I Am Baker

perfect rainbow pancakes

My original Rainbow Pancakes have been quite controversial, but hopefully that is all done.  I am sharing a slightly less technicolor version of them today, AND sharing tips on how you can great the Perfect Rainbow Pancake, just in time for Easter!

Tips for the Perfect Rainbow Pancake! #pancakes #rainbow

 

Here are a few tips!

Have lots of bowl on hand.  By far the most time consuming part of rainbow pancakes is creating six batters in six different bowls.  I suggest enlisting the little ones in the entire process, and then allow them to help with clean up afterwards.  I have found that this helps them understand that this is a “special” event and not something we do everyday.

Tips on how to make the Perfect Rainbow Pancakes! #pancakes #rainbow

Cook low and slow. I often cook my rainbow pancakes at 250 degrees F on the griddle.

Do not use butter to grease pan.  I do not use anything to prepare the pan, I simply use a a griddle that is non-stick.

Tips on how to make the Perfect Rainbow Pancakes! #pancakes #rainbow

Make all of one color at once.  I prepare all of the pink, then the orange, then so on.  I place finished pancakes on a warming plate in the oven, and that way I can serve all of the pancakes hot and in rainbow color order!

If you want to make shape you can place batter into a pastry bag and cut off a tiny bit of the corner.  Make an outline and then quickly fill the shape in.   This can be esepceially fun with you have so many different colors!

I do not recommend using cookie cutter to get the designed shape you want.  The average person (like me!) does not have 5 of one shape cookie cutter, so this means you are making one pancake at a time.  You also need to spray the cookie cutter before each use and be careful because it gets very hot!  I have yet to find a way to make this method  be efficient.

Use a “good” recipe.  I put good in quotations because what I really mean is use a recipe that is ideal for creating beautiful looking pancakes.  The following recipe is one that tastes delicious, but is slightly runnier.  When you are making colorful pancakes you do not want them to get too brown, so having a pancake that will cook faster (and therefor allow you to flip sooner) is ideal.  This recipe uses a lot of baking powder so it still fluffs up nicely.

If you want to make sure your pancake is done, let them cook on one side a bit longer.  It is just fine if one side is more brown, just serve that side down.

I slightly adapted this recipe from Allrecipes.com, but any basica recipe will do.  Simply add more liquid to achieve better results.

perfect rainbow pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. Pour in milk, egg and oil and mix until smooth.
  3. Pour the batter onto the heated griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
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Tips on how to make the Perfect Rainbow Pancakes! #pancakes #rainbow

Use a good food coloring.  With this recipe specifically you can use liquid food coloring with great success!  It’s also a great time to get your teacher hat on with the kids, and help them to figure out what colors you need to combine to achieve orange and purple and green.

Enjoy the process.  Most of all, enjoy this time in the kitchen with your little ones.  They grow up so fast!

 

 

I Am Baker

paper thin walls {a response to a response to a response}

I recently had an email in my inbox.  It was from care.com and read:

War Of The Hotel Rooms: Should Babies Be Banned?

Recently, an anonymous letter berating a set of parents who brought their baby to a ski resort went viral. People were quick to pick sides — and a heated debate began: “Are there certain types of vacations that simply are not appropriate for kids and babies?” Two Care.com employees (one a parent, one a former service industry manager) have different reactions. What are your thoughts?

Now, I was pretty sure what the two lines of thinking were going to be.

One would say that babies shouldn’t be allowed on vacation and the other would say that they should.

Olivia Crying

I clicked over to the article and started reading.

And kept reading.

And the more I read, the more disbelief set in.

BOTH opinions agreed that babies should not be taken anywhere.  And one suggested that

(and this is the part that gets me)

a crying baby should be brought down to the lobby to be quieted.

Just as a family with a crying baby should leave a restaurant when it gets too bad, so should parents at a resort. They should have gone to the lobby to soothe the child. No, it’s not convenient, but we all need to be more considerate of each other, especially when people around you are eating or sleeping.

olivia

 

Um, what’s this you say person who does not have any kids?  Surely you jest.

Let me just jump right in and share my biggest issues with this drama.

