Friday, November 14, 2008

Foodie Friday: Martia's Miracle Pancakes

Two recent additions to my humongous cookbook library have started moving my family into a better nutritional direction.

First, I acquired Deceptively Delicious, which I bought before realizing the author is married to Jerry Seinfeld the comedian. I read through the book, thought the ideas were great, and promptly placed the book on my cookbook shelf and let it begin collecting dust.

Then, after a long talk with the pediatrician about Spark's completely off-white diet of peanut butter sandwiches, hot dogs, and chips, I also acquired The Sneaky Chef. Buzz and I constantly struggle with getting Spark to eat anything much less anything new. I take solace in the fact that his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are made on 100% whole grain bread, with organic sugar-free blackberry jelly (sweetened with grape juice instead of sugar!), and all-natural, organic peanut butter. But yeah, his diet really sucks otherwise.

The Sneaky Chef arrived sooner than I thought it would, so I had an unexpected new cookbook to entertain me one afternoon. I read through the book, thought the ideas were great, and promptly set it aside.

Both books are based on the same general idea: you can make food healthy and trick your children (and/or spouses) into eating vegetables if you conceal the vegetable enough so that they do not know they are eating it. In Deceptively Delicious, Jessica Seinfeld bases her sneak attacks on single-item purees for the most part. Missy Chase Lapine (author of The Sneaky Chef) recommends multi-item purees.

On a whim, I threw The Sneaky Chef in my backpack as I headed to the grocery store. While in the grocery store, I looked up the Orange Puree recipe. It's simple, just carrots and sweet potatoes. Knowing I already had some sweet potatoes at home from my recent organic grocery delivery service, I bought a bunch of carrots.

We'd try these ideas along with Dr. Carlty's recommended plan of not being a short-order chef and see how it goes. The results: not perfection, but we're definitely getting better. I felt like I have developed new superpowers as I dumped carrot and sweet potato puree into the mac n cheese and watched Buzz and Spark lap it up like hungry hounds. (Truthfully, Spark only ate about 1/4 cup of mac n cheese, but that's 1/4 cup more mac n cheese than he's had in the last 9 months and more carrots and sweet potatoes than he's had in 2 years.)

So, being one to enjoy a little kitchen experimentation, I played around with our pancake recipe and came up with the following, which both Buzz and Spark did lap up like hungry hounds.

2 cups self-rising flour (Lapine recommends a mix of 1 part white flour and 1 part whole grain flour, but I was out of whole wheat flour, so we'll try that next time)
1/2 cup ground pecans (Put about 1 cup pecans in a blender and pulse into finely ground.)
1/2 cup to 1 cup pumpkin puree (Use what you think your people will tolerate)
1 to 3 teaspoons raw sugar
2 eggs
2 or 3 cups of lowfat or nonfat milk

Martia's Miracle Pancakes
Mix the flour, ground pecans, and raw sugar.
Add about 2 cups of milk. Stir until well blended.
Add pumpkin puree slowly, stirring as you add it. If your people are funny about color, be careful not to make the batter too orange.
Add more milk to thin the batter to your preference. (Thin batter produces lighter, thinner pancakes. Thicker batter produces thicker, denser pancakes.)

Grease your griddle with some oil and heat it to medium/medium low heat.
Cook each pancake for a couple minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

Enjoy with some hot maple syrup or fruit.
Smile with pride as the family takes in the nutritious pumpkin and pecans unknowingly.

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