Recipe: Buckwheat Pancakes

Buckwheat is not a grain. It’s not even a grass. It’s a gluten-free fruit that is “high in digestive protein and contains all eight essential amino acids,” according to Making Babies. [Enter for your chance to win a copy here!]

Buckwheat: a “fruit” that’s high in protein and naturally gluten-free

A gluten-free diet seems to be the new trend. I have dear friends who suffered health problems until removing gluten from their diets.

Thankfully, no one in our family has any food allergies (that I know of!) and I really hope that continues. But, adding a greater variety of whole foods into our diet seems like a prudent, and yummy, idea.

Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free and used to be a fairly common part of people’s diets until the last century. (We’re reading Farmer Boy and buckwheat pancakes are one of Almanzo’s favorite breakfasts!)

After watching Shoshanna make buckwheat pancakes in Making Babies they looked so yummy that I just had to see if I could turn our favorite whole wheat pancakes into buckwheat pancakes. It definitely worked!

I’ve made them four times in the last two weeks because they’re so easy and my kids keep asking for them. Plus, I ran out of eggs and they turn out light and fluffy even without eggs! [Check out 12 more of my healthy breakfast alternative to cereal!]

Buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup and chopped pecans on top. Yumminess! 

Buckwheat Pancakes Recipe

adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook with inspiration from Making Babies and Almanzo

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buckwheat
  • 1 T. sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I just started using sea salt regularly and love it!)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk OR milk plus 1/2 T vinegar to make your own sour milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg OR 1 T ground flax plus 1 T additional water
  • 1/4 cup oil (I use light olive oil)
Instructions
  1. Start heating up the griddle.
  2. If making your own sour milk, add 1/2 T vinegar to the 1/2 cup of milk and let it sit.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together the dry ingredients
  4. Then add the remaining wet ingredients to the sour milk and mix well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just moistened.

  1. Fry your pancakes. I usually make a “test” pancake just to make sure I have the griddle at the right heat. (The batter should sizzle softly and the top of the pancake should bubble and be lightly “glazed” before you have to flip it.)
  2. Serve with hot maple syrup and chopped pecans. (I like making yogurt-based shakes to go on the side for added protein!)

Note: apparently, even buckwheat can cause allergic reactions in rare cases! Read more here.

Have you made buckwheat pancakes before? Or tried any new recipes you love? 

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

linked up at Deep Roots at Home & Proverbs 31

10 Ways to Encourage Healthier Eating

A love for healthy whole foods is a great blessing we can give our children. But like so much in life, developing a love for good foods is  learned.

I wrote this list with my munchkins in mind, but I have a confession to make. My children have actually helped me be a better eater. Their willingness to try new foods has challenged me. Before I had children, I didn’t like olives, dark chocolate, seven grain cereal and many other foods. They love these foods and I’ve finally developed a taste for them.

We’re still learning, but here are some things that have helped my children (and, ahem, me!) be better eaters.

