My Boy’s Birthday…from Baklava to BBQ

My son’s birthday was mid-week in summer.  This means something small and intimate – which is great by me.  He chose to go to La Mediterranee in San Francisco for his birthday dinner.  He had his favorite food – Chicken Celicia, followed by a new favorite dessert – baklava.  He was quite happy.

 

 
a smiling hummus face

I don’t do kids’ birthday parties every year.  In fact there have only been 1 or 2 parties in my children’s lives so far.  Last year my son wanted a party with lots of his friends.  We invited and send out the invites, however only one could come (that summer thing) – so we had to postpone until September.  It was fun but not as festive.  This year my son wanted to have a few friends for a few sleepovers.  This is fine.  That’s what happens at age 9 in the summer anyway.

 

ready for the grill

 

ready for sleep...not

We had two boys over for a cookout and backyard campout.  My son wanted cheeseburgers (however there was also tofu for my daughter and portobellos for my husband), homemade chips and homemade vanilla and chocolate ice cream sandwiches.  The boys went to town on the cheeseburgers.  I of course love when kids eat their food and one even asked for a second burger.  The friends were disappointed there was not going to be cake…until they tasted the ice cream sandwiches and loved them.  We have an ice cream sandwich mold which makes these treats easy to assemble.  I made the vanilla ice cream (same as my daughter’s b-day) a few days prior, and the chocolate cookies the night before.  So assembling the morning of the party was simple.

 

cut cookies...
scooping and molding
voila!

The camping part was tricky as we just put in artificial turf.  Thus we realized we couldn’t steak the tent into the ground.  We didn’t worry too much as the boys played with flashlights, told jokes and giggled for about an hour and one half inside the tent.  However a gust of wind came through the yard about 10:45 pm and my husband and I heard “Help! We can’t get out!”  I went out to find the tent and boys tipped up on the back wall of the tent and the boys couldn’t reach the zipper (now on the roof).  Laughing and tired, I got them out and they came inside to “camp” in the living room.

Breakfast of course was my husband’s famous pancakes.  Studded with chocolate chips for the occasion.

 

Stay tuned to read what’s in store for the final July birthday of the year….mine.

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Little Leprechauns

We had lots of excitement over St. Patrick’s Day.  First my daughter’s kindergarten class made leprechaun traps to try to trap leprechauns and get their gold.  These are usually sweet, glittery boxes with rainbows and stars.  However there were a few that seemed a bit unkind – spikes and water to keep the poor green guy in the box.  Luckily the leprechaun’s stole the marshmallows (apparently what they eat) and just left a bit of mess (think toys on the ground, glitter dust and bead necklaces left behind).

My son also got his braces on last week.  Because the next day was spirit day and the day before St. Patrick’s Day he chose to get green bands on the braces.

Not to be outdone by her brother’s new green smile, my daughter put together her own green.  She was easy to spot and made up for any other students lacking green spirit.

 

This year St. Patrick’s Day was on a weekend so I had some time to make green shamrock pancakes (added food dye), green eggs (added pesto), cut kiwi  and green juice (mix of fruits and spinach in belnder).  I must say the kids loved it.  It wasn’t very appetizing looking.  But every once in a while it’s fun to hear a squeal at the breakfast table with a bit of surprise and “magic”.

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Can’t Compete? Just Add Chocolate Chips

My kids always request that my husband make pancakes on the weekend.  It’s great.  They have their time together making pancakes and I usually go for a run.  The funny thing is my husband makes my pancake recipe and apparently does it better than I do.  He’s even gotten into the habit of making a double batch so some can be frozen and enjoyed during the week.  Great.

 

Except…the kids had a day off from school and I offered to make pncakes.  They replied “O.K. but make them like Dad’s.  Use his recipe.”  What?  His recipe.  It’s actually published in my book, but now it’s his.  O.K. I’ll give it to him.  Afterall the person who actually makes them and you eat and enjoy them shoudl get the credit.  However I didn’t want to hear I didn’t make the pancakes as good as Dad, so I upped the anty.  “How about if we add blueberries and chocolate chips?” I asked.  Well yes the crowd went wild and said “yes!”  So I did it made the pancakes Dad is famous for but added a little extra.  A touch of chocolate goes a long ways.  So I added about 1/3 cup of fresh blueberries and maybe 1/4 cup of chocoalte chips (not much but very exciting).

