Strawberry Crème Fraîche Pancakes

Strawberry Crème Fraîche Pancakes @themerrythought
Last year for Mother’s Day, Mike and the boys made me the best pancakes I ever had. A few days before Mother’s Day, I had made Strawberry Shortcake with Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream and we had leftover strawberries and crème fraîche whipped cream that Mike used on my pancakes.  Those simple little additions made the pancakes sooo good! I decided that it should be an annual breakfast for Mother’s Day!
Strawberry Crème Fraîche Pancakes @themerrythought
We had these delicious pancakes at our brunch and I’m sharing this simple & easy way to take your regular old pancakes to a new scrumptious level! There’s nothing too complicated about this, but adding the crème fraîche whipped cream with strawberries just makes ordinary pancakes wonderful!
You can use your favorite pancake recipe and just add these toppings to that. The strawberries can be washed, sliced and added on as is or you can macerate them first, either way is good.  I highly recommend using pure maple syrup, it’s so much better (and better for you!). You may want to cut the recipe in half if you’re not making it for a crowd.
Strawberry Crème Fraîche Pancakes @themerrythought
Strawberries
1 pound strawberries, sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

Gently stir everything together. Let sit at room temperature for a bit.  Or you can make them ahead and keep them in the fridge.
Strawberry Crème Fraîche Pancakes @themerrythought
Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup crème fraîche
3 Tbs. granulated sugar

Whip the cream in a chilled bowl (pop it in the freezer for about 10 minutes) until soft peaks form. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whisk just until incorporated. (Don’t over-whisk the mixture, it will change the texture!) In a medium bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the sugar until smooth. With a rubber spatula, gently fold half of the whipped cream into the crème fraîche and then gently fold in the remaining half. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve; whisk a few times before serving.
Strawberry Crème Fraîche Pancakes @themerrythought
What are some of your favorite pancake toppings? We hope you were inspired by some of these ideas and recipes we shared during Brunch Week!

-Manda

DIY Greenery Table Garland

DIY Greenery Table Garland @themerrythoughtOne of my favorite parts of our Sunday Brunch was making this table garland. I love using greenery to decorate for parties and I’ve been wanting to make one of these for months! I tried to find seeded eucalyptus and olive branches to use and couldn’t find any available around here. Thankfully, I have a friend that works at a local florist and she helped me find some other greens that would work perfectly. Just picture these beauties laid across every table at a wedding reception… swoon!
DIY Greenery Table Garland @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
-Greenery (I used Parvo and Eucalyptus.)
-Jute Rope
-Floral Wire
-Scissors
DIY Greenery Table Garland @themerrythoughtDIY Greenery Table Garland @themerrythoughtDIY Greenery Table Garland @themerrythoughtHow to make it:
-Cut a piece of jute the length of the table plus an extra foot at each end to hang down.
-Cut pieces of parvo and attach to the end of the rope by wrapping floral wire tightly around the stem.
-Continue to add bunches of parvo and pieces of eucalyptus to the rope securing with floral wire.
-Lay on table and add more greenery to cover rope if necessary.
DIY Greenery Table Garland @themerrythoughtDIY Greenery Table Garland @themerrythoughtDIY Greenery Table Garland @themerrythoughtxo. Caitlin

Peanut Butter Banana Parfait

Peanut Butter Banana Parfait @themerrythought
I’ve been on a peanut butter kick lately! I think it’s because I’m trying not to eat it a lot (still trying to eat healthier), so I crave it all the time! Ha, isn’t that the way it always works?!
I love peanut butter on my bananas!  It’s a favorite snack, and it’s actually not too unhealthy, just a little on the high-fat side…but I think the fact that it’s a good source of protein can make up for that, right?! When I was thinking about brunch foods, parfaits came to mind because they’re easy to make, easy for your guests to customize to their liking if you want to set it up that way, and they look pretty! We have an amazing peanut butter granola recipe on the blog that we love, so the peanut butter banana combination popped into my head and I decided to try it out!
Peanut Butter Banana Parfait @themerrythought
These parfaits are soo good and so simple to put together! Even making the homemade granola isn’t that hard. These would definitely be perfect for brunch, as you can make the granola ahead and the only job you’d have besides putting them together, would be slicing the bananas! And with a big meal like brunch, the easier each dish is to prepare, the better!
Peanut Butter Banana Parfait @themerrythought
Peanut Butter Banana Parfait

peanut butter granola
bananas, sliced
low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt (or Greek yogurt)

