Sourdough Pancakes

October 14th, 2014 at 10:34 am

Please note: you don’t have to make a starter from your kitchen’s yeast. I prefer to do it because a. it’s virtually free yeast and b.  I believe that the yeast in your environment will do better than yeast from another source. You can always buy a kit, if you do I suggest purchasing it from here or here.  

This recipe works best with a runny starter for my taste buds. On average I keep my sourdough starter considerably less thick than others, I think it produces lighter biscuits and pancakes- which is what I strive for. I recommend feeding your starter the night before with more water/less flour than you usually would. Unless you get to know your starter like I have and keep it that way anyhow. The consistency shouldn’t be watery, but should also freely drip off your spoon instead of plopping off of it.

The secret to the recipe is adding baking soda and hot water to the mix. Science! You get a frothy and bubbly batter due to chemical reaction. Bakind soda reacts to the acidity of sourdough starter’s lactic acid. Only click that link if you are a true nerd, or wish for your head to explode.


2 cups sourdough starter (recipe here)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a large bowl add sourdough starter, sugar, egg, olive oil, and salt; mix well. Set aside.

In a small bowl or cup dilute 1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 tablespoon of very warm water. Set aside until ready to bake your pancakes. 

When you are ready to cook the pancakes stir and then fold the baking soda/water mixture into the prepared pancake batter (do not beat, stir very gently). This will cause a lovely foaming and rising action in the batter. Let the mixture bubble and foam a minute or two before using.


It is very important that you do not mix the baking soda/water in with the batter until your skillet is hot and ready. 

This is to ensure that the sourdough can be cooked while the air is still working in the batter to help produce light sourdough pancakes.

What will you get if it all comes together perfectly? Tiny little air pockets that make pancakes more delightful than you ever imagined. The bubbles don’t stay large as they cook, and die down with the following pancakes because the batter is losing air. This is about what the first test cake should look like:

Adapted from Ruth Allman’s Alaska Sourdough

Do you love biscuits? I have a great recipe to share! If you’d like to read about and try my sourdough biscuit recipe click here.

Enjoy and email me at brinsonfolks at gmail if you have any questions.

DIY Carpet Shampoo

October 13th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Clean carpets feel good on the feet, they also encourage mama-floor playtime. I have ours cleaned professionally once a year to protect our carpet warranty, but in between professional shampoos I go over them myself. Even the air somehow feels fresher inside after I do. This recipe is quick and has worked well to remove stains, even the really large ones. It also leaves a pleasant smell. You can use an earth friendly substitute for Dawn but I have found great success when cleaning, or stripping diapers and towels with Dawn specifically. If you go with Seventh Generation you could add Essential Oils but I don’t like to put them through expensive machinery as they can affect the inner workings and plastics.

What you’ll need:

  • 3+ gallon bucket
  • 3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • 3+ gallons of hot water
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons Dawn
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar


Fill bucket with 3-3 1/2 gallons hot water, add white vinegar, peroxide and slowly add Dawn to avoid creating too many bubbles. Stir gently and fill carpet cleaner with mix.


If you have colored carpet I would test a small amount first. You can also bottle this and use it to quick treat stains. Three gallons cleans my entire house, that’s four carpeted room that are mostly a good size. This recipe will half well if you need less.

This is the cleaner I love:

Look at those fresh lines.

That’s it, a quick way to a feel good floor.

Sourdough Biscuits

September 22nd, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Please note: you don’t have to make a starter from your kitchen’s yeast. I prefer to do it because a. it’s virtually free yeast and b.  I believe that the yeast in your environment will do better than yeast from another source. You can always buy a kit, if you do I suggest purchasing it from here or here.  

This recipe is one of the two main reasons I love my sourdough starter, the second reason is pancakes and that recipe is coming up next! You can learn how to make starter for breads here. It’s a very easy process once you let go of the worry, all it takes is a little attention and you will have endless baked goods that carry that sourdough tart that most folks love. Remember a very important note in my making sourdough starter post, I like to keep my starter at a thin consistency. It produces a lighter result, if your starter is too thick, or flour too heavy you will end up with bricks.



2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick or 1/2 cup butter
1 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup buttermilk**


Mix flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large glass bowl.

Cut butter in, mix with hands to achieve dime size chunks of butter mixed throughout the flour mixture.