 

This could be a recipe for just about anything.  No, I’m not advocating adding chocolate to every food at every meal, but once in a while is fun.  And is was dark bittersweet.  So a bit healthier than milk or white. (ah the justification)

 

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Message from a Fellow Mom – Share the Love, and Food

 

A well marked Petit Appetit Cookbook

I get a lot of nice emails from parents and caregivers thanking me for help with recipes and information in my cookbooks.  I received this message on New Year’s Day which was a very pleasant way for me to start year.  This DC mom not only made Petit Appetit recipes for her son, but also shared gift boxes full of homemade treats with her playgroup too.  I love that!  So with permission, here’s the story (and her fun photos) I’d like to share…

“I am a first time, stay-at-home mother to Nicholas who is two years old. I breastfed my little guy for the first year and fed him both handmade and store bought organic purees while he was still tiny and learning to eat.  As he grew bigger, he ate and still eats like a little bird. He is pretty typical, in that he likes pasta, grilled cheese, cheese wraps, Mac and cheese (he loves cheese) and turkey dogs, but while I was making these things healthier (whole wheat or veggie pasta, whole wheat bread and cheddar cheese, etc.) I longed for a fruit or veggie to be thrown in there, and perhaps a little variety (gasp- I know).

I went to my local library and checked out a slew of cooking for kids sneaky type books and yours was one of them. I went through it and marked about 20! recipes that I wanted to try. I have made the graham crackers, Lisa’s cookies, fruity gelatin, citrus corn muffins, banana apple bran muffins, couscous pudding, and this very morning my son and I enjoyed a mango tango smoothie together.  Your book was definitely my favorite as I believe in the organic lifestyle as much as I can find and that doesn’t break our budget, and the recipes are truly tasty to me, and more importantly to my son!

I do quite a bit of baking, and this year for the holiday season, instead of making tons of unhealthy cookies to give to my son’s friends and their mommies, I made gift baskets full of healthy goodies that could be eaten as a breakfast (citrus corn muffins or banana apple bran muffins), or snacks (graham crackers or Lisa’s cookies). Therefore, saving my mommy-friends a little extra time in the kitchen, and they had the piece of mind knowing that their kids were eating something homemade, healthy, and organic to boot. Some of the kids ate all the snacks right then and there during the play date and for others the goodies didn’t even last overnight. I was seriously happy that an entire morning in the kitchen paid off and well, they are your recipes so I have you to thank. Thank you again.  Sincereley, Aimee from a DC Burb”

 

Chef Nick
adorable zoo pancakes
fruity gelatin
Gift boxes of healthy, homemade muffins and cookies

 

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Out of the Garden Pancakes…The Greener Latke?

 

I’ve been wanting to take some photos of my Out of the Garden Pancakes, so I made them for dinner for meatless Monday this week.  When making them I was reminded of latkes and that Hannukah is coming up so soon this year.  My kids even said “These look like green latkes.”  I think these could be another addition to your Hannukah table and would go nicely with the usual potato latkes if you’re looking for a twist and some color.

Out of the Garden Pancakes

from The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler page 115

Children who “don’t eat vegetables” will eat these pancakes.  They are a filling entrée, a   hearty snack or a side dish for grilled meats.

Makes about 10, (4 inch) pancakes

1 cup organic broccoli or broccoli florets

12 organic asparagus spears

1 cup (6 ounces) sliced organic brown mushrooms

¼ cup chopped organic onion

1 large garlic clove, minced

¼ cup expeller pressed canola oil

2/3 cup organic whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon fresh dill weed

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 large cage free, organic egg

¼ cup organic milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Place broccoli and asparagus in a steamer basket set in a pot filled with about 1 to 2 inches of lightly boiling water.  Do not let water touch vegetables.  Cover and steam vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender. 

