December is here in all its glory! I am so excited to welcome snow and cold weather, parties and celebrations, and Christmas trees and lights and music. I’m excited to break out my fuzzy scarves and gloves and warm hats and sweaters. Big Man and I are eagerly anticipating lots of time celebrating with family and friends, complete with hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, gifts, and lots of love. The Christmas season is by far my favorite time of year, and I am so blessed to be celebrating this year with Big Man and two Little Ones, and all our extended family. Since Little Lady was born this year, this will be her first Christmas, and I think this will also be the first Christmas for Little Man where he will have some understanding of what is going on. He has gotten to open the doors on the Advent Calendar this year and really enjoys it! Thinking of attending the Christmas Eve service with my wonderful husband and two beautiful children makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and amazed at how much God has blessed me.
December here in the Rocky Mountains came with picture perfect snowfall on the first of the month. Most of the trees were still covered in white yesterday morning, and provided a beautiful picture out the window. We had a prefect December morning in our little apartment, enjoying the snowy view and keeping warm inside. Big Man was just coming of a week of night shifts, so he slept in while the Little Ones and I made breakfast. I put Trans-Siberian Orchestra on and thoroughly enjoyed some awesome Christmas music (and the fun memory of when Big Man first introduced me to Trans-Siberian Orchestra). Little Lady rolled around and giggled on the floor by the kitchen, alternating watching me and cuddling with a fuzzy stuffed whale that is currently her favorite toy. Little Man “helped” me cook, by watching me mix things together and re-organizing the spoons and spatulas in the kitchen drawers he’s allowed to open. I made one of the best, yummiest, and easiest pancake recipes I know of, and then we all sat down at the table and enjoyed warm buttery pumpkiny chocolatey pancakey goodness (and baby oatmeal, in Little Lady’s case). Big Man had his pancakes when he woke up, and all four of us just enjoyed a relaxing morning together.
It may be a bunch of simple things; snow, Christmas music, warm homemade pancakes, baby smiles and toddler giggles, a hug and kiss with Big Man, but these things are the daily reminders of God’s blessings to me. This December morning celebrating simple pleasures with my little family is a memory I know I’ll keep for a long time.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes (adapted from Very Culinary via Tasty Kitchen)1 1/4 tbs distilled white vinegar* 3/4 cup heavy cream* Scant 1/2 cup skim milk* 1 cup flour 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 egg Scant 1 cup pumpkin puree** 1 tsp vanilla extract 3 tbs butter, melted 1/2 – 1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
*In place of these 3 ingredients, you can use 1 1/4 cup buttermilk, as called for in the original recipe. I was out of buttermilk one day and used this substitution and found I liked the fluffier texture of the pancakes better.
**One 15 oz. can of pumpkin has just under 2 cups of puree. So I just use half the can for this recipe and save the rest in a tupperware in the fridge (usually to make these pancakes again!)
1.) In a 2-cup capacity measuring cup, mix the vinegar, heavy cream, and just enough milk to make 1 1/4 cups liquid. Let sit while you continue with the recipe. If you are using buttermilk, you can omit this step.
2.) Preheat a griddle over medium low heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and stir in the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin.
3.) Add in the vinegar/cream/milk mixture (or buttermilk, if using instead), melted butter, and chocolate chips (if using) and whisk until smooth.
4.) Generously butter the preheated griddle and fry up the pancakes. I use about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of batter per pancake. Serve hot with lots of butter, and syrup if desired. Eat too many and sit on the couch for a while to recover from the pancake coma.