Hello, hello, hello! I hope you’ve all been well and are soaking up the last little bit of summertime before kids go back to school and we plow full-throttle into fall. I do love summertime and have really amazing childhood memories full of night games, family vacations, water parks, countless sleepovers, and pretty much living on the trampoline in our backyard.
I’m gonna be totally honest though – summer in Texas is hard. I will even go so far to say that I dread summer. This is my third Texas summer, and they are getting a little easier. But the heat and the humidity . . . I’m a melty puddle 90% of the time, with the other 10% being spent in the pool or the shower, after which I promptly return to said melty puddle. Ugh. I can’t even say I glisten. It’s sweat guys. Just straight up sweat, and it happens all. day. long. Ughhhhhh.
I’m back! After nothing new for far too many weeks, I’m back with something so good, so easy, so tasty. You’re going to have to try it. Where did I go?
I got a job. It really is the best job – I get to work from home (or anywhere in the world with a wifi connection!), whenever I want, for only 20 hours a week. It’s the dream mom-job I’m telling you. Really! But it turns out training takes longer than 20 hours a week and being SUPER slow and, you know, learning how to do the job, takes much longer than 20 hours. So, after going from working 0 hours a week to almost 35 hours a week… the blog, among way too many other things, got a little neglected.
The great news is that I’m getting quicker and things are starting to get back to normal. Hallelujah! And with back to normal comes some syrup for y’all!
You thought I was going to give you a recipe for waffles, right? Nope, sorry. This recipe is for the caramel-y light brown goodness that is on top of these delicious waffles. (Not the best photographic representation, I know.)
I grew up eating Buttermilk Syrup on my pancakes and waffles. The recipe was from my Aunt Lisa who made it for a family reunion, and I tell you, it was revolutionary! I don’t love maple syrup (really it’s Mrs. Butterworth’s that I don’t love, not the real stuff), so Buttermilk Syrup was a game changer for me.
Fast forward 10+ years, and I’m making Buttermilk Syrup for my handsome husband to enjoy with some pancakes. Because I apparently don’t know how to stock up on pantry staples, I had absolutely no white sugar. None. Which is a problem for Buttermilk Syrup. I decided to improvise with light brown sugar instead. Best. Decision. Ever. Now I make this “improvised” version intentionally, and to be totally honest, I think I like it even better!
Better Buttermilk Syrup
Based on a childhood staple, this syrup is like liquid caramel gold! While I love the original, this version kicks it up a few notches. This will keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for at least two weeks. Just warm it up slowly in the microwave, and it will be as good as new!
1cuplight brown sugar
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the butter, sugar, and buttermilk to a boil, stirring often. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Be careful - this is going to fizz a lot. Just keep stirring, and the foam will go down. Serve warm and enjoy!
I’m going to try really hard not to use superlatives on this blog. In no way do I think I make “The Best” or “World’s Most Delicious” of anything. I share things that I REALLY like (and I think you will too!), but I’m sure someone out there can do it better than I can. I need one exception to this rule, though. These peanut butter bars. They have got to be the exception because they are THE BEST I have ever had. The Ultimate. And I’ve tried a lot of peanut butter bars because I’m the kind of girl that eats peanut butter by the spoonful and considers it a perfectly normal afternoon snack. I don’t crave many things, but I do crave good peanut butter bars. And these right here… the best ones I’ve tried.
Time for some honesty. Today was not my day. Everyone has to have a day like that once in a while. Well, I picked the short straw and today was my day. Not like anything horrible happened. Just nothing stellar. Kind of meh.
So I’m going to my happy place, which involves listening to this while I imagine I’m smelling this wafting through the air, eating one of these and waiting in line to ride this. So good . . . if only.
Is it un-American of me to say I don’t LOVE bacon? I like it well enough, and I enjoy it on occasion. But bacon has had its day in the sun for a few too many days in my opinion. Bacon-infused donut with bacon filling and maple bacon frosting, bacon-wrapped hot dog with bacon jam on a cheddar bacon bun, deep-fried battered bacon – I’m gonna take a strong pass on all of this. Bacon is a great flavor but this is all just too much.
Sometimes it’s forever. Waiting in traffic for 10 minutes, listening to a baby cry for 10 minutes (this FEELS more like 20 minutes, I’m certain), standing at the grocery store checkout for 10 minutes. 10 minutes at the DMV is a minimum. In fact, you need snacks for that trip because we all know it will be more like 60 minutes.
I had some weird food stuff going on as a kid. I’ve already mentioned my early love of beets. Things really got weird with breakfast, though. I HATED eggs, toast, juice, pancakes, freezer waffles, and thought cereal was only kinda “meh”. As an 8 year old, what else was even left for breakfast options? Luckily I had a nice mom who probably figured something was better than nothing, so she let me eat dinner leftovers for breakfast. Every single morning. Because some microwaved chicken with mashed potatoes or spaghetti sound appetizing at 7 am. Served up, of course, with a hearty helping of older sister eye rolling, because why did her little sister have to be so weird! Apparently my 8 year old self thought this was all just fine. My poor mom! A few years later once I finally got tired of leftovers for breakfast, I had a banana with peanut butter every morning for a whole year, then Special K with Strawberries the next. (I’m shaking my head just typing this.)
Confession: I have a really hard time paying money for pizza. Not much pizza goin’ on on my must-eat-in-Austin list. This is definitely not because I don’t like pizza, or that I don’t believe there is good pizza to be had in Austin (try here or here!). It really boils down to the fact that I’m cheap (I like to think of it as budget-minded). I have a really hard time paying $20+ for something that I feel like I could do a pretty dang good job of myself. For way less money. And I don’t have to pay an extra $1 if I want to add a scant few slices of jalapeno. (This is Texas folks, those little fiery gems should always be included.)
Mother’s Day is tomorrow. I wrote about my grandma and her sage advice along with some strawberry rhubarb galettes last time. Today, these cookies are for my mom. She loves lemon, hates chocolate, and is always looking for a good cookie recipe. These fit squarely into all three categories. Prior to these beauties, I’d never had a traditional Italian lemon ricotta cookie. After comparing some recipes from a few notable Italians who probably know what they’re doing (Giada and someone at the New York Times’s Italian grandma) and a few trial-and-errors of my own, I settled on these.