Monday, December 4, 2017

Fruit Pizza

Delys had a birthday recently, and the children and I wanted to celebrate with something other than cake. So we decided to make fruit pizza. Easy, colorful, delicious, and--if you forget about the cookie crust and the frosting and just focus on the fruit--healthy :) A perfect addition to any celebration or holiday!

We were on a tight schedule, so we used a mix and purchased icing:


If you have time to make it from scratch, this is a yummy sugar cookie recipe from Our Best Bites

Pat the cookie dough onto pizza pan (I lined ours with foil because it has holes) and bake according to package or recipe directions. Let cool.


Choose your fruit, wash it and let it dry, and cut it into bite size pieces:


Frost your cookie. (Somehow I failed to get a picture of that step.) Again, you can use a mix, premade frosting, or make it from scratch.These can pizzas can be works of art, so use your imagination when arranging the fruit. The children wanted a modern art look, and they did a beautiful job:


Slice and enjoy!


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Picture a Christmas Singing Time

Hellooooooooooo Christmas! I love the month of December. I love Christmas songs! It's a wonderful time to be Primary Chorister of the children at church.

Alas... I do not get to enjoy this wonderful time in that wonderful calling, as I was released a few weeks ago. Bummer. However, as our kiddos are singing at the upcoming Christmas party, I did get to half-way teach them Picture a Christmas before my reassignment.


I came across an idea to use the Primary Cutouts as my visual aids for the song (I used pictures from Set 8 and Set 3.) I didn't take a picture of my final result, which is probably just as well, since my printer is on the fritz and won't let me change the ink, despite printing ghastly lines across all my pictures. I had a giant, gold, cardboard picture frame on hand (from my "Fat Lady," Harry Potter Themed Halloween costume last year). I put the frame on the whiteboard and slowly added the visuals as we learned each line of the song (I made a basic "stable" out of brown construction paper). After we learned a verse or when reviewing the song on subsequent weeks, I liked the idea from Sugardoodle to let a child come up and be the ones to put the pictures in the frame as we sang the song.

It was a simple and effective way to learn the song. If you'd like to save yourself the trouble of cropping out the pictures you need from the online sets, here is the version I pieced together and sized to fit my frame. It worked out just right for our Primary.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Week's Worth of Easy, Healthy, Before-school Breakfasts

Half of my children remember homemade breakfasts, prepared daily before school and early morning seminary (a daily 6:00 a.m. scripture class.) The other half remember cold cereal that they got for themselves. (Those were the years that I taught early morning seminary.)

For those of you who believe, like I do, that breakfast should be both filling and healthy but who are, like I am, on a tight morning schedule, here are five of my favorite, mostly healthy, quick and easy breakfast options. (It looks like we eat an inordinate amount of pancakes, but the recipes are all really quite different.)

#1: Oatmeal Pancakes
These pancakes are made from a homemade mix that I found online at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. They do require a little early prep to make the mix, but on the morning of, all you need is an egg, buttermilk, and a cup of mix. Here is the recipe:

OATMEAL PANCAKE MIX

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 1/2 cups rolled (quick) oats (optional: first grind oats in a food processor for a smoother mix)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or 2 more cups whole wheat for a heartier pancake)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil

  1. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer or gently by hand, combine all the dry ingredients together. Slowly drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl while stirring. When all the oil has been added, stop and squeeze a clump of mix in your hand. If it stays together, it is finished. (If still crumbly, add another tablespoon of oil at a time until the consistency is correct.) Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature or longer in the fridge/freezer.
  2. To make the pancakes: whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 egg, and 1/2 to 1 cup buttermilk (depending on how thick you want your batter). Though the mixture may seem thin at first, the oats will soak up the milk as it stands while the griddle preheats. Spoon the batter onto your heated griddle. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface and don’t break, flip the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side. Enjoy!
I don't always have fresh buttermilk, so I keep a canister of powdered buttermilk in my fridge. Using the powdered milk does change the texture of the pancakes but doesn't alter the taste.


#2. Puffed Oven Pancakes

These are easy, delicious, look fun, and are loaded with egg protein. One of our eaters is not a fan of eggs (hence the lack of egg dishes on this post,) but he loves these:


The recipe is an old one from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that may have been a wedding gift. Prep is easy, but it takes 25 minutes to bake, so you have to plan ahead. I double the original recipe to feed four, so I am giving you the doubled version:


Puffed oven Pancakes


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

4 T butter
6 eggs
1 c flour
1 c milk
1/2 t salt

Place butter in a 9x13 glass or metal cake pan. Place in a 400 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl, use a wire whisk or rotary beater to beat eggs till combined. Add flour, milk, and salt. Beat till mixture is smooth. Immediately pour into the hot pan. Bake about 25 minutes or till puffed and well browned.

Top with fresh fruit or your favorite pancake toppings.

Here is a similar recipe from realmomkitchen.com that cuts your baking time to 15 minutes because you bake the batter in muffin tins: 


mini puffed oven pancakes


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1 cup milk, 6 eggs, 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 cup butter, melted

Blend first five ingredients in a blender to smooth out flour lumps. Blend in butter a little at a time.

Grease muffin tins well and fill slightly less than half full.

Bake 15 minutes or until puffy and golden on top. A crater will form on its own. Add your favorite toppings.

#3 Wednesday Waffles

I used to be a huge fan of  commercial mixes because they are so convenient, but as I learn more about what is in them, I rarely use them any more. However, I make an exception for this one:


I buy it at Costco, but I think it is available at other stores as well as online. Although I am not a nutrition expert, the ingredients in this mix seem simple and healthy. It is also a pancake mix, but I use it exclusively for waffles. The recipe calls for 1 cup mix, 1 cup cold water, and 1 T of oil. They are quick and delicious.

#4 Homemade Granola

I have no imagination and eat this every morning (almost.) It's delicious alone or mixed into yogurt. Find the recipe here on our blog.


#5 Wheat Muffins

I don't have time to make these in the morning, but they are great to make ahead to use later. They freeze well and can be pulled out of the freezer the night before. I don't know where I got this recipe, so I can't give credit where it is due.

Wheat muffins


1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/3 c butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3 egg whites
1/2 skim milk
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups. Stir together flour and whole wheat flour. Measure out 1 T flour mixture and sprinkle over blueberries; toss to coat evenly and set aside. Stir baking powder and salt into flour mixture and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Beat in egg whites until well combined. Stir in milk and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, blending just until moistened. Stir in blueberries. Spoon into muffin cups, filling nearly to the top of each cup. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.

So here are five of our favorites. On the search for five more. . . .