Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sneaky Like A Pancake Ninja

I am mother to a picky eater. And really. Who isn't. (If you are a mother...) If your child isn't feel count yourself fortunate. And (respectfully) don't assume I don't know the ins and outs of picky eaters, nutrition and the like. My mom was cooking organically and naturally before it was popular trend. We ate from the garden, raised our own chickens and pigs. She bought milk from the local farmer, made yogurt and butter. She also made crackers and other snack foods. We ate entirely from scratch. I didn't even use a cake mix until I was a teenager. I also know the uses (medicinal and otherwise) of pretty much any herb the garden. But here is the rub.  We did occasionally have cake. And pie. And homemade ice cream. It was a lesson in moderation. Something I think we all could stand to learn. My mom also was a working healthcare professional. I'm not sure where she found the time. My days don't seem to have as many hours.

Back to my picky eater. I think I have tried every trick in the book. It can pretty exhausting trying to convince him that the food I place before him isn't going to kill him or at least cause his hair to turn purple. He would live off of Mac and Cheese, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Mashed potatoes...basically anything in the yellow food category. His favorite is probably pancakes. To save time I have purchased frozen pancakes on occasion. It wasn't uncommon to find him hovered over a pancake at any time of the day. 1pm...10am...didn't make a bit of difference. Obsessed much? I should have never taught him how to operate a microwave.

If you can't beat them, join them. Instead of trying to tempt him with healthy oatmeal and fruit and yogurt for breakfast I have started sneaking things into his pancakes.

Like this.

I know. I could be all super domestic and make my own baby food...even though my baby is 10. But I found a bunch of these (and other flavors) for .50 a piece at a discount grocery.  There are popular cookbooks written who practice the same kind of sneakiness. They make their purees. I just do what I can.

You can use a box of pancake mix if that is what you have. This morning I just made up a simple recipe (an old Betty Crocker recipe) that uses limited ingredients.  Now when company is here I can bring out the multi-egg recipe, but this particular recipe just uses one. I'm sure it was written during a time that people had to use their ingredients sparingly. It calls for 2 T. of sugar. I used only half. I figured the apple sweet potato combo would have a nice sweetness. Just mix up your pancakes and dump it in!

I am not the maker of perfectly rounded little pancakes. But I am a good geography teacher. See how that one on the middle left resembles Poland? That's what I was going for.

And here we go. Not the prettiest pancakes (thanks to yours truly) but as the Studly Muffin would say, "Tasty Good."

I have another sneaky recipe I like to use. This one is for whole wheat Banana Pancakes.
It is not quite as sneaky...after all, you can't help but taste the Banana in the pancakes.

 But I cannot tell you how many times I have used this recipe in a variety of forms. Josiah doesn't like any fuss with his food. If it isn't white breadish he isn't going for it. And even though he loves bananas he doesn't like any chunks in his food.  He doesn't even like banana bread.

I like to buy bananas that are marked down by the grocery store and put into bags. I bring them home, slice them up and put them in ziplocks for the freezer. I found if I blend up the bananas pretty well he is none the wiser. They still taste like bananas minus the banana chunks. I also use 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white flour. Baby Steps. We have always had whole grain breads around the house...his preference for white bread is not one I cultivated. Go figure. He has discovered he likes these after all.

Here is the recipe for Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes (found on

• 2 small bananas, mashed

• 1 large egg

• 1 cup milk

• 1 cup whole wheat flour

• 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

This recipe is another super way to use up ageing bananas. Begin by mashing the bananas in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg and milk. Beat the mixture until the banana is as smooth as you can reasonably get it. Measure in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk again until the batter is smooth. Drop by 1/4-cupfuls onto an oiled skillet or griddle. Cook until brown underneath and dry on top with tiny bubbles. Flip to brown the second side. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve hot with syrup or applesauce.

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