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If you follow us regularly, you probably already know that we love pancakes. Pancakes are one of the few foods that my daughter will always eat. We have gotten inventive with our pancakes over the last year & breakfast has never been more fun. Pancake art has become a favorite for us both on the weekends. Sometimes, she puts in a special request & it becomes a challenge to see what we can come up with. Even if they don’t come out right they are still delicious. Today, my little girl said that she wanted cupcake pancakes. Here is what we came up with.
Start with a basic pancake recipe. We added a couple of Tbsps of chocolate powder to our recipe.
Use a mixer to blend the batter well. Make sure to get out all the lumps.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I love to eat breakfast & I love to make it, pancakes, french toast, omelettes. I love making them all.
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Pancakes are definitely my favorite. I have a lot of fun with pancake art.
My daughter will put in special requests & mommy will try her best to make them. We have been working on reading & writing with our daughter. She has been trying to use her letters & form words. She puts letters together just to sound them out, even if they do not form an actual word. She has been working so hard that this weekend we made a special pancake treat to celebrate all the progress she has made. The great thing about these pancakes is that you do not need any artist skill to make them, you just need to be able to write your alphabet.
We mixed up our pancakes.
1 cup of flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
1 cup of milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp unsweetened or sweetened cocoa powder
1 egg white
Directions: Mix all the ingredients together. Use a blender to mix the batter to get out any clumps. Mix well. Add more milk if needed.
Use the bottle to squeeze out the letters. Let bubble as usual before flipping. Remember that some of the letters will need to be written mirrored so that when they flip they are not backwards. If the bottle clogs, just squeeze it off to the side. If it keeps clogging, it needs to be blended more.
As always, they were a big hit with my pancake loving girl. She spelled out her name, dog & then our dog’s name, Duke.
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I realize that it is not even Thanksgiving yet. It’s not that I have anything against Thanksgiving because I have a lot to be thankful for, but I am overjoyed for this upcoming Christmas season. I understand that most do not like how early the holidays seem to come more & more each year, but for me I can’t wait, especially after having our daughter. Christmas is magical. The Christmas carols, the twinkling lights & the smells are all divine.
I am one of those people that have gotten into the spirit a little bit early, but I don’t care. My daughter doesn’t know any different. To her it is Christmas time already. This weekend we put on some Christmas carols & filled our house with the delicious smell of gingerbread. My daughter loves baking with mommy & she loves eating it too. One of the great things about gingerbread is it has the same consistency as Play-Doh. This of course made my Play-Doh obsessed daughter happy.
You will need star cookie cutters. Using different sized cookie cutters, cut out about 10 cookies. If you do not have 10 different cutters, you can improvise.
I had 5 cutters in various sizes. I cut two of each size, cutting one a little thicker than the other. I worked the thicker star out carefully using my fingers to make it a little bit larger than the first star.
On the smallest star I added a small point for the top of the tree.
Bake your cookies according to the recipe.
Make your icing while the cookies bake.
1 cup of confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp of milk
1/2 Tsp vanilla
Stir your ingredients together until smooth.
Stack the cookies from biggest to smallest. Use the icing to hold the pieces together. Stagger the star points so that they lined up every other cookie.
Drizzle icing over the top of the tree & add M&M minis or another candy of your choice.
As I said already the gingerbread dough has a similar consistency to Play-Doh. I let my daughter use the leftover dough to craft her own cookies.
She crafted these as birthday cakes for me & her. The birthday cakes looked a bit like a pile of something else that I don’t want to say, but otherwise they still tasted delicious. Mai iced up her cookies and they passed her taste test. The only problem was trying to wrestle away all of her cookie creations from her so that she didn’t eat them all.
We also made these cute little trees imparting the same concept of stacking the stars as with the cookie tree.
