Tuesday, August 30, 2011

General Life Update

We're suing our former tenants in Nashville because they jacked up our house and ran off with a bunch of our appliances. It's stressful.

We went to Kaua'i in Hawaii for a week with my family. It was gorgeous. We went on a boat cruise and saw a ton of dolphins (photo above). I almost threw up on the boat and I'm pretty sure my face was green for the last hour or so of the trip. Still, it was worth it.

I'm having surgery on Thursday to FINALLY repair my fistula. It's happening at Hopkins. I will never go to GBMC again as long as I live. I hope this will be the end of this entire medical ordeal and that I can finally move on with my life.

I've been listening to the latest Bon Iver album on repeat for pretty much the past week. It makes me feel contemplative and ready for Fall.

We celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary last week. We went to Woodberry Kitchen and had an amazing meal, as always.

I don't eat gluten anymore. In fact, I don't eat grains or legumes, except on rare occasions. It's made my life a lot better. I no longer have any GI issues and I have a lot more energy. My mood is generally better as well.

Hurricane Irene came and went and didn't cause us any annoyance other than boredom at being stuck in the house all weekend long. The lights flickered a few times and our basement got damp, but we've certainly experienced worse during powerful thunderstorms in the past.

Yup, that's about it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Sweetest

Steph's sister, Danika, just made my day by posting this photo on her Tumblr blog and writing,

"For Adina and Steph (get ready for sappy comment), my two favorite little owls and the best couple in existence."

And then she tagged the post "#flawless human beings #okay no one's really flawless #but they are the closest you'll find "

Not going to link to her page in order to respect the privacy of her blog, but c'mon, how sweet is that?! Awesome sister is awesome.

It's true, my relationship with Steph is pretty stellar and we are perfectly matched. Relationships are a great deal of effort and we work hard on ours. Even with daily life drama and extra crap that gets thrown in the mix, I reflect daily on how lucky we are to have each other and to have created the relationship that we share.

Oh, so goopy. So much ooey gooey goop.

I'd like to say that I'm going to post on this blog regularly again, but it's probably not going to happen, so as the great Mike Bernard would say, "Oh well, no point". Mike is full of great sayings. I'll share one. His full review of Cafe Hon is, "I've crapped better salads than that". C'mon, how can you not love him? It's impossible. I dare you to try.

If you would like a more regular glimpse into my life, I would suggest viewing my photo feed on Instagram.

Go here: http://statigr.am/deaners82 and click on "My Photos". You'll be able to see my entire photo feed.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Random thoughts and thanks

Sometimes I hear strange noises coming from the depths of the backyard at night. The sound is blood-curdling. I always assumed that it was the sound of an animal being attacked. I try to put those gruesome thoughts from my mind and just fall back asleep. But today, via the strange power of the interwebs, I discovered that the sound is actually that of a barking fox. Check it out-- it's a terrifying sound to hear when you're tucked into your bed at night.

If you've been following my Flickr photos lately, you've perhaps noticed that most of the photos I've taken lately have been with my iPhone. I've become addicted to Instagram, a photo editing and sharing app for the iPhone. I love that I can connect with people all over the world and share photos and editing techniques with them. It's crazy. This morning I was at the dining room table eating my melon, and someone in Japan, whose photos I really admire, complimented my photos. It's nice to know that even though I am stuck at home recovering from surgery, I still have a way to be creative, and to share and interact with people who have similar interests. The photo for this post is of my typical morning, which always involves cold-pressed iced coffee. I took this photo on my phone using the Camera+ camera, and edited it using the MagicHour app.

Steph went back to work today, so I've been home by myself this afternoon. I've been feeling anxious about being alone today. My options are limited as far as what I'm able to do. I sleep a lot. I wander around the house and the yard and take photos with my iPhone. I edit photos in bed. I flip through magazines halfheartedly. Sometimes I watch stuff on Hulu, but sadly even paying attention to something for 30 minutes is a stretch at this point. Having Steph here for the week was nice because I always had someone to talk to and I never felt lonely or even that depressed. Now it's just me and my thoughts and it's difficult not to wander down the path of feeling sorry for myself. When she was here, it felt kind of like a nice staycation where I just happened to take sitz baths three times a day and pop dilaudid. I almost forgot about the huge crater of an open wound on my butt.

