Monday, March 20, 2017

PBJ Protein Pancakes

These easy and healthy banana pancakes are covered with peanut butter and packed with extra protein forthe perfect way to start a busy day!

Protein for breakfast just makes for a better start to my day. I feel fuller longer, I have more energy to exercise, and, most importantly since I found out I was pregnant, a morning of protein doubles the possibility of me not throwing up before lunch.

Maybe that's not the intro you want to these pancakes, but it is where I am at now, my friends! While I am hoping the nausea subsides in the next few weeks, (I'm 15 weeks now, but who's counting?), I love these pancakes even when I am not pregnant. I think you will too.

This recipe is for those simple 3 ingredient pancakes you've seen all over Facebook and Pinterest: banana, eggs, and milk. But, I made them taste better. Adding Vanilla Quest Protein Powder really adds the fluffiness that a traditional pancake needs, and the extra dash of cinnamon makes them even tastier.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you- don't be fooled by those people who say these healthy pancakes taste just like regular pancakes. They don't. I would compare them more to the texture of french toast. And don't think your kids will be totally fooled. Kids are smart. They'll know these pancakes are different. That being said, and I hope we are still friends because I was so honest with you, these peanut butter and jelly pancakes are AWESOME.

These easy and healthy banana pancakes are covered with peanut butter and packed with extra protein forthe perfect way to start a busy day!

I like that I can stack two hot pancakes, smother them with peanut butter and jelly, and know that they have fewer calories and more nutrition than most breakfast cereals. I also love that they are easy to make up, they are a great way to use those browning bananas, and did I mention they taste good?

Because this recipe makes four real-sized pancakes, I have discovered that they reheat very well and are still delicious the next day, smothered in natural crunchy peanut butter and fruit spread. As my kids eat breakfast, search for socks, and try to convince me that a Spiderman costume means that they are dressed (which, often times, is good enough for me), I can get in a satisfyingly healthy breakfast without much extra work.

Can I give you three more tips? Have you read this far?

  • Tip 1: Make sure you grease your pan very well. These pancakes like to stick, so use that non-stick spray liberally.
  • Tip 2: Really mash up those bananas. You don't want chunks of bananas. That'll be gross.
  • Tip 3: Don't heat your pan too high. I cook my pancakes just below medium heat and watch them carefully. If the pancakes look a little dark, no worries. It is nothing a little PBJ can't fix. 
These easy and healthy banana pancakes are covered with peanut butter and packed with extra protein forthe perfect way to start a busy day!

PBJ Protein Pancakes

These easy and healthy banana pancakes are covered with peanut butter and packed with extra protein for the perfect way to start a busy day!
Total time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4-5 pancakes
  • 1 banana- ripe and thoroughly mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs almond milk, or milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 scoop Quest Vanilla Protein Powder
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat pan or skillet on medium low heat. In a small bowl whisk together mashed banana, eggs, milk, cinnamon, and protein powder until smooth. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, make 4-5 pancakes. Cook until they bubble slightly and can easily flip with a spatula. Continue cooking on other side until cooked through. Do not overcook.
Bake the bread. Share the slices.

These easy and healthy banana pancakes are covered with peanut butter and packed with extra protein forthe perfect way to start a busy day!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Little Red Hen's One-Hour Rolls

One Hour Rolls! Light, fluffy, buttery, and easy to make. A family favorite dinner roll recipe ready in one hour!

Hot, buttery, salty rolls in one hour? From scratch? That aren't as heavy as concrete? Surely you jest!

Nope, I jest not. The unbelievable is achievable and easier than you think. It takes an hour to make these rolls, but it only takes 13-15 minutes to bake the rolls. Most of the time is actually the dough raising- once in the mixing bowl and then again in the pan before baking. Plus, these one-hour rolls taste better than those frozen rolls that you bake and serve.

The idea of those bake and serve rolls is nice- rolls you can take out of the freezer, bake, and people will think they are homemade. Here's my problem with them: you have to let them thaw and raise ALL DAY. There's usually no way I'm remembering to take out the dinner roll dough to thaw at 8:30 in the morning. At that time, I'm trying to remember to put on deodorant before I take the kids to school. There is the fast raising alternative, but that still involves steaming the frozen dough in a warm oven for a couple hours. For me, those frozen bake and serve rolls are just not worth it.

It is amazing what homemade rolls can do to a meal. Soup turns into a meal with one-hour rolls. Salad turns into a meal with one-hour rolls. Left over chicken, roast or pork turns into a meal with one-hour rolls. I love making this recipe because in an hour I can combine these rolls with a fairly basic, (or potentially mediocre) mid-week meal, and VOILA! There is at least one thing on the table that I can guarantee my family will eat.

One Hour Rolls! Light, fluffy, buttery, and easy to make. A family favorite dinner roll recipe ready in one hour!

The recipe for Little Red Hen One-Hour Rolls makes about 2 dozen rolls. I usually make 20 rolls rather than 24 because the rolls end up just smaller than my fist, (which is the perfect size for rolls if you ask me), but you can do what you like. The rolls are best the day they are baked, though they continue to be addicting for another two days. For larger gatherings, the recipe is easily doubled and can still be done in about an hour, leaving you time to take a nap before dinner!

