Thursday, May 28, 2015

Homemade Pancake Mix

    One of my favorite meals on the weekends is pancakes. If we are not enjoying Sweet Potato Pancakes from our favorite local diner, I am usually making my own pancakes at home. Needless to say I make a lot of pancakes! My husband is a big fan of the plain old version, but I like to mix it up a bit from time to time. 
     What I am not a fan of is boxed pancake mix. Not only is it made with processed ingredients and additives but is way more expensive than the ingredients themselves. Plus if I can make it myself from basic ingredients in my pantry, why not. If you ask me, homemade pancakes are just that much tastier!  I like to make mine with part white whole wheat flour for added nutrients, fiber and a nuttier flavor. My one complaint with making pancakes from scratch is that they tend to be time intensive. 
     To make things easier on myself I decided to come up with a basic pancake mix that I can pull out whenever I want to make pancakes. This way the measuring is done and all I need to add is the wet ingredients and any other flavorings or mix-ins.  

     This week I used my pancake mix to make my all-time favorite Cinnamon Apple Pancakes. I can eat them just about any time of year. You can use the mix to make just about type of pancake your heart desires. To each cup of pancake mix just add in 1 cup of milk, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of butter or oil and any flavoring you want! Easy and breakfast is on the table in 20 minutes! And if you are looking for a quick weeknight dinner, pancakes are always an option! Now if "Brunch" is breakfast for lunch what would breakfast for dinner be?


  Homemade Pancake Mix
(Makes about 4 cups)

  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
For every 1 cup of pancake mix add in 1 egg, 1 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or oil.

Cinnamon Apple Pancakes 
Makes: 8 pancakes (4 servings)

  • 1 cup homemade pancake mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk or milk alternative(almond milk, soy milk, etc.)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup apples, peeled and diced
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine pancake mix, cinnamon and nutmeg.
2. In a medium bowl add all wet ingredietns (milk, egg, butter, vanilla) and whisk to combine.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Fold in diced apples.
4. Heat griddle to 350 degrees or if using frying pan heat on medium heat. If using non-stick surface lightly spray with cooking spray. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup spoon batter onto heated surface. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until bubbles form on the top of the pancakes. Flip and cook for antother 2-3 minutes.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Pops


    Happy May 21st! This month's recipe redux theme is DIY kitchen essentials. With the warmer weather upon us I decided to make one of my summer kitchen essentials...popsicles.  When the summer months come I am always looking for a cold treat.  Unlike my husband who can eat ice cream every night, I prefer something a bit healthier on occasion.  So I created my Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Pops to indulge in without the guilt.  And get this, there are only two ingredients in this recipe and I bet you have both in your refrigerator right now. All you need is Greek yogurt and fruit. I used vanilla Greek yogurt and blueberries, but whatever flavor combination you like, go for it!

    This recipe ended up requiring a lot of improvisation and creativity. For one, I lost my Popsicle molds and, two I didn't have Popsicle sticks. But turns out a muffin tin is a great Popsicle mold.  Sure, the shape is different but I actually had an easier time getting them out than I did using the molds. Also, the colorful straws I had added the perfect pop of color and held up the Popsicles just fine.

    These popsicles make a great dessert, but are equally as healthy for a cold breakfast on a hot summer morning or as a cool afternoon snack. And if one isn't enough, go for a second. I promise you won't be judged. :)

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Pops
Servings: 3

  • 1 cup vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (can substitute with other fruits)
1. Mix blueberries into yogurt and evenly spoon mixture into 6 muffin cup tins.
2. Place a 3-inch cut straw or Popsicle stick into each.
3. Place muffin tin in freezer for at least 3 hours. Remove and let sit on the counter for 5 minutes to make it easier to remove pops from muffin tin.
4. Enjoy or place in air tight container in thefreezer and enjoy throughout the summer!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

         One of my favorite parts of the spring and early summer is enjoying a nice slice of strawberry rhubarb pie. The strawberries add just enough sweetness to help cut the tart flavor from the rhubarb, and the combination of the two together can not be beaten. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it. Yummm.  When I saw rhubarb at the store this week I had to pick some up. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time or ingredients to make a pie. So instead I came up with an almost perfect substitution... Stawberry Rhubarb Sauce. 

           My Strawberry Rhubarb sauce was the perfect replacement. It is basically all the goodness of the pie filling, without the crust. And I promise you will not miss it once you taste a spoonful of this sauce. And even better, the sauce only contains four ingredients and takes a total of 20 minutes to prepare and cook. An all around winning recipe if you ask me!

     I have been adding the sauce to just about anything. In the morning, I have it with my yogurt and some granola. It is almost like eating dessert for breakfast but without all the guilt. The sauce would be great on top of pancakes, waffles, or toast as a substitute for jam. It even tastes amazing on oatmeal or as a topping for ice cream, which my hubby has been enjoying. You decide. The options are endless!

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Servings: 16 (1/4 cup per serving)

  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 1 pound rhubarb
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
1. Core strawberries and cut into quarters, then cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces.
2. Add strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice and honey into a large sauce pan. Cook on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking. (Makes about 4 cups)
3. Let cool then store in glass jars. *

*Sauce will thicken when cooled. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks or in the freezer for 3 months. 
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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dried Plum and Walnut Empanadas with Goat Cheese

"I received free samples of California Dried Plums mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Dried Plum Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensate for my time."

     The California Dried Plum Board is challenging us Recipe Reduxers to develop a healthy and delicious recipe using dried plums. Dried plums are a great snack, but I'll admit I have never used them to cook with. But boy have I been missing out!  Dried plum are super versatile. They can be used as a substitute for fat and sugar in baked goods, added to salads, yogurt or cereal, and even made into sauces and marinade for a savory dish. The options are endless!
     Also, did you know dried plums help to support healthy bones?! Research shows that just one serving of dried plums (about 4 to 5 dried plums) may be effective in preventing bone loss in older, postmenopausal women. And even if your not postmenopausal or a women it can't hurt to get your daily dose of dried plums!

     With today being Cinco de Mayo, I decided to use the dried plums to make a mexican style sweet empanada. The filling is made with dried plums, walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar. To compliment the sweetness of the plums I added some goat cheese, and oh boy do they work well together!! The filling is wrapped with my quick pastry dough made with only white whole wheat flour and vegetable oil! Super simple to make and a healthy alternative to regular pastry dough which is typically full of trans fats.

     After forming the empanadas, I baked them in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. They came out warm, flakey and delicious! These empanadas are like personal mini pies that are packed with nutrients and are actually good for you!

Dried Plum and Walnut Empanadas with Goat Cheese

Servings: 4 (makes about 12 Empanadas)


Pastry Dough
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup dried plums
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, roasted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 2 ounces of goat cheese
  • 1 egg, whisked

Pastry Dough
1. In a medium size bowl mix together flour and salt. They mix water and oil then add to flour until just combined.  Gather dough into two balls and knead each ball for about one minute. Then cover in plastric wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
2. While dough is chilling combine all filling ingredient except for goat cheese in a food processor until smooth.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
4. Remove dough from the refrigerator.  With a floured rolling pin, roll out one dough ball into a 12 inch round about 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out rounds with 3 inch flour cookie cutter. (I used a glass that was about 3 inches in diameter) 
5. In the center spread about 1 teaspoon goat cheese, then top with about 2 teaspoons of dried plum and walnut mixture. Brush egg wash halfway around the edge, then fold dough over forming a half moon shape. Seal the edges with a fork then cut three slits in the top of pastry. Lastley, lightly brush egg wash over the top of the pastry.
6. Repeat for second dough ball.
7. Place pastries on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. 

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