Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Breakfast of Champions!

Yeah, yeah, yeah it's been awhile. I know. I always have "brilliant" blog ideas that I just don't follow through on. Sorry for depriving my many followers of my brilliant commentary.

Okay, that's enough sarcasm. I need to get in a dose of it every once in awhile.

The real reason for this post is to share two of our family's favorite breakfast recipes. The first is buttermilk pancakes. Not the healthiest, but oh so yummy!

It's from The Joy of Cooking a cookbook that my Auntie P gave to me when Darrell and I were married.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Prepare and preheat your griddle. If you are using an electric griddle, make sure it heats evenly. I had one that would be extra hot around the element and barely warm in other areas, so I switched to a non-stick skillet; I am very pleased with the results.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees if you intend to prepare the entire batch and then serve. They can be kept warm for up to 20 mins. Simply place them on a heatproof serving platter and cover loosely with foil. You can also butter them before placing in the oven.

Whisk together in a large bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 TBL sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Whisk together in another bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 TBL butter (recipe calls for unsalted but I generally just use whatever I have)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional for this recipe but when left out, something is missing in my opinion)
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing just until combined. DO NOT overly mix the batter, this does something to the gluten (I could look it up but I am being lazy and Audra is on my lap) and creates a more dense, stiff pancake. We like them light and fluffy.

At this stage you can also add in 1/2 to 1/4 cup of diced or chopped fruit, chocolate chips, bacon, cheese...the options are endless. I stick to the traditional pancakes, nothing added. 

Lightly butter, oil, or spray the cooking surface. 

Spoon 1/3 cup of batter onto griddle, nudging into rounds. The best way to pour pancakes is to ladle them. But if you don't have a ladle, just ensure that the batter is poured steadily for more uniform cakes.

When bubbles begin to pop on the surface of the pancake, turn and cook until the other side is lightly browned. 

Serve with your favorite topping!

**Note** The doneness of the pancake is really a matter of preference so cook them to your liking. My grandfather prefers "light" pancakes that are barely browned.

Darrell, the kids, and I love this pancake recipe. I have tried others but this one is consistently a hit! 

Now, this next recipe is from White Lily Flour. It's a Southern baking flour that is known for producing extraordinarily light and airy biscuits, cakes, etc. The flour called for in this recipe is "Self-Rising" and I imagine that any brand of self-rising flour will work. I pulled this directly off of the White Lily website. Here is the link if you prefer to go there yourself:


Bacon and Egg Breakfast Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minCook Time: 25 minMakes: 12 servings


Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
2 cups White Lily® Self-Rising Flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
2 large hard boiled eggs, diced
4 slices cooked bacon, drained and crumbled


1.HEAT oven to 400°F. Lightly coat 12 muffin cups with no-stick cooking spray.
2.COMBINE flour, sugar and dry mustard in medium bowl. Stir in cheese. Make a well in the center. Whisk together egg, milk and oil in small bowl. Add all at once to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.
3.FILL prepared muffin cups 1/3 full using about half the batter. Combine diced hard boiled egg and cooked crumbled bacon. Divide evenly into muffin cups on top of batter. Top with remaining batter. Muffin cups should be about 2/3 full.
4.BAKE 20 to 25 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned. Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Changes, they are coming...

Turns out I haven't been able to blog as much as I'd hoped to. Sigh. What do you do? I have several blog ideas and I don't ever seem to get the time to see them through. But today, it has to be done.

Most people who read this probably already know the updates in our life so I don't always find it necessary to post them on the blog. However, many there are a few people who don't.

Darrell has his orders to North Carolina and we are planning to leave the first week of January. I am thankful we will have one last Christmas here in California before the move; leaving my family days before Christmas would probably make it even more difficult than it is already going to be.

Slowly we are explaining to the kids that we are moving to North Carolina; it is probably the only other state they are aware of because I traveled there this summer to house hunt and Darrell is there all this week. They understand we are moving, Mimi (my mom) will be far away and we won't be able to see her all the time like we do now. Mason's response was "But we will still see her sometimes right mommy?" The answer to that is YES! Hopefully every 3-4 months.

