Tips for Better Pancakes

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Here are my top two tips for pancakes no matter what recipe you use (though I have some favorites):

– Cook them in a cast-iron skillet. Nothing else gives you the same golden brown, crisp outside like at a restaurant. Make sure you let your pan heat up long enough and don’t cook higher than medium.

– Let your batter sit before cooking. After you mix together the dry and wet ingredients (never over mix), let the batter sit for about 10 minutes.

I’ll share some favorite pancake recipes and ingredients in another post, but this will get you started. Pancakes are easy and tasty to make at home!

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Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

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My boys love breakfast items made with pumpkin. Pancakes, waffles and now cookies! Plus these cookies are wheat-free. So for anyone that’s looking for gluten-free recipes, you have to try this one. 

A quick search last night turned up a few recipes for “pumpkin breakfast cookies.” I browsed them and looked over the needed ingredients before settling on this one from a blog called “From the Little Yellow Kitchen.” The photo above shows how mine turned out. Plan on about 15 minutes of prep time and then 13 minutes of bake time.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies {Gluten-free}

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 large egg

1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup oat flour (rolled oats, well ground in food processor)

1  3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup dark brown sugar (light worked fine for me)

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1  1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. Alternatively, you can lightly grease mini-muffin cups and baking cookies in there.

Make oat flour, by grinding about 1 1/4 cups oats in a food processor, until finely ground, about 1-2 minutes.

In bowl of stand mixer, combine pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and beat until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine oat flour, oats, maple syrup, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. The cookie dough will be thick.

Using a small cookie scoop, drop about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dough onto prepared cookie sheets or mini muffin cups and slightly flatten to the shape you want your cookie, as they won’t move much in the oven.

Bake for 13-14 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Cookies will stay fresh at room temperature for 4 days in an airtight container, or for about a week in the fridge.

(From the Little Yellow Kitchen blog)

 

Why Eat a Colorful Plate of Food?

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Grilled Dinner

Having multiple colors of foods on your plate has benefits:

1. It’s visually appealing. We’re all typically more apt to enjoy things when they look nice.

2. You will include more vegetables and fruits, since they’re naturally more colorful that meat and starches.

3. Your body will get the nutrients it needs naturally. Each type of food with different colors contains different essential nutrients.

4. The meal will be more enjoyable overall.

The meal pictured here was a dinner I made with:
– pesto coated grilled chicken thighs
– grilled potato rounds
– grilled asparagus
– slaw with red cabbage, carrot, cilantro, cumin, salt, rice vinegar and olive oil
– sliced onion and yellow tomatoes

Eat Your Veggies with Breakfast

We all know veggies are good for us to eat, but sometimes it’s hard to get all of our servings in at lunch and dinner.

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You can make all kinds of veggies for breakfast: spinach, kale, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini and more. Two of the easiest ones I find to chop cook and mix in with eggs are peppers and onions.

For breakfast today I chopped a 1/4 cup of Yukon Gold potatoes, a few slices each of red and green p stop peppers and sweet onions. Sauté veggies in a little butter or olive oil until slightly browned. Then either fry or scramble some eggs with them and serve.

Congratulations you just  got more veggies in your day!

Cooler Weather Means It’s Chicken Pot Pie Time

Finished Pie!I’ve made some good chicken pot pies through the years, but the one I made yesterday was so tasty! I will be keeping this recipe to use again. Like other dishes, better quality ingredients mean a better finished product.

My recipe below is one I tweaked from Simply Scratch and it makes enough for two single-crust chicken pot pies. Don’t be afraid of the butter and milk in the recipe. Use low fat milk if you must but please use real butter.

