sourdough.starter:pancakes

My dad has kept the same batch of sourdough starter going for over 36 years (even he can’t tell you exactly how old it is) and I grew up eating sourdough pancakes. I became such a pancake snob that all other pancakes are considered vastly inferior, if not just gross (except my grandmas banana pancakes….yum). On my parents most recent trip up north they brought yet another jar for me to nurture (in the many moves from apartments to different states etc I have lost or abandoned more than a few jars…) and I immediately threw it into action.

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The first thing I did was make pancakes – duh. I can actually portion from memory but I’ve had the official instructions for years and with a little practice you can do the same thing.

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The sourdough base can be used for anything from bread to pizza dough, to any other sourdoughy thing you can think of. It’s cheap and easy and each “strain” takes on it’s own specific characteristics. If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to pull from my dad’s stash, you can start your own starter. Many specialty stores carry the yeasty bits, or someone in a cold sourdough heavy place (like Alaska) could even mail you a postcard with the “just add water” components.

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fan.and.feather.scarf

I have started my holiday making already and though to some it seems early, I feel I am months behind. But hopefully the frantic work will be appreciated by the recipients. I am caught up on my baby blankets for the moment and decided to take the pattern for a spin as a scarf, and I love it. The fan and feather makes for a lovely and light scarf perfect for chilly fall days, or as a wrap at the office.

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  • Cast on 42 stitches on a size 6 round needle and knit 10 rows
  • K3, K2 tog 3 times, yo 6 times, K2 tog 6 times, yo 6 times, K2 tog 3 times, K3
  • Knit the next 2 rows
  • K3, Purl row, K3

Then repeat the counted row through your simple knits and purls until desired length and you’ve got it!

 

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local.apple.crisp

My friend Heather moved a year or so ago from the big city to a fab little house about an hour away. I don’t get to see her as much as I used to, and am ashamed to admit that yesterday was the first I had seen her new digs. She has a great view, loads of land to grow stuff on, and a snow apple tree. She braved the spiders and creepy crawled to harvest these little guys and sent us home with a huge bag. These little apples average a little larger than a ping pong ball and are delish.

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Since they are so small, peeling and coring can be a challenge, but I think they are perfect for a batch of apple crisp. I quartered them (with a little help from the husband), cleaned the seeds and added them to my baking pan.

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Apple crisp is a great dessert that doesn’t have a ton of sugar but is still a sweet treat. It definitely doesn’t last long around here.

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hair.chop

 

I had been contemplating chopping my very (very) long hair off for quite awhile but waffled on the idea for months. Finally, a few weeks ago, I poured a glass of wine, locked the bathroom door, and chop! I did it. I hacked off 15 inches of hair and bundled it up to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. This is an organizing much like Locks for Love, but from what I hear, has a better track record of doing good for the people they are helping.

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Looking to do the same thing? Send your hair (8 inches or longer) to:

Pantene Beautiful Lengths
Attn: 192-123
806 SE 18th Ave
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

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I love it! I feel so light and free!

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apple.cake.&.whipped.cream

I made an awesome raspberry and fig cake with lemon zest a few days ago – and it was really, really good…What put it over the top was the addition of real whipped cream. If you aren’t using real, made yourself, whipped cream, you aren’t living my friend. It’s super easy to do.

  • Send your husband to the store to buy a small container of heavy cream, or ‘whipping cream’
  • Add cream to stand mixer and whisk at a medium – high setting until fluffy (approximately 3 minutes)
  • Flavor with a spoonful of confectioners sugar, or some of the vanilla syrup you use in your morning coffee and give it a few more whirls with the mixer
  • Shove finger into cream and taste test
  • Repeat
  • Add to cake and enjoy

Fresh whipped cream will stay in your fridge for up to 5 days before it starts to break down and get funky. And since we polished off the previous cake within that time frame, I figured it was a shame to waste the cream…..so I made another cake!

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I used the same recipe as before (it doesn’t get any easier) as a base, but omitted the citrus and zest, instead opting for a few good shakes of cinnamon and sliced apples as my garnish. It feels a lot like fall around here these days, so a cake like this was pretty mandatory. Top with leftover whipped cream and it’s the perfect end to a great day! (You can also have it for breakfast. I went ahead and tested that theory this morning and it’s also really good….)

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raspberry.fig.cake

Last week I was seduced by a bunch of fresh figs at Costco. And since it was Costco, that of course means that a bunch is actually a metric ton (only a slight exaggeration). The husband and I have had our fill of the fresh figs, so it was time to come up with something that made use of the not quite turned-still edible-sort of fresh figs. I loosely based my fig cake recipe on the one found here in Food & Wine.

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  • Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar with 3 eggs until fluffy, about 2 minutes
  • Add 1 stick melted unsalted butter and the zest and juice of 1 lemon, mix until incorporated
  • Add a few squirts of lime juice (this is technical stuff people) and slowly add 1 1/2 cups flour and mix until smooth

Butter and dust a 9 inch cake pan and add the batter. Using some of last years frozen raspberries, drop a few dollops into the batter and add your cut figs to make a pattern of your choice.

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Bake for 40 minutes at 350* on the second lowest rack in the oven. Move cake to the 2nd from the top rack and continue baking for 35 minutes. Cake is finished when a tester comes out clean. Cool, dust with powdered sugar, and enjoy. It’s really, really, good.

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jalapeño.harvest

I had a few jalapeño plants for sale at my shop, but when they didn’t have any takers are were starting to sprout some baby peppers they became fair game for me! Unfortunately they had a bit of an aphid problem that seemed to come out of nowhere, and instead of battling the little buggers I decided to harvest the peppers and toss the plants. I can’t wait to dig in!!

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