Posted in family life, recipes

breakfast for dinner – real life on a regular day

I’ve honestly been too tired to get out my camera and aim for the beautiful or cute shots of the boys for a while now, and it’s been compounded by the fact that our only real outdoor play options (where the lighting is ideal for pictures of toddlers who rarely hold still) involve water, which is decidedly camera-unfriendly!

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Lately, however, I’ve been inspired by Jennie’s Real Life series of black-and-white shots over at Where My Heart Lies, and I thought, you know, black-and-white pictures are much more forgiving in low-light settings, and if the bar is set low enough so that even the mess is considered valid subject matter, then maybe I can still take pictures even in this season of life. The floor may more often than not be a colorful canvas of crayon art, and the sink may typically be full of dishes, but we’re still playing together, reading together, eating together, and surviving each day together, so it’s worth capturing the truly everyday moments no matter how inglorious and small they might be.

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Yesterday, as has been the case for the majority of days in the past few weeks, my queasiness peaked in the afternoon, making dinner prep the absolute last thing I wanted to do. I didn’t have a plan and nothing sounded remotely edible but I knew that if I postponed dinner any longer I would have two ravenous toddlers at their emotional breaking points over a lack of food, so I went to a standby that I actually hadn’t made in a while: whole-grain pancakes!

This recipe is from the book Hearth and Home, which my mom owns; I recall the book as being a collection of recipes, thoughts, and short anecdotes, and I don’t really use anything from it aside from this recipe – but it is definitely a good pancake recipe! The unique element of it is that you start with whole unground grains: wheat berries, rolled oats, cornmeal (I don’t trust my blender with whole popcorn kernels!), or whatever else you have around. My current favorite is 1 1/4 cups of wheat berries and 1/2 cups of rolled oats; different combinations don’t affect the taste so much as the texture of the finished pancake. The blender does the work of grinding up the wheat berries and other grains or flours, so that you are working with and eating the freshest possible whole grains. Despite having no added sugar, some warming spices make the pancakes feel sweet, and they are thick, hearty, and filling. You might have noticed in the picture above that I added some fresh blueberries to one of the pancakes, too!

Blueberry pancakes with butter and a drizzle of maple syrup – mmm 🙂

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the first batch, catching the sunlight through the kitchen window – aren’t they lovely?

And now for the recipe, short and simple. Make sure you have a heavy-duty blender; otherwise, just use 2 cups of the flours of your choosing instead of the whole grains.

Blend 1 1/4 cups whole wheat kernels and 1/2 cup rolled oats with 2 cups milk, for 4 minutes on high, until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat an egg with 1/4 cup of oil (I like coconut best but I used vegetable tonight because I’m all out of coconut oil, sniff). Pour the blended mixture into the bowl and whisk together. The blender just doesn’t seem effective at this when the egg and oil are added on top of the flour mixture, for some reason.

Whisk in 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 heaping teaspoon of some warming spice mix (pumpkin pie spice blend, or just straight cinnamon, or something along those lines. I have a blend called “sweet spice” from a local baking store and I have no clue what is in it in what proportions but it’s good!)

Then just pour onto a griddle to bake! You may need to adjust the thickness of the batter to get it just right for you, but with this specific grain mixture I haven’t needed to.

After you pour a pancake out, before it cooks very much on that first side, you can add customized add-ins like walnuts, bananas, blueberries, or even chocolate chips. I’m a huge fan of these specialty pancakes but everyone else in my family prefers them plain, so I can’t mix the add-ins directly to the batter; this is a good hack to work around it.

So there you have it, breakfast for dinner and I’m completely unashamed 🙂 When you’re pregnant, exhausted, and queasy, just getting relatively healthy food on the table is an unqualified success, I think! Realistic expectations for myself, that’s what I need 🙂

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