“Look Up”

Being a parent means sometimes you learn amazing lessons from your children.

I have been sporadic posting lately, because I have been spending more time reading. Good, Old Fashioned book reading for pleasure. Despite the break from letting time sucking TV and news consume my life, I still find myself falling in to the trap of modern technology and culture: Texting, instead of calling. Texting, instead of face to face meeting and chatting. Looking at my phone in the midst of conversation. Checking social media, full of people I have never met, instead of meeting with those I do know.

I am guilty of ‘looking down’, and based on what I see around me, I’m not the only one.

My oldest recently returned from study abroad in Europe. We made the decision in advance to only use Wi-Fi when available to communicate, meaning her phone was pretty much useless. She was therefore ‘liberated’ from the tether of her phone, and came home with a whole new perspective, and priorities. Arriving home, we find her no longer dependent upon a phone with 3G and a data plan, along with access to technology to socialize or communicate. She quite often leaves it at home. It is refreshing in this day and age of ‘everything technology’.

Did she spend her time in Europe looking at an illuminated screen?

No, she did not. And she came home RICH in memories and experiences.

Does she spend her time now, looking down?

No, she does not. And she seems all the more happy for it.

So watch this video, and take a lesson from a 21 year old. I did, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Gorgeously Gluten Free Yorkshire Pancake

Growing up my parents had a cabin in the mountains, and it seemed nearly every other weekend we’d make the 2 hour drive to spend those precious 2 days in the higher altitudes of the Cascade Mountain Range. I adored it. Winters meant lots of deep powder to ski on and great sledding. Summers meant riding our horses in the high dessert, soaking in the glory of God’s handiwork in the form of arid mountainous pines, alpine meadows, crystal clear running rivers, breathtakingly cold mountain lakes, and incredible mountain vistas. Whenever I reminisce my childhood it is chock full of those memories interlaced with the wonderful smells emanating out of my mothers kitchen. 

My love of cooking is an inheritance from my mother. Looking back I am amazed at the wonderful eats she churned out of that small cabin kitchen. My brother and I would leave the cabin after a hot breakfast, returning only when we were hungry, which repeatedly was not until dusk. In fact, it was so tough getting us in by dark that my mother hung a dinner bell on the back deck that she would ring when food was on the table, to which we would come running. Funny how kids are that way. Food is completely forgotten to the excitement of an ant colony, or a fish in the stream, meadows of shoulder high grass for hide and seek , or a rotted out tree trunk that needed to be explored for critter signs. But when that dinner bell rang, our stomachs let us know quite clearly we had not fed our engines all day! 

Yorkshire pancake is a dish that my mother made on a regular basis. She only ever made it at our cabin, I’m really not quite sure why. Was it the secret of the cast iron pan? Was it the mastering of having something puff so gloriously at a high altitude? Was it the simplicity of ingredients? Or was it that the cabin was a simple life and we were easily impressed by the sight of that mile-high puffed treat, showering her with praise. She is no longer with us, so I cannot ask her. I like to think it was a memory maker. A tradition unique to that time in our lives. All I know is how grateful I am to have that very same skillet in my possession, well seasoned by decades of use, non-stick smooth and black as night. 

As the resident ‘memory maker’ in this family I have passed this tradition down. This has become a favorite of my girls that I bake on the long, cold, snowy winter weekends we have here. The original recipe is made with flour and if you are not GF, by all means make it with regular flour. It will produce results that will stun and wow any guest or family member. Just be sure to call the crowed BEFORE you pull it out of the oven. Like any popover/pudding batter, it will begin to deflate immediately, but as you can see from the photo below, should maintain it’s vertical edges beautifully browned bubbles. Made with my new favorite Pamelas Artisan Flour I get near identical results to my regular flour version. It doesn’t rise quite as high, but my daughter is tickled pink she can have her Yorkshire Pancake once again. 

A couple of tips for making this pancake:

Bake in a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have cast iron skillet use an oven proof heavy bottomed pan with low sides.

