Monthly Archives: September 2016

School has started

School has started {Thankful Thursday}

All across the country, school is back in session.  This is often a bittersweet time for families.  Children are ending their summer leisure time, but will reunite with friends they may not have seen for a few months.  Parents are losing the extra time with their children, but gaining more quiet time to work on goals that may benefit from the solitude.  As with any major change, it is a time of both endings and beginnings.

Quiet

I work from home.  This allows me to be a homemaker and a full-time mother while still earning an income.  My primary income is from sewing, but my sewing always takes a back seat to my kids.  I also love to write this blog, and that is also easier when it is nice and quiet.  Over the summer, I tended to stay up way past my bedtime so I could write in the quiet after everyone had gone to bed.  Now that school is in session, I can go to bed at a decent hour and get my writing done while they are at school.

Two to three hour blocks

This is the first year I have not had children at home during at least half of the school day.  Until 2010, I homeschooled, then that year my children began public school.  I had one in high school, one in middle school, two in elementary, one in preschool, and one in the oven.  My day was chopped up into short blocks according to the bus schedule.   Anything I needed to do had to fit within a three hour time block.

  • 6:00 Get up and start the day with C
  • 6:40 C gets on the high school bus
  • 7:20 M gets on the middle school bus
  • 8:00 Put L and R on the elementary bus, then free time
  • 11:15 Put E on the preschool bus, then free time
  • 2:15 C gets home from high school
  • 2:45 M gets home from middle school
  • 3:15 L,R, and E come home from elementary/preschool
  • 5:30 (in theory) Dinner time
  • 7:30 Begin putting children to bed

Free time

This year, my youngest is in full day kindergarten.  I get a full 7 hours each and every school day to accomplish great things.  Or at least make some headway on cleaning the house or sewing up a beautiful dress or quilt.  I have 7 hours of quiet, with just the tick of the clock to keep me company.  An occasional buzz of the dryer or beep of the dishwasher lets me know they are done.  This quiet has done wonders for my sanity.  I would love to figure out how to store it up in a bottle for vacation days.

Educational access

I would be remiss to ignore the fact that I live in an industrialized nation, where free education is available for all.  I am very blessed in being able to send my children to school and know that they are safe there.  My daughters do not have to miss school every month due to their cycle.  My children have access to sports, clubs, and extra-curricular activities that broaden their horizons, sharpen their skills, and build a sense of community.

Two of my children have/had Individual Education Plans (IEPs).  This gives them access to the extra resources they need to succeed, at no extra cost to me.  It levels the playing field, so to speak.  One child in fact made so much progress that they no longer need the IEP.  I fully expect the other one to make similar strides.

I love my children dearly with all my heart, but I need quiet to balance out their loud, raucous kid energy.  And so, I am thankful for the peace and quiet that accompanies the beginning of school.  I am thankful for the community that supports them at school and gives them a sense of belonging and achievement.

Your turn

Do you have kids in school?  Is September a happy, sad, or ambivalent time for you?

 

Soaked flour pancakes

Soaked Flour Pancakes {Recipe}

Pancakes make the perfect Saturday morning breakfast.  They invoke images of country kitchens, melting butter and warm maple syrup, and family sitting around the table together.  The problem with pancakes is that they are difficult to digest.  My body actively tries to prevent me from eating most pancakes by tightening up my esophagus and making it hard to swallow.  My mother and daughter also have similar reactions to similar foods.  I am loathe to give them up, though, so I was delighted when I discovered soaked flour pancakes.  They are similar to sourdough pancakes and with a couple of minor tweaks, you can use the same recipe.

Soaked flour pancakes

Soaked flour pancakes and standard pancakes share many of the same ingredients.

Basic ingredients

Basic ingredients

Here we have white whole wheat flour, farm fresh milk, baking soda, butter, eggs and raw apple cider vinegar.  Variations include exchanging the milk and vinegar for sour milk, or using sourdough starter instead of the flour, milk and vinegar.  I have been known to take a bottle of raw milk and leave it on the counter overnight  to sour specifically to use in pancakes and other baked goods.  Raw milk sours and is still perfectly edible (if not palatable), pasteurized milk spoils and is unusable.  Never use pasteurized milk that has spoiled.  Sour raw milk, on the other hand, is still healthy and edible even after two months in the refrigerator.  For more information on raw milk go check out A Campaign for Real Milk.

