Summer Berry Pancakes

As a parent, you learn very quickly to pick & choose your battles.  Some are worth standing your ground over & some just aren’t.  I have to pick & choose daily.  My one daughter is fairly easy going, agreeable & will often go along with whatever I suggest.  The other one, not so much.  She is very strong willed & knows exactly what she likes & wants & you needs to be a very good negotiator to get her to change her tune.  We negotiate what she is going to wear, what she is going to eat, almost everything really. Sometimes arguing over socks for twenty minutes can be downright exhausting, which is why I pick my battles.  Some days when we leave the house she is wearing the most outrageous outfits but letting her wear what she wanted was easier than fighting with her over it!Summer Berry -1416

This morning it was a battle over breakfast & I put my foot down.  She was not going to win this one, I was not making a second breakfast.  I had made scrambled eggs & toast.  She DID NOT WANT scrambled eggs & toast.  She wanted PANCAKES…. or CANCAKES as she calls them.  (For those of you who know my daughters, you know exactly which one I am talking about).  We were having a “picmic” (or picnic) on the deck (since it was a beautiful morning) & she was not impressed when I brought their breakfast out.  I went back inside to grab mine & by the time I returned, little miss not so happy, had thrown all of the eggs & toast from her plate onto the table & was pounding on the kitchen door yelling “I WANT CANCAKES!!”.  Her sister, who loves carbs, cleverly snatched the discarded toast & sat there silently munching away.

“Chocolate” I said, (my daughters have incidentally changed their names to Chocolate & Strawberry, but that is a whole other story) “we are having eggs & toast for breakfast, not pancakes.”

To be fair, I hadn’t given them a choice this morning as I usually do & just went ahead & made something.  Had I given them a choice, you can be sure pancakes would have been suggested.  But we can’t eat pancakes EVERY SINGLE MORNING & we had just eaten them a few days earlier.  Well, Chocolate didn’t like that answer, as you can well imagine & sobbed something about needing cancakes.  I then told her that we could compromise. Since Daddy was not going to be home for dinner (he doesn’t love pancakes for breakfast, let alone dinner), I suggested that we could have breakfast for dinner & have pancakes & sausages as long as she ate her eggs for breakfast.  Her crying stopped & you could see the wheels turning…. I had to help her eat her eggs, feeding her like an infant instead of the almost three year old that she is, but she ate those eggs!  The toast, of course, was long gone, sneaky sister having eaten it all.

So, I was committed to pancakes for dinner but that was better than giving in & making her pancakes for breakfast.  (Note to self: next time, make a double batch of pancakes & freeze them, for instances like this one!)  Honestly, I didn’t mind making pancakes for dinner.  It was quick & easy & didn’t require a lot of brain power (or the oven) on a hot day.  But I didn’t want to make just ordinary pancakes (I know, sometimes I am my own worst enemy)… quite often I add beet puree (yes beets) to make pink pancakes.  Make faces all you like but my girls request pink pancakes more often than not.  I didn’t have any beet puree thawed so I opened my spice cupboard to see what I could find.

Having recently launched my Epicure business there were some new spices & seasonings in my cupboard I had yet to try.  Front & center I found Summer Berry Dip Mix. Summer Berry -0957I read the label & decided yes, this would work.  The label suggested mixing it with Greek Yogurt for a healthy fruit dip & it does sound delicious – I will try that sometime soon.  The label also suggested adding it to pancakes & waffles.  Okay, done.  My girls love strawberries, so why not?  I would just tell the girls they were confetti pancakes or that they had polka dots (success or failure is often all in how you present things to little Miss Chocolate).

I used my go-to pancake recipe (one my family has used for years & one I have shared before), added a couple tablespoons of dip mix & voila, summer berry pancakes.

I love cooking by the seat of my pants & making things up as I go along & it’s one of the things that I love about Epicure products – the versatility.  Sure, every product has its intended use, but the possibilities are endless if you just use your imagination.

Turns out the girls loved the pancakes.  Served with some local fresh sliced strawberries (we LOVE strawberries) & breakfast sausage, we had a quick, easy supper that everyone loved.

It may not have been for breakfast but little Chocolate still got her pancakes.  And Mommy won at least one battle…

 

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Breakfast!

