Saturday, 29 June 2013

Hoe Cakes (Cornmeal Pancakes)

Wake up every morning with the thought that something wonderful is about to happen. - Unknown

Today was my children's first official day off school.  So, as a special way to kick of the summer months, I made a common southern breakfast....Hoe Cakes, Johnny Cakes or simply Cornmeal Pancakes.  They say that these were George Washington's favourite breakfast food.  They are so delicious...I hope that you would give them a try.  And most importantly... the only noise I heard from my children this morning was....mmm.... and.... these are so nice....

I think we are off to a good begining of summer....

Hoe Cakes or Johnny Cakes (adapted from: Deep South Dish. com)
makes 15,  5-inch pancakes

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups cornmeal
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk*
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup oil

1.  Put all the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk.
2.  Into another smaller bowl, add all the wet ingredients.  Whisk.

3.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined.
4.  Fry on a lightly oiled skillet or hot top.

 5.  Enjoy!

 * making your own buttermilk is simple.  Just pour 1 Tablespoon of Lemon into the bottom of a liquid measure.  Then pour in enough milk to equal 1 cup.  Let the lemon and milk sit for a few minutes...There you have it!  1 cup of Buttermilk! (for this would add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of lemon to 1 1/2 cups of milk)

Saturday, 22 June 2013


A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. - Lou Holtz

I hope you enjoy these pictures of birds.  I've tried my best to capture them on photo for a very special reason....Today would have been my little brother's 34 birthday.  He passed away due to health complications when he was 27 years old.  One of his favourite things were birds...and his most favourite were small song birds.  In fact he had thought that every person would benefit by owning a canary...and it's beautiful song.
So, when the warmer weather rolled in a few weeks ago, bird songs began to fill the air around my house again.  One early morning, just as the sun was rising, I heard my littlest son's footsteps running in the hall.  First, I heard his feet come tiptoe into my room...then the sounds of his feet trailed off as he ran into all the rooms down the hall.  In a moment, he had come back and queitly entered my room.  He just gazed out the window for awhile.  At first, he quietly exclaimed to himself,"Wow!"  Then he turned to me and said, "Mom, do you hear? All the birds are singing in your room!"
And so they are...
Happy Birthday John!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A Summer Morning

If you want to be happy, be. -Leo Tolstoy

Here is our world today...
Leopard Frog
Cedar Wax Wing
Red Squirrel
Red Earred Slider Turtle

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Yeast Pancakes with Raspberry Syrup

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides. - David Viscott

June is a month of birthdays in our after the next.  And one of our favourite ways to celebrate is with a special birthday breakfast.  There are so many delicious things that you can make for breakfast.  Here are some of our favourties:

Homemade Bagels
Apple Cheese Danish
Sticky Buns
Almond Buns

But for my husband's birthday I decided to make fancy pancakes...
We enjoyed this twist on a traditional breakfast standard.  I hope that this recipe can inspire your own creative breakfast celebration...for a birthday...Father's Day...or any other special occassion.

Yeast Pancakes (from Taste of Home)
Serves 4-6 or about 12 pancakes

2 packages quick rise yeast
3 cups warm milk
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs 

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. 
2.  In a small pot, warm up milk and butter.  (mixture should be about 120 degrees F) 
3.  Slowly incorporate the warm milk into the flour, yeast mixture. 
4.  Lightly beat the eggs; stir into the batter until well combined. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
5.  Pour batter by 1/2 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancake; cook until second side is golden brown. 

Serve with...

Raspberry Syrup (from Allrecipe)

1 pint fresh raspberries (frozen raspberries work fine, too)
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 cup cold water

1.  Combine raspberries, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl.  

2.  Pour mixture into saucepan.  Add orange juice and water.  Bring to boil.
3.  Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until desired consistency is reached. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
4. Puree the sauce in a blender or with a handheld immersion blender and strain it through a fine sieve.
5.  Serve warm or cold. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you certainly will. - Abraham Lincoln

I love grandmothers.  I think I have mentioned this point before.  I don't know why people have such bad impressions of growing old...some of the nicest people I have ever met are over 90 years old.  I think that with age, comes wisdom...and that wisdom comes from life's lessons...some easy and some not so easy.

My husband's grandmother is ninety-two years old.  She still has a garden...that by the way, is growing more nicely than mine....She still takes the subway to do all her grocery shopping....even though her family offers to take her...She still bakes fresh bread and cakes....and has the family holiday dinners at her house.  She now, for the first time in her life, lives alone.

I had to take my sons to a school activity in town the other day.  We would be driving by grandmother's house.  It was a hectic day...and I was not sure if I would have time to stop and say hello.  Happily, as the day came to a close, with no prior arrangements, my children and I were able to pay their great-grandmother a visit.  After all the hellos and kisses my husband's grandmother led me to her kitchen.  Smiling she pointed to a bowl she had prepared on the table.  The bowl contained flour, butter and two eggs.  Immediately, I recognized the ingredients.
and not just any cookies....
but my youngest son's favourites.

So I thought,"How did you know we were going to stop by? I didn't even know we would."

I have four children.  My youngest one is almost eight years old. He has the energy of 20 children bundled up into one little body. Usually, noisy children and elderly do not mix.  Though my husband's grandmother could focus on my son's flaws, she somehow manages to always miss them and instead sees the best in him.

She made her cookies and gave him a hug and said, "Do you know how much I love you."  He hugged her back and looked her straight in the eyes and said, "I know. I love you, too."

She has taught me how to value what is important...and to look past the rest.
I love grandmothers.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

On the Carousel

Watch with glittery eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
-Ronald Dahl

The nicest carousel I have ever seen just happens to be down the rural Ontario.
This little piece of history is over 100 years old and has been lovingly maintained by the Roseneath Agricultural Society.  Originally made by a master carousel builder from Kansas, it made its way to the small community of Roseneath, Ontario in 1932.  Every unique horse has a real horse hair tail and beautiful music from an Wurlitzer Military Band Organ fills the air.
In order to maintain the carousel, it is housed in a sixteen sided climate controlled wooden structure.
So this weekend I went with my youngest little one and his friends to take a ride...4 little boys...all wearing big smiles as we went round and round...
A visit to the Roseneath Carousel is well worth the trip.  Please check out more information at this link: Roseneath Carousel
Here is our day at the carousel...