Baked: Sour Cream Pancakes and Blueberry Banana Bread

Posted on: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I like to bake. Mainly because people like baked goods, and I like to make people happy; I also like to make pretty things. In high school I would bring chocolate chip cookies or pumpkin loaf to school for friends and classmates. I didn't do too much baking as an undergrad, due to dorm life and doing other things, but since moving to TX, and with the help of grad school, I have great reason to bake again. Baking for the husband, baking for classmates and friends, meetings and gatherings. Last semester I baked something at least every other Sunday to bring in. I kind of want to open a puffed pancake shop, there I said it. Or just a shop that serves baked breakfast goods- pancakes of all styles and flavors, loafs, muffins, oatmeal and the sort. Don't worry, I'm not dropping out of grad school with three months to go. Just a little day dreaming. Anyway, here's a couple of things I've baked as of late. 
Sour Cream Pancakes

I know- sour cream pancakes sounds weird. My husband definitely made a face when I told him what I was making for breakfast last Saturday morning, but I reassured him by telling him the recipe was from the Pioneer Woman, and with the mention of that magical name, enough skepticism melted away for him to try them. And we both really liked them. They are light and delicious and oh-so-good. Easier than regular pancakes too, somehow (though not quite as easy as puffed pancakes, if you're wondering where they fall on the pancake-ease-of-baking scale). Here is the recipe. I didn't change anything, though I think they would be delicious with berries, or lemon squeezed on top with a dusting of powdered sugar. One batch made an odd 7 pancakes, though, and they are thin, so if you're very hungry and serving more than one, I'd suggest doubling or doing one and a half batches. That would make for a more impressive pancake stack, too. 
^^basking in the morning light^^

Blueberry Banana Bread

Loafs are probably one of the easiest things to make, yes? I like that there are loafs for every season. Pumpkin for fall. Gingerbread for winter. Zucchini for summer. Banana for spring. Something like that. Perhaps for 2014 I will loaf my way through the year- ooh new idea! Well I've made many banana breads, sometimes with chocolate chips, but never with blueberries. This is probably the prettiest loaf I've ever made. And maybe the most delicious (anything beats that gingerbread loaf). I used a recipe from here, but with the following changes:

-I didn't want to buy a big thing of buttermilk, because when would I ever use buttermilk again, so I just used 1/4 c. regular milk with a couple squirts of lime juice (since I didn't have lemon juice). Not sure if the lime did anything, but I'm sticking to it.
- You don't really need to measure out your blueberries. That's just silly.
- I don't have an electric mixer and mixed with a spoon/spatula, and melted the butter a bit to make that easier.
- Since I did the one large loaf instead of minis, I baked it for about 60 minutes. I started with 30 and checked it, then did another 10 and checked it, then another 15ish was probably around 60, maybe a little more. Just stick a knife in and make sure it comes out clean, and you're good.

- S

Black Shoes

Posted on: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I'm thinking ahead to my one February purchase, and I'm fairly decided that I will get a nice pair of simple, black shoes. I don't actually own a pair, usually opting for more "fun" shoe styles, but I think everyone needs a pair of classy black flats, am I right? Since I'm heading to DC at the start of March for a policy conference, I think the time is right for this purchase. Here are a few options I'm looking at. 

1. Sole Society Angelina $59.95
2. Tieks Matte Black $175
3. Seychelles Skip a Beat $95
4. J Crew Emma Leather Ballet Flats $125

Any recommendations? Also, I think I may have to make some exception purchases in Feburary as well. I really need a pair or two of good dress pants and tops for work and for the conference in DC, so I'm going to be on the look out for those in addition to the shoes. 

- S

Hockey in Dallas

Posted on: Monday, January 27, 2014

^^Luna every morning^^
^^I made these sour cream pancakes and we both really liked them^^
^^it was set up all wrong so Kyle had to fix it^^
^^sparkling lights and fire pits at the restaurant!^^

This weekend we went to Dallas to see the Penguins play the Stars, and they lost horribly. WHOOPS. But this was Kyle's first NHL game and my third, and it was a really nice time. We had a delicious dinner before the game at the beautiful Saint Ann- their bacon wrapped chorizo stuffed dates were amazing. There were at least as many if not more Penguins fans at the game, actually, which was very cool.

On Sunday I did some work, took Luna to the park for a nice walk, baked a blueberry banana loaf, got groceries, did laundry, meal planned, and I settled in with some wine to watch the Grammy's because I enjoy the frivolity of award shows.

- S

Meal Plan Week Four

Posted on: Sunday, January 26, 2014

My motivation to plan my lunch for this week started waning, but I counteracted that by making something really delicious that I know I would love to eat all week (and taking a break from quinoa or spaghetti squash). It really does feel good to have lunch ready for the whole week on Sunday; my weeks are busy and I sometimes feel all over the place (and I sometimes am all over the place- Houston last week, Austin this week), especially this semester, and having a little consistency helps.

Sunday: chicken, spinach and feta sausage with oriental broccoli slaw

Meatless Monday: stuffed peppers (rice, beans and tomato)

Tuesday: I have a meeting in Austin in the afternoon, so I think I'll bring home Tarka (delicious Indian food) from Round Rock for dinner (and cook up a side of brussels sprouts)!

Wednesday: salmon with roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts

Thursday: "general tso's" chicken with rice and broccoli

Lunch: oriental broccoli slaw (sides: almonds and dates)
^^Stored and ready for the fridge! I'm keeping the dressing separate so the slaw isn't super soggy.^^

Oh, I also baked this AMAZING blueberry banana bread today (sub regular milk and a dash of lime juice for buttermilk). Kyle gave it an A+.

- S

A Snow Day in Texas

Posted on: Saturday, January 25, 2014

We had a snow day of sorts down here in Texas! On Thursday a friend and I drove to Houston (3 hours away) for a conference, and on the way back I definitely drove through rain, sleet and snow, and it took us 4 hours to get back to Temple. My friend couldn't even make it back to Waco, 30 miles up the highway, because it was just ice at that point. Kyle had his PT canceled so he didn't have to go in until 9, and then that got pushed back to 11, and then Fort Hood closed, so he had the day off! I got up bright and early to check out the situation and possibly make an attempt at driving to Waco, but the streets were just ice and google maps said over an hour to drive there, and everything in Temple was closed or delayed, so I thought I'd let it warm up a bit and the roads clear (and my office wasn't opening until 10 anyway). Anyway, I was told I didn't need to come in, so snow day for me too! We played in the snow with Luna, and sort of the cats. Most of the ice and snow cleared through the day, and I went in to Waco for a meeting at 4, things pretty much looked back to normal. It was really fun to see my neighborhood and Texas covered in snow, and Luna playing with her frozen tennis ball was very entertaining.

- S

Long Weekend

Posted on: Tuesday, January 21, 2014

late breakfasts
cat naps
more sunny cat naps
watching bread baking
brunch at Megg's
walk in the park
work at Starbucks

- S
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