Stir it Up

This week’s post includes a recipe by guest contributor Jessica Sager. We hope you find it useful and look forward to future posts by Jessica.

One should never underestimate the power of activities when interacting with children. They want to feel a connection with us, and making them the focus of our time and attention, even for a short period, has lasting value.

Jessica Sager shares a favorite activity for use in the classroom, on home visits, and for families to use on their own. It is quick and simple and the process of making it can be as fun as working with it afterward. I can also attest that gluten free flour works just as well.

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1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Salt
2 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Cook over medium heat until thickened. Add a few drops of food coloring. Stir, cool slightly, then knead and have fun. Cookie cutters and rolling pins make play-dough more enjoyable!
Jessica Sager is a Family Support Specialist in the East Linn Toddler classroom at Family Tree Relief Nursery. 

Deliciousness

 

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I’m going to let you in on a secret family recipe. We call it cheesy egg toast, or egg and cheese toast, or sometimes just deliciousness (as in, “What’s for breakfast?” “Deliciousness.” “I know what that is,” etc).

There are a variety of reasons why it is so successful. For one thing, it’s incredible fast and easy. For another, it’s a great way for me to get a certain daughter to eat eggs without complaining (she knows who she is).

But most of all, it’s the perfect meal in whose preparation everyone can take part. The little ones can do the toasting and buttering; the eight year-old can grate the cheese (generally, they all taste some to make sure it’s okay); the eldest can scramble the eggs and take it out of the oven. Sometimes keeping the kids occupied during this time is of paramount importance. Am I right?

 

Deliciousness

Some bread

Some butter

Some eggs

Some cheese

 

  • Toast bread. Butter it.
  • Turn broiler on low.
  • Scramble eggs. Grate cheese.
  • Place toast on a cookie sheet. Scoop a portion of eggs onto each piece (we use an ice cream scoop because why not). Sprinkle cheese on top.
  • Place cookie sheet under broiler until cheese melts. Serve.

The One About Breakfast

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Breakfast is important for kids. Right? Are we on the same page? As the parent who gets up early with the kids, it is my job, post-coffee, to make breakfast.

If they are going to school, especially, protein is what they need to boost brain function. I am a cook of (to put it generously) limited ability. Thus, I try to get some protein in there and call it good. As much as I would like to just throw cheese or bacon on top of whatever we have lying around, I have come up with a bit of a repertoire:

  • Eggs (only two of my four children like them scrambled, so I usually boil them).
  • Granola, with yogurt or milk.
  • Oatmeal, with butter (real butter) and milk (whole milk, or cream if we have it); brown sugar, honey or maple syrup. With nuts and/or diced apple on the side.
  • Toast with butter (we like butter) and almond butter.
  • Rice pudding (leftover rice with milk, ¼ cup sugar and a teaspoon or two of vanilla). With sausage if we’re feeling lucky).

A favorite in our family is the alarmingly named dutch baby. It is a bit sweet, in the way of pancakes or crepes, but it also cleverly contains no less than six eggs. It’s, like, real food. I used to bake it in a large cast iron pan, though we were recently given six tiny ones, and the recipe divides neatly among them (I put the little pans on a cookie sheet when I stick them in the oven). Enjoy!

 

Dutch Baby

2 tbsp butter

6 eggs

1 and ½ cups milk

1 cup flour (we use a gluten-free baking mix, sometimes split with almond flour)

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

 

Preheat oven to 425.

Melt butter in a cast iron pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine other ingredients and mix well. Spoon mixture into the pan and place in the oven; bake for 20 minutes. Serves six.

Recipe Spotlight- Kara’s Fruity Buttermilk Pancakes

I love to experiment in the kitchen! Sometimes my exploration leads to greatness, and sometimes it leads to my kids begging me to never make a recipe again. LIke the time a year ago when I had this vision in my head of creating a delicious and healthy  tropical mango/quinoa pudding for my family, which somehow instead resulted in a burned and mushy goo with just a hint of mango. I tried sprinkling a little coconut on top to redeem it, but I’ve unfortunately had a hard time convincing my kids to eat quinoa ever since.

Try as we may, we can’t have homerun recipes every time can we? But if we keep trying, we will at least create a handful of family favorites.Out of all of the successes/failures and everything in between that I have experienced in the kitchen, there is one recipe that has proven to be a crowd pleaser time after time. Several years ago, I was experimenting to find a delicious and healthy pancake recipe, and after a lot of experimenting, I came up with this recipe. I have fed these pancakes to dozens of adults and children throughout the years and have never had anyone refuse to eat them or complain.  Needless to say, we make this recipe at our house  a lot and they are now a family tradition. Be warned, the recipe makes a lot of pancakes, so I often save half of the batter in tupperware for the next day’s breakfast. I also sometimes make them for breakfast and then pack a pancake sandwich for my kid’s school lunches (two pancakes held together by some peanut butter and a little bit of honey).

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Kara’s Fruity Buttermilk Pancakes:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (Bob’s Red Mill is my favorite brand)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 3/4 cup Applesauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups of fruit (blueberries and diced apples are our most common choices)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, applesauce, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it sizzles, it’s ready!
  3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it’s just blended together. Do not over stir! Toss in fruit and stir into mixture. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/3 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot with maple syrup, peanut butter and applesauce, fresh fruit and yogurt, or any topping that sounds good to you!

Give them a try and let me know what you think! And please send any recipes our way that are your family favorites!