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Hi and Welcome to the new and improved PH! In case you were wondering, my old blog looked like this:

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And while I loved the look and feel of my old space it lacked a little something. I wanted it to be lighter and brighter and have more color. I also wanted to have a better focus or vision. ...continue reading 8 Things I Learned Migrating to WordPress.org

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pancakes

....stuffed with BACON!  Because, seriously, what says fall sweaters and boots, scarves and hats, beer and football, more than maple-allspice-cinnamon-laden-bacon-filled goodness?

I was pretty sure that this pancake recipe couldn't get any better.  I have dozens of friends who swear by it.  It really is melt-in-your-mouth good.  And we are BIG on breakfast in this household. I've added spices, fruit, nuts, chocolate chips to this recipe and always had great results.  The running joke in this house is that this is about the only recipe that I haven't drastically fiddled with, because I'm a serial recipe un-follower!

But I wanted a little change, I was wanting something that had a little more texture and depth.  Plus, I'm never one to settle for the same old stuff come fall, and being overseas in a country with no color change has filled me with fall envy!  I needed something warm and filled with fall, something that would feel like a blustery October day, if food can do that.

Earlier this week I achieved a whole new level of pancake bliss, and it was all because I happened to grab the wrong container from the pantry, and we happened to have not much bacon left.  I had burned a whole pan full, which sent me in to quite the tizzy because pork gold bacon is like $12 a pack here!

I tweaked the famous recipe just a bit, and the results were astounding.  The pancakes had a nice crisp to the edges, and the spices made them very dinner-worthy.  And then, well, there is the bacon part- you can make anything amazing with the addition of BACON!  Don't worry, they are good without the bacon too, in case you were wondering.  They pair great with a pumpkin or oatmeal stout for the grownups (I have know idea how I knew that)!

The kids ate these up and H complained because we ran out.  I almost don't want to share these because I secretly want to keep them for myself. 🙂  But that would not be very graceful or generous would it?  So, without further adieu:

Maple Fall Spice Pancakes

6 pieces cooked bacon
3/4 cup of milk
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar  (or white vinegar if it's all you have)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves (opt. for a little extra something)
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp packed brown sugar (this was that wrong container I mentioned)

In a small bowl combine the vinegar and milk.  Set aside while you fry up the bacon.  In a medium pan cook bacon over low heat.  You want the bacon to be done evenly and crispy, not undercooked, and certainly not overdone.   I'm sure you could broil it or bake it to achieve this if you wanted, but seeing as my oven doesn't like to stay lit, I stuck to the stove top.  While the bacon is cooking mix your dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In large bowl whisk egg, butter and brown sugar together.  Finish up bacon and place on paper towels to drain.  Whisk milk in to egg mixture.

I don't mix my wet and dry together until I'm absolutely ready to drop them in to the pan or griddle.  I'm having to use pans right now, on our pretty, but unreliable, gas stove in our new house.  I use two pans, with the burners set to the lowest flame.  I still have to pull the pans off between batches, and often wipe the pans with a paper towel because the butter burns.  But if you have a finicky stove like ours, these steps have ensured perfectly done pancakes, with no burning.  I can get this recipe done in three batches without the batter going flat.

So, once you're cooking surface of choice is heated (to where a few drops of water skid across the pan), mix your dry ingredients into your wet.  I use a rubber spatula for this part, folding slightly to get everything wet, but keep the mix clumpy.  Don't over mix lest you want flat pancakes!

Melt a little butter in your pan or spray with nonstick spray.  Drop batter in 1/4 cupfuls into pan and sprinkle with bacon pieces.

IMG_2011 Flip when edges are dry.

I do not make any representations as to how healthy (or not) these are!
I do not make any representations as to how healthy (or not) these are!

Enjoy plain or with real maple syrup (not that plastic bottle nonsense)!

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Happy Fall everyone!

~M

I sometimes share at these parties!  Come join the party fun!