We cut out 10 different sized stars using foam sheets & cut out a hole in the middle of each big enough to fit around a toilet paper roll. Cut only a small hole in your top star & loop a pipe cleaner through it to for the peak of the tree. Attach 2 small foam stars to either end of the pipe cleaner. Paint a toilet paper roll & a Dixie cup (The Dixie cup will be used for your base. Let dry. Glue the toilet paper roll into the cup. Stack the stars from biggest to smallest over the toilet paper tube & glue the top star over the top of the toilet paper roll. Let dry & let your child decorate the tree with craft pom poms, yarn, cotton snow etc.
Cookie monster is to cookies as my daughter is to Play-doh. She just can’t get enough of it. Her favorite of all Play-Doh creations is crafting baked goods. She makes cakes & cookies and asks mommy to join in as well. I got creative the other day and made Play-Doh pretzels. This got a giggle out of my daughter & also inspired her tummy with a pretzel craving. I thought it might be fun to make some soft pretzels with her & combine the fun of playing with dough and the deliciousness of getting to eat our creations after.
Once I suggested it though, my laziness kicked in & I looked for an easy way out. Hurray for crescent rolls. These are not exactly your classic soft pretzel, but they were a quick, easy and yummy treat.
1 tube of low fat crescent rolls
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 375. Unroll your tube of crescent rolls. Pinch the perforated seams together & roll out into a rectangular sheet. With a rubber spatula spread out the oil evenly over the sheet. Stir the cinnamon & sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle the entire mixture evenly over the crescent sheet. Mai did the sprinkling for us, so it was not entirely even. Cut a 1/2″ wide strip lengthwise. Roll the strip just enough to form a rope like strip. Fold & twist into a pretzel. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Serve while warm.
Mai loved these. I gave her one pretzel, but our sneaky little girl smuggled a few extra when I wasn’t looking.
For those of you that have been following me for a while, you know that I have had a long hard battle with my daughter over eating. She has been known to be a picky one. Not only is she picky, she doesn’t like to eat. She has much more important things to be doing & she will tell you. “Mama I don’t want to eat. I am so busy.” This is coming from my 2 year old. I am not sure what it is that could have my toddler so busy, but whatever it is, it has kept her from the dinner table on many occasions.
We have come a long way over the last few months and have seen great improvements. Her appetite has increased which is wonderful, but her variety of foods remains the same. Breakfast is one of her better meals. Thank goodness. And as luck would have it, it is my favorite meal to make. I love making bite-sized foods & if it is something that she can dip, it is usually a home run.
Pancake Battered Banana Bites
6 ripe bananas
1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tbsp of brown sugar
3 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
1 tsp honey
1 cup of milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, milk & vegetable oil and stir well. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg & add to the rest of the batter. Mix in the honey. Slice bananas into 1/2″ slices. Dip the banana in the pancake batter. Place on a hot griddle or frying pan set to medium heat. (Test with water, water drops should dance across the surface when added.) Cook until the edges are cooked & firm up. Flip & cook on the other side. Cook until the batter on the sides is firm & cooked.
We served ours with a peanut honey sauce, but you can also use maple syrup or eat as is.
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp honey
Heat the peanut butter & water for 20 seconds in a microwave safe dish. Stir well until smooth. Add the honey & stir well. Serve warm
These were a big hit with both my daughter & my husband. Mai loves to dip, so she had hers with peanut sauce & syrup.
A couple of weeks ago there was a sale on 10 pound bags of potatoes at the grocery store. I typically only buy half of that, but since the 10 pounder was cheaper than the 5, it was a no-brainer.
10 pounds of potatoes is a lot, even for a potato lover like me. There are only so many days a person can eat mashed potatoes in a row. As you know, I love making recipes out of leftovers & anything that I am trying to get rid of in my fridge. Here is a delicious way to get rid of leftover mashed potatoes.
