A few weeks ago, and with minimal fanfare, the Twinkle Twins turned two. I purposely downplayed the birthday. They are still too young to really get into birthdays. They had their cake, they opened presents, and we all sang to them. Miss Magoo now walks around singing “Happy birthday to me” and Squishy Delishy keeps saying “Two, two, two!!!”. They like being two, and I like them at two. Nothing can compare with the cuteness of a two year old.
A pre-schooler and two toddlers in the house certainly has its challenges. That is clear at mealtimes more than other times. No one likes the same things, and tantrums are commonplace. Screaming hungry little ones can suck the joy out cooking faster than a hungry vampire. I’ve zeroed in on a few easy meals that everyone will eat, and we have those — A LOT. Surprisingly, breakfast is the hardest meal. Little Guy hates breakfast. Getting him to eat anything before 11:00 takes careful planning and a lot of luck. Pancakes are almost the only thing that everyone will eat. I spent a few months making all sorts of pancakes, but even simple pancakes took too long to make with three kids pulling at my apron strings (and my last nerve). Then I broke down and bought boxed pancake mix. One bowl, one spoon and a measuring cup and I had pancakes on the table in just minutes.
Store-bought multi-grain pancake mix worked but the nutritional value was minimal as was the flavor. I studyed the ingredients and realized I could make the mix in large batches and then mix up just what I needed with ingredients I chose. It took a little trial and error to find a blend of nutritional whole grains that everyone liked and that mixed up and cooked well, but after a few tries I found a recipe that worked with a wide array of flours and tasted great.
In addition to three different whole-grain flours, the recipe has oat bran and wheat germ. You can use any combination of whole-grain flours as long as the largest percentage is a neutral soft flour such as spelt flour or whole-wheat pastry flour. If you use strongly flavored or textured flours such as Teff or Buckwheat flour, limit the amount to 1 cup. My favorite combination is a mixture of whole-wheat pastry flour, buckwheat flour and oat flour, but I also tried batches with teff flour, spelt and graham flour that were also hits. If bran and wheat germ are not your taste you can substitute those ingredients with almond flour, ground coconut, corn meal or farina (cream of wheat).
The boxed store-bought pancake mix called for water only. I chose not to add powdered dried egg to my mix because I always have fresh eggs on hand and because powdered eggs are expensive, hard to find, and even harder to find in an organic or antibiotic-free form. I do use powered buttermilk though. I use Saco dried buttermilk because it is easy to find in most grocery stores. Organic Valley does offer a organic version but I could not find it near me.
The secret to wholegrain pancake mix is letting it sit for a few minutes before cooking. When I make these, I stir together the mix, water and egg and then let it rest while my pan comes up to temp. As little as five minutes will make a drastic difference in how thick the batter is, how high the pancakes will rise and how soft the final product is. The batter should be thick like cake batter when it is ready to cook.
Everyone eats these because they taste fantastic! Breakfast is easier and I’m just a tiny bit more sane. It works. Enjoy!
Top your pancakes with one of these sauces from Cooking Light: