Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eggless Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Most kids seem to like pancakes anytime, anywhere ! There is just something alluring about the small stack of round (or mostly round! ) goodies often studded with fruits , chocolate chips , even nuts !
My children definitely enjoy pancakes. I try to keep it relatively healthy by adding whole wheat flour, vegetable or fruit puree , fresh fruit and nuts.
As an ode to the looming  holiday season and as much to try out a new breakfast recipe, I searched around for a pumpkin chocolate chip pancake and landed here. It was an easy recipe to adapt to my needs (wheat flour , eggless , etc. )


½ C unbleached A.P flour
½ C whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp allspice powder
1 C buttermilk (I added a tsp of apple cider vinegar to 1 C of soymilk)
1 Tbs ground flaxseed
¼ C plain pumpkin puree
½ C chocolate chips of choice

1. Mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and spices and whisk thoroughly.
2. Add the pumpkin puree and the flax powder to the buttermilk and mix well.
3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix in gently until no dry areas remain. Dont mix vigorously.
4. While the batter rests for a little while, heat up your griddle and coat with a very thin layer of butter or oil.
5. Pour a quarter C of batter for each pancake and spread slightly. The batter is quite thick. Sprinkle the surface of each pancake with as little or as many chocolate chips as you want !
6. When you start seeing bubbles on the surface and the edges start setting up, gently flip and cook for a couple of minutes more.
7. Stack them up and serve 'em hot!

1. Since I used sweetened soy milk, I decreased the amount of sugar added.
2. I could probably have used a little bit more of the spices to get a more flavorful pancake.
But the kids didnt seem to mind !
3. The recipe made 10 medium sized pancakes.
4. You could easily double the recipe, make them all and then store the cooled pancakes in an airtight container in the freezer. Put them in a toaster and they are good as fresh.
5. The whole wheat pastry flour did not affect the taste of the pancake at all.
6. Except for the chocolate chips, everything else in the recipe is vegan (if you use the soymilk - vinegar combination). If you want to make it completely vegan, use dairy free chocolate chips.

Make these for your children and see them light up :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Week In Bentos: Nov 18 - Nov 22 2013

Its been really cold in our parts this week and bundling up as much as possible is becoming a routine that frankly, I am not looking forward to with pleasure. Dont get me wrong, I love all aspects of the winter season, well...most aspects..its just the bundling everybody up until we resemble eskimos in snowsuits that gets me down !!
So, lunch this week -

On Monday, I packed a raisin bagel, toasted slightly, smeared with almond butter and strawberry jelly, apple slices and whole grain crackers. 

On Tuesday, LG7 took bow tie pasta with store bought pasta sauce, a chocolate muffin, apple slices and whole grain crackers in an EasyLunchBox.

On Wednesday, I made spicy vermicelli noodles, apple slices and cheese slices.

On Thursday, I made a version of pizzawiches , using hamburger, buns, pasta sauce and cheese, slightly toasted on a pan until the cheese melts with ketchup on the side, orange segments and carrot coins.

On Friday, I didnt have much time in the morning to make something from scratch, so I just packed LG7 a standard PB&J, apples, blackberries and strawberries and cheese slices.

This  coming week, my kids are at home due to Thanksgiving break. So no packed lunches, but am definitely going to try out a few new recipes. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving holiday!
Keep warm and be thankful for all the bountiful blessings in your life :-)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Week in Bentos - Nov 11 : Nov 15

This past week, I have been very late in posting the week's bento lunches..I had something that I needed to prepare from..and in between that and the remaining chores of the weekend, just wasn't able to take the time to sit down with my laptop and write out this post..Increases my respect tenfold for all those wonderful bloggers out there who are supremely organized and so regularly update their blogs.
So onto last week's lunches.

On Monday, I packed a penne pasta in simple butter sauce, blackberries and apple slices,pretzels and a mini twix candy bar from LG7's candy stash.

On Tuesday, I packed a gluten free waffle sandwich (Van's Gluten Free Brand) made with almond butter and strawberry preserves, apple slices, multigrain crackers and a homemade pumpkin muffin.

On Wednesday, I made spinach and corn quesadillas on homemade whole wheat tortillas with ketchup in the small box, apples and blackberries and a slice of pumpkin chocolate chip bread.

On Thursday, LG7 took a grille cheese sandwich (cheddar slice on whole wheat bread slices), apples, pretzels and a homemade double chocolate muffin.

On Friday, I made Mac and Cheese (Annie's Organic), apple slices and blackberries.

Did you notice that I packed apple slices every day of this week ? I didnt have a variety of fruits that could be packed into the lunch box. My son loves pears, but he complains that they dont travel well in the lunchbox, they get mushy and unappetizing !
But LG7 loves apples and never complains, so in the absence of other fruits, apples it is !

The weather is getting crisper and colder and I have started craving hot soups and stews. I made a very simple minestrone soup the other day, which was received very well by the family. I think paired with some nice bread, it could make a very nice lunch box item !

Have a great week !

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Penne Pasta in a simple butter sauce

I am always amazed at the variety of pastas available at my local grocery store. All kinds of shapes, sizes and made with different kinds of grain - the ubiquitous enriched flour ones, whole wheat, whole grain, multigrain, gluten free - whew! But I can definitely understand the reason..pasta is an amazing versatile product and is loved by kids as well as adults.
My kids love pasta and eat it quite often. As a result, I try to get the whole wheat or the whole grain varieties and always add various chopped vegetables to the dish.
This week, I tried a simple butter sauce with vegetables and some spices, instead of a tomato or a cheese sauce. The kids liked it in their lunchboxes and I wasn't unhappy with the whole grain profile of the dish !


