Monday, February 24, 2014

Blue Dolphin Pancakes- Mickey Mouse Style!

We are lucky enough to still be chillin' at my parent's beach condo in Florida.
This morning my family flip-flops over to the Blue Dolphin for breakfast. An annual tradition. Of course, O orders pancakes. The blueberry pancakes are served up Mickey Mouse-style. So adorable!

It makes me think that since O loves playing with his food, we could have more fun with this at home. We could make pancakes that look like pigs or ladybugs or pumpkins or caterpillars. Cookie cutters could make things more elaborate. Toppings/decorations might include: cinnamon, unsweetened coconut, fruit (dried, fresh or frozen), seeds (pumpkin and sunflower come to mind) and granola. More to come on this.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Awesome Buttermilk Pancakes

Here they are . . . our Best Buttermilk Pancakes! From Martha Stewart, of course.
If this was your last batch of pancakes in life, you'd be happy you chose these!!

O says the tiny one is in honor of our "Baby Moosey."

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle
1 cup fresh blueberries (optional)

Step 1: Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.

Step 2: Heat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter or reserved bacon fat onto griddle. Wipe off excess.

Step 3: Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. Scatter with berries, if using. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

Step 4: Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm.

Since finding affordable, fresh, organic blueberries on a frigid February morning would be Herculean feat, we used Trader Joe's frozen wild blueberries. . . Mmmmmm . . . We also substituted Rapadura (a healthier, unrefined, whole cane sugar) for white sugar. Our pancakes came out fluffy, light and buttery.

We could have had another family of four over to help us eat all of these! Luckily, leftovers were excellent when warmed (in tin foil) in the oven on Monday.

Endnote: Need motivation for cooking from scratch on a supposedly lazy Sunday morning? I just read in a winter newsletter from Vineyard Nutrition that an average American is spending 4 hours a day in front of a screen! Yikes! It makes me hope I am not one of them. I do find when I power down and make cooking my meditation, my family time, my chance to do something that's good for my body, I feel better for it. :) 

Florida Strawberry Flapjacks

Ahhhhh, the pleasures of visiting "Graham Cracker" and "Pop Pop" in Florida. They live at the beach. They read piles of picture books. They cut up fruit for us.

Florida strawberries happen to be in prime season!* For this morning's flapjacks, we're keeping it fairly simple while "vacation." We start with Trader Joe's Multi-grain pancake mix- kinda like starting with a little black dress. Then, we accessorize.

Today, additions include: coconut oil, vanilla, unsweetened coconut, powdered sugar (Thanks only to Grandma!) & Florida strawberries.  

One of my three sisters visited their beach condo last, leaving behind some coconut oil (Did you organic, cold-pressed coconut oil is considered a new superfood?). O "paints" the griddle with it. Then, we melt 2 TBSP coconut oil, adding it when the "box recipe" calls for oil. I am shocked to find real vanilla in their spice cabinet and add about 1 tsp to the mix, as we always do at home.

Graham Cracker purees strawberries for our batter and slices them for a topping.

I am told there is snow in 49 of the 50 states. You can make that 50 now. It always "snows" at Graham Cracker and Pop Pops: powdered sugar topping is their special treat over hot breakfasts. As the mom, I sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes for a nutritional (and tasty) boost.

Eating on their dock is O's idea.

O loved the Florida Strawberry Flapjacks, saying, "They tasteS good!" But, then, he's never met a pancake he didn't like.

Box mix or not, these pancakes pack a wholesome taste with just a hint of coconut. I would add even more strawberry puree and vanilla next time. Note: Gobble these up on Day 1- leftovers were dry.

*Am reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle while on vacay.  Did you know the average item on a US dining table has traveled 1,500 miles? These strawberries are tasting even sweeter!

Straight from O:
"Pop Pop [also] gave me candy ["Annie's fruit snacks"!!] for breakfast."

Introducing . . . Our New Blog!

Welcome to Strawberry Flapjacks with O and Mo

I had a baby. We fell in love. With each other. With many things domestic.

It all starts with spoon-fed, organic pureed mangos when Little O is 7 months old. It evolves into O calling out, "Let's open up the "moo-ey"" [smoothie] bar!" when he awakes from long, toddler naps.

And now that's O's 4, a full-fledged preschooler, our love affair continues through our ritual of Sunday pancakes. It's the heart center of our family week.

Even though Sundays start way earlier than they should with little ones around (4:45a.m. lately!), Sundays are still special. They feel cozy after we've spent Saturday together and an entire, free day still lies ahead. No errands, no playdates, no last minute dash to a meeting, no debate over what's for breakfast.

Our Sunday mornings are instinctive . . .
O cracks eggs and mixes pancake batter.
My husband, Reid, picks out eggshells and oversees the griddle.
I slip in any available healthy/interesting ingredients while bouncing our newest babe, who we'll call "Moosey" here.
"Moosey" babbles and drools.

We keep our pancakes recipes on the mellower side with interesting departures to use up leftover buttermilk from a salad dressing recipe or include items we've been lucky enough to harvest. We are thankful that we live on Martha's Vineyard where a wholesome, local food scene is very much a part of our culture. Stir-ins that we've picked ourselves have included: strawberries, cranberries, blueberries and raspberries. We've also used local sweet potato, pumpkin and yes, even sausage(!) in our flapjacks. Our go-recipes always include farm-fresh eggs from our neighbor (and cousin's) Blackwater Farm.

One ingredient you won't find in our pancakes is nuts as Owen has a severe allergy, but you'll a true assortment of recipes here, for the lazy-man or gourmet, the paleo or vegan.

Since I'm letting you into our kitchen, I'll let you in on some family 411, too. After our adorable "Moosey" came along last July, my bigger guy and I have been going through some, um, shall we say . . . 'intense transitions.'

Things have slowly been getting better. Recently, O & I were peeking our friend's incredible blog, Two Blue Lemons, to learn how to make her incredible butternut squash quesadillas. A throwback to our former domestic bliss. That's when O spotted his adorable, friend from preschool's photo.

And that, readers, the very moment O decided that he wanted to have HIS own cooking blog! About his favorite food. Pancakes.

One thing I admire about my O is that he will try ANYTHING. (I try to copy/model this for him, but I recently found myself holding my nose as I "tasted" my friend Chelsea's homemade kombucha.) Anyhow, O's willingness to try new foods is especially evident when it comes to pancakes. He will actually order a pancake just because it SOUNDS interesting. Like the Artcliff's zucchini pancakes. Or State Road's lemon ricotta pancakes.

This makes me think we have enough material to actually pull this project off. I'm also thinking we have A LOT of experience as we have been cooking (or ordering) pancakes for many a Sunday together.

I hope, just like our Sunday morning pancake ritual enriches our family life, that the venture O and I are beginning will the two of us connect us in special ways, too. And, I hope that this blog inspires you, dear reader, to keep your pancakes like your Sundays: fun, delish & wholesome.