Monday, March 25, 2013

I got syrup duct taped to my hands

That's the way we do Spring Break.

Finally, finally it is my turn to write about Spring Break!  It seems like for the rest of the country, Spring Break has come and gone and is largely filed under "forgotten".  Out here in Alberta, we are just getting warmed up!  Put your hands up!  Put your hands up!  SPRING BREAK!

Okay, so maybe it's not so much PARTAY mode around here as it is CARB LOADING WITH SYRUPY GOODNESS mode.  I've mentioned before that even though my children come home for lunch every day, they do not get served a hot lunch due to time constraints.  Non-school days, therefore, call for all sorts of brunchy items: French toast, waffles, and pancakes. 

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I regularly purchased pancake mixes for weekend breakfasts and brunches.  Silly me!  Making pancakes from scrach is minimally more involved than using a mix.  The recipe I use can be thrown together in five minutes, and utilizes ingredients that likely already in your cupboards. 

There has been a lot of buzz around the amount of sodium in pre-packaged and processed foods, and pancake mix contains a surprising amount - surprising for something that is not actually salty tasting.  One third of a cup of Aunt Jemima pancake mix - which makes about four little pancakes - contains 740 mg of sodium, or 31% of the "recommended daily total".  That's a lot for four little pancakes! 

It occurred to me that cold pancakes would be a fun sandwich item for lunches, for those of you non-Albertans who are back to the lunch-packing grind.  Cold pancakes, spread with cream cheese, would be a welcome surprise in a lunch box, I think.  I customize my pancakes with chocolate chips or little blueberries made into smiley faces; wouldn't that be a cute way to put a smile on your child's face?  When I'm feeling especially artistic, I make Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes, but realizing I'm now veering into bento box/ cookie cutter-shaped sandwich territory, I will close by sharing my favourite, super simple pancake recipe.

Nicole's Easy Basic Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs

Stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour in oil and milk.  Lightly beat eggs with a fork, then add to the bowl.  Stir everything together until just combined. 

On a hot, ungreased griddle pour batter into desired shapes (plain circles are just fine!) and sizes.  If desired, place chocolate chips or frozen blueberries in decorative patterns on the batter.  When the top bubbles and the edges look dry, it's time to flip!  Just try not to flip them onto each other or the side of the griddle, as sometimes happens in my house. 

I received a fancy bottle of single-pressed syrup as a hostess gift, and once you've gone there, you cannot go back.  I tried to keep it all for me, but one of my children has discovered it and its mapley deliciousness.


  1. Years ago when I was in college, my boyfriend at that time made pancakes from scratch. It was a revelation. Wait! Pancakes can taste good even when not totally covered in syrup?!

    Ever since I've made them from scratch (and believe me, I'm not a lover of cooking so you know it has to be easy). Then later in the week I warm up the left over ones and put them in a thermos for oldest's lunch along with apple sauce and yogurt on the side for dipping. It's a really easy lunch and he likes it, so I'm calling it a win all around.

    1. It's like making cake from scratch rather than a mix - if you have a decent, simple recipe it is no more challenging than using a mix!

  2. I like your idea of using the pancakes as bread in a lunch! Going to try that.

    Iused to make pancakes from mix all the time, too, but once I went the home made route I abandoned that practice. Plus, we like thin, almost crepe-like pancakes which is easier to achieve when you use your own ingredients.

    Your picture reminded me that, growing up, I thought Aunt Jemima was the only kind of syrup. Then I met my husband, who grew up on a farm and used to make his own maple syrup using the sugar maples in the bush. We haven't had Aunt Jemima since.

    1. Let me know how the sandwiches work out! Maybe a nice fruity cream cheese would work well.

  3. As a kid, we used to have pancakes made from scratch for supper at least once a week. Cheap! Filling! Poverty sucks, ya'll.

    I make my own pancakes using the thoroughly awesome 'buttermilk pancake' recipe from the Purity Cookbook. I've never found a recipe I like as much.

    I will admit that we take pancake mix on our two or three camping trips a year. Of course we also take Froot Loops, because sugar consumed outdoors doesn't count, right?

    We are giant maple syrup snobs. We only buy the real stuff.

    1. Camping is a totally different thing. You need "easy as possible" while camping, right?