1. If it’s such an upscale ski resort, why are the walls so paper thin?

2. Since when is “should babies be allowed” EVEN A DEBATE?  Next thing you know there will be “BABY ONLY” sections of hotels.  Or restaurants.  Or malls.  Or planes. (That last one is not a bad idea… )

3. Who on earth would bring a screaming baby from your private hotel room to a public lobby to try to sooth?  I would never dream of telling the party goers to take it to the lobby.  Or the loud ‘intimate’ people.  I mean, can you imagine?

Banging on the door. “Can you folks please continue your escapade in the lobby while I am trying to sleep?  You are ruining my vacation!”

I am completely dumbfounded by that line of thinking.

Here are five really important and technical and educated reasons that I find this to be phooey.

1. I have more than one child.  I simply cannot leave my other children alone in a hotel room while I go hang out in the lobby.

2. I nurse my babies and often try to nurse to sooth them.  There is no way I would feel comfortable nursing my baby in a public lobby.  Why hello Mr. Night Shift Manager!  Yes I am desperately trying to force my child to latch on to my nipple and they keep refusing but I keep trying because I know once they do they will calm down and feel better!

3. I happen to think bringing a crying baby to a lobby is rude.  More rude that attempting to deal with the situation in a private room that I paid to be in.

4. Crying babies are more stressful for the mom than the baby!  Not only are we worried about said child, but we are worried about the other kids, the disruption,  wether we will ever sleep again, if we remembered to shut the garage door when we left for the vacation… you get the idea.  It’s stressful for all involved.

5. It’s stupid.

sleeping baby

Trust me oh-complaining-ones, I want my little cherub to go to sleep just as much as you do.  And I promise, I am doing everything in my power to make that happen.

But you know what?  The suggestion of not leaving home with a baby ever is just plain rubbish.

Sometimes travel is inevitable.  Sometimes circumstances are more important that potential annoyances.  Sometimes plans are made and money is spent before you even realize you are pregnant.  (And yes, that has happened to me, twice.)

Sometimes people need to have compassion instead of being so darn judgmental and rude.

Here, let me solve this whole big overinflated ridiculous dilemma for you.

Change rooms.

Accept that babies are here to stay.  (Especially in hotel rooms:  Don’t discriminate against the baby unless you are going to discriminate against the act of making a baby. #word)

You’re welcome.

I Am Baker

three happy years

Mister Edward (or Eddie as we call him) woke up bright eyed and with a hungry belly this morning.

His request on his very special day?

Waffles!Sprinkle Waffles

These are just simple waffles with a bit of whipped cream and sprinkles, but definitely something new to him.

Birthday Breakfast

 

He was in disbelief.

He didn’t know if he could eat it.

He wanted to eat it, but hesitated.

Birthday Breakfast

 

I told him to dig in.

Really?

YES!

Birthday Breakfast

He did!  And only at the whipped cream and sprinkles.

But is one very happy three year old.

Happy Birthday Eddie!

 

I Am Baker

life

Life has been crazy.

I have been stressed and calm and happy and sad and excited and dejected and that was just today.

Since updating my mommy blog has been something I have been wanting to do forever but have been woefully negligent in doing so, I am just going FULL BOAR on it tonight.

eddie

 

This little man is growing up.  In less than a month he will be 3 and I cant handle it.  He is my snuggle bear and so stinking cute and makes us all laugh on a daily basis.

I have started taking our sweet Eddie to speech therapy once a week.  It was a tough choice because he is so small and because it’s quite expensive and our deductible is very, very high so we pay for most everything!  But he is worth it and I am hoping to see some improvement soon.  He seems to have a hard time with “sm” words and “pr” words.  He also drops words and doesn’t care to identify ‘he’ and ‘she’ correctly.  All fixable, and the prognosis is very good.

audrey-sassy

 

This sassy malassy is a stinker winker bear.  My sweet Audrey.  Full of spirit and words and energy, I find that she is my greatest challenge everyday.  Not only does she love to get dressed up as a princess (every.single.day.) but she is now obsessed with Elsa from Frozen and is constantly asking for us to tie blankets around her so she can have a long cape.  Not that the cold bothers her, that is.

parker-image

Cookies on Blue Plate by Parker

colton-image

 Cookies on Red Plate by Colton

I have been trying to teach Colton and Parker photography basics.  So far we have started on food photography, and they are LOVING it.

The above assignment was for the kids to pick any props they wanted and they had to “style” the shoot.  Once they got everything laid out they way they wanted, we put the camera on a tri-pod and talked about lighting.  How light bounces and reflects and shadows and natural vs. artificial.

