January 30, 2010

Buttermilk Pancakes + Blueberries

I thought we'd start with a classic.

Nashville had 6'' of snow on the ground this morning - quite a whiteout for us!*- & something traditional felt called-for.

And, a-hem.. easy.. We woke-up a wee-bit late, so there wasn't a great deal of patience for fancy footing it in the kitchen!

This recipe requires only a small number of ingredients & has easy instructions, so it's not a stress-maker or wrist flipping trickster - two things best avoided at all costs with sleepy eyes & a growling belly!

The only missing element here is buttermilk, not something I ever have in my fridge. Thanks to a PW's tip, that dilemma is easily solved: add 1 Tbspn of white vinegar to top-up 1 cup of milk & vola! Buttermilk.

I dropped a handful of blueberries into the batter once it was on the griddle for a touch of variety and there you have it!

Beautifully light, slightly sparkly & perfectly sweet tasting Buttermilk pancakes.

Oh, I could do it all over again right now! My mouth is watering... Pancakes for dinner??

Check out the original recipe here.

(*that's the most snow we've had since living here. Day 1 = VERY exciting. Day 2 = Cabin fever!! Nails painted, whites bleached, freezer cleaned-out...)

January 29, 2010

The Pancake Challenge

What started as a mild pancake craving, combined with the pending snow day that calls for such a tasty treat, has resulted in a new cooking challenge....

You see, I thought I'd take a quick trip around the internet, see what a few of my favorite online cooks did with pancakes. I was keen to ditch the box variety & try for fresh. And then spice things up a bit too - perhaps a bit of lemon here, a touch of sour cream there..

But this is America!! What was I thinking? It's like a falling down the rabbit hole of pancakes.

The options left my head spinning, how to choose, HOW TO CHOOSE?? Oh, the dilemma.

My decision? To try them all! Isn't that mature, self-control at it's best. Dear me...

And so the challenge is to try a new pancake recipe each weekend for the next 2 months & take you along for the ride. Tomorrow it begins!

x

January 27, 2010

You know you love music when....

... you sit on the ground at stinky-feet level, peeking through legs & balcony cables to catch a glimpse of the stage... you continually reposition to keep a clear view, based on the leg fatigue of those standing in front of you... you pray the guy who's back half is directly to your left didn't eat spicy mexican before the show... and did I mention the room felt like 105 degrees?

You know you love the music because despite the obstacles & personal space issues - IT. WAS. AWESOME. Wonderfully, musically, sonically, uniquely awesome.

In the dark, carpeted underbelly that myself & a few other females chose to brave, we watched at close range as Keith Urban & John Mayer traded songs & guitar solos for CMT's Crossroads.

Did I also mention we had a clear & direct view of Taylor Swift on the lower level? M-hmmm.. I kept an eye-out for any inappropriate flirting with John but there is nothing to report - quite a relief since she's barely out of middle school!

If you're thinking this is a new all-time-low (literally) just for music, it honestly didn't feel so. Sure, the fact that I haven't tried to cross my legs since the 5th grade made for an interesting time. And the charming girl who kicked-off her shoes half-way through deserved a firm tap on the shoulder (or, um, ankle?).

But there is nothing like the shared experience of live music where you sing, clap, groove & overheat together. When it's two of your favorites, the low points don't even matter.

[Oh, & come the 2nd half of the show they reversed the rows & us scummy back-liners dragged our butts off the floor for a front-row spot. All is fair in love & music!]

x

January 26, 2010

Happy (American date) Australia Day!

Is there anything better than the smell of fresh ANZAC biscuits straight out of the oven?!

True, you may hear me exclaim this a lot, in years to come, over chocolate cookies, banana cake, beef stew.. hmm... stew... BUT - on this our Nations "Day", ANZAC biscuits are numero uno!

(I'm holding fast to the title of biscuit, not cookie. One must keep her principles).

Beachside BBQ's aren't really a go-go here, so wearing Uggs - which I faithfully do most days during January! - & baking copious amounts of biscuits is my Australia Day contribution.

With a little help from Bill Grangers "Sydney Food"....


And the goodness of butter melted with molasses*...


... Our little biscuits of love were made!

*Disappointing, I know... This American ingredient sneaked-in due to the absence of golden syrup. I feel a little shameful, a little traitor-ish. It seems nothing is sacred these days. Next I'll be telling you to shoot Kangaroo's & eat Emu! Oh, wait.. we already do that.. Nevermind. Moving riiiight along....

Thankfully I had my trusty oven mitt to help do the job. Complete with some serious grime that I am only now noticing.. How embarrassing...

And this snazzy little plastic tray, which I think I will display them on. Doesn't that look festive! I know you're wondering where I found such treasures - both of these stylish items are care-of Soph & Pete Ryan.

Happy Australia Day, our beautiful Land of the Downunder. You are missed always.

x.

January 25, 2010

And the winner is...

The competition:
Free tickets to see John Mayer & Keith Urban record an episode for "CMT's Crossroads" by emailing a picture of your favorite crossroads in Nashville.