INGREDIENTS:
1 whole chicken (organic preferred) – quick method is to buy a ready made rotisserie chicken.
1 stick of Butter, divided
2 whole Carrots, peeled and diced small
2 Celery Stalks, diced small
4 Cloves of Garlic
1 small Diced Yukon Potato
1 medium Sweet Onion, peeled and diced small
16 oz. bag of Frozen Peas
1/2 cup Frozen Corn
3 cups Chicken Broth, warmed – Use homemade from the Whole Chicken you just made if you can.
1-1/2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (use regular Whole Wheat or White if that’s what you’ve got on hand)
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt, more or less to taste
1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper, more or less to taste
1 tablespoon Dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 teaspoon Dried Sage
1 Package store-bought Crust. I used a box from the Immaculate Baking Company or a Homemade Pie Crust recipe.
2 9-inch pie pans or 6 (10-ounce) Ramekins

TO COOK THE CHICKEN: Place the chicken in a large pot and fill with water up high on the chicken. Throw in some salt, pepper and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Let cook for about 30 minutes until cooked through. Remove chicken to a cutting board and let cool for a few minutes, then remove all meat and put into a bowl. You may have some extra meat to use for another recipe also.

TO MAKE THE POT PIES: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease pie pans with a little butter or olive oil.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large Dutch oven.

Add in the diced carrots, onion and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the diced potato and season with a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent and the carrots are soft {but not too soft}.

Now add in the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter and let that melt. Once melted add in the half cup of flour and stir often while it cooks for 2 minutes.

Pour in the 3 cups of hot chicken broth and the 1-1/2 cups of whole milk. Let that simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened 5-8 minutes.

Next add in the frozen peas, corn, cooked chicken, dried parsley,thyme and sage. Stir. Taste add season further with up to a teaspoon more of salt and a little more black pepper if desired.

Set your two pie plates next to each other and scoop the goo evenly into each pie plate.

Pies - ready for crust

Let them cool down a bit before placing the pie dough over top and crimping the edges. With a sharp knife make slits for ventilation.

Slide the pot pies into a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden. I like to put foil or a crust guard over my crust so it doesn’t get too dark. That’s personal preference.

Remove and let them cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

NOTES: *For a glossy top crust, try beating an egg with a tablespoon of water and brush over top before baking.

Breakfast Cookies and Muffins!

Here are two recipes that you can make, eat and save some of for later! One is sweet and one savory.

“Oatmeal & Cherry Breakfast Cookies”
Made these today and they were so good! All four of us enjoyed them. The boys kept smiling saying “cookies for breakfast!”
Great served with coffee or milk.
I found the recipe in a book called “Clean Eating for Busy Families” and you can find it here at Edible Phoenix.
With oats, whole wheat flour, fruit, nuts, milk and a little oil, it provides a filling and lasting breakfast at home or on the go. I used raisins instead of cherries, because that’s what I had on hand. The only substitution I may do next time would be to cut the sugar down. It calls for 1 cup of brown sugar. I think you’d be fine with 1/2 or 3/4 cup.

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“Ham & Cheese Muffins”
These are great for breakfast with or without an egg on the side. I’ve got some in the freezer right now and they heat up real quick.
I found this recipe at Weelicious. It’s a great recipe site for families.

Who Doesn’t Like Kale (Chips)?

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You’ve probably heard by now that kale isn’t just good for you, but it’s a “super food.” I like it in smoothies, sautéed, in soups, but one of the easiest and tastiest ways to make it is into kale chips. My two and four year old enjoy them just like they were potato chips, so I bet you will too!

Buy a bunch of kale, rinse, dry off. Tear of the leaves from the stems (discard the stems). Then you want to rip them into potato chip size pieces… not too big, not too small. If they’re too big they will get soggy while baking instead of crisp.

Preheat your oven to 325.

Put them in a pile on a cookie sheet and drizzle or spritz a little olive oil on them (no more than a teaspoon). Sprinkle some salt and just a bit of garlic powder (if you like garlic). Spread them around on the cookie sheet so that they are not overlapping much. Put into oven for 12-15 minutes.

You want to watch them at about 12 minutes. The trick is to get them just until they’re crisp, but before the ends starting getting yellowish / brown. Pull them out, put in a bowl and enjoy!