2 C whole grain or whole wheat pasta
½ C chopped veggies, such as carrots, beans , peas , corn
1 tsp grapeseed oil or oil of choice
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp finely chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Cook the pasta as per directions and set aside.
2. In a wide bottomed pan, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds.
3. When the seeds splutter, add the turmeric, grated ginger and the garam masala and saute for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the chopped vegetables and cook until they are tender.
5. Add the salt and mix thoroughly.
6. Add the butter and let it melt.
7. Mix in the cooked pasta and turn gently until pasta is coated with butter and vegetables are evenly distributed.
8. Sprinkle lemon juice and garnish with parsley or cilantro, if your children like it.

1. You can use any kind of pasta instead of the whole wheat penne.
2. Due to the butter, the pasta stays pretty tender and moist even at lunch time, a few hours after it was prepared.
3.The actual butter sauce recipes contain more butter than I have used here.
4.The kids both liked the taste of this pasta and it makes a good lunchtime option.
5.I added a few warming spices to the pasta, because of the cold weather and also to keep the pasta from becoming bland. If you wished, you could leave it out and just use black pepper.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Week in Bentos: Nov 4 - Nov 8

The past week went by pretty quickly. It wasnt as if I was occupied differently, but it definitely felt shorter. However, everybody is well, things went pretty much as I expected , so no complaints from me :-)
I have a few new pasta dishes and soups / breads planned for this coming week, so please come back and visit again ! Now for the lunches eaten last week :

On Monday, lunch consisted of vegetable pasta, apple slices and a homemade double chocolate muffin.

On Tuesday, the kid was out the door when I realized that I forgotten to take a picture of the his lunchbox! Goes to show that I still have to refine my morning routine so I have more time :) I "think" I packed grapes, apples and a sandwich.

On Wednesday, LG7 had an easy bowtie pasta with tomatoes and edamame, leftover potato fry, blackberries with an elephant pick and a pack of M&Ms from the Halloween stash. LG7 has been good about not gorging himself on candy, so he deserved a treat.

On Thursday, an Easy Lunch Box contained crispy grilled cheese sandwich halves, carrot sticks, grapes, blackberries and pretzels.

On Friday, LG7 took vermicelli noodles as requested, apple slices and whole grain crackers.
This week was pretty satisfactory in terms of the lunch eaten completely.  I realize that I can incorporate more vegetables in his lunch and am hoping to do that slowly and steadily.
How do you include more vegetables at lunch time ?
Have a great week !

Friday, November 08, 2013

Cardamom Cuties

To say that I like to try out new recipes would be correct. But to say that I try new recipes on a regular basis would be a little far fetched. But when I come across any recipe that sounds easy and delicious, I do try to find the time to make it at least once. This particular recipe was , believe it or not, in a murder mystery novel !! So recipes can come from all sorts of sources :-)


1 stick butter
1 ¼ C packed brown sugar
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal and 3 Tbsp water)
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 ¾ packed unbleached all purpose flour
¼ C shredded coconut
¼ C white or semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Cream the softened butter with the brown sugar until light and creamy.
2. Add the flax egg and mix until combined.
3. Mix the flour, salt , cardamom powder and baking soda thoroughly well until no lumps remain.
4. Add the flour to the butter mixture in parts, until all flour is incorporated.
5. Add the coconut and the chocolate chips of choice until well mixed.
6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3 -4 hours. Overnight is fine too.
7. When you are ready to bake, take out the dough from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350.
8. Form the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in extra brown sugar and place them on cookie sheets, about 12 balls to a sheet. Flatten them slightly.
9. Bake for about 12 minutes.
10. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.
11. If you use parchment paper to line your cookie sheets, you can just pull the paper onto the wire racks to cool.

1. These cardamom cuties were really delicious. There were quite crispy initially, but later became chewy.
2. You could add nuts if you wanted to.
3. The original recipe said this recipe would make about 6 dozen cookies. I halved the recipe, but I still got around 4 dozen cookies. Probably they were slightly smaller , but made the perfect serving size !
4. If you want to know where I got the recipe from  -  Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke.Go read it ! The book is good and there are other yummy recipes in it too !

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Week in Bentos : Oct 28 - Nov 1 2013

This last weekend, we spent a wonderful 2 days nestled among the picturesque Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. There were 7 families, which meant the kids had a blast !! It was typical fall weather, with a slight bite to the air. The views were stunning, the company was great and we all came back home refreshed !

On Monday, LG7 took savory vermicelli noodles with vegetables, a homemade cinnamon roll and orange segments.

On Tuesday, the lunchbox contained an almond butter and strawberry jelly sandwich bun, apple slices and bear cookies.

On Wednesday, I packed Annie's Organic Mac and Cheese in the food jar, pretzels and a cookie in a silicone muffin cup and orange segments.

On Thursday, lunch consisted of a grilled cheese sandwich, apple slices, carrot sticks and a cookie.

On Friday, LG7 took a couple of cheese and chutney toasts, pretzels, apple slices and blackberries.

The week has begun on a cold and wet note. Hopefully the weather will improve a little over the coming days ! Hope you all have a fabulous week !