Power-packed Pancakes with yogurt, whole grains, walnuts & more

Power-packed Pancakes with fresh
blueberries, butter & maple syrup.
Power packed with oats, yogurt, whole wheat flour, walnuts, eggs, flax seeds, cinnamon and ginger, too! I did make them with cow's milk but if you have a dairy allergy, almond or soy milk could be exchanged.
     This is my variation of a recipe that heralds back to 1979 (I added the walnuts, seeds and spices) that is based on yogurt. It appeared in Consumer Digest and the article explored the history and benefits of yogurt.
     The article also explains, in easy to understand language, just why those that are lactose intolerant can tolerate yogurt — “With the exception of Caucasians and Western Europeans, most of the rest of mankind lacks the enzyme 'lactase' needed to digest milk sugar (lactose). According to The Journal of the A.M.A., without this enzyme the lactose is not digested, attracts water, swells up the abdomen and acts as a cathartic. Cramps, pain, severe diarrhea all are symptoms, as is bloating. But when the same milk is fermented into yogurt or some other cultured product, the bacteria in the culture pre-digest the enzyme, making it digestible without a major problem of any kind.”

Power-packed Pancakes    
1 cup milk (the original recipe actually used reconstituted dry/powdered milk)
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup yogurt (I used Greek)
1 ½ cups oatmeal (the original recipe used quick-cooking; I used old-fashioned but made the batter overnight and let the batter set in the refrigerator)
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour which has the same nutritional value as it’s counterpart but produces a somewhat lighter product – both in texture & color)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon flax seeds
  1. Mix together all ingredients; stir thoroughly.

  2. Drop by small spoonfuls on sizzling griddle. When surface of pancake begins to bubble, flip and grill the other side.

  3. Any unused batter keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.
Recipe without photos . . .
Power-packed Pancakes    
1 cup milk (the original recipe actually used reconstituted dry/powdered milk)
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup yogurt (I used Greek)
1 ½ cups oatmeal (the original recipe used quick-cooking; I used old-fashioned but made the batter overnight and let the batter set in the refrigerator)
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour which has the same nutritional value as it’s counterpart but produces a somewhat lighter product – both in texture & color)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon flax seeds
  1. Mix together all ingredients; stir thoroughly.
  2. Drop by small spoonfuls on sizzling griddle. When surface of pancake begins to bubble, flip and grill the other side.
  3. Any unused batter keeps well in the refrigerator for several days. 

Berry-Delicious Fruit Salad

UPDATE: We just made this again tonight and added another component -- we topped it with grated dark chocolate. Yum!

Following the theme of our Simple Supper Salad Platter almost no-cook meal-in-one, I prepared a no-bake dessert:

Berry-Delicious Fruit Salad
Sliced strawberries
Blueberries
Chocolate mint, chopped
Squeeze or two of fresh lemon
Several splashes of The Tasteful Olive's Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
Sprinkling of granulated sugar, if desired
Sprig of chocolate mint for garnish
Honey-infused Greek yogurt, if desired
  1. Add sliced strawberries and blueberries to a bowl or dish
  2. Add chopped chocolate mint and a squeeze or two of fresh lemon
  3. Douse with several splashes of The Tasteful Olive's Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. 
  4. Taste and add some sugar if desired.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing flavors to blend.
  6. Garnish with a sprig of chocolate mint. 
  7. Serve with honey-infused Greek yogurt if desired.

Cooking Session #3: Potato Leek Pizza using homemade dough

As a part of USD 435's Parents as Teachers Good, Cheap & Nutritious grant, provided by the Community Foundation of Dickinson County, we've been doing a series of cooking workshops using recipes from the cookbook Good and Cheap,by Leanne Brown. This morning during a playgroup, parents made batch of pizza dough to take home and we then assembled a Potato Leek Pizza. Below are both recipes with notes about our additions and things that could be added to each.

Potato Leek Pizza    Makes 4 pizzas
Note: Dividing the dough into 4 pieces makes a smaller sized pizza so perhaps 3 pizzas is a more realistic yield!
We used a mandolin to quickly
create thin potato slices.
Pizza dough for 4 pizzas
2 tablespoons olive oil — divided use
1 russet potato or 3 small potatoes, sliced into thin circle
3 leeks, white section sliced (see cleaning instructions below)
Salt & pepper
1 lb. mozzarella, shredded
Other things we added: fresh herbs + dried red pepper flakes, we also drizzled the rolled out crust with olive oil before adding the toppings
Other things we discussed adding: roasted red pepper, Canadian bacon, cooked & crumbled bacon

1.     Turn the oven to 500° F.
2.     Put a large pan on medium heat and add l tablespoon of olive oil.
3.     Once the oil is hot, add the potato slices evenly to the pan, making sure each slice is touching the bottom. (If you slice them thin enough, they’ll turn out almost like little chips.)
4.     Let them cook until they start to crinkle around the edges and turn brown.
5.     Flip them over and brown the other side, then move them to a bowl.
6.     Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss with your hands (after they cool down) to make sure they’re evenly coated.
7.     Heat up another tablespoon of oil in the same pan, then toss in the leek slices, stirring occasionally until they’re soft, about 5 minutes.
8.     Toss them with the potato slices and add a but more salt and pepper.
9.     Clear a space on the counter and sprinkle with flour. Divide your dough into 4 equal pieces.
10.  One at a time, stretch the doughs into crusts. You can use a rolling pin or just slowly use your fingers and hands. Make them as thin or thick as you prefer.
11.  Once the curst is the desired shaped and thickness, dust the back of a cookie sheet (or pizza pan) with flour or cornmeal to keep the crust from sticking, then transfer the dough to the sheet.
12.  Now layer it with ¼ of the potato and leek mixture and ¼ of the shredded mozzarella.
13.  Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, keeping an eye on the oven and the pizza. The crust should be light brown and the cheese melted. NOTE: It took more like 12 to 15 minutes per pizza -- we baked them until the edges and bottom of the pizza were nicely browned and crisp.
14.  Repeat the process until you’ve baked all pizzas. If your oven is big enough, bake more than one pizza at a time.

