Friday, September 27, 2013

Mommy makes better pancakes!

Since 2006, after we discovered that Varuzh is an amazing cook, everyone refused to eat the dinners made by yours truly... until I discovered the best pancake recipe ever!

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and Varuzh decided to go for a bike ride, so I had to deliver the breakfast order to Mr. Alex - he wanted pancakes.

At first I panicked a little - I bake, but I don't cook; but then I googled recipe until found one on the allrecipes website. The pancakes turned out yummy and got thumbs up from the kids!  And soon, no one was asking Varuzh to make pancakes. Kids declared that "mommy makes better pancakes." And that's that.

So after a wile, after making pancakes became a piece of cake, I started improvising and came up with a little tweaked version of the pancake recipe. Steps are easy, so try making them this Sunday morning. Treat yourself and family, and you will become a star of the house...

Here it is!

This recipe should make about 8-10 yummy and fluffy pancakes.

Step 1:
Get the ingredients and measurement tools.
1            cup milk
2 tbs      white vinegar
1 cup     all-purpose flour, sifted
1tsp       baking powder
1/2 tsp   baking soda
1/2 tsp   salt
1           egg
1 tbs     honey
2 tbs     butter, melted, plus more for the pan

Step 2:
Combine milk and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside. While you will be putting together dry ingredients, milk will "sour".

Step 3:
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Step 4:
Whisk honey, egg, and butter into the milk&vinegar mixture.

Step 5:
Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Whisk for about a minute until lumps are gone.

Step 6:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt a small piece of butter in the skillet. Then pour about 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear (for about 1-2 minutes). Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Enjoy!

xo Zuma A.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Over The Hill



I always knew that the day will come when I hear the words: "my dear, you need reading glasses."

What?!?! I almost chocked on the water I was sipping at the moment. I called my mother immediately after I got out of the office: 

"Can u imagine, mom, my eye  doctor said I need reading glasses!" 

"Oh," my mom said in an as a matter of fact tone, "it's just age related". 

Really, mother? Really?

So I went home and gone straight to bed. What's next, I thought, getting grumpy when sitting next to a crying baby at the airplane?.. How could this happen? I really don't feel old at all! I can walk and bike for miles, and I take Pilates religiously. Maybe I should pick up running marathons too?

Since my honey is too busy from his new business adventure, he had not even noticed my long face, so I had to figure out how to deal with this crisis myself, pronto! 

The next day, on my way from work, I swung by the department store and went straight to the accessories department at Nordstrom. I told the girl behind the counter, in her twenties I might add, that I need an accessory - a pair of great looking reading glasses.  

So she took out three boxes filled with +1 glasses. They all were so bright and colorful, almost looked like lollipop candies. Oh, I thought, maybe it's not such a bad thing! Now this is a whole new and fun shopping opportunity, and its a necessity too! Now I can get a few pairs and wear them as my mood dictates. It's kind of like bunch of iPhone covers I have, just without the guilt. 

For starters I got two - for "serious me" and for "fancy me". 

 I think I may go back next week to get the hot pink pair I saw for "fun me".
 
At night, when my boys and Varuzh saw me sporting my new reading glasses while reading last ELLE issue, they all said at once:

"Nice glasses!" 

I am sure they had no idea these were for reading! So, shhhh, don't tell...

xo Zuma A

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lemon Cupcakes With Buttercream Frosting! Yum...


I thought today would be a good day to make lemon cupcakes. It's my honey's birthday and he loves the taste of sweet and sour lemon cakes. While I have never made lemon cupcakes and did not have much time to mess around (after all I had a birthday party to get ready for!), I turned to my emergency formula - basic vanilla cupcakes infused with lemon curd. Luckily, I had lemon curd in my pantry! And to soften the sweet and sour flavor, I decided to frost the cupcakes with plain buttercream, my favorite!

 The cupcakes turned out to be delicious, and my lovely honey, who celebrated birthday number 48 (shhh! you did not hear it from me), was very happy - in spite of the number, he is a kid at heart. 

It took me 20 min to put the cupcakes into the oven. The recipe is full proof! It makes 12 tender and beautiful cupcakes, and I will talk you through it. 

Ingredients you need:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, and 1 large egg white, at room temperature
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole or almond milk
1/4 plus 3 tbs lemon curd
2 tbs finely grated lemon zest 

Step 1: 
Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven for 350F.

Step 2:
Place on the table all the ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, milk, lemon curd, and lemon zest.

Step 3:
Place on the table your measurement cups and spoons, and 1 medium size bowl for dry ingredients.

Step 4:
-  Sift and mix dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, and salt
-  Pour into the mixing bowl butter and sugar. Mix on medium-high for about 2 minutes, add the egg white and the egg, one at a time, then mix in the vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture in 3-4 additions, alternating with the milk in 2-3 additions. As needed, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat on low until just combined for 15-20 seconds. NEVER OVERMIX!

Step 5:
 Fold in the 1tbs lemon curd and 1tbs lemon zest until just combined.


Step 6:
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Fill each cup about three-fourths full.

Step 7:
Drop 1/2 teaspoon lemon curd onto the center of each cupcake (the curd will sink into the cupcakes as they bake).

Bake cupcakes until lightly golden. Insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake, and it should come out with only a very few cake crumbs and a bit of lemon curd attached. Bake for about 16-18 minutes total. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool for about an hour.

While cupcakes are cooling down, prepare butter cream frosting. Frost when cupcakes are completely cool.

Enjoy!

With love always,
xo Zuma A.