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WOW!  I just looked at the calendar and today marks exactly 4 months since my last post.  As some of you know, H has been out of the country doing is duty, and I was single-parenting through the holidays!  I've missed my blog friends, and I've neglected Practical Happyness while making it through the last few months.  I'm not gonna lie, it was extremely difficult, the days blurred together in this seemingly mix of cuddles, messes, tantrums and commuting.  Every day was 8,000 hours long, with too little time to sleep, and so many milestones hit I couldn't keep track of them all.  I often wondered if I'd ever get to do another blog post, or take a shower in silence for that matter!  If I could figure out a way to telepathically post while driving to and from work and daycare, then I would've been the blogging queen!

Also, today is when Abby over at Just a Girl and Her Blog announced her Be Bold Challenge, and this little project was the perfect fit!  I've been dying to participate in the her co-hosted weekly party so it must have been fate!

Anyway, I'm glad to have H back, and so thrilled to be back here!  To kick off the new year, I'm sharing a little craft that I did for Little R's room makeover (which I'll share later, I promise!).   It was super simple, and cost all of $20, and I ended up with a room full of beautiful pieces of framed art! First, I started with an array of patterned scrap-booking paper:

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Then I printed out animal silhouettes.  I copied them in to word so I could size them to my frames.   After I cut them out, I paired the paper the way I wanted it.  This was probably the hardest part because I knew I wanted pattern on pattern in the frames, for visual interest and to spark the curiosity of Little R.  The theme of his room is bold color, with a gray and yellow paint scheme, so I wanted to find a tasteful way to display that without it being overwhelming.

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And after many minutes of tracing and cutting, I used double sided tape to hold the animals in place.  At the last minutes I decided to label them with permanent marker.  The first one I did was a buffalo in blue stripes over old fashioned handwriting:

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And a Fawn and Sparrow:

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And a poka-dot Lion!

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And of course, a Fox:

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The colored frames are the NYTTJA frames from Ikea.  We had purchased them several years ago for my sisters room.   They are still a fantastic deal at 3.99 for a set of two!

Finally, I did something very similar for two larger 12 x 12 frames, which I found at Hobby Lobby on sale for $4 each!  An Elephant and Bear seemed just perfect...both large beautiful animals, but from different regions of the world.  They both are just like my Little R- strong, sensitive, intuitive, introverted.   I layered a patterned filigree paper over a solid, and then chose a yellow and gray pattern for the silhouette.  I kept the layering theme for both frames so they looked like a matching/not-matching pair 🙂

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Well what do ya'll think?  What sort of crafts have you done for your little one's digs?  Keep a look out for the big room reveal sometime in the next few days!  Love & Happyness to All!

~M

I sometimes share at these parties!

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TitleBlueberry

I've been racking my brain trying to think of something blue to contribute to the Get Your DIY On party challenge.  Go figure- when I'm under pressure, this little DIY-er is at a loss.  Abby- if this is cheating just let me know 🙂

However, it is FALL- and it's my leaves-turning-football-loving-crisp-air-sweaters-boots-stew-most-favorite-time-of-year.  I cannot express how IN LOVE with Fall I am!  And with Fall comes my inner mama bear who, in an effort to prepare for winter I suppose, is suddenly bursting with recipe ideas.

Earlier today I made these breakfast boats which were a huge hit!  And then I had all this left over bread:

Waste not, want not!
Waste not, want not!

So I immediately decided to take a stab at some bread pudding.  I looooove a good bread pudding- and they are so simple.  Yet I think its their simplicity that make bread puddings easy to mess up.  I've had many a bad bread pudding in restaurants.  And what warms the soul and prepares it for fall better than bread pudding?

I then scoured the fridge to see what I had to put in said bread pudding- and there on the shelf was a half pint of BLUEberries!  So there you have it- I finally found some blue inspiration!

Before I started, I put the bread into a casserole and let it sit out to "stale" a bit- probably for a couple hours.

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Tear in to different sized pieces for a good bread-y bread pudding!