On the plus side, I've been feeling so much love. I have incredible friends and family. My mom had her own medical scare this week and was hospitalized for a few days, so she was unable to come out to Baltimore to help care for me, but we have been talking every day on the phone and it's been really nice. Steph, of course, has taken phenomenal care of me. I received lovely and truly thoughtful gifts from Andrew, Chad, Kathy, Rich, Erin, Matt, and Anabel. My grandmother has been visiting and bringing us dinners. Jess and Mike have visited and brought me mocha coconut frappuccinos. Every time I would start to feel down, the phone would ring, a gift would show up at my door, or I'd receive a new sweet e-mail from someone in my inbox. It makes such a difference and I am forever grateful to have these incredible, generous, and loving people in my life.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A cute animal! And then I go into detail about my medical issues...

Here we have a photo I took of an adorable sheep at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival over the weekend.

HA! Now that I've sucked you in with a cute animal picture, I can reveal my diabolical plan, which is to gripe about my medical problems and upcoming surgery.

Yes, I am having surgery tomorrow morning. Dear reader, as you may recall, I was hospitalized for a week in January with a MRSA infection. Said insidious infection decided to form a terrifically painful abscess on my left buttock. After my release from the hospital, I cared for my surgical wound as directed by my colorectal surgeon. It did slowly heal, but I noticed that instead of staying closed, it would open again about once a week. We developed a routine. Every week, it would close. All would be well for about a glorious day or two. Then I would start sweating through my pajamas at night. I would get fevers throughout the day. I had absolutely no energy. A searing pain would travel across my left buttock. And then, the abscess would pop open and we would start the dance all over again. I've been trapped in this cycle since about March.

After determining that this was not par for the course with an abscess, I visited my surgeon again. He informed me that the abscess had either 1) always been a fistula, or 2) healed incorrectly and become a fistula. Surgery would be necessary. Which brings us to today, the day before my surgery.

I'm a curious person. I like to know what's going to happen to me. This means that I've done research on the surgery and sadly, I'm pretty clear as to what it involves. Basically, I am going to have a huge, gaping open wound on my ass for about 4-8 weeks, depending on the size and depth of the fistula. If you want to know what a fistulotomy involves, and what the open wound looks like after surgery, please refer to this photo. It is graphic. Don't say I didn't warn you. This is actually one of the smaller ones I've seen. The surgeon lays open the fistula, clears out the infected gook, and then you go on your way with an open wound that needs to heal from the inside out. In the case of this photo, a seton (plastic tube) was inserted to keep the wound from closing over again. I may or may not need that. No way to tell until they go spelunking in my butt cheek and see what the hell is going on in there.

I've never had surgery before. Sure, the surgeon cut into my abscess to drain it, but that was just under a local anesthetic. For this procedure, I will be totally under. That's a difficult concept for me to grasp; I don't like to feel out of control. I hate the idea of someone cutting into me while I'm just passed out on a steel table. I'll have no idea what happened until I wake up and someone decides to inform me. The loss of control is a big personal issue for me. Also, I've seen Steph have surgery, and she does not react well to anesthesia. I'm afraid that I could experience a similar reaction, as I generally do not respond well to drugs and tend to be allergic to almost everything.

Truly though, the most daunting aspect of this entire ordeal is the recovery. It's supposed to be slow and painful. I have a high pain tolerance, but when I'm rendered immobile I become really whiny and cranky, probably more so than the average person. I expect to be feeling sorry for myself a lot and crying. In fact, and to those who know me, this should indicate the seriousness of my personal crisis, I even asked my mother to come and visit and help while I am recovering. I generally need to get to a pretty sorry point before I ask for help with anything. It's one of my worst qualities. I love my mother, but I really did not want to bother her and ask her to come out from Arizona to help care for me (not to mention the very real possibility that she is going to have to do wound care on my butt, which is taking our relationship back about 28 years). When my Dad was sick, one of the worst parts for me, as a caregiver, was seeing how much it shamed him to need the kind of physical care that he did. I didn't mind doing those kinds of things for him, but seeing him crying and ashamed to be needing help in that way, it broke my heart. I don't want to know that I'm making the people I love feel that way. It was difficult for me to admit that I was going to need help. It helped to think that not only would she be helping me, but Steph as well. I really don't want Steph to be any more overwhelmed than she absolutely needs to be.

