Pumpkin Pancakes

– johanna | November 30th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast

Thanksgiving was not complete without a delicious pumpkin roll for dessert and scrumptious pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and some chopped pecans. Tastes just like pumpkin pie. We enjoyed them so much that we saved the left over pumpkin to make them again this week on Pancake Wednesday.

Source: High Heels and Grills
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3 tablespoon brown sugar
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin or 1 1/2 cups.
3 cups buttermilk
3 eggs

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar, combining well.

Add pumpkin, buttermilk, and eggs to dry ingredients and mix gently. {If batter seems stiff, add water until it can be easily spooned onto a griddle.}

Heat griddle to medium heat and grease lightly.
Scoop about 1/3 cup of batter onto griddle and let cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Let other side cook again until lightly browned.
Repeat these steps until all the batter is gone.

Serve with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, and hot maple syrup.

– 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree: use a cheese cloth to help get some of the liquid out.
– Can use coconut milk or rice milk instead of buttermilk. Also water is fine but the end result is not as rich.
– Sub spices for 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
– If you find that the pancakes are not setting up properly (still mushy inside) add a bit more flour. Turn down the heat and cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time.

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Hot Chocolate

– johanna | November 16th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Beverage

We have been searching and searching for a kid approved homemade hot chocolate recipe. After many failures and sad faces finally the kids have deemed Eureka! We found it! Just in time too. We have a long winter ahead with many a Saturday morning brew to make.

6 cups water
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (semi is fine if you like a darker chocolate)
1 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

In a large pot over medium heat, whisk together the water, half and half, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, 3/4 cups sugar, salt, and teaspoon of vanilla.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl beat the cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and powdered sugar on high speed until thick and the consistency of whipped cream.

Once the hot chocolate is heated through, and the ingredients dissolved, turn off the heat. Then stir in the whipped cream. Whisk until completely incorporated.


— Add up to 1 cup of the milk chocolate chips. Use can also use semi for a bolder taste.
— For kids with sensory processing disorders they might be able to detect the cocoa graduals. Try simmering the hot chocolate longer, stirring constantly as not to burn the chocolate and milk, or replace the cocoa powder with baking chocolate or chocolate chips. Use 5 squares unsweetened or semi sweet baking chocolate or 1 cup bitter or semi chocolate chips.
— For a richer hot chocolate use 6 cups milk instead of the water. You can also use milk in place of the water and half and half for a total of 8 cups or 2 quarts milk.
— Dairy free: Use 2 quarts water eliminating the half and half and milk. Sub rice milk or coconut milk for the half and half. Use dairy free chocolate. Buy dairy free whipped cream or make your own using 2 cans full fat coconut milk (cold) in place of the heavy cream.
— whipped cream: Substitute 1 (8oz) container whipped cream for the heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar.
— Sugars can be replaced with equal amount of honey or maple syrup but the flavor will be altered. You can also use coconut sugar or xylitol without a difference in taste.

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Homemade Rice Milk

– johanna | November 9th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES- Condiments

I had never heard of rice milk until 15 years ago. I had a friend with Epstein Barr, a blood virus. She was unable to eat sugar and milk because they aggravated the disease. It was she who introduced me to real from the tap maple syrup and rice milk.

I have been using rice milk in both cooking and baking opposed to cows milk. I love that I do not need to add a thickener to my bechamel (cheese or cream) sauce because the rice milk has just enough starch. Homemade rice milk is also a cheaper alternative when making large batches of hot chocolate.

My kids are not lactose or gluten intolerant, however I try to use a variety of grains, liquids, fruits and vegetables as not to overload our systems. 2 years ago we eliminated all processed foods in addition to many fruits and vegetables that contain the natural chemical salicylate. Salicylates can be found in stone and citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, and peppers. At the time that was everything our diet consisted of. After a period of six weeks we slowly introduced the foods back into our diet one at a time. I discovered that apples made my son hyper. Strawberries and grapes made my daughter moody. My youngest son seemed fine but he had a gluten and milk allergy. Cows milk was replaced with coconut and rice milk (we tried goats milk but he did not like it) and wheat was replaced with rice and gluten free flours. The saying everything in moderation is what we try to live by. We are ok if we eat these foods sparingly.