1 cup of left over mashed potatoes
1 tube of crescent rolls or crescent sheet
5-6 bacon strips cooked to desired crispiness
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 375. Put 1 cup of mashed potatoes in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the sour cream. If the potatoes are lumpy, mash or whip them until they are smooth. Crumble or chop your cooked bacon & add to the potato mixture. Stir in the cheese. Unroll the crescent dough. If using crescent rolls, press seam together to form a sheet & then roll out with a rolling pin. With a knife, slice crescent into 1 1/2 inch squares. (If the dough is too soft to work with refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to firm up.) Scoop a heaping spoonful of mixture & place in crescent square. Pull each corner into the center. Roll the bottom & sides with your palm to seal the seams. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
These were a huge hit. I have admit that I was pretty proud of these. My husband even asked me to make more.
There are some things in parenthood that do not make sense to me. The most recent in a long line of things that puzzle me is this, you have all heard me cry & whine over what a difficult eater our daughter is, then how do you explain this…
If the daily battle with my daughter at mealtime wasn’t frustrating enough, I now find out that she is capable of eating at each meal, just not for us. Siiiiggh! There are a few foods that I can count on that she will eat, pancakes, French toast & spaghetti. As you can see she likes her carbs. When possible we try to sneak in meat and our fruits & veggies, but it does not always work. Today’s menu had a couple of wins and a definite loss.
Breakfast: Banana & Nutella Pancakes
I had a couple of over-ripened bananas that needed to be used, so pancakes were a great place to use them.
Smash the bananas with a fork in a small mixing bowl. Add the egg & beat together & set aside. In a medium sized mixing bowl add 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, 2 tsp of baking powder, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, 3/4 cup of milk & 2 tbsp vegetable oil & stir. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture & stir well. Stir in 1/3 cup of Nutella. Pour about 1/8 of a cup of batter into a griddle or in a frying pan set on medium heat. Cook until the pancake is bubbly & the edges are cooked. Flip the pancake & cook on the other side until cooked all the way through.
Breakfast was a success. She ate 4 pancakes of her own & a few bites of mine too. Score one for mommy.
Lunch: Monte Cristo Roll Ups:
Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the crusts off of 6 slices of bread. With a rolling pin, roll out each slice off bread. Beat an egg in a medium sized bowl. Brush one side of each slice with the egg. Cut a slice of ham so that it fits inside the slice. Cut a slice of Swiss cheese so that it only covers half of the slice. Roll the bread started at the cheese end. Dip the whole roll into the egg mixture covering the entire roll-up. Place on a greased cookie sheet & dust with confectioner’s sugar. Bake for about 7-8 minutes until golden brown.
While this was a big hit with mommy & daddy, Mai refused to try it. I tried bribery & pleading. “Just take one little bite.” Negative. This was a lunch time fail. The score now is 1-1.
Mexican Chicken Rice Bake
1 cup of uncooked white rice
1 pound of chicken cut into strips
1 cup of water
1 cup of milk
1 can of regular tomato soup (10.75 oz)
1 can of corn drained (8.75 oz)
1/4 cup of diced red peppers
1/4 cup of diced orange peppers
1/4 cup of diced yellow peppers
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 cup of shredded Mexican cheese
Preheat oven to 375. Dice your vegetables & cut your chicken into strips & set aside in a casserole dish (I used a 9×12) add the rice, water & taco seasoning, stir well until seasoning is broken up & evenly distributed. Stir in the tomato soup & milk. Pour the corn & peppers over the top. Place the chicken strips over the top. Cover with foil & bake for about 45 minutes (cook times may vary). Remove foil, add the cheese & bake for 5 more minutes. Remove & let sit for a few minutes to cool. The top may appear slightly watery. The sauce will thicken upon standing. Scoop & serve.
It was a pretty good eating day other than lunch, but you win some & you lose some.
I hate to sound like a broken record… I know you have heard me complain about this many times…BUT I have to say it again, my daughter is a picky eater. I can’t even imagine the amount of time & food I have wasted trying to get my child to eat a good meal. I have many sneaky ways & tricks that I use to help with the process, but that only works if she likes what she is eating.
She has a long list of gripes about her food:
“It’s too spicy.”