I considered not even doing the surgery (this thought was brief, don't worry), but then I realized that having fevers every week and not being able to go out and live my life the way I want to is not a long term solution. And make no mistake, my quality of life has taken a dive. I've tired all the time. We had to cancel plans to go up to Philadelphia a few weeks ago because I knew I couldn't sit two plus hours in the car. Plus, the longer I wait, the greater the possibility that the size of the fistula will increase. And the longer my immune system is compromised, the greater the chance that I'll pick up some other nasty infection. Thankfully, once the surgery is over and done with, there is a 95% chance that I will be completely healed and there won't be a recurrence.

I know I've neglected my blog. I'd say I'm going to be better, but it's doubtful that I'll be out taking pictures in the next few weeks. Maybe if I'm up to it, I'll just write some posts without photos. I'd like to apologize in advance if I am whiny and annoying.

I look forward to closing this chapter of my life and getting back to camping, kayaking, photography, and canning.

Oh yes, in some of the best news ever, Jess and Mike got engaged on Sunday. They've already asked me to photograph the wedding, and of course I said yes. Jess is also being so sweet to me and has asked me to help her plan the wedding. She's making it seem like she wants the help, but I think it's really just a ploy to give me something to do while I'm laid up in bed after surgery.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Photo Extravaganza

Just an FYI that all my photos can be viewed on Flickr, until I find the time, motivation, and skill to develop a personal photography website.

Cherry blossoms are one of my favorite flowering trees. When they bloom, it truly feels like spring has arrived. We shared a lovely picnic at Sherwood Gardens today with Jess and Mike.

I developed a fever this evening, but the morning and afternoon were just about perfect.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lemon Drop Martinis for Game Night

Andrew and Chad hosted a game night over the weekend. We all played Bananagrams and got our asses handed to us by Erin (apparently she spends a lot of her free time playing Words With Friends). Andrew made Mac & Cheese with Buffalo Chicken, though he tweaked the recipe a bit-- he just used grilled chicken instead of breading the frying the chicken, and I had the idea to make a crushed Ritz Cracker topping (mixed with about 3 tablespoons of the hot sauce/butter sauce). Kathy brought over Ina Garten's Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. Instead of arugula, she used spinach. This is one of my favorite salads. Kathy served it for Thanksgiving as well. For dessert, Andrew made a decadent Nutella Cheesecake.

I contributed by making Lemon Drop Martinis.

I found a recipe that looked about right online and then starting messing with things until I got a result I liked. Here is my final concoction:

- 1 1/2 oz of lemon flavored vodka (we used Hangar One Buddha's Hand)
- 1/2 oz of Cointreau
- 1 tsp. of simple syrup
- 1/2 oz. of fresh squeezed lemon juice
- sugar for the rim of the martini glass

To rim your martini glass, use a wedge of lemon and run it over the rim of the glass. Then roll the edge of the glass in a small plate of sugar until you get the desired amount of sugar stuck to the glass.

Fill a martini shaker with ice. Add ingredients. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Pour and serve.

Extra points if you place the glass is the freezer for a few minutes before making the drink.

Many thanks to Andrew and Chad for hosting a great game night and for having us as their guests for the weekend.

Oh yeah, and Anabel likes to eat paper.

It's over 70 degrees today and it's Opening Day for baseball. I don't really care about Opening Day because the Orioles have sucked for many years now and generally I think baseball is kind of boring, but it does seem like a pleasant day for a game. I think we'll grill tonight and eat outside on the deck.

Friday, March 25, 2011

You & Me & Spring

No matter where we go, it somehow always seems we're the ones who are having the most fun. I love that about us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blogging confession...

I confess that I haven't really been blogging so much on this blog because it's a lot easier to "blog" on Tumblr. Tumblr is like the Twitter of blogs. Most posts are very short and many have no writing at all, just photos of gifs. It's sort of a stream of consciousness kind of blogging. Mostly I just post silly TV related stuff and pictures of cats and goats. That's what I'm into people and you need to just deal with it.

Anyway, here's a link to my Tumblr blog .

Steph ran another race this weekend, the Winter Pickle. It was a trail race at Ridley Creek State Park in PA. She beat her time goal and I'm super proud of her, of course. Here's a photo I took of the trees in the park while I was waiting for her to run to the finish line.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blog neglect is a shameful crime

Crap, I've been neglecting my blog again. It's been almost a month since I posted. Well, to be fair, we have been very busy.