How to clean and prep a leek . . .
·   Slice off the majority of the leek's dark green end, leaving just a little of the dark green and the part where the color is a pale green and white. (The upper portion of the dark green part is tough and not really edible.)
·   Cut off the root end of the pale green and white section; slice lengthwise and wash thoroughly; drain and dry. (Leeks grow in sand that can get trapped inside the growing vegetable; it may even be necessary to soak the leek in water to insure a sand-free veggie.)
·   Chop or slice as directed in recipes.

Check out the health benefits of leeks @ 
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/08/leeks-benefits.aspx

Pizza Dough    Makes 4 individual pizzas
The following directions provide two ways to make pizza dough: the fast way and the slow way. They’re the same amount of work, just with different waits. The slow method is convenient for a weekday if you make it before bed the night before, pop it in the fridge, then pull it out to rise before dinner.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour (or use part white whole wheat flour if you want to up the whole grain benefits)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ to 1 teaspoon instant yeast (not Rapid-rise yeast)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ¼ cups water @ room temperature (about 110° F.) for Fast Method; cold for Slow Method
Other things we added: about  ½ teaspoon granulated sugar to help feed the yeast
Other things that could be added: Italian seasoning, about 1 teaspoon or more to the dry mixture to add more flavor to the dough

Fast Method
1.     Measure out the flour, salt and 1 teaspoon of yeast into a big bowl. Mix the oil into the flour with your hands, crumbling it until the texture is a bit sandy.
2.     Then add the room-temperature water. Keep mixing with your hands until it comes together.
3.     Knead the dough on a lightly floured countertop for 5 to 7 minutes, until it becomes a smooth elastic ball. The dough will be smooth but quite wet.
4.     Add a small amount of oil to a bowl.
5.     Place your dough ball in the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
6.     Let it rise for 1 ½ to 3 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. It’s done rising when it has doubled in size. Then it’ll be ready to shape into your favorite pizza!

Slow Method
If you’re organized enough or have the time to make the slow dough, this method results in the best dough.
Use the same process as listed above, but add only ½ teaspoon of yeast to the flour mixture. Rather than room temperature, the water should be very cold.
After you place the dough ball in a bowl and cover it, leave it in the fridge overnight (this gives the dough a better flavor; it also makes the dough more elastic and easier to work with).
The next day, 2 to 3 hours before you want to bake your pizzas, remove the dough from the fridge to return to room temperature.

1.     Measure out the flour, salt and ½ teaspoon of yeast into a big bowl. Mix the oil into the flour with your hands, crumbling it until the texture is a bit sandy.
2.     Then add the cold water. Keep mixing with your hands until it comes together.
3.     Knead the dough on a lightly floured countertop for 5 to 7 minutes, until it becomes a smooth elastic ball. The dough will be smooth but quite wet.
4.     Add a small amount of oil to a bowl.
5.     Place your dough ball in the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap; put in fridge and leave overnight.
6.     The next day, 2 to 3 hours before you want to bake your pizzas, remove the dough from the fridge to return to room temperature — it’s done rising when it has doubled in size. Then it’ll be ready to shape into your favorite pizza!
Parents working on their take-home pizza dough (above and below). 

And, just for fun, we made an extra batch of pizza dough for the toddlers to manipulate, stretch, and twist as they worked on gross and fine motor development . . .

To date we've also prepared Cornmeal Crusted Veggies + we had a pasta party that featured the homemade tomato sauce in the cookbook.

Cooking with Kids: Fast & Easy English Muffin Pizzas


I recently was a workshop presenter for Wellness Day at a local grade school. The topic was "Nutritious After School Snacks." With the help of eager fifth grade students, this is one of two recipes we made in a 25 minute span of time.

To read about the Wellness Day event, including  student comments and reactions, go to the Abilene App blog: Garfield Wellness Day - "Kids Cooking" Healthy Snacks

Fast & Easy English Muffin Pizzas  Makes 8 mini pizzas
Prep: about 10 min.; Bake: 10 min.
Tools/Equipment: Toaster oven or regular oven, baking sheet, pot holder(s), cutting board & knife, measuring cups (½ cup + 1 cup), silicon scraper or spoon, foil

Ingredients
   4 whole wheat English muffins, split
   About ½ cup canned pizza sauce (or make your own by adding Italian seasoning to
   tomato sauce
   1 to 2 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
Step-by-Step Preparation
1.  Preheat the oven to 375°. Cover the baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.
2.  Place the English muffin halves cut side up onto a baking sheet.
Since the English muffins weren't sliced all the way through, it was necessary to cut them open. This 5th-grader grips the knife properly while making sure his fingers are also positioned correctly.
3.  Spoon some of the pizza sauce onto each one.
4.  Top with mozzarella cheese.
Another 5th-grader adds low-fat shredded mozzarella to the pizzas.
5.  Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cheese is melted and browned on the edges.

Variation: Top mozzarella cheese with slices of pepperoni (look for low-fat varieties for a healthier snack)

This 5th-grader is cutting each pizza in bite-sized pieces for sampling.
In addition to the pizzas, we also made Chocolate Smoothies.