Combine sourdough starter and buttermilk, mix well. Stir into flour mixture until dough forms a ball. I like to use a wooden spoon at first and then my (lightly floured) hands.

Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead 3-4 times. Spread to 1/2-inches thick. Cut with a lightly floured wide mouth mason jar or cookie/biscuit cutter. Place in greased cast iron skillet, pyrex or on baking sheet.

Bake at 425° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter after halfway through cooking, around the 8 minute mark. Makes 8-10 biscuits depending on thickness.


A Few Notes:

**Instead of buttermilk I use a splash of lemon juice and top it off to 1/2 cup of almond milk.

I don’t use a rolling pin for this recipe. I have tried it but I don’t like end result, plus with this little bit of dough it’s not necessary.

I rarely kneed dough. Don’t over do it with this recipe and you’ll get a better result.

If you keep your butter on the counter refrigerate the night before. When making pastries and biscuits the coldest butter works best because you’ll have chunks in your dough, those will become flavorful little bursts when eating the cooked product. You’ll also have better layers and flakes.

You can add small pats of butter midway through the cooking process instead of brushing with melted butter.

Remember that this recipe works  best with a thin, but bubbly sourdough starter.

I’ve made this recipe vegan, and I do not suggest doing so. If you do decide to use a butter substitute make sure your sourdough starter is incredibly thin and your vegan butter very cold.

This morning Singer told me that my biscuits were SO GOOD and I was the best cooker. Rock on.

Everyone loves pancakes right? Click here for my sourdough pancake recipe.

days in the life

September 19th, 2014 at 6:30 am

| e a t |

This post is slim pickings. I burnt my hand so very badly on Wednesday night while roasting a chicken. Actually a terrible misstep with the zucchini pan straight out of the oven is actually how the burn occurred… Anyhow, now I know every home remedy for burns in the book. Plus, I’m happy to report one of them worked. At least one, or maybe all of them worked and that’s why my hand is in better shape than we could have possibly imagined the night it happened and the next morning when I awoke in tremendous pain. The worst of it is that the burn caused me to sleep funny and/or hold my arm funny so a previous injury has flared up. I love my chiropractor, but I haven’t missed him if ya know what I mean. Tomorrow I’ll be headed back to see if he can get me back in line. Funny how everything is connected…. I’ll be sharing all of the information that I found on how to treat a non life threatening burn. Thanks to everyone who shared their knowledge and showed love and concern.

Otherwise I’ve been working hard on writing up my bone broth recipe, as well as writing a post and perfecting sourdough pancakes. Tonight is Ramen Night, that will give me some more time to jot down a few pointers as I go- for what to do with the bone broth once you create it. I love writing recipes. Over the past 5 years experimenting, perfecting, and compiling what I hope are easy to follow notes to share with loved ones has become one of my greatest joys.


| g r o w |

I’ve got a list with information on the gulf fritillary caterpillar going right now too. Its host is one of my best passion flower (maypop) vines in the yard this year. We have dozens of these little fellas out there and they are chomping away on my second favorite vine. We welcome them though because soon they will become beautiful orange butterflies. I hope to capture some images of their life cycle and share them with anyone who will look and listen.

It only took all spring and summer but the time is here now, cardinal climber is almost in full bloom. Fifteen years ago I bought a book about year around blooms and it stuck with me. After much planning something is always blooming here. The spring and summer blooms have faded but a few fall petals are about to begin their show.

| l o v e |

The weather. The sunshine. My family. Nothing in particular, mostly just everything.

Hike along the creek via the Orange Trail, we usually take the trail from the river but went a different way this time.

Waiting for the butterfly release…

Insectival was wonderful in theory- for older children. The community came out in droves and filled a tiny space to the max. So we went hiking instead and came back for the butterfly release.

| l i s t e n |

Lots of French music. All of the French music.


|w a t c h |

I don’t watch too much.  We do have a few movies from Netflix in the line up for this weekend. Her and Lee Daniel’s The Butler arrived yesterday. I’ll try to follow up next Friday.