For example, we went to Scottsdale to visit my parents, brother, and my sister and her family. I got to meet my baby nephew, Kolby (that reminds me, I really need to mail out his birthday present), we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens (GORGEOUS), and visited the amazing Heard museum. It was hard to leave the sun and return home to 30 degrees muddiness. I can see why the rest of my family defected to Sun Valley.

Ever wondered what the inside of a cactus looks like? Well, now you know. Not what I was expecting, for sure...

I guess I thought it would be wet, like the interior of a succulent.

It was great to spend time with my family, see a different part of the country, visit new places, eat lots of yummy food, and relax a bit.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Longwood Gardens Orchid Extravaganza

After our lovely brunch at Terrain, we all drove over to Longwood Gardens to see the "Orchid Extravaganza". It was a blustery day, so we didn't explore much of the grounds. The gardens in the conservatory were so beautiful! I had not been to Longwood since I was a teenager, so I had mostly forgotten what it was like. The banana trees and the succulents were my favorites. I'd love to return in the spring when it's warmer and the flowering trees are blooming.

I took many photos, all of which can be seen on my Flickr page...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chad's birthday brunch at Terrain

We went to Terrain over the weekend to have brunch at the cafe in honor of Chad's birthday. We were quite a crowd-- Chad, Andrew, Kathy, Rich, Erin, Matt, and baby Anabel were all in attendance. Our gifts for Chad have not yet arrived in the mail, but he did get some Amazon.com gift certificates, some fibers related books, an awesome cat t-shirt, and a head scratcher from China that looks like a whisk.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Get in the car, Diane! (our blooming Witch Hazel)

Last winter, our Dogwood tree in the front yard (unnamed) died a senseless death. The Snowpocalypse killed him.

I learned about Witch Hazel when Andrew and Chad took me to the Morris Arboretum one winter. They are one of the few trees that bloom in the winter. Their blooms are a welcome sight, signaling the end of winter and offering blooms during an otherwise dreary time of year. Witch hazel is used a lot for skin care, as the leaves and bark are astringent, but I wanted one purely for ornamental purposes.

Over the Fall, we headed over to our favorite Baltimore nursery, Valley View Farms, to pick out a Witch Hazel. We chose the last of a lovely red variety and named her Diane. I don't know why we chose that name or even which one of us called her Diane first. All I know is that we spent a good amount of time giggling with each other and screaming "Get in the cart, Diane!", and "Get in the car, Diane!". What can I say; we are easily amused and we like to spice up everyday household errands. Sometimes it's fun to verbally abuse your plants.

I was concerned that the shock of being transplanted would cause Diane to not bloom this year, so I've been following her progress with much anxiety. I was quite pleased to see the beginnings of blooms unfurling yesterday, and today some of the buds have completely opened. SO EXCITING!

In other news, I'm pretty sure my neighbors think I'm crazy. I was outside at 5:15pm (prime dog-walking time in our neighborhood, so a LOT of people saw me), wearing pajama pants and a sweatshirt with the hood up over my head, sitting on the ground and taking macro photos of this tree in my front yard. I got a few strange looks. Diane understands me though and that's all that matters.

Fret not, I have not forgotten my tales of the hospital blog post. I promise it is forthcoming. I've started writing it, but it's just so involved and my energy level is still not anywhere close to 100%. 5 rounds of antibiotics will wear a person out.

(Click on photos to enlarge the image)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Home from the hospital, a quickie

Greetings! I spent five nights and six days in the hospital last week, which was scary and humbling. I am now recovering at home, and once I get enough energy, I'll do an in depth blog about my hospital experience. But for now, I just wanted to check in and make a quick list of a few things I learned about myself while in the hospital:

1) I have a very high pain tolerance, even higher than I thought.
2) I am allergic to EVERYTHING. If you give me a drug, the chances that I'll have an allergic reaction to it or that I'll experience one of the rare side effects of that drug are very high.
3) I have amazing friends. They're even more amazing than I thought, and I already felt pretty lucky to have them.
4) If a surgeon offers to put you under to do surgery, you should take that opportunity instead of being afraid of anesthesia and insisting that they just use lidocaine and drain your abscess at the bedside.
5) Steph is a saint. She never left my side and for five nights she slept in a chair in my hospital room. She watched everyone and everything like a hawk and advocated for me when I was unable to do so for myself.
6) I have small veins that like to blow, thus necessitating a billion IVs and eventually a PICC line.