Put steamed broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, garlic in a food processor and pulse on and off to chop, or chop by hand.  Be careful not to puree.  Transfer chopped ingredients into a large bowl and stir in oil, flour, dill and salt.  Add the egg and milk and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. 

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray.  Drop batter by ¼ cups into the skillet and cook until firm on bottom, about 2 minutes.  Turn the pancakes with a spatula and sprinkle cooked side with cheddar cheese, if desired.  Cook other side until golden, about 1minute.

TIP

Adult Treats.  This recipe can become adult hors d’oeuvres by dropping batter by tablespoonful for bite size treats.  Top these pancakes with a spoonful of baby’s left-over apple puree or a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche.

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Final Challenge Day

 

So yesterday was the final day.  Although probably the easiest.  We were so busy, there was not much time for eating.  The days started early, as my son had a 9 a.m. soccer game.  Once again I only finished half my bowl of oatmeal.  We were out of berries, bananas and nectarines, so it was plain.  The kids and my husband finished the last of the granola (there’s a bit left of the Mighty Bites) with milk, and the kids had plain yogurt sweetened with brown sugar and cinnamon.  We all had a quick glass of O.J.

We were headed for miniature golf after the game so I packed a quick lunch/snack of sunflower butter and fruit spread sandwiches, along with some trail mix, and sliced apples (last 2) and cheese.   We also had my son’s friend with us.  Luckily there was enough bread.

Later we went to friends’ to swim.  My kids were offered some snacks of crackers and cheese, grapes, watermelon and grape juice.  It looked good, but I passed and luckily had some apple slices left-over.  I explained about the hunger challenge and they said, but you’re not paying for this.  Seems I could eat what was offered at someone else’s house right?  Then I started to think about all the places you could go and sample food if you wanted.  Even when I shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s there’s usually something to taste and nibble.  In fact sometimes my kids want to go back repeatedly.

Many that I spoke to about the challenge had stories about college or struggling days on their own away from home.  Remembering back, you had a certain amount of money and knew how to budget to feed yourself.  It often meant lots of baked potatoes, spaghetti, PB&J and boxed macaroni and cheese.  And let’s be honest you had to factor in beer.  One friend joked that the beer would be a name brand favorite at the beginning of the month and then get more generic and watery by the end of the month.

So dinner tonight was a kid favorite – breakfast for dinner.  I still had 6 eggs so why not?  If you remember I was just under $99, then I went to the store and bought the fish and tortillas, putting me at about $106.  Well I decided to buy (from my own pantry) a can of pureed pumpkin for $2.29 to make my kid’s favorite pu,pkin pancake recipe.  Getting everything out I realized I wasn’t going to be able to make the usual pumpkin pancake recipe as I needed to use 4 eggs.  Luckily I had created a recipe for a mom who wanted to give her son (who was allergic to eggs) pancakes  and out it my book, The Petit Appetit Cookbook.  Aha!  I will add the pumpkin to get the veggie factor in and please my kids, to the “no yolking around pancakes” recipe. (see my new recipe below).   I made a double batch which makes quite a few.  Left-overs will be welcome as a lunchbox snack or a quick re-heat for breakfast. 

While these are rib stickers I also wanted to make eggs.  Thinking of TopChef, I made eggs two ways.  One way was over easy, my son’s favorite.  While the other was a simple omelet with cheese (one thing I still have plenty of), my daughter’s fav.  A typical breakfast for dinner night would also have turkey bacon, but not tonight.  That’s was o.k.  We were all so tired from the day’s activities, no one missed it. 

Pumpkin “No Yolking Around Pancakes”

 Makes about 15 (5-inch) pancakes

 2 cup organic wheat flour

2 tablespoon organic cane sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups organic milk

1 tablespoon expeller pressed canola oil

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree 

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and oil. 

Add milk mixture to flour mixture all at once.  Stir with a rubber spatula until just blended.  If batter is too thick, thin with milk.

Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Lightly grease skillet with cooking spray or melted butter. 

For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle or skillet.  Cook until bubbles form on top of pancakes and bottoms are golden and set.  Flip with spatula and brown other sides until golden.   Warm finished pancakes in a 300 F oven, while continuing to use batter to make more batches.

 

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Breakfast for Dinner (with Organic Yogurt Pancakes For Kids Recipe)

From Lisa Barnes

Before we were parents my husband and I would sometimes skip dinner (both had a big lunch, out) or just have a glass of wine with a baguette and some yummy cheese. My roommate in college sometimes had a bowl of ice cream for dinner. And I meet plenty of new parents who are intimidated to cook for their children in the first place because their own dinners are often eating take out meals standing in the kitchen.

But once you have kids that are old enough to eat your food and hear your philosophy about healthy meals and eating habits, that freedom is lost. It’s not that you want to revert back to some poor eating habits all the time, but maybe once a month or year. It just doesn’t happen – kids want and need a meal. Plus you are the one cooking it and setting a good example.

If you’re a parent who’s tired of coming up with creative ideas for your family dinner together…take a break. Be a hero and announce to your kids you’re having “breakfast for dinner”. This usually is welcomed with squeals of delight. I’m not advocating a cereal dinner (although I know a few parents who have that on the rotation for those really difficult days) but how about family favorites you only make on the weekends such as pancakes or a cheesy omelet (which also happens to make great use of left-over veggies and meat)?.

My kids and I (Dad was out) had these pancakes tonight with an impromptu veggie cheese omelet and side of fruit and everyone was happy.

Organic Yogurt Pancakes

1 cage free organic egg, slightly beaten
2/3 cup organic yogurt – plain or favorite flavor*
2/3 cup organic milk or soy milk
3/4 cup organic unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Expeller pressed canola oil to prevent sticking

In a medium bowl, mix together egg and yogurt until smooth. Add milk, flour and salt. Mix until batter is smooth. If batter is too thin, add more flour.

Heat skillet over medium heat. Spray cooking oil in bottom of skillet, or drizzle enough oil to lightly coat the pan. When oil is hot and sizzles, drop quarter cup fulls of batter into pan. Leave enough room around each heart to turn easily. Cook one to two minutes and watch for bubbles to form on the surface before flipping with a spatula. Cook another one to two minutes on other side until cooked through, and lightly browned on each side.

Top with fresh organic berries, yogurt and/or maple syrup.

Makes 10, four inch pancakes.

*If you choose a flavored yogurt such as strawberry or raspberry, the batter will take on a bit of color. Pancakes will also be sweeter than using plain yogurt.

~
See also Lisa’s No Yolking Around – Organic Pancakes for Kids Recipe
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Runaway Pancake (a Rand McNally Junior Elf Book), Ben Williams 1956
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
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No Yolking Around – Organic Pancakes for Kids Recipe

banana_on_pancake.jpg

From Lisa Barnes

Jonathan, a two-and-a-half-year-old, was allergic to eggs but wanted to eat pancakes. His mom couldn’t find a recipe without eggs, so she sent me a request and challenge: Find an egg-free pancake recipe. I couldn’t find one either, so I came up with my own. This allows those not yet introduced to eggs to enjoy pancakes with the rest of the family.

Makes about 8 (5-inch) pancakes: 4 servings

1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup organic milk
2 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and oil. Add milk mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir with a rubber spatula until just blended. If batter is too thick, thin with milk.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lightly grease skillet with cooking spray or melted butter.

For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle or skillet. Cook until bubbles form on top of pancakes and bottoms are golden and set. Flip with a spatula and brown other sides until golden. Warm finished pancakes in a 300°F oven, while continuing to use batter to make more batches.

Tip: Packing pancakes. Pancakes make a great snack for packing and snacking. Make a double recipe and seal cold, leftover pancakes in a zipper bag in your refrigerator or freezer. They make fast, convenient on-the-go finger foods.
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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