photo credit

10 Ways to Encourage Healthier Eating

  1. Apply the Green Eggs & Ham Rule– don’t say you don’t like a new food unless you’ve tried it. Obvious, I know. But it’s amazing how many times I’ve heard a child vehemently declare they don’t like a food… only to have them love it once they’ve tried it. Try new foods with an open mind (unless, of course, they’re dyed with half a cup of green food coloring!)
  2. Offer Healthy Foods When They’re Hungry- There’s nothing quite like hunger to make a food taste good. Feed salads and vegetables first at meals. It is the easiest way to help kids learn to love them. If your kids complain about being hungry mid-afternoon, offer them healthy choices, not junk food. If they’re really hungry, they’ll learn to appreciate them. (Here are 11 of my favorite healthy snacks.)
  3. Keep trying– If your first attempt at trying to get your kids to eat homemade yogurt is disastrous, next time make it into a parfait or blend it into a fruit smoothy. Once you’ve found something they like, talk about it. The goal isn’t just to sneak healthy foods into the diet. The goal is to encourage them to consciously appreciate good foods.
  4. Buy vegetables and fruits in season- if all they’ve tried is a mealy tomato picked green that’s been sitting for weeks before it gets to your grocery cart, it’s not much of a surprise if they don’t like tomatoes. Buy ripe food or, better yet, grow it yourself with the children (if you don’t have a brown thumb!) It’s much easier to develop a taste for ripe, fresh food! Plus, food in season is generally cheapest anyway!
  5. Make the Servings Small-it’s much better (waste-wise and psychologically)  to have your child ask for more than to force them to finish food* they don’t like or have to throw it away. Serve a bite or two at first. If they don’t like it, you can drop it or try again later. If they love it, yay! Give them seconds.
  6. Incorporate Their (Healthy) Favorites - Everyone’s tastebuds are different. Rose absolutely loves seven grain cereal and oatmeal. Will downs bowl after bowl of honey-sweetened homemade yogurt. Meg eats more eggs than me. All three are good choices, so I serve them regularly for breakfast. (Here are a few other of our favorite healthy breakfasts.)
  7. Learn to Love Flavor, Not Just Sugar/Salt- Creation is full of so many flavors. Sadly though, flavor tends to be masked by loads of sugar (or salt). Gradually cut back on the sweeteners in recipes and focus on appreciating the flavor. Get to the point where you add just enough to enhance the flavor of a dish, not drown it.
  8. Discuss the Health Benefits- talking about why something is good for you and what exactly it helps your body do, not only helps educate your child, but encourages them to take an active part in choosing healthy foods. When I taught Rose, then four, about the importance of protein, she asked “is this good protein” about practically everything, and regularly requested foods that were “good protein.”
  9. Model Gratitude- maybe your grocery budget doesn’t allow you to buy all the foods you want. Maybe the selection where you live isn’t great. If there’s food on the table, that’s cause for gratitude! 
  10. Don’t be Too Strict- When Rose asked “are cookies good protein?” I had to share the sad truth that they don’t have much protein and aren’t really good for us. Her face fell. But, food and taste have been given to us by a good God. We ate the cookies anyway and celebrated His goodness to us.

*To force your child to finish his food, or not? The debate rages. Since sometimes the first sign of a food allergy is a child refusing to eat it, I’ve become more sensitive when my generally-good-eater children don’t want to finish.

 How to you encourage your children to be good eaters? 

Linked up at Living GreenHealthy 2DayFrugal Days, Sustainable WaysWorks for Me, Encourage One AnotherNatural Living, & Simple Lives

Easy Homemade Chicken Broth

Chicken broth is one of those super foods that is high in nutrients, thrifty, and simple to make yourself.

The problem is, especially if you’re using a whole chicken, you have to touch a raw chicken.

There are two things I’m paranoid about. Raw chicken happens to be one of them. (Poison ivy is the other, in case you were curious.)

Making it the way I used to meant going beyond touching to cutting up a raw chicken. (You don’t want to know how much vinegar I used cleaning up the sink when I was done.) Which meant I really didn’t like making chicken broth.

Yes, one’s upside down on purpose. I heard that cooking the breast-side down would make it more tender, so I experimented. We couldn’t really tell a difference. 

Then my mom told me she’d started doing: just bake the chicken, eat it for dinner, and cook the bones.

Brilliant, right?

You still have to rinse the raw chicken and pat it dry, but then all you do is season it and stick it in a pan to bake. I can handle that amount of raw-chicken-handling.

I usually bake two chickens at a time, to save time. Once the chicken is baked, serve for dinner.

After dinner, quickly debone the chicken (any little pieces of chicken are just going to make the broth better. Don’t stress about being too thorough!) Save the meat for future meals.

To make chicken broth

  •  Toss the bones into a crockpot.
  • Add water and seasonings and any or all of the following: onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms, and eggshells (why eggshells? They’re a great source of calcium. Read more here.)
  • Then, add a couple tablespoons of vinegar. Not enough to make it taste like vinegar, just enough to help draw the calcium out of the chicken bones and eggshells. (According to this article, government studies show nearly 86% of US children are calcium deficient!) Calcium from chicken broth is a good way to help our children avoid being part of that 86%.
  • Cook the bones on high in the crockpot until they’re boiling, then turn it on low overnight.

In the morning, cool and freeze (or use to make a soup for dinner!)

