop. It takes some time to do it this way, and I stir it quite often to keep it from scorching. You could bake it in the oven, but mine is a little unreliable so I just skip it and use the stove top. Once the granola is cooked, it goes onto a baking tray to cool. It’s pretty neat, the chocolate or butterscotch chips melt and make ‘clusters’ of oats and nuts and ‘stuff’ when they cool.

When everything is all cooled off, the fruit gets mixed in and it goes back into the big oatmeal container and into the cupboard, ready to be consumed at will.

I dare say we can make breakfast cereal with the best of them…

 

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psssssst…

I wanted to tell you about something. Come closer… because I’m actually whispering.

I have come up with a meal planning idea that just might work. Just might.

Thanks to the many dozens of people I have stalked and creepily asked about their meal planning methodology, I do believe that I’ve found something that will suit our needs PERFECTLY.

Ok, you can move away now, I’m done whispering.

Here it is in black and white (because I can’t figure out how to change the color of the fonts on this silly program).

Each week I will pick 7 meals using ingredients I have or will purchase:

1 Breakfast (because I think breakfast needs a chance to be the ‘most popular’ meal)

1 Casserole/Soup ( two things I would love to make more of)

1 “Ethnic” (Curry, yum…)

1 Salad/Vegetarian ( we like to have a ‘lighter’ meal now and again)

1 Easy/Quick/Simple (for the days we spend away and get home minutes before dinner time)

1 Never Before Tried (can you say ‘cabbage rolls’)

1 Other  (sort of self-explanatory – – and if it isn’t, hang in there, I’ll explain in a bit)

So – once the meals are picked, I can arrange them through the week as needed. The nights I work we can have the casserole or easy dish, a night we have more time I could fix something new and exciting. If I have certain ingredients that need to be used sooner, that meal will come at the beginning of the week. The “Other” meal can be used for leftovers or if we eat out or just decided to have a ‘movie and a snack night’, which happens sometimes. This way, there’s always something different going on at meal time and at least once a week we’ll try something totally new. I’m inordinately excited about it.

Ta-stinking-da.

Alright, I just needed to share that.

Bye now.

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the menu board. in its former life it was a cheap picture frame at Wal*Mart… we made it into something Awesome with a little chalk board paint – boy howdy, I love that stuff!!

triple T

I love it when random cool things happen and you’re left standing in the middle of life for a moment with a smile on your face – just because.

Here are 10 Random Things that I thought were pretty cool:

1) Walking past a stranger on the street and being overwhelmed by the scent of their incredibly beautiful perfume.

2) Being sung to by a homeless man in downtown Portland, Maine

3) The person at the ice cream counter was super generous when dishing up our dessert

4) Borrowing someone’s big, ugly wool sweater that kept me dry in a soaking rain

5) Using my new salad spinner to spin the water off our grapes after I’d washed them

6) oil cloth table cloths

7) When I walk into the kitchen *Just* as the timer is going off and I feel really on top of things.

8) Final clearance sale at work and I spent my clothing allowance for the next five years on scandalously cheap hippy clothes. Yuppers.

9) Finding out halfway through my shift at work that I get to leave early.

10) When I wake up in the morning and my hair actually looks good enough from the day before that I don’t have to do it again. Yes, this does happen on occasion and when it does – boy is it cool! I hate fussing with my hair and when I get a two-for-one deal, I’m a happy camper…

 

Alright, I need to hear some cool things that happened to you this week – or has life been pretty boring and uneventful? If so, give us the list of the 10 most boring moments of the week…. we’re all anxious to hear about it.

a promise

Hello, my darling blog readership.

I just realized that the old blog-o and I have 74 followers. *This* is epically awesome.

I love you all, each one of you.

Here’s my promise: when we get to 100 followers, I’m going to give something nice to a random member of the audience.

Something nice like… say… anything you want from my Etsy shop. It could be a couple months before we reach the goal and I’m a knitting fiend so there will probably be more things up to choose from.

