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December 19, 2014 Edition Holidays bring cherished memories, family traditions, favorite foods, festive decorations, and opportunities to gather together. This is true across the world. Hanging this wreath on my front door is a holiday tradition for my family. The wreath was made by my husband and is the only example of his woodworking skills. With angels gloriously sending out stars of hope and joy to all who see it, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas for my family without this lovely wreath adorning our door.

#1 – Delicious Pancakes!
21 Delicious Pancake Recipes If your holiday morning traditionally includes serving pancakes for breakfast, you might want to check out these 21 Crazy Delicious Pancake Recipes. You’ll be hard-pressed to pick a favorite.

#2 – Gift In a Jar
96 Great Homemade Gift in a Jar Recipes If you are in need of last minute gifts, look no further than your kitchen cabinet. Just find an empty jar and make one of the 96 Great Homemade Gift In A Jar projects.

#3 – Knitting With Glass
Artist Carol Milne Knits With Glass Traditionally, knitting involves the use of some sort of fiber. Artist Carol Milne “knits” with glass. She developed a technique that uses glass to create knitted sculptures. Pieces of her artwork are as delicate and intricate as some of the finest fiber-knitted goods.

#4 – Helping the Homeless

Homeless People: Do You Just Walk on By? If you see me walkin’ down the street
And I start to cry each time we meet
Walk on by, walk on by
Make believe that you don’t see the tears
Just let me grieve in private ’cause each time I see you
I break down and cry, I cry

– Dionne Warwick

Using the lyrics to a song as an introduction to her article “Homeless People: Do You Just ‘Walk on By‘”?, writer Pam Bailey reports on the changing numbers of homeless people, on the dilemma of whether to give them money or not, and on alternative ways to help them.

#5 – Make It Part of Our Daily Lives
“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness . . . the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.” Dalai Lama

Now go and spread joy!

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Carrot Cake Pancakes What to get for a man who has everything? Well, if this man is a die-hard carrot cake fan, why not make him a batch of delicious carrot cake pancakes for breakfast? Light and fluffy, but loaded with texture from the carrots and nuts and boasting an incredible flavor combination of spice, orange zest, and candied ginger, these sensational pancakes will become a part of my man’s birthday breakfast from here on after.

Carrot Cake Pancakes
Bobby Flay

INGREDIENTS
1½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons pure cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup packed finely grated peeled carrots, patted dry on paper towels (about 3 medium carrots)
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, optional
1 tablespoon finely diced candied ginger
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts, optional, plus more for garnish
Cooking spray or melted butter

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spices, baking soda and sea salt in a large bowl.

3. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the carrots and orange zest, if using, and mix until smooth.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Fold in the ginger and pecans, if using, and mix until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

5. Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Coat the skillet with cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Spoon 1/4 cup mounds of the batter onto the skillet, spreading with a spatula. Cook until the tops are covered with bubbles and the edges look cooked, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip the pancakes over and cook until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining batter. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in the oven on a baking sheet, if desired.

Yield: About 14 pancakes

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. With my stove top griddle on medium heat, these pancakes cooked too fast. I had to turn it down to medium-low to prevent them from burning.

2. Don’t even think of omitting the candied ginger or the orange zest. Both add much to the overall depth of flavor.

3. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, go to this page to find buttermilk substitutions. I used a mix of sour cream, nonfat yogurt and milk. Just make sure you are making the appropriate amount, since these substitutions only make 1 cup.

4. I served these pancakes with a wonderful Cinnamon Apple Syrup from Apple Hill.

Enjoy!

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