Breakfast is probably my favourite meal of the day.  Not only is it an important way to start the day, I’m also usually starving when I wake up.  While pregnant with the girls I actually used to eat two breakfasts!  One, as soon as I got up (around 7) & then another with my husband, when he was finally ready for breakfast, somewhere around 9. I was eating for three, right?

To me, there is no better way to start the day then with a good cup of coffee, an omelette filled with mushrooms, spinach & cheese, some potatoes & some toast.   Delicious!  Of course, I certainly don’t eat this every day… though coffee is a necessity no matter what else I am eating!  Image result for coffeeBreakfast while I was working usually consisted of granola & yogurt, or some kind of cereal & toast… whatever was quick & easy before heading out the door.  Weekends were a little more relaxed, with my husband & I often making bacon (he loves bacon!) & some kind of eggs for breakfast.

I think I love breakfast so much partly because now it is one of the easiest meals a day to prepare for the little munchkins.  I think they share their mother’s love of breakfast.  We always start out with fruit.  Half a banana & whatever other kind of fruit we may have, usually blueberries, raspberries or strawberries.  Then comes the “real breakfast” &   whether it is pancakes (even pink ones!), waffles or French Toast, they love it.  Scrambled eggs & toast is a favourite too although we have recently had to switch up the eggs due to the changing tastes of little Miss S.  I believe it to be a texture thing with her & that she no longer likes the texture of scrambled eggs.  It was suggested to me that I add a mashed banana to her eggs & cook the egg/banana mixture like a pancake.  Honestly, to me, this sounds disgusting!  But I don’t really like cooked bananas unless they are in muffins or bread.  Both of my girls, however, seem to like this banana pancake.  Since their breakfast usually includes banana anyways, this is a great way to still get Miss S to eat eggs!  If you are reading this, Chris, thanks for the suggestion!

Recently we ventured a little further astray & tried oatmeal.  Now, I love oatmeal & eat it regularly but until the girls were better with a spoon, I was leery of trying oatmeal with them.  One morning recently though I just thought, let’s try it.  I made oatmeal with shredded apple in it & they both gobbled it up.  I’m not sure Miss S was thrilled at first but she came around.  Little K, however, did awesome with her spoon & just shovelled it in.  This morning when I made it Little K decided to take a page out of her sister’s book & make a huge mess while eating her oatmeal & low & behold, wouldn’t her sister be kind of tidy for once! These two never cease to amaze me.

Which bring us to oatmeal, with pumpkin.  I thought it was pretty tasty & so did the girls. IMG_3292 This recipe I did take out of Deceptively Delicious & it just happened to work out that I had pumpkin in the fridge seeing as I made pumpkin waffles for breakfast yesterday.  I realize that most people do not have the time on a Tuesday morning to make their children homemade waffles (one of the many perks of being a stay at home Mom!) but trust me, you’ll have time to make Oatmeal on a Wednesday.  This recipe literally takes 5 minutes to make.  Once the milk has heated you are pretty much there… add the oatmeal, cook for a couple minutes & voila, a hearty, stick to your ribs breakfast for your kidlets!  I eat everything that I make the girls these days (they give me the evil stare down if I am not eating the same thing) & this oatmeal is delicious… with the addition of cinnamon & vanilla you can hardly even taste the pumpkin – though it is visible due the slightly orange colour.IMG_3280

Oatmeal (with Pumpkin or Sweet Potato) – Recipe from  Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

1 cup nonfat (skim) milk

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used 1/4 cup maple syrup)

1/4 cup canned pumpkin or sweet potato puree

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

1/4 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1 cup old fashioned oats

2 tsp natural peanut butter (optional – I didn’t add this)

Dried fruit & nuts (optional – didn’t add this time either)

Pure maple syrup for serving

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, if using, & spice.  IMG_3274Bring to a gentle boil & stir in the oatmeal.  Reduce the heat & simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until the oatmeal is soft & creamy.  Stir in peanut butter, if using.

Spoon oatmeal into bowls & sprinkle with dried fruit & nuts, if you like & serve warm with maple syrup.

 

Serves 2 (or two toddlers & an adult!)