Just tuck that in your cap and keep it there for a while.

Tootles,

Andi

This is the way we scrub the tub

Seems like my natural cleaning idea got some cogs turning, so I thought I would write a little and share my first homemade cleaning product adventure.

Aren’t you excited?

Better get some popcorn, I’ll wait.

So – I thought that we’d just slowly transition as we ran out of cleaning products, and then anything still left clinging to the side of the cupboard at the turn of the year will be ousted and replaced.

What was the first cleaning buddy to finish the race? Scouring Powder, because I love it so and use it on everything. Everything. AND – I am a die-hard brand nazi on this one, Comet is the *only* way to go. I’ve tried the all-natural stuff, Bar Keeper’s Friend, and several other brands and never found one I was as satisfied with as Comet. Unfortunately, it’s not that good for you. Not good at all. I can’t deny that it does a kick-butt job cleaning, though. The only problem I’ve ever had is that it seems to NEVER wash off. I don’t care how many times I rinse, there remains a light, bleachy, powdery film – yum – don’t you just want that left all over your baking pans and tub?

I didn’t think so. Well, neither do I. The Comet ran out this morning and I turned to the first homemade replacement in my recipe file (I’ve been collecting homemade cleaning product recipes – like a geek).

Baking Soda; it’s the other white scouring powder. You can buy it for a ridiculously little amount of money and it’s not going to kill you, always a bonus when considering something you clean with.

I filled a quart jar with baking soda that I bought at the co-op (for about a dollar) and then added a few drops of various essential oils; peppermint, basil and lavender. Then I shook the daylights out of it to mix the oils into the powder. Already the stuff smelled a whole lot better then Comet (although, who isn’t secretly attracted to the scent of bleach??)

Viola – we’re ready to scrub-a-dub-dub!

To be super cool, and nifty-like, I cut the top off of an empty salt container and used that for the lid of the jar, screwing the band around it so it stayed on. It now has a handy pouring spout. Thank you, Pinterest, for making me look so clever.

Time to clean the bathroom. I usually use Comet to scrub the sink, inside of the toilet bowl and shower stall/tub. Today I just shook my scenty baking powder all over and then doused it with some white vinegar (in a squirt bottle, the same vinegar I use for my hair). It makes a satisfying volcano of cleaning power and all I can think is that it’s like those cleaning bubble guys you see on T.V. – on steroids. I then proceeded to clean as I usually do, scrubbing and singing and rinsing and everything came out spotless – with no creepy, bleachy residue. The tub squeaked with cleanliness and the sink faucet shone. It didn’t take me any longer to clean this way, in fact I think I had to rinse everything a whole lot less which made it quicker.

Sorry, Comet – you done been shown up, big time.

…the dynamic cleaning duo…

My cleaning basket and its residents. Comet has given its spot to baking soda. The remaining items are; Windex, Murphy’s Floor cleaner, and Simple Green all purpose cleaner.

company’s comin’ Potato Salad

Our short little table was adorned with a patchwork of vintage linens and a clearance April Cornell table cloth. Spare chairs were summoned from the far corners of our fair home and the entire dining/living room had been rearranged in a an attempt to make room for company.

Our guest list had only two names on it, but that is reason enough for a little bit of grandeur here on Park Street, and I worried about the table legs which always seem to be in the way of ours. We did our best to cool the place down for the evening and I sweated away in our room-sized oven of a kitchen, cooking away.

I love entertaining – I always stress and fuss way too much and practically drive myself and the surrounding husband crazy in my effort to have everything ‘just so’. Under it all, however, is this deliciously deep satisfaction at having people come to our home and enjoy themselves.  It isn’t grand, it isn’t showy and the table legs definitely get in the way, but it’s ours and we love it, and I love to welcome people into it and give them good food.

The menu was braised chicken breast sandwiches with tomato, mayo and garden-fresh lettuce, a huge fruit salad (served in a carved-out watermelon because we *ARE* that stinking cute) and a potato salad, with ice cream for dessert.

