pink skies, pancake wishes, & puppy dreams

winter sunset

The sunset here was pretty spectacular last Saturday; I enjoyed watching the sky change to pink and for a brief while the whole world had a rosy glow to it. I was lucky enough to wake up Sunday morning and have Ryan whip up some dreamy blackberry pancakes for me too! Speaking of dreamy…I wonder what Melody dreams about?

blackberry pancakes for breakfast at home this morning

by Valerie | 02.11.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Panettone French Toast

Panettone4

Several years ago one Christmas my Dad suggested making French toast with panettone, Italian for bread with stuff in it. While we had never thought to try that it made perfect sense. The panettone is light and fluffy like challah and a bit similar to raisin bread with stuff inside making it the perfect combination of the two types of bread I most commonly use to make french toast. Since then each year we make sure to get a loaf of panettone and make French toast. My French toast recipe is probably the combination of several other recipes online but it works pretty well.

  • 1 loaf of panettone
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • butter for cooking (about 1 tsp)
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Slice the panettone in thick slices, about 1/2-inch thick or more. Mix the eggs, milk, cinnamon, and extract together in a wide bowl. Heat up a skillet, pan, or griddle over medium heat. To check the heat toss some water on it, when it dances and sizzles in the pan it is ready. Melt some of the butter in the griddle (I do this each time before I add a new slice of toast). Dip a slice of panettone in the batter make sure to coat both sides. Place on griddle to cook. Cook each side until golden brown. Plate and dust with powdered sugar.

Panettone2

by Ryan | 12.25.14 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

weekend haps

Strawberry Pancakes

A few things that always make me happy are…Christmas, flowers, our dog Melody, lattes, and pancakes (not necessarily in that order, but you get the idea)! I’ve been feeling icky and Ryan was very nice and made me strawberry pancakes for breakfast this morning. Lucky me – because while eating my pancakes, I could also enjoy the fresh, Christmasy flowers I put together and our sweet dog, Melody, sitting near the Christmas tree. I just love these porcelain photo ornaments with personal, family photos on them – the one below is of Ryan as a little boy with his Dad…so sweet!

Ornament

Hydrangea & Hypericum

Melody

by Valerie | 12.07.14 | Around our home, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

What’s a Zebu?

We had a fun, busy, Christmasy weekend. We kicked off our weekend with some Midnight Madness fun in downtown Ann Arbor to finish up our Christmas shopping and we stopped into the Old German for a drink and to share their delicious, baked soft pretzels with spicy mustard and cheddar fondue. Downtown Home and Garden had a petting zoo for the weekend, complete with alpaca, goats, sheep, a donkey, and a zebu. The zebu had the best eyelashes! I wanted to get a good picture of the zebu, but it didn’t want to pose for me – oh well, you know how zebus can be. We hosted a holiday brunch at our home on Sunday and really enjoyed having everyone over and sharing such delicious food with friends; Ezra (who shares my love for strawberries – in fact, I’m pretty sure he loves them even more than I do) even showed me the proper way to patty-cake – thanks, Ezra! During our brunch, the snow started to fall outside (it really was perfect timing) and 3 different groups of friends at the brunch were heading directly from our place to pick out their Christmas trees.

by Valerie | 12.09.13 | Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | 1 Comment »

Giving thanks…

…for family and friends, for our dog Melody (she’s so cute it hurts), for good food, for our beautiful home, and for my amazing husband – who is a great cook, is always easy on the eyes, who lets me put my cold feet on him when I first get into bed to help warm them up, has a wonderful sense of humor, and who happily makes me lattes whenever I ask him to.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving brunch with friends and a quiet, relaxing Thanksgiving dinner at home with just Ryan, Melody, and me. Deviled eggs was the first thing we made, followed by pumpkin pie (which is a long, sad story – but it’s ok because we bought one from the store today to make up for it), bourbon whipped cream, fresh cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, and turkey. On the floor, under a blanket, by the fire is where I found myself falling asleep early in the evening, with Ryan and Melody by my side.

We served our deviled eggs on a lovely Russel Wright piece. I really love Russel Wright serving dishes; they are so simple with beautiful, muted colors – we’ve picked up a few in recent years at garage sales and resale shops.  I think it made my deviled eggs look extra sexy – well, as sexy as deviled eggs can look, I suppose.