Start the night before

Flour that has soaked in milk and raw vinegar overnight

Flour that has soaked in milk and raw vinegar overnight

The key difference between standard pancakes and soaked flour pancakes is when you start them.  Soaked flour pancakes need to be started 8-12 hours before you want to eat them.  I start them when I get ready for bed.  Take 2 cups of flour, a scant 2 cups of milk, and 2 Tablespoons of raw vinegar.  If you don’t have vinegar, you can use lemon juice, or whey.  Mix these all together in a medium to large bowl, and cover to keep out curious pets, or anything else that might be interested in sharing your food.  Check the consistency and adjust the flour or milk as needed to get a consistency just slightly thicker than you want your final batter to be.  If you have sourdough starter, then just feed it so that you will have approximately 3 cups of starter available for morning.

In the morning

Melting butter

Melting butter

In the morning, melt 1/4 cup of butter over medium low heat.

Adding eggs

Add two eggs

Stir them in

Stir them in

While you are waiting for the butter to melt, add two eggs and stir to combine.  This is a great way to involve your kids.  Five-year-olds adore cracking eggs, then wiping their hands on their pajamas.  Mine has been cracking eggs since she was three.

Add baking soda

Add baking soda

If your butter isn’t melted yet, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and stir it in.

Stir in the melted butter

Stir in the melted butter

Once your butter is melted, stir it in, too.  The order you add the ingredients is not important, but I like to add what I can while I wait for the butter to melt.  In the hot summer, sometimes the butter is ready fast, so the eggs and/or the baking soda can go in after.  It really doesn’t matter.  If your batter is too thick at this point, you can add milk one tablespoon at a time to thin it out a little.  If it is too thin, logic says to add flour one tablespoon at a time, but that flour would not have the benefit of the overnight soak to make it more easily digestible.  I will leave that up to you.

Start the cooking

burners can need tweaking

burners can need tweaking

This is how I need to set my stove.  My griddle spans two burners.  I have a large burner in front and a small burner in the back, and the opposite on the other side of the stove.  In order to provide the same BTUs, I have to set the small burner a little higher than the large one.  Start with a medium-low setting for your griddle and fine tune it from there so that your pancakes turn golden brown instead of either burning with a gooey middle or dehydrating instead of cooking.

Six pretty pancakes starting to cook

Six pretty pancakes starting to cook

Once your griddle is hot (test it by seeing if a few drops of water sizzle on it), pour your batter on.  I use a quarter cup measuring cup.

Watch the edges

Watch the edges

Your pancakes will start to develop little bubbles on the surface when they are almost ready to flip.  Standard pancakes develop lots of bubbles, but these only make a few.  If you wait for a lot, you will burn them.  While you are watching for bubbles, also keep an eye on the edge.  It will start to look dry and cooked.  This pancake is just moments away from flipping.

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Flip all of your pancakes and cook on the other side.  The second side won’t take as long as the first side, so don’t go checking your email at this point.

Enjoy!

Stack them up on a plate

Stack them up on a plate

When the second side is done, stack them all up on a plate and refill your griddle with more batter.  Fend off the kids who will want to poach them all instead of waiting until they are all done.  You can put them in the oven with the oven light on, or set to the lowest setting with the door open to keep them warm.

Serve with butter and maple syrup

The butter melted before I could snap a picture

See how fluffy they are

See how fluffy they are

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Soaked Flour Pancakes
A pancake recipe that soaks the flour overnight to improve digestibility.
Soaked flour pancakes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 8-12 hours
Servings
pancakes
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 8-12 hours
Servings
pancakes
Ingredients
Soaked flour pancakes
Instructions
Night before
  1. Stir together the flour, milk, and vinegar. Alternatively, feed a sourdough starter so that you have roughly 3 cups of starter to use. Cover and let sit overnight.
In the morning
  1. Melt butter on stovetop.
  2. Add eggs, baking soda and melted butter to soaked flour.
  3. Pour batter into individual pancakes on a hot griddle and cook over medium low heat. Adjust temperature according to your stove.
  4. When the bottom is golden brown, flip the pancakes and grill for a few more minutes.
  5. Remove to a warm plate and repeat until all the batter is cooked. Makes approximately 16-20 pancakes.
Share this Recipe
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Photo courtesy of Tony Webster via Flickr.

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