Whole Wheat Pancakes to Die for!

September 4, 2008

What could be more scrumptious than pancakes for breakfast?  Pancakes are easy to make.  You don’t need a pancake mix!  You don’t need a “mix and pour bottle.”  And you certainly don’t need those pre-made frozen pancakes!  This recipe mixes up in no time and is far healthier for you and your family than any of those other options.  And once you’ve tried them, you will never go back!

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

1 cup milk–soured with a tablespoon of vinegar or 1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons melted or softened butter

Combine all dry ingredients.  Pour wet ingredients into well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.  Bake on a hot griddle.  Batter with thicken quickly, but don’t worry or add more liquid.  Just dollop it out on the griddle and spread out with the back of a spoon.  These are the lightest, fluffiest, yummiest pancakes in the world!!!

(If you have any extra, pop them in the freezer and have them another day!  Then you’ve made your own slow–fast food!)

 

Homemade Syrup

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon mapeline

We make ours in a 2-cup glass measuring cup in the microwave.  Just stir the sugar and water together and microwave for about 2 minutes until the mixture goes clear.  Add the mapeline (found in the spice section of your supermarket) and you have lovely warm syrup for your pancakes.  My family greatly prefers this syrup to store-bought, and it is cheap and easy to make.

Oh Bring Us Some Figgy Jam!

August 29, 2008

Some of my best childhood memories are of spending time with my grandparents in Phoenix, Arizona.  I grew up on the east coast, but every summer we would go back to Arizona for a visit.  So many smells and tastes were different there.  We ate watermelon and cantaloupe every day.  My grandfather made me fresh-squeezed orange juice for breakfast.  He fried eggs and bacon and potatoes.  My grandmother put wheat germ on my breakfast cereal and alfalfa sprouts in my sandwiches for lunch.  It wasn’t so much that these tastes and flavors weren’t available at home, it was just that they were ever-so-prevalent at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  It was a rich, flavorful experience every day. 

But of all the tastes that excited my palate during those summers, fresh figs off of my grandfather’s tree were the most interesting.  If you have never had a fresh fig, you have truly missed out on one of the most delightful experiences of eating.  Dried, chewy figs have purpose in life, but they are nothing in comparison to the warm, sweet goodness of a fig picked right off of the tree.  Figs are rich in fiber and if you open one up, you can see why.  They are full of little seeds, held together in a massive network of sweet, juicy fibers. 

 

Today I live in North Carolina.  It is warm enough here to grow fig trees.  A couple of years ago, I planted a little stick in the ground.  This summer my tree is tall and wide and loaded with figs.  I am abundantly blessed!  So blessed, that our family cannot possibly eat all of the figs as they ripen.  So I am making jam.  Fig jam is the easiest jam in the world to make.  It is also the cheapest as it requires no pectin.  Figs have enough of their own.  All you need is sugar.  Here’s how:

Pick ripe figs off your tree.  (Go plant one now if you don’t have one!!!)  The figs don’t all ripen at once, so you never have to feel overwhelmed by them.

 

 

 

 

Cut the stems off and mash the figs with a potato masher.  This part is fun if you have kids that want to help!

 

 

 

 

 

Place the fig pulp in a heavy saucepan and add sugar.  I use about an equal amount of sugar to the amount of crushed figs.  You can use more if you like.  Heat over a medium stove, stirring constantly until the fig mixture has become liquid and bubbly.

 

 

 

 

I like my jam to have a uniform texture without lumps, so I pour it into my blender, whir it up, and pour it back into the pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stir and boil for about 5 more minutes until the jam is rich in color and is slightly thickened. 

 

Then pour into clean, sterilized jars, leaving a 1/2 inch head space.

 

 

 

 

Wipe the top of the jar with a clean wet cloth, place the pre-boiled lids on, screw the rings on tight, and wait for the lid to “pop!”

If you are nervous about canning and want to give your jars a water bath, go ahead.  5-10 minutes will be more than sufficient.  I never do with jam because the sugar does a good enough job preserving.  My jam is boiling hot when I put it in the jars and I’ve never had a seal fail or jam spoil. 

 

Fig jam goes well with peanut butter, but it also pairs well with cheese and meat!  There is nothing so heavenly as cheese and fig jam on whole wheat bread!  Enjoy!

“Lighter than Air” Strawberries and Shortcake

August 27, 2008

This recipe for whole wheat shortcake is as light as a feather and goes perfectly with strawberries and cream.  If you believe that whole wheat always feels heavy and dense or that it doesn’t go over well as a dessert cake, then you’ve got to try this one!

 

4 eggs, separated

1/4 C Sugar

1/2 C Sugar

1 C Whole Wheat Flour (I used hard white wheat flour)

1/3 C water

1/4 C oil

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Cups fresh or frozen strawberries

1 C whipping cream

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

extra sugar for strawberries

 

1.  In a large bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Continue beating while adding the 1/4C of sugar a little at a time.  Continue beating until sugar is completely incorporated and the egg whites reach the stiff peak stage.

2.  In another different mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, flour, water, oil, baking powder, vanilla, and the 1/2C of sugar until smooth.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg white mixture.  Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan.

3.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched with a finger.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

4.  Beat whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Add the tablespoon of sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.  Beat until cream is stiff.

5.  Slice fresh strawberries and sprinkle with a little sugar.  Let sit until the juices begin to run.  Or use frozen strawberries (like I did) if fresh strawberries aren’t currently available.  Let them defrost for a few minutes before slicing and sugaring them. 

6.  To serve, slice wedges of the cake in half and spread with cream.  Dollop cream on top of the cake and spoon strawberries over the top. 

7.  Enjoy!!!


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