“It’s too cheesy”
“Noodles are disgusting”
You get the idea. Planning meals just plain stresses me out. At 2 1/2 years old our little girl still only weighs 25 pounds, so I will pretty much feed her anything that will get her to eat. Here lies the challenge. It is not uncommon for me to have several different meal options out at one time.
After rejecting meal 1 & meal 2, we try for a 3rd option. It is very frustrating. People tell you, they will eat when they are hungry, but yet I have seen my girl goes days without barely taking a bite.
I try to make food as fun & easy to eat as possible. She has recently taken a liking to hot dogs, just the hot dog, no bun. Tonight’s menu, corn dog bites. These are fun & super easy.
2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix (2/3 cup of milk & 2 eggs)
1 package of hot dogs
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp ground mustard
pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Slice hot dogs into chunks about 1 1/2″ long about 1/5 of the hotdog. Prepare the corn muffin mix according to directions. Mix in the parmesan cheese, ground mustard & pepper. Dunk the hot dog chunks in the mixture one at a time coating them well. Place on two greased baking sheet. Do not worry about them being covered perfectly. You can top off any bare spots my spooning mixture over the chunks once on the sheet. Leave plenty of space on the baking sheet between corn dog bites. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool & serve with ketchup or mustard.
It was a dinner time victory tonight. It even warranted a thumbs up from my finicky little girl. A sigh of relief & one more meal down. Until tomorrow….
They say “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” This could very well be true & the fastest way to get there is with a strip of bacon. I don’t know what is about guys & bacon, but I don’t think I have ever met a man yet that didn’t love it, My husband would literally put it on everything if he could. One of his favorite phrases that he mutters during dinner is “I bet this would be good with bacon on it.” Tonight’s meal is all about the hubby.
1/2 of a package of bacon
1/2 cut of seasoned breadcrumbs
1 1 lb box of shells
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup of margarine or butter
2 cups of milk
1 tsp worcestershire
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
Bacon bread crumbs
Prepare bacon. Cook it on the crispy side. Drain well & blot to get the excess grease off. Cool and crumble into a food processor. Pulse until all of the bacon is in crumbs. Blot more if needed. Mix with the bread crumbs & set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions & drain. Pour drained pasta into a large pot.
Preheat oven to 400. In a saucepan over low heat melt the margarine or butter. Add the flour, salt, ground mustard & pepper. Stir well until smooth. Stir in the milk & add worcestershire sauce. Increase the heat and stir continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Stir until smooth & then pour over the pasta. Mix well until shells are evenly coated & transfer to a baking dish. Top with your bread crumb mixture. I used about 3/4 of a cup. Use how ever little or a lot that you prefer. Bake for about 20 minutes.
Rice, rice, baby!! We love rice in our house. We love it so much that we own not one, but two rice cookers. When my mother was still alive, God rest her soul, she would buy me a fifty pound bag of rice every year along with my favorite soy sauce. When you have that much rice at your fingertips, you want to find different ways to cook it. I like it plain, fried, in risotto & it also makes a lovely rice pudding. For a smoother, creamier pudding use a smaller grain of rice. If you prefer your pudding with a bit more texture use a longer grain of rice.
1 cup of uncooked rice
2 ripe bananas
1 egg (beaten & at room temperature)
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups of water
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp margarine or butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
In a medium saucepan, combine rice, water, margarine & salt. Bring to a boil. Cover & cook for 2o minutes. Do not stir! In a mixing bowl smash up the bananas with a fork. Add brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon & 1/2 cup of milk to the banana. Mix well. After rice is done cooking, pour the banana mixture over the rice & stir. Cover & simmer for an additional 20 minutes stirring occasionally. After 20 minutes remove from heat & beat in the egg. Beat for a minute & then add the other 1/2 cup of milk. Chill. Top with whipped cream & serve.
Mai really liked the rice pudding. In between every bite, she kept telling me “Thank you, Mama.” You are welcome, sweetheart.