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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oh, The Hills! Enough With The Hills!

One of the beautiful things about living at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the hills. They are breathtaking in more ways than one.

To supplement some spending money and as a source to get out and explore, I’ve taken a part-time, mid-day dog walking position in my neighborhood. The job market is very good up here, except I’m adamant about not having to do the “D.C. Crawl” every day in a commute, so I’m being very picky about my job search options. Plus I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Anyway, back to the hills. There is not a flat, level road in my entire neighborhood community. After 2 weeks of this dog-walking thing, every day for 2 hours, I’m SO OVER the hills! My knees are like, DUDE WTF? Advil, Osteo Bi-Flex, and Centrum are daily necessities and I feel old. This is nature’s Stairmaster at its best.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dutch Baby, Baby!

Dutch Baby When hubby and I lived in Florida, we had a sort of superstitious tradition of going to a certain Chinese restaurant for take-out whenever a hurricane was coming to the area. It started as a tradition of necessity when the 2004 hurricane season left us without power and the Chinese place around the corner had a kick-butt generator. There was a customer line out the door, and we gladly waited an hour to eat something hot and cooked by someone else.

Now that we’re in Virginia, we make a Dutch Baby (a.k.a “Snowday Pancake”) every time we’re faced with something like this:


I know, it’s nothing, but it’s a fun excuse to start a new tradition. This yummy breakfast treat is a mix between a pancake and a cooked custard. The outside puffs up light and cakey like a pancake, while the center is a rich and dense custard. It’s a bit like magic, really, and the final presentation is gorgeous.

Yummy Dutch Baby Pancake
All it takes is one bowl, a whisk, and a glass baking dish. Or, if you want, you could dispense the batter into individual ramekins for more pizazz.

Dutch Baby
(a.k.a “Snowday Pancake”)
Recipe Source: I don’t remember

4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix eggs, flour, milk, vanilla, salt, and spices in a bowl with a whisk. The batter may be slightly lumpy, but that’s o.k. Also, the batter may be made the night before and kept in the refrigerator.

Cut butter into pieces and place in a 9” x 13” Pyrex or casserole dish. Place the casserole dish in the oven and allow the butter to melt until it is slightly browned. Be careful, as the butter can go from slightly browned to burnt very quickly. This extra step gives the pancake wonderful flavor!

Once the butter is melted, take the casserole dish out of the oven and pour the batter over the melted butter. Place the casserole dish back in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown and very puffy. When finished baking, remove the casserole from the oven, cut the pancake into serving sizes, and dust each serving liberally with confectioner’s sugar. Serve with pancake syrup and jam.
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