Today, Ryan made me waffles with fresh apple compote for breakfast and we took a walk to a nearby park with Melody. Later, we’ll enjoy some Thanksgiving leftovers and I’m sure to find myself by the fire,  under a blanket again, likely watching some holiday movies.

by Valerie | 11.29.13 | Around our home, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Weekend update

It’s glorious fall weather here this week and even with the rainy, cloudy day last Sunday I appreciated that it really felt like fall. We met a friend for brunch on Sunday and enjoyed catching up – sometimes you have to remind yourself to stop and smell the roses with your peeps…even when everyone is busy.

I also enjoyed dining at The Lunch Room for the first time (since they moved into a permanent space in Kerrytown), followed by an extra delicious latte at Mighty Good Coffee. I thought it was fun how, instead of using a number for your table, The Lunch Room uses images (like a bird, a stand mixer, etc.) so they can bring out your delicious plate of goodness to the right table when it’s ready.

This is what our walks with Melody in our neighborhood look like this week…I know…crazy gorgeous, right?!?

by Valerie | 10.08.13 | Around town, For Funsies | No Comments »

Weekend (work) fun

We had a busy weekend with a little fun in between; beautiful weather and fun with friends on Friday and Saturday, complete with a fabulous, double birthday celebration, garden cocktail party (where I finally found a reason to debut this fun party dress) along with some shoe molding installation and trim paint in our house mixed in. It feels so great to be wrapping up some of the finishing touches and make our house feel polished and pretty. Ryan made these delicious banana nutella crepes for brunch on Sunday and we picked more heirloom tomatoes and hydrangeas from our garden.

by Valerie | 08.12.13 | Around our home, Garden | No Comments »

But first, I want you to say…”I… love… crepes.”

It’s been a cool (high of only 65 in July?), overcast morning and looking like it’ll rain at any moment most of the day so far. Yesterday, I picked blueberries so I suggested we have fresh blueberry crepes for brunch this morning and that’s exactly what we did. Ryan whipped up a batch of delicious crepes, using this recipe, with a blueberry filling. Speaking of crepes, this never fails to make me laugh.

I do enjoy lazy Sundays. With the cloudy, cool weather it feels extra nice to sit around the house and do a whole lot of nothing much at all. Melody seems like she’s got being lazy down to a science. I did step out to our backyard and pick some of the largest tomatoes we’ve ever grown in our garden as well as some jalapenos, bell pepper, and I cut some nasturtium to make this sweet little arrangement. Here’s to lazy Sundays!

by Valerie | 07.28.13 | Around our home, Garden, Princess Puppy Pants, Recipes | No Comments »

Easter treats

We enjoyed a relaxing Easter – brunch with friends (which Ryan made a delicious, vegetarian frittata for), a made-with-love-by-Ryan Easter latte (he said the foam bunny on top wasn’t too good & you had to use your imagination, but I saw it & appreciated it), & some Easter candy to enjoy. I hope the Easter bunny brought you some treats & that you enjoyed the beautiful day!

by Valerie | 04.03.13 | Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

biscuits and southwesty gravy

Val woke up this morning and had a hankering for some biscuits and gravy. So that is what we had.

The biscuits are just vegweb’s Savory Biscuits recipe with a bit of extra flour and basil for the dried herbs. The gravy was a modified version of this gravy recipe. So here is the modified recipe, it makes enough to top about 10 biscuits:

  • 1 package Upton’s Chorizo Seitan chopped
  • 1 jalapeño minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 5 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 heaping teaspoon butcher’s cut pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp veggie stock
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt (this one is up to you)

You could probably do this all in one pot but I used a small pot and a pan and cooked the saucy part of the gravy separately from the meaty part.

Heat a pan to medium heat. Add in 2 tbsp of margarine. Add the seitan and the jalapeño and cooked until it browns a bit. About 5-7 minutes at most. Turn heat off.

In a small pot heated to medium heat add 2 tbsp of margarine. Add the onion, garlic, pepper, and shallot. Cook until translucent. Add the flour and remaining butter. Cook for an additional few minutes. Add the veggie stock and the cornstarch stir to make sure that there are no clumps from the cornstarch. Bring to boil, then add the soy sauce and nu-yeast and cook for a minute or so more. Once done combine and pour into pan with the seitan and mix well – add salt to taste. Serve over top of some delicious biscuits.

One quick note about the biscuits: cook the biscuits directly on a pizza stone, don’t put in a pan. If you don’t have a pizza stone go buy one, you need it because it makes for perfectly cooked biscuits. Our stone, which should really be called a biscuit stone, permanently stays in our oven even if using a pan and always seems to help distribute the heat well.

Melody likes to keep a close watch for quality control while we cook. She takes her job very seriously.

by Ryan | 02.17.13 | Recipes | No Comments »

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