Monday, January 04, 2016

First Day Back

The kids started a new school today. I think it went okay. It sounds like both students and teachers were kind and friendly. And for the first time since May, I found myself alone inside my house! I am so much more capable of action when I don't have an audience, or just people around who may need me. If it's me all by myself, much can be accomplished. I had a hard time getting to sleep last night so I was only functioning on three hours of sleep today. I'm sure subsequent days will be more productive. Even so, I managed to make a cranberry cake and a pot of chili and get some grocery shopping done. After school, I took the kids out for cupcakes and heard about their adventures. By the time we got home, we had just enough time to get Elspeth changed for lessons and over to the dance studio. While Elspeth was in her lessons, I was able to go back to the store for buttermilk (I almost never remember it all the first time!) and then get the cornbread made. I'm not sure if it's hyperbole to say cornbread is a polarizing food item. But I do know that Northerners tend to like sweet cornbread that has a bit more flour, almost like a cake, and Southerners tend to like a savory cornbread with a coarser texture. So when you look at Food Network or other recipe site ratings, it's tricky to find a consistently well rated cornbread recipe. As a Southerner, I have found that the easiest way for me to determine whether or not a cornbread recipe is worth trying is whether or not it has sugar listed in the ingredients- if sugar is listed, I skip it. And while I never really considered Oklahoma the South, I have heard that many Oklahoma people consider themselves very much Southerners. My apologies to Oklahomans!

Why am I talking about Oklahoma? Because Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, is from Oklahoma and for the last couple of years, I have settled on her cornbread recipe. It's pretty good!

Skillet Cornbread

1c. yellow cornmeal (white is fine too)
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1T baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1c. buttermilk
1/2 c. milk
1 whole egg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. plus 2T shortening

- preheat oven to 450. place 2T shortening in cast iron pan and allow to melt in pan during preheating.
- combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl
- measure buttermilk and milk in a measuring cup and mix together with egg. add baking soda
- pour milk mixture over dry ingredients and stir to combine
- in microwave, melt 1/4 cup of shortening in a small bowl. pour into batter and mix.
- pour batter into preheated pan- it will sizzle and make a delightfully crispy crust!- and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes

We laughed a lot over dinner. I am so grateful that my children are generally able to see the humor in most situations. They certainly come by it honestly. It felt like a pretty good first day back to school for all of us. Many prayers have been answered!

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