 

 

Yes, that’s it.  It’s that easy.  Since my girls still haven’t learned how to blow on things to cool them down, their bowls of oatmeal went straight into the fridge to cool down.  And since I used maple syrup in the oatmeal, I didn’t top it with anymore.  While I often cook with maple syrup for the girls, I have not yet let them have it on their pancakes or waffles & was not about to start with oatmeal.  I need to keep a few trick up my sleeve for when they get a bit older.  The first time I made oatmeal for the girls I followed proportions in this recipe, though I added apple instead of pumpkin.  I found that the brown sugar made it very sweet, which is why I tried maple syrup this time.  I think I even used a little less than a quarter cup.  But that’s just my tastes.

Breakfast is just the start… I’m thinking lunch & dinner will follow shortly.

 

Homemade Waffles

I love breakfast.  It is one of my favourite meals of the day…. I love it so much that I often make breakfast for dinner when it is just me at home.  I don’t make breakfast for dinner that often when Honey is home… I am more motivated to cook for two people than for one… but when it’s just me, there is nothing better (or quicker) than whipping up an omelet, adding a salad & voila, breakfast….er, dinner!

Growing up, weekend breakfasts were always something to look forward to.  Pancakes, waffles, omelets, French toast, eggs sunny side up, soft boiled eggs with toast fingers (this was a favourite at our grandparents) & as we got older eggs Benedict also grew on us.  We even cooked breakfast like this while we were camping… maybe not waffles, but definitely pancakes… pancakes the size of a frying pan, usually with fresh blueberries that we had picked somewhere near the campground… mmmm… I making myself smile (at the memories) & hungry at the same time!

My Dad used to be the omelet guy… getting out the griddle & making a whole batch of omelets at once.  Now, I  say he used to be as I haven’t seen him make omelets of this kind for a few years… but, come to think of it, I think my youngest brother has picked up the torch… making a big batch of omelets like this at my house just last year!  Nellie was & still is the main breakfast maker in the house though, a trait I suppose I have picked up on as well.  It was Nellie who thought me how to make pancakes & waffles from scratch… & really, once you’ve had them made from scratch there is no going back to Aunt Jemima or frozen toaster waffles!

Breakfast in our house now is always a combined effort.  Colin & I work well as a team in the kitchen, whether we are making breakfast or anything else.  I have always found cooking to be relaxing & it is even more enjoyable cooking with my husband.  When it comes to breakfast Colin is the bacon cooker (or sausages or whatever it is we might be having).  He has much more patience for cooking bacon then I do (which is really quite funny because he usually has no patience at all)…. or it seems that way.  I think I never seem to have as much success with bacon as I am also trying to make eggs, toast & possibly potatoes at the same time.  Whereas when he cooks bacon he has only the bacon to focus on.  Having said that, you probably guessed that I am in charge of the eggs, toast & sometimes potatoes.  It is a good system that works well for us.

I don’t make pancakes & waffles all the time… they are better when cooking breakfast for a group as the recipes make a lot.  Pancakes & waffles are also fun to make with little ones… I have often made one or the other when we’ve had the kids over, letting them help stir the ingredients.  Miss Lily, in fact, loves to help Auntie B make pancakes.

Waffles, I think require even less effort than pancakes.  You mix up the batter, pour it into the waffle maker & then wait… there is not even any guessing if the waffles are done, at least not for me.

My waffle maker makes a little beeping noise every time a waffle is ready.  At first (& most times) I found the beeping annoying…. but it does come in handy.  I usually get a few waffles ready & then we sit down to eat.  I continue to make the waffles while we are eating & if it weren’t for the little beeper I would have probably burned hundreds of waffles by now!   But enough rambling… time for the recipe.  I don’t even know where this came from originally, it’s just the one my family has used for years.  I use a Belgian waffle maker but the recipe works for regular waffle makers as well.   I usually make a double batch & freeze the leftovers…

Basic Waffles

2 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together (I usually mix the dry ingredients in one bowl & the wet in another before combining) & place on preheated waffle iron.  If your waffle maker doesn’t have a handy beeper like mine, the waffles are ready when they turn a nice golden colour & are crispy on the outside.  Top with fruit & maple syrup!  Enjoy!

Makes 6 Waffles