Saturday, May 17, 2014

Puff Pancakes for Grumpy Mornings (A Rhubarb Sauce Recipe)

The sunshine last until late in the evening and greats us early in the morning.  We have been digging in the garden, running through the sprinkler, chasing our adolescent chickens and before I know it, the kids are up too late again and when I wake them up they are grumpy. 

On morning like these I have a favorite breakfast recipe: puff pancakes

I drag myself down the stairs, preheat the oven, melt the butter, mix the batter, and while the pancakes bake I wrestles kids out of pajamas, into clothes and comb sleep tangles out of hair. 

When the timer beeps we have perfectly puffy pancakes. 

The more often I have made these the more I have explored possible puff pancake combinations and the options are endless.  Here are my favorites:

1. Thin slices of Apples and Brie added to the butter while the oven preheats. 

The results are less puffy, but delicious with a drizzle of maple syrup. 

 2. A cup of thawed and drained Flathead Cherries added to the bottom of the pan, just before the batter is poured in:

The cherries juice and is beautiful dusted with powdered sugar. 

3.  My current favorite is the basic puff pancake served with Rhubarb Sauce, picked from the rhubarb plant along the front fence of our yard.  It is fresh and sweet and tart.

Rhubarb Sauce

2 cups of rhubarb, chopped
3/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar (or a little less - I usually start with 1/4 cup and keep adding until it tastes right)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

- combine rhubarb, water and sugar in a sauce pan and simmer over medium/low heat until the rhubarb falls apart when stirred and the mixture resembles applesauce. 

The kids glare, wine and complain: they want plain puff pancakes. I serve them plain puff pancakes and on the edge of the plate I set a dab of sauce.  They gingerly, reluctantly, give it a try and then reach for the ladle and spoon their own helping onto the plate. 

I sip my coffee. 
A perfect cure for a grumpy morning. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Sun Shines Through the Rain

100% rain in the forecast.
I waver.  Should we?  Shouldn't we?
And then I decide.

We should.
We definitely should use Ivory's school free day to drive across the border into Idaho and hike to the Jerry Johnson hot springs.
I chop carrots, apples, cheese and pack up crackers, hard boiled eggs and almond butter.
I wrestle sleepy kiddos out of pajamas and into clothes.
I cram the dogs into the tiny hatch back space in the back of the car.

We are on week four of this year's field season.  Adam leaves early in the morning on Monday and often doesn't return until Friday night.  The weekends are taken by catching up on garden chores, laundry, dishes and packing him up again for the next week.  He has been working hard outside all week and I have been running a household.  Our needs clash.  I want out and he wants a chance to sit down.

This isn't just about my need to walk under the trees, to get out of town and ignore my never ending to do list.  This is also about proving to myself that I can take a five year old and a three year old hiking on my own.  I need to get outside.

So we go.

The sun shines through the rain.

There are flowers - white, yellow, pink and purple.

Waves of mushrooms carpet the ground.

We sit in a hot pool while the river crashes below us swollen with the spring snow melt.

It rains.

And the sun shines through the rain.

Ivory walked the entire route with out complaining and even Sylvan walked the whole way back to the car.

They pick up snails, stomp in puddles and explore the burned out trees that remain in the after math of a forest fire.

As soon as we get to the car it pours.
It pours until we drive out of the clouds and are surrounded by feet of snow.
We stop for dry clothes, hot chocolate and coffee at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center.

We travel into Mountain Time.  It is an hour later.
There are cracker crumbs everywhere.
The dogs are wet and stink.
The kids are asleep and I feel grounded and liberated.

A few hours driven, a few miles walked, sunshine, rain and the space to notice at all the little things along the way - and - I am ready to be home. I am ready to walk through the door and greet Adam who will be waiting for us.  I got out and he can sit down.

The sun always shines through the rain.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Back and Forth

I have been pulling the green garden cart back and forth, back and forth, piled high with wood chips, loaded with rocks, and almost empty with just my helper in tow. 

The raised bed is being dismantled and more garden beds dug.  The weekends are spent digging. The rocks pile up.  On weekdays I pull the cart back and forth, back and forth.

The dump truck load of wood chips is shrinking one wagon load at a time.

Covering spaces were grass was and hopefully will not be for a little while.

I feel guilty for sending Ivory to school to sit inside when there is so much sun outside.

Strong stems of rhubarb are standing along the front fence.  It seems that is was just yesterday that the first red and green hints of spring pushed through the soil and last years maple leaves. 

It is spring, undeniably spring.  
The mystery fruit tree, apricot we think, is blooming for the very first time, and we are present to witness. 

Tiny tomato, zucchini, winter squash of all sorts, sunflower and cosmo plants have broken ground and are standing one leaf tall in tidy toilet paper roll rows.  

Half of the garden beds have been weeded and I am already running out of room.  Where to put the onions, the cabbages, the broccoli?

The sky is blue and dotted with white clouds.  The sun is warm and the wind chilly.  I take off my fleece and put it on again.  The moment seems endless.  The now an eternity. 

It is May.  


Wasn't there snow just yesterday?