Tatjana came home yesterday! It was the first time in almost seven months that I got to wrap my arms around my daughter, and the longest we have ever gone without some mother/daughter time. I missed her so much I was literally aching! It will also be the first 4th of July together in ages, and I couldn’t help thinking of her very

Tatjana Rhdoes

A reluctant young Tatjana on 4th of July

first one. We were visiting my parents at their lakehouse, and mom and dad were so excited about taking their darling only granddaughter to the fireworks. What they hadn’t bargained for was Tatjana had apparently inherited her fathers’ supersonic sense of hearing – which is great if you are recording an album, but …


…. in the case of the young Tatjana it unfortunately provoked howls or terror as the fireworks started to explode. There was no consoling her – not even the stunning display of colors erupting in the sky. We were left with no option but to pack her back into the car and take her home, screaming hysterically the entire way.

Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes

My how times have changed! This year Tatjana has opted for a full-on party at the Houdini Mansion with bands playing louder (no doubt) than the fireworks themselves. Of course the day will begin with our usual patriotic breakfast – our traditional holiday treat. Have a happy and safe Independence Day everyone!


The Waldorf Astoria’s Red Velvet cake has been my absolute favorite since I was a very young girl. You can imagine my delight when I saw red velvet pancakes on the menu at the Larchmont Bungalow, and they certainly did NOT disappoint! This is my own rendition for the Fourth of July.




1/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream


1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
4 tablespoons canola oil plus 1-2 tablespoons extra for making pancakes
1 cup buttermilk
1 ounce red food color
1 teaspoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar


melted butter, optional
warm maple syrup, optional
pecans or walnuts, optional


1). Use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to whip the cream cheese until smooth. Reduce the speed and stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla extract, and beat until the mixture is smooth and well blended. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the cream. Use a rubber spatula to remove any unmixed cream cheese from the bottom of the bowl. When the mixture is smooth, gradually add the rest of the whipping cream. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form. Should be the consistency of a dense whipped cream topping. Set aside.

2). Stir flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. Mix in egg, oil, and buttermilk. Mix until smooth.

3). Mix red food color and cocoa in a small bowl, then stir into batter. Add vanilla, baking soda, and vinegar (in that order), and beat until everything is well incorporated, about 2 minutes.

4). Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil starts to form ridges, drop a large spoonful of batter into the hot oil. Repeat 3 more times, keeping ample space between pancakes to keep them from running together. When the batter begins to bubble, carefully flip the pancake to brown on the other side, about 2 minutes per side.

5). Serve hot with whipped cream cheese topping, and any additional topping you desire.Servings suggestion: Crispy bacon and sausages.


Make waffles with the batter, and serve with a good vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert.

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  • July 3, 2012
    7:18 pm

    My daughter and I also have that supersonic hearing. I bought my daughter a pair of noise blocking earphones (like rock stars and race car drivers wear) and that helped immensely!

  • July 4, 2012
    8:20 am

    Enjoy your celebrations! So good that Tatjana is home with you, bet you’re cooking a lot of her favourites. 😉

    I’m thinking that I might make up some of the pancakes, use what I need and freeze the rest. If packed really well before freezing them, I should be able to put them in the oven to heat up and crisp them up a bit, I hope. Or, would popping them in a toaster work? Thinking it would be nice to have these tucked away in the freezer to pull out for lazy Sunday mornings, or when friends pop in expecting brunch.
    Love to you both and especially to Daisy! Hope she’s feeling better, but I suspect after snagging the cupcakes a few days ago, she’s right back to her usual mischievious self. 🙂

  • July 4, 2012
    10:05 am

    Last year I already wanted to make these, when I saw the recipe. Now, with the new fridge on the way, I am certainly going to try!
    PS: I have big trouble with Paypal; it wants me to add another credit card. But I don’t have a credit card! Is there another way to renew my membership?

    • July 4, 2012
      2:38 pm

      I had some problems with PayPal when I tried to add on my credit card. I finally called them to find out what the problem was and then could add my credit card. The problem actually was that another customer had keyed in the same credit card number and I ended up canceling my credit card immediately and having a new one issued. The person who had entered the same number had never used it as I never had unauthorized purchases end up on my statement. PayPal froze this person’s account so that they would have to call in and have the problem corrected. If you don’t have a credit card at all, you can start an account with payments coming from your chequing account, your payments will have to clear before your membership is renewed. If you have any other questions, just send me a message through this site or send me a message through Twitter. My user name is @rutheemac. Hope this helps you a bit! 🙂