This recipe makes about 3 quarts of milk. The cost comes out to less than a dollar a week.

1 cup uncooked brown rice (or long grain)
4 cups water
1 tsp salt (optional)

Thoroughly wash the rice. Pour rice and water into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover the pot and lower the heat, simmer for 2-3 hours until soupy. Stir in salt, if using.

Fill a blender halfway with rice mixture and 1-2 cups water. Blend until smooth about 2-4 minutes (depending on type of blender). Strain milk through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Continue blending and straining the rest of the rice mixture.

Stir in extra water if needed and any sweetener and flavoring if using. Strain back into pot. Clean out bowl. Strain the milk once more back into the bowl. Store milk in a large pitcher or mason jars. Refrigerate for up to one week.

To Use:
— Thin the milk with additional water if too thick.
— Substitute rice milk for cows milk in most recipes.

— 4 tablespoons maple syrup or other sweetener.
— 1 teaspoon vanilla (or more to taste)
— 1 teaspoon cinnamon
— 1 tablespoon organic sunflower oil.
— Nut and Rice Milk: add a handful of blanched raw almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews to the blender with the rice mixture.

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Basics of Making Homemade Broth

– johanna | November 2nd, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Soup / Salad, THE BOOKSHELF

I began making homemade broth a resourceful way to utilize the  remnants of the Thanksgiving turkey. Boy, did it make some tasty soup. Thus my resolve to never buy canned soup again; and, I have held to that resolve. Brewing broth used to be a once a year rite of Thanksgiving. Then throughout the year each time we baked a whole chicken the carcass and innards went into the stew pot with water. Over the years I started buying more whole chickens. I roasted them whole or cut them into the various parts to use in dishes throughout the week. The theory being they are cheaper that way. It was like a buy one, get one free kind of deal by making broth from left over fryer chickens.


Most often a whole chicken is boiled in water to make homemade chicken soup. Adding vegetables will give both flavor and depth to the broth. The chicken is virtually robbed of all its flavor when boiled. The best way to use boiled chicken is in soups or heavily seasoned dishes like casseroles or chicken salad.

Whole Chicken Broth:
1 fryer chicken
2 onions
1 carrot cut into large chunks
1 celery stalk, whole
2 tablespoons salt

Remove the chicken from the wrapping. Rinse throughly with water (run the water through the inside of the chicken also). Rub both the outside and inside with course salt. In a large deep pot add the fryer, vegetables,neck and gizzards (no liver) from pouch that comes inside the chicken, and salt. Add just enough water to cover by 1 to 2 inches.

Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours or until meat falls off the bones and the bones look pale and clean. Skim the foam off the top.

Strain broth through a large mesh colander into a large bowl. Allow broth to cool. Skim the fat from the top of the broth.


Rotisseri chicken purchased from a restaurant or a chicken baked at home can be utilized to make chicken broth. Even though the wing pieces do not have much meat they will add more flavor to the broth than using just the bones. I like to add every part of the leftover chicken that has not been gnawed on.

Chicken Pieces Broth:
1 chicken carcass with bones (Include and leg and wing pieces)
Neck and gizzards (excluding the liver), if available
Vegetables: onions, celery, carrots, leeks

Place bones in a large deep pot. Add enough water to cover the bones by 1-2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 2-3 hours until the bones are pale and clean. Skim the scum off the top.

Strain stock through a mesh colander into a large bowl. Allow broth to cool.


– Use the broth in recipes that call for chicken broth.

– When using homemade broth in soups flavor with fresh herbs, spices, and vegetables.

– To make chicken stock simmer broth 2-4 hours to reduce the liquid. Broth will become thicker with a more condensed flavor.

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