OH! and this, please watch this if you haven’t. You WILL laugh. Two dudes record their kids telling stories and then act them out. The internet is full of geniuses.


| r e a d |

I’ve been reading Carry On Warrior by Glennon Melton of Momastery. That woman has written some blogs I love, but I cannot get behind her book. In fact, I don’t think I’ve found a single thirty something woman’s book I like so far. What is it about our generation and the way they write? There is little depth, it is me me me. But please read Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt and forget about all the nasty things I just said. Friends, if you’d like me to pass the book on to you just let me know. heh.

| l i n k s |

Recent photos from (mostly) around the house. With only a basic phone it’s hard to take pictures out and about without lugging my big camera. David bought me a macros lens for my birthday so I have taken it out for practice a few times, usually to the Botanical Gardens. Check out my photos over the past year of our great friends The Robinsons. If you’d like me to shoot similar photos of you and/or you family let me know and we’ll practice my hobby together.

A few of the reasons our kids are at home with me. I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong, but I love having them with me at this age.

Giving praise, this is a good one and probably not what you think. I read a book called Superbaby before Singer was born. It pointed out similar ideas about praise and children. So next time your kid does a good job think about noting how hard they worked, and not how smart they are, as a go to for praise.

Steve Jobs was a Low Tech Parent. Ditto Steve, ditto. Cohorts, if you have similar tech concerns tell your kids to sit next to our kids at the lunch table, they can commiserate together- and one day thank us for tangible memories (scars, laughs, knowhow) instead of screen time.

Anatomy of a veggie plate, from Restaurant Eugene with ingredients from our home state, Georgia. One of our favorite date night stops is The National for a shared veggie plate. We credit Chef Peter Dale and crew for unknowingly teaching us how to cook even better veggies.

Wine in moderation is better for you than exercise, end of story. case closed.


Toy Library

September 18th, 2014 at 6:30 am

I’m not a rigid mama. At least I don’t think I am. The messes and the fingerprints will fade, and I know the dumping will too. But the dumping of every single item we own. I’m not trying to raise humans that act like that. I believe that children need a little structure and should be taught how to care for things. Just as my mother and father taught me. My favorite rule, that never was until I grew up, is never leave anything in your car. I don’t leave things in the passenger seat as a simple courtesy for my passengers. I also don’t do so because everything has a place when it isn’t in use. Each day I am gently working on teaching them that, I know it will make their lives easier as they grow. It will allow them to more easily be on time to work, my keys are always in the same place. I put anything that hasn’t been put away yet before I go to bed, and so on.

Singer is getting better at placing her clothes on the bed or in the dirty clothes (she can’t open her drawers or reach her closet yet), Silas is working on these skills too. They both have putting their toothbrush where it belongs down. Dishes next to the sink are in order for Silas, luckily both of them want to help so very badly in the kitchen. Hey kids, let mama handle her dishwasher. Please and thank you.

This here is an incognito toy library. Incognito was the word of the day on Sesame Street yesterday, BOOM! ps: unlike most of the population I adore people who are late to most social engagements. It’s so Athens.

Anyhow, just an out of date cabinet  (circa 1983) that houses all of our puzzles and toys that contain small pieces, most importantly behind closed doors. But this is no ordinary toy cabinet, because it has child proof locks on the doors. Now I’ll be honest- Singer can open those so called child proof locks, but she knows this cabinet is not a free for all. That’s ok, she’s not the main culprit when it comes to all the dumping. EVERYTHING MUST BE DUMPED SAYS MR. SILAS HARTFORD.

In addition to child proof doors everyone under the age of 18 needs a library card to check a toy out. I’m just kidding, we don’t have that many children. Yet. But we do have really fun toys that will grow with the kids, I make sure we like to play with them too. That makes for  better parenting. I’m not kidding. So one toy for each child, they have to take it to the kitchen counter or coffee table because our dog is where toys go to die. Expensive toys, that don’t work without all the pieces. With a dumper and a trash compactor of a dog this works for us, so I wanted to share it in case your family is having similar struggles. It wasn’t hard by any means to accomplish, minus the drill with a two and three year old in the house. Totally worth attempted power tool robberies.

After they play each child is responsible for cleaning up their own mess, according to what I think they’re able to do, due to their age. This also works well if you have much smaller children in your home that could choke on small pieces. Because babies put everything in their mouths.

I am clearly firm. Two toys at a time. Who am I kidding? Those are both for Silas, we choose our battles. But before you go: look at that vicious hound calculating her attack, waiting for someone to drop a puzzle piece, one mistake and they will be at the mercy of her jowls…