Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

I love making pancakes for my family on the weekend, but have you ever noticed how much sugar is in a lot of the store-bought pancake mixes?  My friend Sarah told me about this super healthy pancake mix.  She has lots of little mouths to feed, so she makes a big batch of this dry mix ahead of time.  You’ll have to shop for some specialty ingredients at Whole Foods or a specialty store, but you’ll be glad you did.  I will be making this again and again for my family – my boys love it!  The pancakes are healthy, so you will need to top with a dab of butter, real Vermont maple syrup or molasses, and fresh fruit.  Note: the recipe makes a big batch of mix, which is great for storing in a container for future use.Goldie's Whole Grain Pancake Mix Recipe slightly adapted from “Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents

Goldie’s Whole Grain Pancake Mix

Makes 6 cups dry mix.

“This basic pancake mix comes from Goldie Caughlan, nutrition educator at Puget Consumers Co-op in Seattle.  There are many types of whole grain flours besides wheat that can be used to make baked goods.  This recipe utilizes a combination of several.  One perk of this mix is that it works equally well for waffles.”

Ingredients:

2 cups barley flour

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup blue cornmeal

3 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and store in air tight container.

Buttermilk Banana Pancakes

Recipe slightly adapted from “Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents

Makes ten 5-inch pancakes.

Ingredients:

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups Goldie’s Whole Grain Pancake Mix

1 cup buttermilk (can substitute with plain yogurt and a bit of water)

1/2 cup water

1 ripe banana, cut into thin slices

Vegetable Oil for griddle

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, water, and pancake mix.  Mix thoroughly with a whisk.  Add egg and banana to batter and gently fold in.  Heat griddle to medium high and coat surface with small amount of oil.  Pour enough batter onto griddle to form a 5-inch pancake.  When pancake has cooked on the bottom (tiny bubbles form on the top), flip with a spatula and cook the other side.  Repeat with the rest of the batter.  Keep cooled pancakes in a warm oven until ready to serve.

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Oh, these muffins.  Don’t ask me how many I just ate!  The recipe was given to me over a year ago from my friend Jackie and I don’t know why it took me so long to try them myself.  She was 41 weeks pregnant at the time and anxiously awaiting her home birth.  She waddled over (sorry, Jackie — we all have that “waddle” in the final month!!) to my house with a basket of these warm from the oven.  She was panting and out-of-breath when I opened the door and I gasped, “Is it time?!”  I thought she was having contractions!  So, I secretly call these Jackie’s Contraction Muffins.  She was just winded from her walk, but I think she did go into labor the next day.  These are wonderful, earthy, sweet muffins from my Earthy Mama friend — I’m so glad she shared these with me!  Note: you can substitute raisins for any dried fruit that you like.  I made half of the recipe and it made a ton – about 10 regular muffins and 17 mini muffins, which I baked for 21 minutes.  Enjoy!

Morning Glory Muffins

Recipe from my friend Jackie who found it in The Gourmet Cookbook.

Ingredients:

4 cups white flour

2 1/4 cups sugar

4 teaspoons baking soda

4 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons salt

12 carrots, peeled and grated

1 cup raisins (or other dried fruit like cherries or diced apricots)

1 cup unsweetened coconut (if you only have sweetened, just omit 1/4 cup of sugar)

1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)

2 Granny Smith apples, grated

6 eggs

2 cups vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter muffin cups well.

Whisk together flour sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Stir in carrots, raisins, pecans, coconut and apples. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups, filling them to the top. Bake until muffins are springy to the touch, about 30 minutes (or 21 minutes for mini muffins). Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.

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If you’re in the mood for comfort food, this is the dinner for you!  Serve with a toasted baguette on the side.  Note: I used a bit less garlic and I prefer to use fresh cooked white beans (any kind) over canned.

Chorizo and white bean stew

Recipe from Bon Appétit.

Chorizo and White Bean Stew

Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound fresh Mexican chorizo or Italian sausage links
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (about 10 cups)
  • Smoked paprika (optional)

Preparation

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add onion, garlic, and thyme sprig. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes. Add beans and broth and cook, crushing a few beans with the back of a spoon to thicken sauce, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach by handfuls and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Slice chorizo and fold into stew; add water to thin, if desired. Divide stew among bowls; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

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I’m always looking for a fresh, new salad dressing and when I learned how easy this one is to throw together, I was thrilled.  My mother-in-law Cille served this to us this summer and I’ve made it a handful of times since.  I tend to double the recipe so I have it in the fridge for the next night or two.  Great on a salad with toasted nuts/seeds, avocado, edamame, and/or chopped yellow peppers.  Enjoy!

Japanese Style Sesame Dressing

Recipe slightly adapted from La Tourangelle Artisan Oils.

 

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Blend ingredients thoroughly and enjoy.

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Think of this as an Americanized version of a Chinese stir fry — tasty and only takes 15 minutes to prepare.  What’s not to love?  Also a good excuse to use up any ground beef and/or pork in your freezer (before it sits in there for too long!)  Serve with brown rice and put a bottle of Sriracha at the table for those who want more heat.

Mapo Tofu

Recipe slightly adapted from Food and Wine; contributed by Chef Kuniko Yagi.

“This is totally my way of making this dish,” chef Kuniko Yagi says. “I’m sure Chinese people wouldn’t let me call this mapo tofu.” Yagi’s version has more meat than tofu, but she still relies on jarred toban djan, the chile­-bean paste that gives this Chinese takeout staple its signature heat and deeply savory flavor.”

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 pound ground beef chuck (85% lean)
1/2 pound ground pork
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon chile-bean sauce, preferably toban djan (or 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce or tenmenjan (soybean paste)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
One 14-ounce package soft tofu, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
4 scallions, finely chopped
Brown rice, for serving

Directions:

1. Heat a large skillet until hot. Add the oil, followed by the beef and pork. Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring and breaking up the meat, until crumbly and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

2. Stir in the chile­-bean sauce, hoisin and soy sauce and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Gently fold in the tofu. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the water. Add to the skillet and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and serve with brown rice.

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This is a wonderful tasting, moist and healthy muffin that you can feel good about giving to your kids or enjoying as an afternoon snack.  After tasting these, you won’t believe there isn’t any white flour, sugar, butter or vegetable oil in them.  They truly taste decadent — and they’re not!  Note: if you don’t have the wheat germ or flax, substitute with oats and the muffins will turn out fine!

Healthy Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Recipe adapted from the blog Baking Adventures in a Messy Kitchen.

Healthy Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups grated zucchini
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened or melted
2 large eggs
1 banana , well mashed
3/4 cup yogurt (vanilla or plain; Greek or non-fat or low fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups whole wheat white flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flaxseed or meal
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (heaping) dark chocolate mini chunks (Whole Foods private label sells these in a bag)

Directions:

To prepare, grate the zucchini, using paper towels to squeeze out any excess moisture, and mash the banana.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease mini muffin tray, planning for 45-50 mini muffins.

Using a stand mixer, beat together the zucchini, honey, molasses, coconut oil, eggs, banana, yogurt, and vanilla until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, wheat germ, flax seed, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt with a whisk.

Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer incrementally, beating on low speed, stopping as soon as the flour is fully incorporated.

Remove the bowl from the stand and fold in the dark chocolate mini chunks.

Scoop the batter into mini muffin cups (filling just over 3/4 full), and bake them in the oven for approximately 13 minutes. Let sit in the pan for a few more minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Try to eat just one. Really. Try.

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