Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday Sweet Tooth

Most weekend mornings, I take time to make a hot breakfast ranging from pancakes to egg dishes. This week, H's writing prompt was to wax poetic about his favorite breakfast and he chose pancakes, saying he 'mostly ate them at his granny's' -um, okay, we'll just forget about the 30+ weekends a year that I make them at our house. Not that I'm keeping score, because in the contest of mom vs granny when it comes to who's more awesome, mom will usually lose.

Childish feelings aside, Friday night I got these oatmeal pancakes started. It had been a long time since I'd made them-maybe even since we lived in Massachusetts, but I remembered them as being a super hearty breakfast option passed to me from my sister. Oats and buttermilk (or a buttermilk substitute-this is a great resource and I always use either the vinegar or greek yogurt method) are left to comingle in the fridge overnight. The addition of a scant amount of flour, some eggs and oil the next morning make for a fairly liquid batter, so let the edges set completely before you flip them.

You can serve them, as the recipe dictates, with warm chunky applesauce or drizzle with maple syrup. I had some applesauce I'd made and frozen last year, but served it on the side and the kids loved them. There is no added sugar in the actual batter, so you have complete control over that aspect with the amount of syrup you use.

I love that these are really filling with just one good luncheon-plate sized pancake, but still also very satisfying for that Saturday morning sweet tooth. (Someday I'll remember to photograph the pancakes either as I'm drizzling on the syrup, or just before. That day was not yesterday.)

Overnight Oats Buttermilk Pancakes

2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
3 Cups of Buttermilk
1/2 c. flour (I used whole wheat-I love Prairie Gold by Wheat Montana, which is non-GMO and a light color, for things like pancakes because it lends to a lighter-colored end result.)
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/4 c. vegetable oil (or coconut or olive oil to make whole-food friendly-depending on the brand, you will taste both of these oils, so consider that in your end result wishes)

Mix oats and buttermilk together in a bowl and store covered in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, mix the dry ingredients together and then add the egg/oil mixture. Finally, stir in the oats and buttermilk until a uniform consistency.

Cook pancakes in a heated griddle over medium heat, waiting until the edges are set before flipping, and serve with applesauce for a fall treat, or alternate toppings of your choice. With oatmeal as the base, the flavor combinations are endless!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Child's Play

Last week I was doing my daily cleaning out of the backpacks and I flipped through the stack in Charlie's folder to see if there was anything that would make the cut into the 'I may keep this forever' stack instead of being recycled immediately.

First, I saw this photo:

Super cute, right? A new little kinder drawing about his experiences on the school playground, lots of detail and appropriate colors; all the hallmarks of a maturing artiste.

I continued to flip through the stack and physically startled when I happened upon this gem:

What the french?! What in the world is going through his mind?! Is he a budding psychopath? Just...what?! I took a moment and paused. 'Hey, Char-what's this picture about?'

Here's his explanation (I made him re-explain for me to record it):

A giant grizzly bear (that I didn't have time to color in all the way) who he's fighting with his brother and dad in order to protect his baby brother in the tree is so much better than what I'd been thinking. It's what happens when we apply adult thinking and experiences to what we see little kids doing. Still probably a little more gory that is optimal, but more indicative of a healthy imagination than a Dexter-esque future. Save your worries for another day, mama. Simmer down.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ladies Who Brunch

Last night, before leaving the house, I gave my kids a choice for dinner-one of them involved using a neglected loaf of french bread to make french toast. I had made a large crock o' soup for teacher conferences as part of the meal the PTA provided and also as dinner for a new mama. I love doing both of those things, and generally I just make enough that the same meal feeds my family as well. Last night the stars just didn't align so my poor little cobbler's children were shoeless. Feel very bad for them.

I got home from delivering dinner to find that J had already re-heated leftovers and the kids were just sitting down to dinner, hooray! Charlie was immediately incensed that I hadn't made the promised french toast so I blurted that we'd have it for breakfast the next morning before really thinking about the fact that I would never get my act together to make french toast on a school morning. Scrambled eggs and toast? Sure. French toast? Never gonna happen, way too high-maintenance.  Our Best Bites to the rescue; their Overnight Baked French Toast is so insanely good, and it takes almost no time the morning of because all of the prep is done the night before (hence the overnight in the title, in case you didn't catch that piece). 

Eggs, milk, half and half, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla soak into a crusty loaf of bread all night creating the most perfect custardy middle and crispy top after spending a little less than an hour in your oven the next morning. Were it not a school day, I'd have added the streusel topping that normally accompanies it, but I figured that the drizzle of melted butter and maple syrup were more than their teachers wanted already. See? Always thinking of the teachers.

Before I went to bed I set, and obsessively re-checked, my alarm for six so there was no chance of oversleeping (silly me, I didn't need that alarm). This morning I pre-heated the oven to 350, put the pan in the oven, set a timer and laid back down pretending that my kids were not already up and playing with legos in the pre-dawn light.

About forty-five minutes later the house was filled with the smell of warm, sweet cinnamon-y eggs as I pulled out a pan of perfection with golden peaks and let it cool. I have to admit, I was feeling like pretty hot shit as I melted a stick of butter and warmed the syrup. I called the boys out and my heart warmed as they recognized the smell and raced to the table. This is where memories are made.

Are you gagging yet? Don't worry. The very next words out of Charlie's mouth were 'Seriously?! This is the kind of french toast that I don't like!' Sigh.