One slight digression- I used my Bosch mixer to make these rolls. I grew up watching my mom make bread and cookies in a Bosch, I learned how to do the same in a Bosch. I considered it a rite of passage when I received my own Bosch, up there with having my own Pyrex and the first time one of my kids threw up in the middle of the night and suddenly I was the mom who had to clean it up. One of those times when you realize you are a grown up. A defining moment in my life. I love my Bosch, so I have sometimes felt that KitchenAids are like the cool-kid-cheerleaders of the kitchen scene with their bright colors and that great clicking sound it makes when you raise that lever up and down. Darn cool kids. A KitchenAid will, I'm sure, work just as well when making these rolls. Still, they might just taste better when made in a Bosch. Maybe.

Bake the rolls. Share the rolls.

Little Red Hen One-Hour Rolls

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbs instant yeast
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups of flour, give or take a few tablespoons
  • 3 tbs melted butter- to spread on top before and after baking 
  • coarse sea salt- to sprinkle on the unbaked rolls

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water, sugar and yeast. Let rest until frothy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, salt and 2 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture. Begin mixing on low speed. Gradually add flour until the dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl, but is still soft to the touch. Increase mixer speed to medium as flour is added. 
  3. Knead the dough until it is smooth, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let dough raise in a warm place for about 20 minutes, or until dough is almost doubled. 
  5. Remove dough from mixing bowl and put dough on a floured surface. Divide evenly into two parts. Grease or line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
  6. Take one half of dough and form a long "snake." Cut dough into 10-12 pieces.
     Roll each section of dough into a ball. Place in pan. Repeat with other half of dough making 5 rows of 4 (20 rolls) or 6 rows of 4 (24 rolls). 

  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the unbaked rolls with melted butter. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over each roll. Let rolls raise while oven is heating, or about 20 minutes. 
  8. Bake for 13-15 minutes until rolls are golden brown. Brush with remaining melted butter and ENJOY!

One Hour Rolls! Light, fluffy, buttery, and easy to make. A family favorite dinner roll recipe ready in one hour!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

My friend, Megan, introduced me to this soup a few weeks ago. She wasn't feeling well and said she was going to make this soup. I assumed, since it was 10:00 in the morning, she meant she'd make the soup for dinner. Nope. She meant for lunch, and before I left her house, she was chopping butternut squash. I'm not sure why it had never occurred to me to cook something special, just for yourself for lunch. But, it did. What a beautiful idea!

Later that day she dropped off a bowl of this amazing butternut squash and curry soup. (She also brought a box of Cutler's Cookies, which I'll write about later. I mean, if someone brings you cookies and they are so big that they come in a small pizza box, that is worth writing about.) Back to the soup- it was heavenly. Smooth, a little bit spicy from the curry, and warm enough to make my nose run, this soup was the about the most perfect part of my day (apart from the cookies). I knew I had to make it again.

Serendipitously, I found a butternut squash in the ugly bin at the grocery store for only $.99! My sister-in-law had just had a baby so, I doubled the recipe and the soup for her. It was awesome again, and so easy to make. Butternut squash is so beautiful, and it smelled divine as it simmered on my stove. I made the soup in the morning because I had a lunch date with Alicia and I wanted to share some Curried Butternut Squash soup with her before I took the rest to the new mommy.

All was going well, until...

After cooking the squash on the stove with onions, ginger, curry and chicken broth, you are supposed to use an immersion blender to mash everything up- turn it into soup. With an immersion blender, that is a simple step. I don't have one. (Maybe Santa will bring me one this year if I'm very good). No biggie. I would just blend the soup in my blender, but in small portions of course so that I didn't make a mess. I also decided to cover the mouth of the blender with a small plate instead of the lid because I didn't want to make a mess and have soup come shooting out of the hole of the lid.

Have you ever seen curried butternut squash soup explode out of a blender before? Have you ever felt hot flavorful broth do a Shamu splash all over your arms and yoga pants? Kind of magnificent! Kind of disastrous. Important tip: Make sure if you are blending hot soup in your blender, you don't use a plate instead of the vented blender lid, unless you like scrubbing orange, curry-scented, squash pulp from your cream colored kitchen cabinets, black refrigerator, and hardwood floors. You've been warned.

It was at this opportune moment that Alicia arrived, bearing gifts of cookies, Chex mix, and Noosa Pumpkin Yogurt. Good thing we are good friends. Her response to my Curried Butternut Squash Soup mess? "Well, you vented the top, right?"

Friends don't let friends explode soup from their blenders, so, friends, learn from my mistake. Be sure to vent the lid of your blender when mixing hot soup.  Also, and most importantly, make this Curried Butternut Squash Soup. 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Adapted slightly from Ellie Krieger
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbs minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 lbs butternut squash, chopped into 1" cubes, about 3 1/2 cups
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbs plus 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft, but not brown, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add butternut squash, broth, curry powder, and salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Season with additional salt to taste.
  4. Serve immediately. Top with plain yogurt if desired. 

Bake the bread. Share the slices.