kid-friendly · Recipes · Tips and Tricks

The Snow Day Project: Freezing a Batch of Pumpkin Pancakes!


Whenever we get our first big snow day, Georgia and I always use it as an opportunity to make a whole mess of pancakes for the winter. We cook ’em, label ’em, and freeze ’em, so the next time we wake up snowed in all we have to do is put on the coffee and toss a couple of these in the toaster. A hot breakfast is easy as that, perfect for lazy days in pajamas like today!


Grabbing a couple straight from the freezer and letting them thaw during the day is a good lunchbox strategy, too. G has loved pancakes since, well, it was among the only things she let me eat for 20 weeks of morning sickness, and now that she’s in preschool they are portable and filling for winter school days.


We love to use pancake mix from Trader Joe’s — specifically the Pumpkin flavor. To make 6-8 pancakes, you need 1 Cup of Pancake Mix, 2 TBSP (or 1/4 stick) of melted butter, 3/4 Cup of Milk, and 1 Egg, lightly beaten. I’ll often do roughly double this. To make the whole box, follow those specific directions on the back of the packaging. Preheat a non-stick pan over medium (or a griddle to 350F). Place the dry mix into a large bowl, then in a separate bowl combine the egg, milk and melted butter and stir into the dry ingredient bowl until lumps disappear. You can always add more milk if the mix gets too thick while you’re cooking. Add a pat of butter to the pan. I use a soup ladle to drop about a 1/4 cup of batter into the pan once the butter is sizzling; flip the pancake once the edges start to look cooked and you see bubbles on top. You’ll only need to brown it lightly on the other side. Another good tip is to gradually turn the heat down a bit between each pancake so the butter doesn’t burn when it hits the pan each time. Allow the pancakes to cool on a plate, then begin assembling them for the freezer (or eat some right away, of course!)





To freeze, wrap each pancake with a layer of parchment paper in between, packaging about four into a quart-sized zip-top freezer bag. Make sure you label them with the contents and the date so you can find them easily in the fridge! I do in batches of three or four so I don’t have to thaw more than I need at one time. These can go straight into the toaster just like store-bought frozen pancakes or waffles.




That’s it! I sure am glad I did this when we get walloped by back to back storms like now. I’m supposed to fly out to D.C. in the morning…we’ll see if I get delayed or not. Poor Mark is driving to New York at 6 a.m., so please wish us both safe travels. Today we rested up, shoveled out, and made a snow man! If you’ve ever wondered what I look like with no makeup and a sinus infection, this is it.


I so value these days with my girl and think about them when I’m traveling for work or just stuck late at my desk or a meeting. You won’t hear me say anything bad about snow when it means I get quality play time like this! Stay safe and warm, everyone.

dessert · Holidays · Recipes

Cinnamon Roll Apple Cake

cinnamon-roll-apple-cake-1

I’ve never been a big Valentine’s Day person, and Mark definitely isn’t into it. We went through the motions while we were dating, and I famously mailed him almost $100 worth of candy when we were in college and seeing each other long distance — only to discover he really doesn’t have a sweet tooth! Let’s just say I didn’t have much extra money back then, and nowadays it seems silly to buy gifts so soon after Christmas when what we really crave is more quality time together (and to stay on track with our college savings / home improvement goals!)  So, now we focus on having a festive time with Georgia, and my crafty side loves making valentines for her classmates and baking up some special treats for us to share as a family. I first made this dessert for a family party Thanksgiving weekend, and it travels well and feeds kids and adults alike. It’s very friendly for toddler/preschool aged assistants to help you with, too! Tiara not required but helpful.

img_0264

Cinnamon Apple Roll Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 packs of cinnamon roll dough with icing
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 granny smith apples, diced
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • Optional: Vanilla ice cream, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 375.

Cut the cinnamon roll dough into three even strips, then cut those strips into three pieces, making nine total per cinnamon roll. Set aside the icing.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, stirring until smooth. Set aside.

In a pan over medium heat, combine the butter, apples, and brown sugar, cooking until the sugar starts to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Sprinkle the cinnamon roll dough pieces evenly in a 9×9 baking tray. Pour the egg mixture on top, followed by the apples. Drizzle the reserved icing on top.