Note: a good bone broth is gel-like, which indicates you removed lots of calcium from the bones.

Linked up at Living GreenHealthy 2DayFrugal Days, Sustainable WaysWorks for MeNatural Living, & Simple Lives

Happy “Helpers”: Bread Dough Edition

I’m sorry for my absence the last few days! Baby Meg has been cutting four molars and needing extra loving and we’ve been really busy! 

There is nothing wrong entertaining the kids with a good movie when you’re busy, but this advice from The Well-Trained Mind has come to mind frequently:

Before you turn on a movie to occupy the children, “always ask yourself: What am I giving up? If I didn’t put this on, would the kids go play basketball out back, or drag out Chutes and Ladders out of sheer boredom? Would they read a book?…”

My children aren’t quite old enough for basketball yet, but there are countless other ways to keep them happily busy, without setting them in front of a screen… or hiring a babysitter.

Making bread shapes with their friend Esther

One of their favorite ways to keep occupied while I work? Helping in the kitchen! (Helping here used quite loosely.)

My children absolutely love to “make bread.”

When the bread is ready to shape, I give them a big lump of dough, a rolling pin, cinnamon sugar, and raisins. For the next hour or so, their imagination has free reign.

Maybe it’s because I’m not naturally creative, but I was quite proud of Will’s bread caterpillar 

…and his bread turtle. (He definitely got his Daddy’s creative genes!) 

While the children are happily occupied, I have plenty of time to shape my own loaves of bread and clean up the kitchen.

What are your favorite frugal ways to keep your children occupied without a screen? 

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 Feminine Adventures

 

Thanks for joining us last week, we had some excellent links! Jenn and I would love to have you join us for our weekly Thrifty Thursday Link Up! Posts about living frugally, thrifty tips and tricks, money-saving DIY projects and gardening, frugal recipes, and encouraging posts on financial stewardship are all welcome. Link up to either of our blogs–your post will be displayed in both places.We’d be very grateful if you’d share only thrifty-themed posts. (Read full guidelines here.)Grab the button or give us a text link back, so others can join in on the fun!We’re now sharing some of our favorites each week over on our Thrifty Thursday Pinterest board!


Homemade Pumpkin Purée and Pumpkin Seeds

photo credit

Though I gladly eat pumpkin all year round, I was excited to see fresh pumpkins in the store again.

Not only are pumpkins loaded with nutrition, it’s so easy to make fresh pumpkin purée (and pumpkin seeds!) yourself. Plus, it’s a fun project for little ones to help with.

We past our first fresh pumpkins out shopping recently and Rose begged for me to get one so she could make pumpkin seeds. I obliged.

In order to make good pumpkin puree, select healthy-looking pumpkins and wash the outside thoroughly.

Cut the pumpkin into thick slices and remove all the seeds and string.

Place the pumpkin slices in a large pot. Add a couple cups of water (I like my puree thick, so I don’t completely cover them), bring to a boil and then simmer for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the pumpkin starts to stick to the pan, add more water. Once the pumpkin is soft, remove from heat.

Cool slightly and then scoop the soft flesh into a blender. Blend thoroughly.

Now you have fresh pumpkin puree to use in your favorite recipe. Place extra into freezer bags for use all year long.

While the pumpkin cooked and cooled, let your five-year-old remove every last seed from the strings, rinse the pumpkin seeds, and pat dry.

Place in a large pan, toss very lightly with oil/butter and your seasoning of choice. (I just used sea salt.) Bake at 350 for about 30-45 minutes, stirring regularly until the seeds are golden brown.

Store the seeds “for winter.” Though my children are highly attached to the idea of preserving food for winter, “winter” usually lasts all of three days around here.

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 Feminine Adventures

Now it’s your turn! Jenn and I would love to have you join us for our weekly Thrifty Thursday Blog Hop! Posts about living frugally, thrifty tips and tricks, money-saving DIY projects and gardening, frugal recipes, and encouraging posts on financial stewardship are all welcome. Link up to either of our blogs–your post will be displayed in both places.We’d be very grateful if you’d share only thrifty-themed posts. (Read full guidelines here.)

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