In small jars, layer yogurt, granola and bananas.  Repeat layers till jar is filled.  Serve & enjoy!
Peanut Butter Banana Parfait @themerrythought
Peanut Butter Banana Parfait @themerrythought
Peanut Butter Banana Parfait @themerrythought
Peanut Butter Banana Parfait @themerrythought
Any other peanut butter-banana lovers out there? And if you’re not a fan of bananas, you should still try the granola – because it’s delicious!

– Manda

Homemade Butter

Homemade Butter @themerrythought
I thought it might be fun to try making our own butter as a little “diy” for brunch week. I’d read about the method for making your own butter in a jar and thought it seemed like a fun & easy activity to do with the boys. Two of the three enjoyed this! :) Levi quit after about a minute of shaking, too much work for him! Lincoln & Malacai were a little skeptical during the first few minutes of shaking, but once the cream started to change consistency, they got into it!
This is definitely a fun activity to do with kids; and if you’re hosting a brunch with kids in attendance, you could set this up as an activity to keep them busy. Or even if there’s no kids, have your friends and family make their own butter once they arrive and use it during the meal!  It’s fun & fairly quick to do, not to mention delicious and people will enjoy eating butter they just made themselves!
Homemade Butter @themerrythought
Homemade Butter @themerrythought
What you need:
– jars with a tight fitting lid
– heavy cream
– salt (optional)
– buff arms ;)
Homemade Butter @themerrythought
How to do it:
Fill your jar 1/2-2/3 full with the heavy cream, make sure not to fill it up all the way, you need space for the cream to move while shaking. Place the lid on the jar, making sure it’s on tight, and start shaking! (Shake, shake, shake – shake your booty!  I may have sang this while we were shaking our cream, oops! If the boys ever start singing it, I have no idea where they heard it from!) How long you’ll need to shake will vary, depending on how much cream you have in your jar and how strong your arms are – it’ll be anywhere from 5-10 minutes before you’ll notice the consistency start to change.  You’ll be able to tell by how it sounds while shaking, it’ll go from a sloshing liquid to sounding like you’re shaking nothing.  You’ve just made whipped cream!  (First photo below).  Keep on shaking and the consistency will get a little thicker and almost look a little curdled (second photo below).  Keep on shaking you’re almost there! Then you’ll notice it start to sound like you’re shaking a ball around in there – yay, you did it, it’s butter with buttermilk (third photo below)!  Shake it for a little bit (another minute or so) when it reaches this stage, I found that it made it a little more firm and easier to handle.  Pour off the buttermilk – you can save this to use in recipes (perfect for pancakes!).  Remove the ball of butter from the jar and run it under very cold water, kneading it slightly between your fingers while it’s getting rinsed.  This will help remove any extra buttermilk and keep your butter from spoiling too soon. You can also add in salt at this point if you’d like salted butter (I just kneaded it in after the rinse).  Place your butter in a jar or container and enjoy!
Homemade Butter @themerrythought
Homemade Butter @themerrythought
If you’re doing this with young kids, I recommend taking a peek at your butter when it gets to the different stages, just so they can see the progress and feel motivated to keep shaking! It can be a little tiresome for little arms, but my boys got really excited after the cream turned to whipped cream and this kept them happy & shaking!
Homemade Butter @themerrythought
Homemade Butter @themerrythought
Have you ever tried this simple method of making butter before? While I don’t intend to start “diy-ing” my own butter from here on out, I thought this was a lot fun and will definitely do this again!

-Manda

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