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:



  • 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 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. . . .

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Children's Art Gallery

I have spent way too much time trying to figure out how to make a gallery for the grandchildren's school papers and art work. I wanted something simple, attractive, and at their eye level. There are a bazillion ideas out there, and I even bought the things needed to make one of them. But I opted out when I realized it would require making big holes in the walls. So here is my "why didn't I think of this earlier" solution.

I screwed two white cup hooks into the underside of some white molding along an archway in our kitchen. When I remove the hooks, the holes won't even be visible.

(I realize that not everyone has an archway exactly like this, but look for other possibilities that might work. For example, I did the same thing under the mantel to hang up seasonal decorations. The underside of laminate countertops/bars works well also.)

Purchase small curtain clips similar to this one. They are available at Ikea and at numerous online sources:

Using clear fishing line or sturdy string that blends into your wall color, tie one end of the string to one of the hooks, add the curtain clips, and then, keeping it taut, tie the string to the other cup hook. I used white kite string, and it is almost invisible.

Let your budding Picassos and Da Vincis hang up their art treasures--and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Primary Program Song Puzzle

I wasn't kidding when I told the children that being the Primary Chorister at church each week is the best calling. True, it adds to my overall stress, but I'm so lucky that gracious people surround me and are ever thanking me and kindly complimenting when things go well.

We're just a few weeks before the Primary Program, the singing/speaking showcase of sorts where the 3 to 11-year-old children get to share the songs and gospel truths they learned this year. I wanted some way of recognizing and "passing off" songs as they became "program ready." As always, I searched the internet, and somewhere I saw a picture of a "build a temple" puzzle idea that I loved. How perfect: simple, beautiful, and symbolic of making right choices (complementing our "Choose the Right" primary theme this year). Alas, the picture didn't link back to a working site, so I decided to build my own. By enlarging a template of the Salt Lake Temple found in the children's Friend magazine, I made a poster-board sized puzzle for both the younger and older kids in primary. I just printed it off at home on cardstock and cut along the dotted lines. What could be easier? Here's a picture clandestinely snapped in bad lighting behind the piano during "Sharing Time."

It's a nice visual to see how much we've accomplished and how more we have to learn in the next month. Here's a blank copy  of the puzzle or the version with the 2017 songs. Best of luck, all ye choristers and primary children!