Then I reminded myself to write down what I was doing so I could post it here:

Blueberry-Hazelnut Bread Pudding

Slightly stale bread (I can't accurately determine how much I had- but it was enough to comfortably fill an 8 inch casserole.  This was left over challah from my breakfast baguettes).
2 tblsp butter
1/2 c blue berries
1/2 c hazelnuts
3 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter and drizzle over the bread.  Toss in the blueberries and hazelnuts (or whatever nut of your choice- or none if you are allergic!).  Gently fluff with your hand or a fork - this gets the blueberries and nuts to fall down a bit.  In a bowl whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Pour mixture over bread.  The bread should be soaking, mostly submerged (but not entirely) kind of like a bowl of cereal.  If it isn't enough to cover your bread, i.e. all the bread on top is still dry, then add a little milk.  Bake for about 45 minutes at 350.  You know it's done when it puffs to its maximum height and is springy to the touch.  Or use the knife test, the knife comes out damp but clear, with no milk on it.

Nice and fluffy, and golden brown on top!
Nice and fluffy, and golden brown on top!

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.  Try this homemade caramel sauce.  I added 2 tsp of butterscotch schnapps (there that stuff is again!) - it makes it taste like Werther's candies!

It looks just divine on my Grandma's china!  Makes me feel like I'm in England!
It looks just divine on my Grandma's china! Makes me feel like I'm in England!

And as always- here are my variations that I already want to try:  Banana walnut served with creme de leche, apples and raisins topped with whipped cream, a blend of berries, or butterscotch pumpkin spice!

What desserts warm your soul and make you think of fall?

Love and Happyness to All!

~M

I happily share at these parties!

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Title

Inspired by dinnerordessert as found on Once a Month Mom.

Sarah at the new daycare (read more about that here) is someone to admire when it comes to super mom-dom.  She has five of her own kids, runs an in home daycare with 6 little ones during the day (5 of which are boys between 6 months and 4 years!), and has taken on the daunting challenge of once a month cooking (OAMC in the circles of the knowing) for the whole house!  Seriously, ya'll, she's a mom-fu master, in my humble opinion.

Anyway- she introduced me to OAMC and I've been dabbling with the recipes to see if it's something I'm interested in trying.  I'm easing myself in though- preparing double meals a few nights a week and freezing one.  What interests me most, however, are the breakfasts, lunches and baby foods- because that's where we dump most of our moolah.

And then I found something magical at our farmer's market on Saturday:  fresh challah baguettes!  I love challah- but have not entered the foire of attempting to make it myself.  The best I've ever had was, naturally, made by the Jewish grandmother of the girl I nannied in college.  But, alas, I had to settle for the fresh baked baguettes at the farmer's market - which were tatsty, but did not hold a candle to that grandma's!  *Sigh*

Breakfast Boats

1 bag of baguettes (there were 6 HUGE baguettes in mine)
1 dozen eggs
1 lb sausage
3/4 cup half and half
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Start cooking the sausage over medium heat.  Meanwhile, cut out your baguettes- scoop the bread out of the middle leaving enough all around to hold the egg mixture (think Panera bread bowl).  Line them up on a baking sheet.

I really crumbled the sausage as it cooked- like you do with hamburger for spaghetti sauce.  In a large bowl crack all the eggs, add the half and half.  Whisk together well.  Add cheese, reserving a couple handfuls for topping.  Mix in cooked sausage.  Ladle in to baguettes.  Each of mine had about a ladle and a half.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set.  (Time will vary- mine took longer than the original recipe- I think because the baguettes were huge and I filled them a lot!)

Here is where I will give you a warning:  Are you one of those people who likes to line things with foil to have less mess?  Well, I am.  And I did.  And. It. Was. Bad.  After 20 minutes in the oven they were not cooking on top and were overcooking on the bottom and sticking to the foil.  I had to pull them out, do some emergency surgery, carefully pulling them off and replacing on the cookie sheet.  Disaster averted.

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When done sprinkle with cheese and melt.  Serve right away.  Makes six LARGE boats.  For smaller baguettes you would just make more or adjust the recipe as needed.  

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Yum!

I think these would be great in a bunch of different ways:  ham and swiss with some tomato and garlic, bacon and peppers and cayenne for a southwest twist, or just egg whites, cheese and veggies for healthier variety.

I can officially vouch that this was completely toddler approved (and I have one picky toddler, let me tell you)!

Happy little man!
Happy little man!

Last:  what did I do with all that extra bread?

Waste not, want not!
Waste not, want not!

Well made blueberry bread pudding of course!

Happyness eating to all!

~M

I happily share at these parties!