Bake for 25–30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with ice cream!

Our whole family has been battling the flu for a couple weeks now, and BOY am I sick of being sick. I haven’t been able to taste or smell anything for days and my head is so congested that my ears have been ringing non-stop. Is anyone else facing this where you live?? I can’t for the life of me figure out where we picked this up (maybe the plane?) but it just won’t go away, and it’s excruciating to write about food when I have no appetite or taste buds! In any case, I hope all of you are healthier than us, and staying warm if you’re in the path of today’s Nor’Easter. It’s just picking up where we live and definitely looks like a day to cuddle up on the couch with a movie and some treats. Happy Snow Day and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

***

Recipes

Warm Cranberry Spread (+Game Day Treats!)

Wow. I did not intend to disappear for an entire freaking month. It’s like the holidays ate me up and spit me out at the end of January with a backlog of winter recipes to share and a bunch of travel on the horizon. Last night, we got back from a trip to Florida visiting my family in Sarasota, and in 10 days I’m jetting to D.C. to present at a conference while Mark heads down to New York City for an audition. I literally cannot believe I have to get on a plane again a week from Monday. This comes right on the heels of a two-day, weekend-long professional training for women interested in running for public office (with a lunch break on Saturday to attend the Boston Women’s March in Boston) the weekend right before we left town for vacation. It was a whirlwind two days and I’m so honored to have been accepted to the program, but WHEW! Mama’s tired. And the training continues one weekend per month until June, when all 50 of the women in the program graduate. Interested to learn more? Visit EmergeMA.com.


Today, I’m sharing a yummy homemade warm dip that is perfect for your Super Bowl party! I can tell lots of you have been watching the playoffs big-time, because my website traffic these days is almost 90% for this Brown Sugar Kielbasa in the Slow Cooker and my super-simple Traditional Shepherd’s Pie — both great game-day options. And you know who I’m rooting for! #GoPats!!

I made this on New Year’s Day for a big family gathering we hosted with my in-laws and all of Georgia’s cousins. It goes great with a side platter of pita or crackers, as well as sliced  apples.  Here, I used lingonberry sauce, because I had almost a whole jar left over from Christmas dinner when I served it alongside Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes. Any berry sauce or preserve you like, particularly whole berry, would work well.  I always buy the Ikea lingonberry sauce, which has whole berries in it, and I think that makes all the difference. I also mixed in some red pepper jelly to give it a hint of heat — which I LOVE! — but you could omit it if you really don’t want the kick. I will say, though, that my spice-intolerant husband liked this, and he can’t take any heat at all.


Warm Cranberry Dip

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package (8 oz.) of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry or lingonberry sauce
  • 1 TBSP red pepper jelly
  • a of grated cheese such as pepperjack, white cheddar or parmesan
  • assorted crackers or toasted bread slices for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, mix thoroughly the berry sauce and hot pepper jelly.

In a baking dish or pie plate, spread the cream cheese evenly in one layer in an ungreased baking dish or pie plate. Sprinkle evenly with the grated cheese of your choice and then top with the berry-pepper mixture.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until the berries are just starting to bubble and the edges of the cream cheese are only beginning to brown.

And that’s not all! If you’re looking for more recipe ideas for your Super Bowl party, I’ve got a TON.

Chicken Chili

chilli1

Sweet Hot Chicken Wings

img_8146

Slow Cooker Ribs

IMG_4517

Pulled Pork Sliders

img_4521

Pulled Chicken Chili

IMG_4128

Homemade Salsa

Pillsbury Crescent Sausage Rolls

Meatball Pizza

VEGETARIAN IDEAS

Healthy Baked French Fries

Crispy Kale Chips

Vegan Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Meat-free Shepherd’s Pie

Baked Egg Noodles with Cheese

Pesto Flatbread

Soy Chorizo Chili

Fried Tofu Triangles with Peanut Sesame Dipping Sauce

Vegetarian Stuffed Shells

We are taking it easy Super Bowl Sunday instead of having, or going to, a party. We need the time to unpack and get ready for the workweek. If you’re hosting or attending a game day bash, have fun and stay safe! And Go Pats!!!