Photo Steph took of my IV drip in my hospital room, taken with my iPhone.

Monday, January 24, 2011

On Challah, fun with friends and cameras, and being Jewish

I present to you these completely unedited photos, interwebs, because sometimes I think it's important to see how things look straight out of the camera. I took these with my point and shoot camera, a Canon S90. Andrew and Chad came to visit this weekend, and we all had a great discussion about how many cameras one should have. Steph doesn't understand why I NEED multiple cameras and lenses. Andrew and Chad understand that it's necessary to have at least one point and shoot, at least one DSLR, and a variety of different lenses for different shooting situations. And this is why we are friends.

Having Andrew and Chad here was wonderful. It made me so happy to be with them. Last week was a particularly difficult one, and it felt good to relax, eat, and laugh a lot. I made a challah to have with our roast chicken on Friday night, and it turned out great. I used my mom's recipe, which was very easy to follow. As I was kneading my dough, I felt very connected to my mother, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother, all expert challah makers in their own right.

I'm reading a book right now called Living A Jewish Life, because I feel very disconnected from my Judaism and I want to think about ways in which I can incorporate Jewish customs and rituals into my daily life. I watched Shoah, a 9 hour documentary about the Holocaust, over MLK weekend and it got me thinking about how important it is, on both a personal and historical level, to carry on Jewish living and traditions. Most of the people interviewed in Shoah have already passed away and soon the last living Holocaust survivors will be gone as well-- a frightening thought. I think about how important Judaism was to those in the Holocaust and now, only 2-3 generations later, for most Jews who are not Orthodox, Jewish living is not a priority or even something that we think about. So yeah, connecting with my religion and heritage is something that I am exploring right now.

The other photos are of flowers Steph got for me as an early birthday present and to cheer me up. I am especially enamored with the white flowers pictured. I'm not sure what they are, but they are very unique and beautiful.

Wow, this post is all over the place. Oh well, my blog-- I do what I want!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reality Check

I've been taking and editing a lot of photos with my iPhone lately because I don't have a decent camera bag and so it's annoying to lug around my DSLR. I am hoping to get this bag, the delicious navy striped one, for my birthday. There are so many great iPhone camera and editing apps out there, but I find that I usually stick with Camera+.

Here are some recent iPhone photos. The cocktail photo is an Old-Fashioned I had at Woodberry Kitchen last week. It was supposed to be made with Rye, but I requested Woodford Reserve instead because I'm on a total bourbon kick right now. For the arrow sign, I was playing around with depth of field. I took that one at Red Tree in Hampden. A photo of Louis napping was, of course, necessary to include. He's so cute it's unbearable.

Remember yesterday when I said my plants were living but not thriving? Yeah, well I kind of feel that's an accurate description of me right now too. I think I, along with many other people from what I can tell, am experiencing some sort of post-Holiday winter slump. It feels like Spring is so far away. I want to spend more time outside, but the wind and cold bite at my face. I constantly daydream about camping and kayaking. I have a lot of work to do, but I am having trouble finding the motivation to do it. I need to work on building a site for my photography, but I feel completely overwhelmed by the task. Jess lent me a book months ago and I haven't even read the first page. I haven't been sleeping well.

But I also feel guilty about feeling crappy. I have a good life, I can't control the seasons, so I should just muddle through. Apparently children get shot outside of grocery stores now, so part of me feels like I have no right to complain . Of course, I know that's silly. Life is about balance and everyone has positive and negative thoughts. Not every day, week, or season is going to be fabulous.

I just want to put this out there into the web world: I read a lot of blogs, and no one wants to be negative, and so it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone is living the good life but you. These people are going places! They have nice things! Everything they cook is perfection! I know that my blog can seem that way too sometimes. Well, right now I feel pretty shitty and last night I had a major poached egg fail while making dinner. This morning I woke up to cat vomit on the stairs. That's day-to-day reality. People aren't looking for reality. That's why we watch TV, read books, and surf the web incessantly. We're looking for something to aspire to, to take us out of what we feel is the monotony of our lives. Days and weeks pass and sometimes nothing exciting happens. We all want to put our best foot forward, and cat vomit is no one's best foot.