This potato salad is one that I loosely translated from my husband’s dear grandma’s salad. While we were in Maine visiting YiaYia and Papoo, she served us a potato salad that I ate an embarrassingly large amount of. It was incredible and when I asked her how she made it, she shrugged and said, “A little of this and a little of that!” She did go into the details that I was craving and I tried my best to remember it. Ever since then I have been itching at the chance to make one and try my hand at it.

They say never to make something for the first time for company, but really, what do ‘they’ know?  Never having been one for listening to the random voices of the universe, I dived in and made my first potato salad as a married woman, YiaYia’s spoken recipe in the back of my head leading me onward – – –


Potato Salad

4 red potatoes, boiled

5 green onions, diced

1/2 sweet red pepper, diced

2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill

1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 cup mayo

salt and pepper to taste

The simplicity of this salad is its perfection. As I said before, this is not her exact recipe, but I’d never heard of using mint in a potato salad and it was awesome.  Also, she used red potatoes, which keep their shape well and have an excellent texture. I liked the waxiness of them. The bit of vinegar (her suggestion) cuts the mayo and brightens the salad.

YUM.

The potatoes got chopped into small bite-sized pieces and then mixed with the rest of the ingredients. I made it ahead of time to let the flavors meld together and I think next time I will make it even further ahead, like over night.

My-oh-my was it good!

We had a delightful evening with our guests, everything went swimmingly – everyone enjoyed their meal and didn’t knock their knees too badly. I’d say it was a success!

Ten Things on Tuesday

10 Things

That Make My Husband Smile

*as suggested by Correna*

 

1) Being tickled (he’s rather ticklish, but denies it vehemently)

2) Dinner time!

3) Kisses

4) Dancing

5) Getting home from work

6) When I make faces at him across the table, or…

7) When I try to look angry when I’m not really

8) The antics of little kids

9) Having his truck all clean

10) Watching YouTube videos of baby animals. Yup. We totally do this for entertainment on our mornings off. Our favorites involve baby goats or Harry, the infant pygmy hippo. So Cute.

So, after you go and watch the adorable hippo Harry, come back and tell me what makes your true love smile – –

step into my confessional

So.

As most of you probably remember, in last week’s 10 Things I declared my intention to cut fried foods and caffeine completely out of my diet.

(And I still feel a little creepy every time I write it, like – who am I kidding?)

I have good reasons to make such a commitment, really good reasons – excellent reasons. Super-Duper reasons.

BUT.

As most of you probably *don’t* know, this past week was fair week here in my corner of the Green Mountain State, and being the good locals that we are, my husband and I went to said fair, accompanied by my lovely mom-in-law, Elaine.

Elaine, Alex and I trooped off to the show where we were accosted by the glories of Stormy the Dancing Pony, Rosie’s Fabulous Racing Pigs, and every sort of 4H project imaginable. And of course, the roadway was positively punctuated with fried food fiends sent from hell to destroy us all. Or, at least to destroy me.

Me, who suddenly felt compelled to start with my no fried foods commitment *tomorrow*. Because really – what’s a fair without fried foods?

I ate french fries and then I ate too much of a beautiful blooming onion and got high on whatever heavenly sauce they serve with it. HIGH, I say. It was amazing. Alex, good soul that he is, didn’t partake of anything deep fried (though I tried to talk him into a deep-fried Snickers Bar) but he did enjoy some really good ribs (I enjoyed them too…) while Elaine dove to the depths with me and shared the blooming onion and the euphoria that followed.

Oh my.

I didn’t get sick, or struck by lightning, but I felt I needed to come and confess to my gentle readership that if I were forced to take some sort of a ‘fried food drug test’, I would fail, and miserably. But – this is a new week, another chance and I am determined to do it justice. And just to try and wipe a little of the black smudge off my good name, I will say that for breakfast the next day I had decaf herbal tea instead of coffee. Yes, yes I did. And we can be very proud of that.

The End.

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