We know three other families who are PCSing (military term meaning Permanent Change of Station) about the same time we are and that will help. Plus I have a friend or two that already live there. Nevertheless, it is going to be very...interesting. I have no idea what it is like to live in a place where driving 60 mph is "frowned upon". (Note: the speed limit on the highway is 55). But there are many unknowns that come along with our life as a military family and we have to take them in stride and believe that the Lord will guide us, provide for us, and work out everything in the best way possible. There is freedom in that knowledge.

Mommy duties are calling...I will post again soon! (I hope)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Taco Wednesday

Last night I tried a new taco recipe that I found in the August or September issue of EveryDay with Rachael Ray. It is a contribution of reader Armando Araiza and the recipe follows below:


1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 lb ground beef (I suppose you can substitute turkey)
Salt & pepper
Ten 10-inch corn tortillas
Corn oil, for frying
Whatever garnishes you like (cheese, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, etc.)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place potato chunks in large saucepan and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until very tender (10 minutes or so).

2. Meanwhile, cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking up the meat. When meat is cooked through transfer meat to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Add cooked potato and mash SLIGHTLY. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue stirring.

3. Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels, then in foil. Place in the oven until warm. In another large skillet heat enough oil to reach a depth of 1/2 inch over medium high heat. Working in batches, and keeping the remainder of the tortillas wrapped place a spoonful of beef mixture on one side of the tortilla and fold into a half moon. Place in the skillet and fry, turning once and gently pressing down to ensure that the taco keeps the half moon shape, until golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Gently crack open to garnish.

NOTE: I mashed the potato too much and found that the meat mixture was more like a paste so be sure to mash slightly. Also, the tortillas I used were quite moist so it was difficult for me to fit 1/3 cup in each tortilla without the shells cracking. I made these before I went to the gym and wrapped two in foil and left in the warm oven and they were still good when I arrived home but had become a little soggy in the meat pockets. These are just tips to help you make these tacos a little better =)

Hope you enjoy! I normally don't eat fried foods, but hey, can't hurt once in awhile right?

I will try to blog again soon with a family update.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Welcome Home

For anyone who hasn't heard, Darrell is home! He wasn't supposed to be home until this week but on Friday, August 6, I received the following email:

Subject: GOOD NEWS BABE!!!!!!!

Daddy is getting me home early! (Jed wanted me to write that) I am on the Advon now so should be home very soon, so that is a great thing! I am not joking, Iasked 1stSgt and everything. He told me I was and I told him that if he is messing with me to tell me now before I told you. He wasn't joking! I know this makes you happy and probably like holy crap, there is so much to do. But please don't jump through any hoops to get stuff done. I will send this out and wait a little bit to get a response from you. I love you babe, and I can't wait to see you.

And so the real countdown began. His ETA was anytime between Monday and Wednesday so I really only had the weekend to get things done. There is a lot involved in a homecoming like this and I wanted everything to be perfect. I had started a few minor projects around the house a few weeks prior to receiving the email but I still had a lot to do. And I managed to clean the entire house (including organizing closets and drawers) by Monday afternoon. It was such a relief! But then I had nothing to do with myself. Luckily I have a great friend who kept me distracted with play dates and fun in general. 

The arrival date changed at least 4 times and through another wife we learned that it would probably be Wednesday at around 7 am. There is a hotline with updated arrival information and I called before going to bed and the time had not changed. Then around 11pm their ETA was 4 am. To make a long story short, between 11pm and 12am the time changed 3 times. At 2:00 am I went into Owen's room and gently awakened him. 

I asked "Owen, do you know what we are going to do now?" 

He said "Going to get daddy."

"Yeah buddy, it's time for him to come home."

The conversation was the same with Mason only he was a little more excited. As I buckled Mason into his seat they both began screaming and cheering; I couldn't help but smile but asked them to celebrate quietly because not everyone was awake this early in the morning. And we were off....oh wait, I did have to go back because I forgot shoes for them =)

We arrived at the Battalion about 2:15 and the bus was in sight within 10 minutes, perfect timing! 

It's a difficult feeling to describe; it's the culmination of 7+ months of waiting and wondering...and worrying. But here we were about to welcome him home. Owen didn't want to walk so our friend carried him to where the bus pulled up and when she put him down he broke into a full sprint to jump into Darrell's arms. I stood back a moment with Audra and watched the boys greet him, but when I finally hugged him and gave him a kiss, it felt to me as if he'd never left. 

