Back to School Breakfast
Today my children started back to school. I wasn’t ready for the summer to be over, but I think they were. I could sense it not only in their excitement but in their increasing bickering the last couple weeks. Not that starting school will stop their bickering, but their decreased time together will allow less time to do so. Or so I hope.
The fact that it was the first day of school was made clear to me this morning when my five year old ran in and jumped in bed with me. “Daddy says you can sleep until 7!” I opened one eye to see that it was 6 a.m.. I heard the front door closing. My husband had left for work. He has this idea that when my son comes in early in the morning he falls back asleep with me. Not that it has never happened. But not often. And certainly not frequently since he was….oh…. 1 or 2 years old!
I listened to him chattering away for a while, but it became apparent, about 15 minutes later that I would indeed be getting up before 7 a.m. On the bright side it was more enjoyable to wake up to an excited kindergardener rather than the buzzing of my alarm, and it gave me plenty of time to do what I had planned to do this morning: make breakfast.
A real honest to goodness homemade breakfast. Now, of course my children eat breakfast every morning, but I have to admit that I have been known to lift my head off the pillow ever so slightly and croak, “Get your cereal in your bowls and I’ll be out to pour the milk in 3 minutes.” Or even, on occasion, “Get your sister to pour the milk.” It’s not that I’m not a morning person. I wake up very easily… once I’m standing, but there is something about getting up before 7 a.m. that my body doesn’t like. So I don’t fight it.
Especially now that they are older and more capable, I’m all about turning them into independent little citizens of our household. For this household, that means fending for yourself for breakfast. Except maybe on the 1st Day of School. For that, I’ll make an exception.
Of course, I wasn’t always like this. When they were smaller, and less able to pour their cereal with out dumping it all on the floor, I did get up and chase them as fast as I could to the kitchen to avert any danger or messes. I’ve had my days, weeks, even months, were I would make breakfast every morning. From scratch. No cereal in sight (However, I must admit that I was not, and am still not, averse to cereal for dinner). I made muffins. Waffles. French Toast. Scrambled eggs. Oatmeal. Pancakes.
Choosing from his options this morning, my little guy choose pancakes. I secretly sighed in relief as that is what I was planning on making anyway. One of the things that I love about this recipe is that it usually makes leftovers which I freeze. I cut small squares of wax paper to place between the pancakes and then stick them stacked in a large ziploc bag or freezer proof tupperware. The wax paper keeps them from sticking together once they freeze. My son has been known to eat them frozen, even when I got up to make him breakfast. Sometimes he just can’t wait 5 minutes, but when he can I pop these in our toaster oven and warm them up. They do get just the slightest bit crisp, but no complaints. (I’m sure you could reheat them in the microwave too but I’ve never tried it.)
Basically for one morning of labour, I can get 3 or 4 mornings of lazy mama in bed days and with just a slight lift of my head, I can croak, “Get your pancake out of the freezer and into the toaster oven and ask your sister to pour the syrup.”
My Favorite Pancake Recipe (with notes, asides, drips and smudges)
This recipe has been adapted from Nigella Lawson’s “American Breakfast Pancakes” in her How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook. She is one of my favorite cookbook authors– but I must admit I probably have read her cookbooks more than I’ve cooked out of them. For starters I just love that title, but she has that great chatty style and a story for every recipe– how is that possible!?!? She also lets you in on her little tips– which for me makes all the difference. There are so many recipes that work well that for me it really comes down to the parts of the recipe that aren’t on the ingredients list. For this recipe it was her tip to use a blender (and yes I realize this is the 2nd blender recipe this week, but I’m really not that obsessed with blenders– it just appears that way). I’m sure this would work with any pancake recipe, but since she pointed it out to me, I use hers– kind of.
I can’t really stand to feed my children something to sweet for breakfast, and love sneaking in extra healthy bits and pieces, so I’ve changed this one slightly. Just a little wheat germ here, some whole wheat flour there. They aren’t quite as fluffy as say, Bisquick, but my kids eat them up just the same. I am not against maple syrup (the real deal) and so to them it’s all good.
The Ingredients (finally….)
1 1/2 cups flour ( today I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup wheat germ– you can play around with different amounts of what ever flour you want to sneak in or use all-purpose and they will probably be a bit fluffier)
1 Tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled (I’ve also substituted vegetable oil one morning when I was out of butter with no problem)
1 1/3 cups milk
Melt your butter and set aside to cool. Put all other ingredients in the blender. I use the pyrex cup I used to measure my milk to also beat the two eggs after pouring the milk in the blender– the less dishes I make the more likely I am to do a recipe again. Pour butter in now– it should be coolish. Give it a whirl until mixed well in the blender. Sometimes I have to scrape down the sides a bit because of flour stuck in clumps. Let it it sit, in the blender, for about 20 minutes or however much time you have. You can also put it in the fridge for a bit and come back later (if I would of been smart I would of made my batter the night before and pulled it out in the morning ready to go— but i wasn’t). When you’re ready, get your griddle or cast iron pan heating on the stove. Pour directly from the blender onto hot greased griddle, and flip when top bubbling. Cook second side. Serve to hungry children. Freeze the leftovers. Have a couple lazy mornings.