This has been challenging because I am always learning as well!, but youtube has some great tutorials.

Secretly I am hoping one of them really has a passion for photography and I can start asking them to take all my blog pictures for me!

Intentional Parenting

 

I started writing a series on Intentional Parenting.  I have two weeks done now, and its really making a difference in my life!  Just hoping to do some more research and get some life experience before I share it.  Hoping it will help others as much as me!

I have also started running.  As in, running.  I know that is hard to believe as anyone who knows me knows I HATE RUNNING.  One day I just woke up and said, “I think I need to like running.”  And I did.

treadmill

 

This was the first time I ran over 2 miles.  I think I had a permagrin that whole night.  It felt SO good to reach that goal!

Tonight I ran 4 miles in 52 minutes.  That actually equals out to be a slow jog, like a 13 minute mile, but its a big deal for me.  A BIG deal.  The night before last I ran for one hour straight.  No stopping.  An hour!

I look forward to my run everyday and have thankfully avoided injury thus far.  My biggest challenge to date is mental.  I get bored.  I get distracted.  I get tired. (da)  So hubby downloaded The Biggest Loser and I watch that.  It’s been REALLY helpful and inspirational.  (I tried running without it and was only able to go a mile… that goes to show how mentally weak I am!)

Just hoping I can stick with it and get healthy (er).

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover1

image credit susan powers

Last but not least is this guy.  Officially on the book store shelves in 2 days.  Talk about a labor of love!  I have developed such a huge respect for the people in this industry.  The literary agents and publicists and publishers and editors and copyeditors.  Wow.  Those folks are such a talented and creative and AMAZING bunch.  I hope to have the opportunity to know them more in the future.

That being said, if you have not purchased the book do it NOW! (please)  I want to share this experience with you and read it with you and bake cakes together!

Amazon: http://goo.gl/zX1V9k

And with that I am headed to bed.  (And I didnt even talk about homeschooling!  I have some big changes to report on that front.  Hopefully soon!)

Be blessed!

I Am Baker

Red Velvet Chocolate Milk

So I posted a picture on Instagram and asked people what they thought of Red Velvet Chocolate Milk.  Based on the picture I posted (darn my love of filters) , 99.99999% of them said NO.  No.  Not ever.  Just… no.

Based on that awesome response you would think that I would scrap the recipe huh?

Red Velvet Chocolate Milk

 

I just couldn’t.  It was too fun and the kids were totally enthralled by it and it was a special occasion and I promise I will only make it once a year and never ever make anything with red food coloring in it ever again.

That last part is a lie.  #justsayin

Red Velvet Chocolate Milk

 

You can see that this is more pink than red, and I am ok with that in this case.  Since the red color is achieved primarily through the gel food coloring, I think it’s ok to skimp.

Red Velvet Chocolate Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp vinegar
  • 3 drops red food coloring (more or less depending on your tastes)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix for about 1 minute.
  2. Serve immediately.
  3. The cocoa will start to separate from the milk right away, so I do not recommend storing. If you do chose to prepare ahead of time, just put in the blender for 15 seconds prior to serving.
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Red Velvet Chocolate Milk

 

With the addition on the vinegar, I think this really does taste like red velvet.  And if you wanted to make it healthier you could use India Tree all natural food coloring.  Switching out the ingredients for all organic would be even better.

I liked this drink and really like the suggestion of making it into a milkshake.  Just need to head to the store and get some ice cream!

My BEST Homemade Chocolate Milk is always a good way to go if you like traditional yumminess. :)

I Am Baker

today i will

Some days are just easy to enjoy.

kids-homeschool

 

This day was one of those days.

When I woke up to a clearly defined plan of attack, and set about sticking to it as the sun crept higher and higher in the sky, it was easier to enjoy the little moments.

Why I don’t stick to a defined schedule everyday is beyond me, as it is clearly something I benefit from!  But what is even more important, my kids benefit as well.  They perform so well when they know what is expected of them.

On this day our homeschool time and requirements were very clearly laid out.  Like clockwork, the kids would complete a task and move to the next.

It was refreshing and encouraging. (And totally not something that I expect everyday!  I just wanted to appreciate THIS day.)