Audra seemed suspicious of him but it didn't take her very long to warm up.

Everyone stayed awake on the way home and when we arrived we sat down and ate some pizza, the boys played a little bit with daddy and then he tucked them into bed while I put Audra down. 

Words can't express how grateful I feel to have him home and safe. Our family is together again and complete. Here are some pictures from his first day home:

It didn't take her long to warm up to him.

Her kisses are reserved for the most special of people.

So very happy.


The aftermath. (Sidenote: tattoo is fake)

Finally resting on his couch in front of his TV.

Thanks to all of my family (namely my mom and Poppi) for supporting me so much during this deployment. Thank you everyone for your prayers and offers to help. I appreciate so much and hope to do the same for other spouses who are in the same situation. Above all, I give thanks to the Lord Jesus for His presence in my life; it was my source of strength. When people ask "I don't know how you do it..." all I can say is I don't know how people do it without having that spiritual connection with the Lord. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Owen, where are you?

Owen had a rough Sunday once we got home from church. I don't know where it began but it culminated in him being sent to his room after lunch because he refused to stop screaming and crying because I wouldn't feed him (I gave him food of course but he wanted me to hand feed it to him). This was hour 3 of one of the kids screaming and crying for one reason or another and I decided it was quiet time. And everything was quiet...except for Owen. I told him to stay in his room until he was done and after he could watch "Curious George" with Mason. A few minutes later I heard him in the hallway and promptly told him that if he still needed to cry, he needed to go to his room. I heard him slam his door and decided that I would nurse Audra (who was also crying). After about 15 minutes I heard nothing. 'Hmm' I thought. 'I wonder if he went to sleep or if he's watching TV with Mason'. I checked in Mason's room, no Owen. So I open Owen's door quietly and I don't see him. 'Hmm. Owen, where are you?' I kind of begin to panic at this point because we have very low windows that I always keep locked but what if??? Before I totally panic I decide to check my room, Audra's room and he is still nowhere to be found. 'Okay. I will check in his room one more time'. I open his closet and here is what I found...

He went into his closet, closed the door, and fell asleep in one of the bins. Sweetheart. I couldn't decide if I should move him or leave him there but I figured he might be more comfortable on his bed so I moved him.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wakeful Slumber


According to Sleepdex.org Stage 1 of sleep is defined as 

"light sleep where you drift in and out of sleep and can be awakened easily. In this stage, the eyes move slowly and muscle activity slows. During this stage, many people experience sudden muscle contractions preceded by a sensation of falling."

It is in this stage of sleep where some of my favorite moments of the day occur. For instance, this morning Owen came into my room and crawled into bed with me. I drifted in and out of sleep but still had a difficult time opening my eyes; I was trying to squeeze out whatever was left of the night. It had to be after 6 am by this time and I heard Owen cough a few times. That must have awakened Mason because next Owen climbed off of my bed and I heard Mason say in an excitedly hushed voice "Owen, you sleeping with me?!"Owen must have nodded in his cute way because the next thing I heard was "Oh, we got go get your blankets." That was followed by two pairs of feet running down the hall and some giggles--hushed of course. I thought "Wow, they are really sweet with each other in the morning". It was a sweet glimpse into their brotherhood that I hope blossoms into a lifelong bond and friendship. 

There are also times when Darrell is home and I hear him getting ready in this wakeful slumber state. He isn't very quiet in the morning; not out of lack on consideration but because he doesn't realize that not everyone can sleep through artillery and crying babies, this makes it difficult for me to get back into my deep sleep. However; I relish these mornings. I love knowing where he is and what he is doing without seeing it. My favorite part comes when he gives me a kiss; his lips are always cold against mine because he's just brushed his teeth and I smell a "hint of mint" too. Sometimes I pretend I'm still in my deep sleep, but more often than not, the only thing remaining of my sleep at this point is my closed eyes. 

Of course there are other times when these moments are not tender, not sweet, and are downright annoying. For today, let's juts focus on the sweet moments before our days really begin. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Life In Photos

Daddy holding his baby girl

The boys with Audra

Owen and his "lovey"

Photo by: Paulette Eaton

Mason and his pet snails

Photo by: Paulette Eaton 
At the Shark Park Splash Pad

Miss Audra Rae

Mom and Audra on the 4th of July