Saturday, October 17, 2009

Apple Oatmeal Pancakes

It's a cold, rainy October morning in Virginia - perfect for some apple pancakes, a cup of coffee and a newspaper.

These pancakes are delish and full of fiber, so they'll fill you up. I doubled them this morning so I can pop them in the toaster for breakfast during the week... give 'em a try if you have some time and apples!

Apple Oatmeal Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup oats
1 T brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup grated apple
3 T melted butter
Stick butter to grease griddle

Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl, combine milk and butter well. Add eggs to liquid and whisk, then add apples and stir. Create a well in the dry ingredients and add liquid; stir until just combined. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. This time allows the oats to soften and for your batter to "grow" and become slightly bubbly.

While your batter is sitting, heat a griddle on the stove top on low heat. The griddle is hot enough when a splash of water sizzles. Just before pouring your batter on the griddle, quickly rub the end of a stick of butter on the griddle to grease. Using a one-quarter cup measuring cup, pour batter into small circles, about 4-5 in. diameter. Let the pancakes cook until bubbles have burst and flip. Re-grease in between batches of pancakes.

Top with spiced apples, applesauce and/or syrup.

Makes about 12 pancakes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Making Do (or Cleaning Out the Fridge)

Okay, so I haven't been to the grocery store this week. It's been on my list of "to-do's" but I haven't quite made it there yet. And tomorrow is Friday. As a consequence, I've challenged myself to one of my favorite games: to make do with what I have when it comes to dinner.

Admittedly, I tend to keep a stocked freezer (two, actually) and some staples in the pantry, so I usually have something to work with. And I like "cleaning up" and using what I have before I shove something else in the fridge (i.e. first in, first out). Although not going to the store means not having many fresh fruits or vegetables, sometimes you just gotta make do.

So what was on the menu this week? Mostly items that involve leftover toppings from Friday's pizza night...

MONDAY: Emeril's Braised Chicken Thighs and Mushrooms- which, by the way, is so good that it was the second time I made it (which is saying something for me) - over basmati rice, paired with steamed asparagus and a glass of vouvray.

TUESDAY: Ham, asparagus and mozzarella frittata with oven fries. Frittata's are my new favorite quick-and-easy go-to meal - similar to but easier than an omelet, nutritious and tasty, you can throw anything in a frittata and it's ready in 20 minutes. I like it with potatoes, cheese grits or just toast and some fruit.

WEDNESDAY: Two loaves of coconut banana bread (See When Life Gives You Bananas...). After I ate enough of that, I didn't need dinner.

THURSDAY: Egg (over easy) and white cheddar on toasted whole wheat and an apple.

Next on my list: still gotta do something with about 10 lbs of apples that are getting wrinkled in my fridge... any good ideas?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Birthday Cake

My son's first birthday presented me with an opportunity to tap into my creative side: I decided to make him a dog cake to coordinate with the dog-themed party. Surprisingly, I had a great time doing it and it was much less stressful than anticipated!

In short: I made a yellow butter cake and topped it with a homemade chocolate cream cheese/whipped cream frosting. I used a 14 in cake pan for the head, and a 9 in cake pan for the ears, which was cut like the ying yang symbol. I then used a cupcake for the muzzle - topped with a prune and black licorice for the nose - and a fruit leather for the tongue. The eyes were melting chocolates on top of white icing (leftover from the dog bone cookies I made), and the dog hair is toasted coconut and sifted cocoa powder. I also used some gel icing for the eyelashes and "freckles." What you can't see is a red licorice collar around his neck.

My son squealed with excitement when he saw it. I'm already thinking about next year's cake...