Nate's email entry:
Hi,

You know you're living in the South when you find this crossroad in downtown Nashville :) The choice is obvious, right! Right? I mean, left?
Two aussies, living in Nashville, hoping to see Keith and John play...
Nate and Cassie Tasker.

The crossroads picture:
The response:
Ahem - WINNER!!!! Yep! With a capital W!

We never win anything. Ever. Seriously. It's sad how not normal this is for us! MANY more exclamations marks could have been used to convey our excitement!!

Tomorrow night with a select few others we're going to watch & listen & clap on-cue for two of our favorites.

And to think I poo-pooed the idea yesterday as we headed downtown with our camera like a couple of tourists. I'm such a skeptic.

(that almost read septic.. close call.. thank you spell check. It really would've been poo-poo).

Ok. Goodnight.

x

January 16, 2010

Back to Brown

And now a feature from our history books...

Oh, no, wait a minute... That's me! Last friday. Wearing a shower cap in public... Aahhh, how all good weekends should begin!

It was time to go back.

Back to my heritage. My sisterhood. My roots. (Not to 1961, as this picture might suggest).

Time to go back to brown.

The fact that my hair was hating me for the peroxide I was torturing it with every month did kinda, sorta factor-in...

But for the sake of poetry, we'll say that the brown-headed blood flowing through my veins could be denied no longer.

Ahhhh, hello moisture! So kind of you to join us.

And men, I know you're dying to read about it, but perhaps it's best I save the blog on my new super-awesome, all-powerful shower cleaner for another time?

x

January 13, 2010

Haiti & Compassion.

All the little blue squares on this map represent Compassion projects in Haiti, in relation to the earthquake epicenter.

This represents 65,000 children.

Every week these children make their way to schools & churches to do exactly what kids in Nashville or Sydney would do every week - they sing funny songs together, kick a soccer ball or play on the swing set, read books, eat lunch, hear about Jesus & write letters to people that love them.

I have read dozens of tweets, blogs & emails in the last few days of how we can help, & I hope you don't mind my passing-along the details to donate toward the relief fund through Compassion.

Whether you sponsor a child with Compassion or not, they are an amazing organization who are on the ground in Haiti, focused on providing relief to children, families & churches devastated by this huge earthquake.

Wes Stafford, Compassion's President, communicated it best in an email today...

Sadly, we anticipate there will be many deaths. We anticipate thousands of children and families will have lost everything. We anticipate many of our church-based child development centers will have been destroyed.

Please reach out in the name of Jesus to bring relief, comfort, love and restoration to precious children and families whose lives have been devastated by this crisis.


Thank you. x

January 9, 2010

Winter.

I think I've turned a corner with Winter and January!

In years past I've been rattled by the Uggs & leggins', distressed at the bone-pinching cold that comes with the New Year. The whole chilly, hibernating, skin-drying time is in great conflict with my birth-hemisphere.

But this year it's different. This year I think we can be friends. The mediator? Donna Hay's Beef & Red Wine stew. Oh. My Word. Her tender, rich & dense stew goes a long way to bridging the seasonal divide.

[If I told you I took a spoon & finished-off the remaining juices, after all the meat or mushrooms were gone, would you think poorly of me? Juuust wondering...]

After a grand build-up on all the local news channels, Nashville's "snow storm" blew through like baby's breath last Thursday. It was more like someone sneezed near the icing sugar, But snow all the same! And so I made stew to warm-up our rattling limbs.

It still thrills me to see flakes fall & know there's nowhere we have to go - the worlds stops for bit & gets real quiet. And we curl-up on the couch with a bowl of warm stew, safe in the knowledge that not a single soul wants to venture out & steal the last few spoonfuls from me!

Winter. January. If you must...

x

January 1, 2010

A New Year Begins

Last night we waved a cheery farewell to 2009.


What a year! We laughed. We cried.

Jelly Bean Reflection - Chicago

On a highway in the great State of Texas

And then we cried some more.

Arriving at Old Street Station - London

No, I'm just messing. Nate didn't cry that much.

True, there were days & weeks that tested our perseverance. Our patience. And our trust in God's plans for us.

Snow - Oklahoma

Rain - Adelaide

We had moments when "what next?" seemed like an insurmountable question and our expiring Visa status added a twist of major, sweaty proportions.

Disney - LA

Weenie Van - Nashville

But it was also a year of rich blessing. God-given joy. Undeserved love.

Band Family - Sydney

Reese cuties - Sheffield

Dear, wonderful memories (in picture form of course!) were too many to pick from...

Brand new Ila - Nashville

Tim, Belinda, Chris - Bruges

... And by memories I mean people...

Brighton Beach - Adelaide

1st-time hugs - Sydney

... Each one a perfect reminder of good things past, and a promise of good things to come.

No matter the patches of darkness we stumble through along the way, it only makes the Light shine that much brighter.

Happy 2010 - xx