I used to cook my kids breakfast every day. Every day. A hot breakfast. Not cereal. Not granola bars. Not pop tarts (Gag).
During those precious, barely-memorable days (also know as the dark years) when I was surrounded by 4 runny noses and diapers and potty training and homeschooling – I was in the kitchen making a hot breakfast from scratch.
My friends thought I was crazy. Why on earth would I be in the kitchen slaving away when there are perfectly good boxes of cereal in the grocery store just waiting to be eaten? Really, grab a bowl – pour on the milk – breakfast is served.
Nope. Not around here.
I cooked eggs. I cooked bacon. I cooked french toast. I cooked pancakes. I cooked sausage. I cooked oatmeal. I cooked cinnamon toast. I cooked ham steaks. I cooked “bird in a nest.” I cooked sausage biscuits. I cooked waffles. I cooked every morning for 89 years. OK, maybe it wasn’t 89 years. But, it felt like 89 years.
Then I moved to a farm. Breakfast needed to change.
The Problems with Breakfast:
Problem #1 – I’m busy.
I’m busy with feeding animals, milking, straining, skimming and a hundred other things in the morning.
Problem #2 – Premade Breakfast foods are notoriously unhealthy
Just go visit the “breakfast” isle at the grocery. Cereal, pop tarts, boxed & bagged muffin mixes. Boxed & bagged biscuit mixes. Boxed and bagged pancake mixes. Then there’s the granola bars, granola and don’t get me started on the strudels and breakfast sandwiches in the freezer isle. I know there’s a few good choices mixed in there; however, for the most part these foods are loaded with chemicals, GMO’s, preservatives, artificial colors, and endless ingredient lists filled with things I can’t even pronounce.
Problem #3 – My kids aren’t totally independent (Yet)
Yes, they are tremendously helpful. Yes, they are super kiddos. Yes, they can do many things for themselves. However, I don’t want my 8 year old frying bacon or pancakes….. especially if I’m not in the house.
Breakfast needed to change, but still be healthy and easy enough for my kids to pull it together without me.
I’m calling this:
Since breakfast has always been a beast around here, I thought it might help to share some of my tactics.
The first on the list is pancakes. They are a crowd pleaser. They are nutritious (as long as you use good ingredients & you don’t have gluten issues). They store easily. The freeze beautifully. The kids can help themselves without me. It’s a win-win.
Today, we’re gonna make the perfect pancakes. My 11 year old made a batch this morning. If she can do it – you can probably do it too.
I am one of those horrid people who dump a little of this and sprinkle in a little of that when I cook. The food is usually great but it makes it impossible to blog about (because there are no exact measurements).
I am happy to report that because of you, I have begun to write down all my recipes. Also because of you, I re-cook every recipe (that I wrote down) at least 2 times before I put it on the blog. I want to be sure all the measurements are accurate & I haven’t forgotten anything. I’m sure I’ll still make a mistake now and then, but I’m really trying to get precise. This should also work out nicely for my children someday – if they want to cook for their future families… Recipes are good for that.
We make these pancakes all the time. They are very good. I am intentional about only posting recipes that are favored around here. If you like pancakes, you’ll like these.
In addition to being yummy, these can make breakfast a cinch. The reason they make breakfast sooooo dang easy is because:
- After you make the batter you can put it in a container & save it for days. Anyone can grab the batter out of the refrigerator & dollop it into a buttered, hot skillet & have fresh pancakes. We have been known to eat on a batch of pancake batter for 5 days.
- If your children are too tiny to make pancakes, just fry them all up and bag the cooked pancakes in small packages (ziplock bags) for them to reheat each morning. They will save for days in the fridge or months in the freezer.
Either way you can milk the cow while they feed themselves.
Let’s make pancakes!
I’ve had this memorized for years. It comes as a result of conversations in my kitchen happening while I am straining, skimming and organizing milk & cream.
Child: “Mom, How many eggs do I put in?”
Child: “Mom, How much sugar?”
Me: “4 Tablespoons”
Child: “Mom, How much vanilla & salt?”
Me: “1 teaspoon of each”
And so on. If you do this every week you too will have the recipe memorized.
I now know how all those people on the cake war shows have their cake batter recipes memorized. They must be telling their children how to make cupcakes on a weekly basis. Grin.
First mix 4 eggs & 4 tablespoons of sugar in a big bowl. Next add 16 oz of sour cream. I LOVE to use my fresh, soured cream – but if you don’t have a cow (or if you dried up your cow so she can make a calf), the stuff from the store will do.
I never fully mix my pancake batter. Overly mixing pancake batter can make pancakes tough. I leave things still “swirly.” Last, pour in 2 cups of flour.
You will want lumps, bumps and swirls. Do not over mix. If you overmix your pancake batter you will have tough pancakes. I will leave my batter just like this and drop it into the hot, buttered skillet.
Speaking of skillets…. have I introduced you to mine? It was my grandfather’s. I guess it was my grandmother’s too, but she didn’t cook much. My grandfather was the chef in the house & he loved this skillet. He could feed an army out of this baby. It’s over 14 inches across and nearly 3 inches deep. It lives on my stovetop and I use it every day. There’s few things that can’t be cooked in this monster.
It heats evenly and makes fabulous pancakes. Begin by turning the heat on medium- medium high. Toss in some butter & smear it around with a spatula. I can tell you from experience the biggest mistake in pancake making is not letting the skillet get to the correct temperature.
It it’s too cold, the pancakes will all melt together into one giant disaster. If it’s too hot, they will burn. If it’s perfect (that’s just past medium around here) the pancakes will set and cook properly.
Let the other side cook and go get the syrup…
Syrup can be tricky to find these days. To be sure that your syrup is really “syrup” check the ingredients. The only ingredient in real, maple syrup is maple syrup. If your “pancake syrup” contains things like: corn syrup, sugar, artificial colors or other unidentifiable ingredients it is not real syrup.
If you would like to know how to make your own maple syrup go here.
This recipe makes a nice amount of pancakes. I have 4 children so I need a nice amount of batter or I’ll be making more tomorrow. We cook what we want to eat today & transfer the extra batter into a storage container (kept in the refrigerator). My 2 oldest children (15 & 14 at the time of this post) will make pancakes for everyone as long as there is batter sitting in the fridge. Super easy.
If you have younger children, you can go ahead & cook up all the pancakes & put them into portioned bags. Even my youngest 2 can reheat bagged pancakes and pour syrup on top.
and You are Free!