I am a happy person; I am a positive person. I look at things carefully and often and I usually find a lot of joy in them. I think that's why I love photography so much. I enjoy recording the world as I see it. There is a negative, darker side to that aspect of myself though. It means that I am constantly cleaning because I see every little speck of dust. Sometimes I get a sort of stimulus overload and need to spend an entire day doing nothing because I've overwhelmed myself by looking at and thinking about my personal environment so much.

I guess sometimes in order to see the good in the world that you want to see, you need to step back, close your eyes, and take a nap from it all, give your eyes and brain a break. I think animals that hibernate in the winter have the right idea.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The one where I get a new winter hat

We got our first real snowfall last night, so I thought I'd post an appropriately winter-themed photo.

Steph knit me this hat as a Christmas present. It has owls on it! She used this pattern, free on Ravelry. The yarn came from our trip to Boston last year for my birthday, I believe from Newbury Yarns.

Let's see, what else...

1) Check out Chad's blog, full of his iPhone photography. Inspiring stuff.

2) I hate snow and I'm starting to hate winter too. You can't really camp in the winter and that makes me sad. My skin is dry and it gets dark too early. Snow is not fun as an adult. It equals mess and work. It's pretty when it's falling, but then it becomes ugly and needs to be removed. Those are my complaints of the day.

3) On the positive side, I received a TON of cookbooks for Christmas, both from my mom and Steph's mom, and I am super excited to start trying out new recipes. My goal is to cook at least 2 new recipes a month.

4) I want this, like BAAAAD.

5) I think I want to start a Tumblr page, because all the cool kids are doing it. It would mostly be an outlet for me to post photos of cats and goats. You may think that's sad, but I think it's AWESOME and you can't convince me otherwise.

6) I've given some serious thought to my love for owls, and I think the root of it is The Labyrinth. I loves me some David Bowie in that movie. As a child, I rented The Labyrinth on a weekly basis. Remember when you had to actually GO to the VIDEO STORE to rent movies? And you HAD to return them within 2-3 days?! CRAZY TIMES!

7) I have over 600 photos to look through and edit, so thus ends this blog post.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First visit to Terrain at Styer's in 2011

Happy New Year!

My goal for this blog in 2011 is to continue posting on a regular basis and to switch over to Wordpress so I'll have more artistic control over the layout of the site.

Steph's sister came to visit us for a week and was with us on New Year's Eve. I made paella, Jess and Mike came over, and we ate a lot of food and all played Wii karaoke. Danika left to go back to the Cape last Friday and the house is quiet now without her. I miss her, but I enjoy having my study back. We spent the weekend putting away our holiday decorations and cleaning.

I haven't had any coffee in two days and my brain feels all fuzzy. Argh...

While Danika was visiting, we took her to Terrain at Styer's. I know I post about Terrain every few months or so, but it's just such a beautiful and special place. I love visiting at least once each season. I always leave wanting to fill our house with plants, but then I remember that the cats destroy every plant we bring into the house. I am currently working on keeping a few ferns and a hibiscus alive(brought in from the porch, where they lived during the summer), and am having mediocre results. They are living, but not thriving. The cats have only knocked them over twice, so I suppose that's a plus.

A few photos from our day trip to Terrain. Even in winter, lots of plants-- Amaryllis, Paperwhites, and terrariums filled with gorgeous baby Begonias and African Violets.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pear Dutch Baby Pancake

We had this for breakfast on Christmas morning. I like to make it for special occasion breakfasts because it's Steph's favorite. It is perfect for 2-4 people. Any more than that and you'll need to start using multiple pans, which is a total pain. Here is the recipe I use, which I adapted from Martha Stewart.

Pear Dutch Baby (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Serves 2-4

* 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 Bosc pear, peeled and cut into thin slices
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (or cinnamon, in a pinch)
* 3 large eggs
* 3/4 cup milk
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or oven-safe pan) over high heat. Add butter. When melted, add pear slices. Cook until softened and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in cardamom, and remove skillet from heat.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, except confectioners’ sugar, until smooth. Pour over pear mixture. Bake until puffed and brown, about 20 minutes. Slide pancake onto a serving platter. Serve immediately, cut into wedges, with confectioners’ sugar sifted over the top.

The pancake sort of deflates the longer it's out of the oven (this photo was taken moments after I took the pan out of the oven). Don't be concerned-- that's totally normal. Experiment with different fruits and spices!