So, it seems to me, if I want to find joy in my daily routine and set the tone for our home, I need to be intentional about it.

Intentional living.

Better write that on my to-do list.

I Am Baker

Deliciously Organic

I have a very, very special guest today.  Carrie from Deliciously Organic is here to share her story.  I have met Carrie in person and she is as beautiful on the inside as out.  I trust her and respect her immensely and am honored she is willing to come here today not only share her heart, but useful ways to help others!  She is such a blessing! 

 

Deliciously Organic

If you had two girls under the age of 2, and your fighter-pilot husband was flying cover during a war in Iraq, would you think that was a good time to tackle a huge lifestyle change, like converting your diet to organic, whole foods? Me neither. I didn’t need more stress or one more distraction. But that’s what happened in 2003.

Two years earlier, after the birth of my second daughter, I began having daily migraines. I was 25. As migraines often are, they were both baffling and debilitating. The migraines I’d experienced after the birth of my first daughter had been infrequent and not as severe. But this time it was different. I often had to lie down in a dark quiet room, which was almost impossible with a toddler and an infant.

I was taking several medications to manage the pain just to get through the day. The migraines continued, though, settling into a routine of four or more a week. After two years of struggle my neurologist suggested adding yet another daily medication to my prescription regimen—a treatment plan that wasn’t working anyway. I kindly rejected her suggestion and drove home thinking, “There must be another way.“

The same day I saw my neurologist, a tiny newsletter article caught my eye as I went through the mail. It was about the benefits of organic foods. I knew migraines could be related to diet, so I wondered if changing to organic foods might help. I was at the end of my rope and willing to try something different.

Meal Plan Collage

Relief

At the time I was eating lots of vegetables to lose the last 10 pounds of baby weight. I replaced my lettuce with organic lettuce. That was my first step. I picked lettuce because it was the food I ate the most. Within a week I noticed a significant difference. The frequency of my migraines decreased, and it became easier to care for my kids. I didn’t need any more encouragement. I switched all our produce to organic with the intent of gradually increasing the amount of pure and untreated food in my diet and decreasing my pesticide intake. As I dug deeper and learned more, I continued making changes to my pantry and refrigerator. Over the next year and a half, I completely converted my family’s diet to whole, unprocessed, organic ingredients and was able to get off of all of my medications.

Deliciously Organic

Another Hurdle – Hashimoto’s Disease

I was thriving, healthy and so happy to have be with my kids and off of the heavy medications. Then in 2008, I had an amalgam filling removed and unfortunately the doctor didn’t take the proper precautions during the extraction. As a result, my thyroid absorbed many of the heavy metals and months later I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease (you can read the full story here). The disease ravaged my body with hives, I had little energy and was quickly slipping into a depression. Once again the doctors didn’t have any answers and said there wasn’t anything they could do. I once again turned to nutrition and began a grain-free diet rich in healthy fats, meats, vegetables and fermented foods to begin the healing process. After several years of hard work, discipline, and the amazing guidance of my nutirtionist, I’m happy to say the disease is now in full remission!

Through organic, unprocessed food our family of four has overcome severe asthma, eczema, Hashimoto’s, IBS and migraines, all without drugs—just good, natural, real food.

If your goal is to make healthy changes this year then I encourage you to start slow, arm yourself with great recipes and make one change a week. Is there still room for cake? Of course!

 

Deliciously Organic

Chocolate Cake

 

Today I have some great resources for you to help you make that first step, or help to continue your journey to healthier eating.

Deliciously Organic

Special #1

The Deliciously Organic cookbook plus 6 months of meal plans for $50 (retail $94.94).

Choose from Classic, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free or Paleo meal plans.

6 Month Meal Plan

 Homemade Samoas

Special #2

The Deliciously Organic cookbook, 3 months of weekly meal plans the grain-free adaptations for each recipe in the cookbook, and a collection of my favorite crock pot recipes for $35 (retail 84.95).

Choose from Classic, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free or Paleo meal plans.

Cookbook Special

 

Offer expires February 10th.

*****

This is such a real, raw and wonderful offer.  I know I will be making some changes!!  Please do let me or Carrie know if you have any questions!

I Am Baker

Truth or Dare


Let’s play a little game of Truth or Dare.  This should be fun.

First, I pick DARE.

