Easter was quiet around our house this year.  After a week of Bret being gone we were glad to have a day together.  Our stretch of cold, gray, wet days was broken, if only for the holiday.  In the afternoon we headed to an area of trails not too far from our house to soak in some sunshine and look for treasures offered by the changing season.

Easter

Easter

Even though the calendar doesn’t always reflect it, to me Easter feels like the beginning of Spring.  I start to see signs big and small of the earth waking from it’s winter hibernation.

New life.

Green on the trees in the palest of shades, as if they have been washed with the faintest of watercolor.

Blossoms on the trees leaving a fragrance of sweetness in the air.

spring

The appearance of dandelions and many, many bouquets of these “beautiful yellow flowers!”

Spending all our time outside.  Only coming in as the sun is going down, the boys dirty and spent from the fresh air and activity.  It’s all worth the winter wait.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter too!

Alison

 

pancakes

There is comfort in ritual. It can be anything, big or small.

For us, it’s pancakes on Saturday morning. I know a lot of families that share this ritual, but for us it is a big one. We don’t miss them, not even our summer vacations get in the way of pancake Saturdays. I just take the ingredients with us. There is really nothing like sitting outside, eating warm pancakes, listening to the wind blow through the evergreens, with the mountains as your morning view.

pancakes

This recipe is very simple. No eggs. No buttermilk. Yet they are fluffy, light and not overly sweet. I usually double the recipe as the boys will eat them cold as snacks or we’ll do a reheat of the leftovers Sunday morning for Samuel (he’s the only one that likes leftovers). I make each boy their pancake of request as they are cooking on the griddle. The most popular is chocolate chips. I love blueberries and Bret likes his plain.

pancakes

Pancakes

adapted from ‘The Joy of Vegan Baking’

yields 8-10 pancakes (this is never enough so I usually double the recipe)

1 cup whole wheat pasty flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup nondairy milk

2 tablespoons melted nondairy butter or safflower oil (or any vegetable oil)

3 tablespoons maple syrup or freshly squeezed orange juice

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine the milk, oil (or butter) and sweetener.

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix just until moistened; a few lumps are okay. Over-mixing makes for tough pancakes.

Heat a nonstick griddle over medium -high heat (I set mine at 325 degrees).

Pour the batter onto the heated griddle, about a 1/4 cup each. Add any berries, chocolate chips or nuts to each pancake at this point. Cook the pancakes for a couple of minutes until bubbles appear on the surface. Slide a spatula under the pancake and flip it over. Cook the pancakes on the other side for another 2 minutes or until golden brown.

pancakes

pancakes

Many times rituals are the building blocks for memories. I hope someday, when my boys are all grown, they’ll fondly remember Saturday morning pancakes. I know I will.

Easter Blessings friends! Have a wonderful weekend!

Alison

The days seem to be flying by this week, it seems like it should be more than Thursday…Saturday maybe?

Yesterday my ‘to-do’ list felt a mile long. Nothing that had to be done. Just lots of things I thought needed to be done. But I woke up tired. Looking out the window at yet another gray, cold day I felt my motivation gauge head toward empty. Thinking a trip to the gym might solve the problem I headed there after taking Henry to school. Although the workout felt great it did little for my desire to tackle the list sitting on my kitchen counter.

Then the sun came out.

After so many days of gray, rain and cold it felt good to see the blue sky. To walk into my kitchen, look out the back door and watch the clouds roll by, to see our dog Anna snoozing in the warmth of the sunshine. I think she missed seeing it too.

Did the sun coming out help my motivation? Yes, a little. Did I finish my ‘to-do’ list? No. The vacuum and cluttered closets will still be waiting for me. Instead I planted hens and chicks with Henry, listened to Ben tell me all he learned on his fourth grade field trip and watched Samuel as he described the excitement of an afternoon easter egg hunt.

Sometimes, I guess the really important things ‘to-do’ aren’t on any lists…

Alison

Can you believe I was 24 years old before I ever tried asparagus?  I know, me either.  I don’t think it was on the most popular vegetable list at the grocery store in my hometown.  Because believe me, we ate lots of veggies at my house  growing up.  Asparagus just didn’t happen to be one of them.

I was visiting a friend and her new husband in Minneapolis when she made it as part of our dinner.  It was simply steamed with a bit of salt and pepper.  Delicious.  I couldn’t get over how I had missed out on such a tasty veggie. I’ve been finding all kinds of ways to make it ever since.

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A couple of years ago I had an unfortunate allergic reaction to some MSG in a bottle brand of ranch dressing.  It was a lesson in reading ingredient lists and why I now make my own dressings.  It was easy to put together good vinaigrettes, but I also wanted a ranch recipe for variety (and because my husband loves it).  It took awhile to find just the right one.  We had a few disasters and a couple that were…okay.  My boys weren’t really ranch fanatics, but I thought if I could get the right recipe they would like it for dipping their veggies and maybe, just maybe they would eat more veggies because of it.

Well, over the summer I finally found just the right one.  My boys refer to it as “The Best Ranch Dressing Ever” recipe.

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