This recipe can be doubled. I’ve not had much success tripling it as GF, but with flour you can easily triple it to feed a crowd. I have adjust the butter compared to the original whopping 1/2c amount, and have tried to make it as low fat as possible without compromising taste. This recipe is not dairy free, but I cut down the lactose by using Lactose-Free milk. Pre-heat your oven while preparing, and whisk well prior to pouring in the pan for GF. For wheat flour, mix thoroughly and let rest while oven heat. 

Gluten Free Yorkshire Pancake

1/2 cup Pamelas Artisan Flour (I cannot recommend good results with any other flour. I’ve not had success with this recipe until I used this brand of GF all-purpose flour)

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs (whisked in to the milk)

1/4 c butter, melted (see recipe) 

pinch of salt. (I love to use my himalayan salt)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Move the rack to the middle/lower rung of your oven (to allow for it to puff) and place your 10 in cast iron pan in the oven to heat up. (If your pan is not cast iron, heat on the stove top until very hot, but would NOT smoke oil) In a bowl whisk the eggs in to the milk  and add a pinch of salt. Add the flour and whisk in. There will be some lumps, let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then whisk out any remaining lumps. If using wheat flour, be careful not to over beat, as this will make the pancake tough. 

When the oven reaches temperature, CAREFULLY remove the hot pan to your stovetop. Add the butter and let melt. When completely melted, pour the batter in to the pan, and place in the oven. (I have found the GF flour can get a little thick, just make sure it’s spread to the edges)

Set your timer for 14 minutes and then check the cake. It should look set in the center, not raw. For the recipe amount above, I’ve found it to be done in between 14-16 mins. If I triple the recipe, I use a larger skillet (14inch) and let it go a full 18-20 mins. When it’s done, the edges will have puffed up and be crispy brown, the center will be soft like a pudding but not raw at all. 

This is so delicious served with real maple syrup and powdered sugar, a side of sausage links and a fried egg. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Let it be your memory maker! 


A Tabletop of Memories

A Tabletop of Memories

This afternoon the last remnants of Christmas were boxed up and put away.

I love setting up the tree every year and enjoying the ornaments all season long. Some people like their tree to match their decorations. Some people have concerns about little children, or pets. Some like a live tree, some an artificial. Some are attracted to tall spindly trees, some like them squat and fat. I enjoy them all, since each tree reflects the personality and character of both the individual, family and business.

In our home, we have a ‘family’ tree. (see Christmas Past) A few ornaments from my childhood, a few from my parents, one or two from a great grandmother, and a myriad collection from every year our my marriage and motherhood. It is part of a tradition I started on the first year of our marriage, an ornament to reflect the passing year.

One year we took the family on a Disney Cruise (highly recommended), so the ornament was a medallion from the ship. One year was a gold 3D City of Portland cityscape, in remembrance of my hometown which we had moved from that year. One of my favorites is the Christopher Radko ‘baby’ I found with my mother (top center) when were celebrating the birth of my oldest. One year, we had a giant ornament making part for my daughters and their friends. (the ’09 cinnamon ornament you see) A more recent collection included a clay miniature Army hat for my college freshman who had enrolled in ROTC, an angel for my youngest ‘angel’, a mini cigar box for hubby and a roll of sushi for me. This year, to honor our trip to the Hawaiian Islands, you see the snorkel gear and fins in the foreground.

Grandpa Bill adds to the collection, sending an ornament to the girls every single year. And every year, I pack away the ornaments for the girls to a special box designated ‘Girls Ornaments’. That way, when my daughters finally fledge the nest, they will have a Tree of Memories all their own.

This is just one of our family traditions. What traditions do you have? Ones that you will pass on to your kids? Try to find ones that last beyond the moment, ones that are part of an annual event. Ones that will hopefully cause your own children, and grandchildren, to pause and think about family and the memories you have created along the road of life.