The First Breakfast of Summer

Wanting to make the first day of Summer Vacation special for my monsters, I dove into a little recipe pioneering.  And came up with these: Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes.  Um, yum!  They were light and fluffy and pair perfectly with Vermont Maple Syrup.  The kids love them- even more so that they were silver dollar-sized.  Usually we have a strict Double Stack Rule but with these little buggers, we stacked ’em sky-high!

So many of the recipes I have for pancakes, include modified sugar  and enriched white flour.  A common misconception is that using whole wheat flour will produce dense, dry confections.  On the contrary, using whole wheat flour, actually adds depth to the flavor and generally makes baked goods more moist and delicious.  If you haven’t used whole wheat flour before, my suggestion would be to ease into it by mixing half and half.  It does change the flavor- I love it but I have also been using it for years.  Now my recipe does call for a couple tablespoons of brown sugar.  In hind sight, I would have used a more natural sweetener like honey– or depending on the ripeness of your banana, you could just omit the sweetener completely.

Of course you will need some assistance from your helpers…

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I had the heat set to about medium and it seemed to cook the pancakes evenly and uniformly.

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Now for the towering stacks…

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The smiling, sticky-sweet faces of my boys made my day- and I think this breakfast treat set the stage for what I hope our summer will be: fun, healthy and a little sticky!

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Whole Wheat, Banana Pancakes

  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar*
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Medium Banana
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • Dash of Cinnamon

*Swap out for honey or omit entirely

Preheat griddle to med heat.  Combine flour, baking powder and brown sugar (if using honey, add to the banana mixture instead).  In separate bowl, mash banana and whisk in egg and milk.  Add all at once to the four mixture and mix until just combined.  Using a tablespoon, drop batter into heated pan (spray with a little cooking spray before the first batch and then you should be good to go after that).  Once bubbles begin to form and the edges aren’t shiny, flip ’em over.  There you go!  Of course you could make regular-sized pancakes, but how fun is that?!

Clean pates in this house equal a meal well enjoyed!

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Celebrate summer!  Peace, Mamas!

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Celebrate the Differences… With Cake

*Disclaimer: Yes, this post is about cake.  Yes, you will want to eat some.  So maybe before you start reading, you should run and grab those M&M’s, that pack of fruit snacks, the jar of PB and the bag of chocolate chips (c’mon, I know that’s your go-to when you’ve got nothing else), or maybe you were able to score something good at the grocery store and managed to get it in the cabinet covertly.  Ah, the luxuries of Mamahood.

Sometimes I wonder who made these children.  I am relatively sure I am their mother but…  How could the offspring of two people be so different?  Sure there are some similarities but the ways in which they are unique seem to far outweigh their sameness.  My oldest, Cub, is thoughtful, intellectual and timid.  He’s filled with pride which provides a daily struggle with adhering to boundaries.  He has a hard time with change and finds comfort in routine.  He’s habitual and nervous.   Mooch is my middle.  He’s soft and loving; gentle and empathetic; wise beyond his years.  Provides endless affection, hugs and back rubs.  He’s sensitive, loyal and playful.  My youngest, Zook, is a wild child.  He sobs constantly and it’s effective because his shrieks force this Mama to cave.  He’s stingy with his love and has a temper which runs through him like a deep valley, jagged and unpredictable.  His sense of humor is rich and hearty and his helpful nature will take him miles someday.

Providing such brief descriptions is a bit of a struggle.  I know them better than I know myself at times.  I am able to calculate their responses to situations, interactions, conflict and personalities.  Still at times I am shocked by their uniqueness.  It was ever more apparent to me this weekend when we celebrated Mooch’s fifth birthday for what seems like the fifth fucking time in the last week.  We hosted some friends from his class for cupcake decorating- which was a fabulous party plan!  We were able to hold the entire party outside and clean-up was a cakewalk  (pun totally intended).

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Now before you jump up to raid your candy stash (I warned you), I want to get back to the uniqueness of my children.  I would like for you to get to know my children by the manner in which they chose to decorate their cupcakes.  One of my children went for precision.  One went for the shock-and-awe (I think?).   And one I could not capture as it was devoured at a rate which rivals my own speed of cake consumption- which for those of you who don’t know me personally is smokin’.  

In case you hadn’t guessed, Cub went for structure and balance.  The perfect ratio of frosting to sprinkles to toppings.  It was exquisite.

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Zook went for… Excess.  Quantity over quality.  Drama over practicality.  Impact over tasteful (again with the pun).

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Mooch.  The tasty confection was consumed in record time.  He then chugged off to run and laugh with his mates.

It’s not that surprising that I would choose to dedicate an entire post to cake- and I’m sure this won’t be the last- but it’s a new means by which to learn about my children.  And for me to attempt to express the awesomeness they possess.  The fullness, richness, sweetness they add to my life.  Eat more cake.

Peace Mamas.

Mama Project: Cookies

The day was gray.  The air was cool and damp.  We needed a project.  Let’s make cookies!  I decided to overhaul one of my favorite recipes for Oatmeal Cookies.  We swapped out the granulated sugar for brown, half the all-purpose flour for whole wheat, used bittersweet chocolate chips (the kids don’t even know the difference) and added almond extract to kick up the flavor.  photo (33)

Baking with my kids is both my favorite thing in the world and one of the activities that stresses me out the most.  I am constantly saying, Just a minute!  You need to wait!  Take turns!  Wait for me!  No, no that part is Mama’s job!  When I am not spitting out these orders, my reflexes are exercised by yanking hands from mixer paddles, dodging liquids from elbows and prying fingers from bowls, spoons, mouths.  Talk about intense!  This is supposed to be fun?

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But… Then I watch their faces and see their eyes light with pride when they crack an egg, pour the measuring cup, add the chocolate chips.  This is a treat for them.  Cooking is something they watch me do every day but rarely get the opportunity to be part of the process.  The final tasting is magic.  Such fulfillment crosses their gooey grins.  Watching their satisfaction confirms my commitment of time to the project.  And these little suckers will go pefectly over the ice cream I have stashed for my late night snack.

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup Butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 1 1/2 Cups Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

*Baking powder can be swapped out for brewer’s yeast and ground flax seed can be added to make the world’s most delish lactation cookies

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Mix until well blended.
  2. Combine flours and baking powder and add slowly to the butter mixture.  Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
  3. Scoop using 1/2 inch melon-baller onto un-greased cookie sheets.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes; do not over cook.
  5. Let cool on wire racks, if you can handle waiting that long!

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These would kick Betty Crocker’s ass in a back alley brawl any day of the week!

Enjoy some kitchen time with your little bakers.