3.12.2012

Motherhood Mondays, Pancakes Parties + Oatmeal Yogurt Pancakes with Blackberry Crush


{photo by Sara Remington for The Newlywed Cookbook}


There is nothing, nothing I love more than a full house. A house full of chubby hands and tiny bare feet and little hungry mouths. I especially love a house with all of that plus one grown up man who fills our one room with his big love and easy laughter. When that man is gone, as András is this weekend, even our teeny tiny home can feel too big and quiet for just Greta and me.

Greta gets up about 6 AM and doesn't nap until about one, so as much as we are best buds, Saturday mornings can feel kind of long without a partner to pass off another spill or diaper to while you simply wash your face. On those days, mothering can feel a lot easier, and more fun, when you're doing it together. I'm pretty sure that modern mothering, in isolated, very private homes, away from our families or the rest of our tribe, is a newish phenomenon. It can seem that other mothers doing the same things (diapering, wiping noses and refilling sipping cups) are really far away, even if they are right next door, or in my case, upstairs.

Neighborhood sing-alongs and play groups are wonderful, but since ours happen on weekdays, when I'm working, I decided it's high time to start our own. The best way to gather a crowd is food of course, and there's few more universally kid and adult friendly foods than pancakes. So Saturday morning, we decided to have an impromptu pancake party, and invited our neighborhood mamas and kids over for a big, boisterous breakfast.  You've heard me talk about how little this place is, so you can guess we don't have extra high chairs or booster seats, but we filled every empty stool and mamma's knee with a hungry toddler and even had a little prince perched with a breakfast tray on the play mat.

We had so much fun I didn't take a single picture, which means I'm in full happy mama mode, and not even thinking a lick about work.  Mission accomplished ~ happy mamas, happy babies. And, despite our space, I can't imagine why I didn't do this before! And you can too. No matter how chaotic your world seems or how unaccomplished you believe yourself to be at cooking or entertaining, pancakes are easy, inexpensive, fast to put together and hard to mess up, even when you have little helpers.

Pictures or not, I wanted to share a little how-to with you. When you need to fill your house -- be it Saturday, Sunday or even a Monday Fun-day (yes, I'm promoting playing hooky from your regular Monday obligations once and a while!) a pancake party is just the thing.

Here's how:

1. Put together your dry ingredients the night before. Make your pancake batter in advance in the morning, and preheat the griddle pan just about the time you expect your pals to arrive. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to about 250 to keep pancakes warm if needed (though I rarely need it with little hungry guests)

2. Set out snacks and pancake toppers like sliced strawberries and bananas so the littles have something to start on when they get there.

3. Stack soft spill-proof sippy cups and two sturdy low-rocks glasses ~ one filled with grown up forks and the other with kiddo ones. Borrow extra boosters or set up a little kiddie table for the extra little ones that don't fit around your table.

4. Set out a stack of paper and washable markers or crayons and let the littles make their own place mats while they wait. And, have a small apron and miniature whisk on hand for any kiddos who want to get in the mix and give their pancake skills a whirl.

5. Skip the extras ~ coffee or tea will do for the grown ups, milk for the kids ~ and focus on the fun.

6. This one is very important ~ Don't give a second thought to messes. As I learned from my mom, messes are a good indicator of fun. 

6. Have a good story book waiting by the couch for cuddling up with full bellies and eager ears for story time.

Here's my best easy, parent and child friendly recipe for pancakes that will fill your tummies and your homes the next morning you need to feel like a part of something bigger then what's within your four walls. And before you go, I'd love to hear, what do you do to create community a fill your family days with friendship and laughter?


xo
Sarah 



~
Oatmeal-Yogurt Pancakes with Blackberry Crush

~

Oats add great flavor, texture, and a little nutritional boost to almost any baked good.  I love their flavor, but in this dish, the oats fade into the background behind the ethereal texture of perfectly plump, tender pancakes. The Greek yogurt works like buttermilk or sour cream, giving these pancakes a dependable rise that makes them our classic weekend pancakes.

Deep, dark purple blackberries, crushed over heat, polish off your meal with a decadent finish that's antioxidant rich and delicious. When blackberries are out of season, replace them with any juicy berry, like blueberries or black raspberries.

Serves 4

{Blackberry Crush}
2 cups/480 ml fresh blackberries
1/4 cup/50 g raw or turbinado sugar
1/4 cup/60 ml pure maple syrup, plus more if needed

{Pancakes}
1 2/3 cups/190 g all-purpose/plain flour
2/3 cup/55 g old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 heaping teaspoon baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or iodized salt
1 cup/240 ml Greek yogurt, plus more for garnish
1cup/240 ml whole milk
2 large eggs

1.     To make the Blackberry Crush: Combine the blackberries and sugar in a medium bowl and mash slightly with a fork.  Strain the juice into a small pot and reserve the berries. Heat the juice over medium heat and simmer until it is thick, syrupy, and easily coats the back of the spoon, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup. Cool slightly, and pour over the berries. Adjust the sweetness with additional maple syrup if needed. Set the syrup aside.

2.     To make the pancakes: Whisk together flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda/bicarbonate of soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, the melted butter, and eggs. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and whisk in the wet ingredients until well incorporated. The batter should be thick, with little tiny bubbles on the surface.

3.     Heat a cast-iron or nonstick griddle or heavy frying pan over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles when splashed on the pan. Brush the griddle lightly with melted butter. Drop about 1/3 cup/75 ml of batter per pancake onto the hot griddle, leaving about 1 in/2.5 cm or so between pancakes. When bubbles form around the edges of the batter, gently lift and flip the pancakes with a flexible spatula. Cook on the other side until the pancakes are golden brown around the edges, about 2 minutes. Don’t worry if the first one doesn’t come out perfect—just adjust your heat as needed and nibble on the practice pancake while you stack up a plate of beauties. Repeat, adding more butter to the pan as needed until all the pancakes are cooked.

4.     To serve, stack the pancakes as high as you dare, and garnish with butter or additional Greek yogurt and a generous ladle of Blackberry Crush. Serve hot and fresh. 



P.S. If you happen to be writing your own cookbook, kids make the best recipe testers. They tell you straight out (with their tongues and icky faces, if not with their words) when they don't like something! Thanks guys for the great feedback. More pancakes for you soon.

* I borrowed the term Motherhood Mondays from one of my favorite writers and inspiring mothers, Joanna Goddard, whose Motherhood Mondays column on her blog is likely to touch and inspire any mama's reading here too.

3 comments:

Mel & Liza said...

I love Cup of Jo too! Sounds like a fantastic Saturday!

Monica Chadwell said...

What fun! Who needs photos? I can imagine all the joy, and your pancake recipe sounds delicious! We'll definitely give that one a try and soon!

Thank you for sharing!

Minu Mathew said...

Oh! How I loved reading this post. I am a mommy too; of a seven and half year old boy and a two and a quarter year old girlie! Oooh! How I love spending time with them. But just as much, my hands are full ALL the time. And in between all the 'ammas' (means mother in India) that trail behind ALL the time, I do have those moments when I wish for sometime for myself! Those trying times however I have a bunch of great friends, moms again, who share similar stories. During depressing winter days, we get together at one of the houses and huddle around the kitchen for a cup of piping hot ginger tea and some Indian snacks like vada (there are great varieties of vadas and they are deep-fried, but most of the times we feel we deserve such luxuries amidst all the hullabaloo in our lives!) while the kids have their own play date! Getting together with Mothers is the best way to beat your blues I guess ! Thanks so much for this lovely post and the great pancake recipe!
Is it ok to avoid the soda bit from this recipe?

My Photo
New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.