I dare myself to live in Minnesota during a long, cold winter (there is a high of -15 today.  I am not kidding.) and still feed my family fresh farm-to-table ingredients.Beautiful Corn from DelMonte

Ha ha ha! (Evil villainous laugh here). Dare accepted!  See that gorgeous corn up there? That is from a can. A can of Del Monte® Whole Kernel Corn that was picked at the peak of ripeness and often canned that very same day.

Not only are they gorgeous straight outta the can, but they are even better roasted.

To make Roasted Corn, I drain and dry the corn softly with a paper towel. Then place the mostly dry corn on a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and coarse pepper.  Roast at 350 for 25-30 minutes. (The reason I roast for so long is because the corn sweats off a lot of liquid. Start watching your corn around 15 minutes so that none of the delicious bits get burned.  If the edges get too dark, simply open the oven and carefully toss the corn to evenly disperse.)

Amazing Roasted Corn (And its from a can!)

My family fights over the little brown bits. They are the best.

Fresh food in sub-zero temps? Check. (Ok, ok. So Del Monte made that easy for me.)

This time I pick TRUTH.

Ok… here goes.

“I can get my kids to eat green beans without complaining.”Roasted Green Beans

Do you think I am lying? Ha, ha! (there’s that evil laugh again!) Not only do they like these roasted Del Monte® Cut Green Beans, they ask for them.

Roasted Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 can DelMonte Green Beans
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil*
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Open can of green beans and dry very well. Place bean on parchment lined baking sheet. Break coconut oil up into little bits and drop sporadically over beans.
  2. Evenly sprinkle the paprika, garlic powder, onion flakes and salt and pepper over beans and roast for 15 minutes at 350.
  3. *You can also use Extra Virgin Olive Oil; just drizzle it over all beans.
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So clearly I dominate at Truth or Dare. I tell you what. No one likes a know it all. You (and by you I mean me) have one more chance to win this. For this last challenge, I choose dare. But not just any dare, a DOUBLE DARE.

I double dare myself to serve my family a dessert that they will accept as dessert but that will have no added sugar.

**starting to panic**

Must scan the garden of freshness in my pantry… Garden in my Pantry with DelMonte

Do you see what I see?  Del Monte® No Sugar Added Sliced Pears, and right at my fingertips! Pears & Blueberries, a bright winter time treat!

Top with a couple fresh blueberries and I have a delicious dessert that the kids like to eat and that I feel good about serving them. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling pretty darn good.

Not only did I dominate Truth or Dare, but I fed my kids nutritious and delicious food. That’s pretty much the best mom day ever!

And I want YOU to have the best mom (or dad!) day ever. I would love to give one of you a $100 Visa Gift Card!  To enter simply tell me: “What are your favorite fruits or veggies to stock in your pantry?”

 

Entry Instructions: You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post.
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post.
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
  5. No duplicate comments.

This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 1/6/2014-2/6/2014

Be sure to visit the Del Monte brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

I Am Baker

keep on clickin

Photography has been a bit of a conundrum for me.  I love love love to take pictures, but have never felt much confidence in it.

Hoarfrost in Minnesota #iambaker

 

I am enamored with the idea of capturing a moment in time.  With causing others to stop and appreciate something that they may or may not have noticed prior.  With finding beauty in the ordinary.

Hoarfrost in Minnesota #iambaker

 

Recently I created a new Media Kit, which is basically the equivalent of a bloggers resume.  I actually hired someone to do this, as resumes are not my strong suit.  One thing that I was tasked to do is define my occupation.

(Apparently “blogger” is not sufficient.)

Hoarfrost in Minnesota

 

And there, in black and white and looking as scary as ever, I had written ‘Photographer’.

The timid insecure girl in me wanted to immediately follow it up with, “…but not a good one, I just do it because I have to!”

Hoarfrost in Minnesota 2013

 

But I shouldn’t have.  Because even if my images are not as professional as they should be, or correct in composition, or are over sharpened, or are of the same leaf that has been photographed a million times before…

Hoarfrost in Minnesota 2013

 

…even if they are not beauty in someone else’s eyes, that is ok.

I have to say it again;  If others don’t like what I do, its ok.

 

Hoarfrost in Minnesota 2013

 

They are an extension of me.

Of my perspective in this world.

And my soul finds purpose in that very simple expression of self.

So for now, I will keep on clicking.

I Am Baker