Sustainable Options

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fluffy whole grain pancakes!

Here is my recipe for fluffy whole grain pancakes.  Well they are a mixture of flours and grains.  I have been searching for a healthy yummy pancake recipe for a few years now and until recently my pancakes were never very fluffy. Luckily my family ate them anyway.  These ones though, they devour.  Enjoy!

4 servings: about 3-4 silver dollar size pancakes for each person.

1 cup milk

2 tbsp vinegar

1/2 cup whole wheat flower

1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flower

1/2 cup oats (optional)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2-4 tbsp sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp butter melted or very soft

1 tsp vanilla

First add vinegar to milk stir and let sit for 5 minutes while you get other ingredients ready.  Season skillet/griddle by rubbing oil on it with a small towel, then heat to medium/medium-high. In large bowl mix dry ingredients.  Add beaten eggs, butter and vanilla to milk mixture.  Mix with dry ingredients and stir just enough to mix batter. 

At this point I like to put the pancake batter into a large measuring cup to make pouring onto the skillet easier and less messy.  Next pour about 1/4 cup on to the skillet and flip after bubbles appear and pop on the surface.  Cook the second side then plop on a plate, hand them out to the family and enjoy with your favorite toppings!  Our favorite is maple syrup of course!

Freeze the leftovers: Now it is rare that we have leftovers (unless I make a double batch) but they freeze well.  Freeze them in a container and then just reheat in the microwave for a quick breakfast or snack!  We no longer buy Frozen waffles in our house which saves money and I don’t have to worry about what's in them!

Note about flours: I buy my favorite wheat flour at the Davis farmers market.  Of course that means it is local but also that means it tastes great and does not add as much density to baked goods as typical wheat flours.   For unbleached all purpose flour I buy King Arthur, Bob Mills or what ever is in the bulk bin at the Davis Food Co-op. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Activities

We have been busy with our sustainable holiday projects. Here are a few...

Christmas Eve the kids woke up to receive these elf gifts. Silk scarves (in the buckets), fishing game and Christmas sensory bin. I wanted to give them these gifts separate from Christmas so they wouldn’t have to compete with some of the more typical Christmas gifts they will receive later and tomorrow from Santa. Also I like to spread things out so they don’t get overwhelmed with to many gifts at once.

For breakfast we ate Snowman pancakes of course. My own healthy take on it was bananas, dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds for decorating. My favorite new pancake recipe using 1/2 whole wheat flower and vinegar for super fluffy results.






There Christmas sensory bin using all things from around the house. Its a great way to use those ornaments, and decorations that don’t get out up. We also used, art supplies and extra gift wrapping stuff.

Then Rorie made some art projects that she is going to give as gifts to her family. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Update: Gone Fishing!

Felt fishing set that I decided to attempt in the final days before Xmas.
It was my attempt at copying this one at
Counting Coconuts. It took two days to complete. I made the fish one day and added magnets, fishing poles and the lake the next day. So about 3-4 hours all together. Once I got going though the fish were easier and easier to make. Because I am not a good hand sewer I did it all on the machine. I went to Michaels and bought super magnets for the fishing lure and the poles. Then at Joanne fabrics (yes it took two stores to complete this project) I found magnetic purse snaps (for making a purse) that were on sale and perfect for the fish eyes (there is one inside the starfish).
My daughter has been asking for a fishing set for almost a year now. This summer I bought her a cheap set she saw at the store to go in her blow up pool outside. Well the pole promptly broke about 5 minutes after we got it home (it was a defective design). I had been looking for another more sturdy set when I saw this one at
Counting Coconuts, I also had just learned how to sew felt food so it was time to try something new!
It will be under the tree for Christmas so if you see my kids before then, don't tell them about it!

abc button

Update 1/11/11: Additional things I thought would be fun and educational.  Using letter magnets or other fridge magnets to change the fishing theme.  Also instead of fishing in a felt lake you could use rubber or plastic magnets and try fishing in the bathtub.  If sewing isn’t your thing you could make fish out of thick paper and laminate or tape them with the magnet inside. 

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

EIO Kids Cup Review!

About 2 weeks ago we received an EIO kid's cup to review. Its actually not a cup but parts of a cup to be put on an 8oz canning jar (or you can buy it with the jar included). Let me explain. This new company (basically parents that weren’t happy with the sippy cup options out there) decided to design their own cup.

The EIO cup: The cup consists of a top that screws onto an 8oz glass canning jar and a silicone sleeve for the jar. The cup has a small opening for drinking so kids learn to drink properly from a cup. It has no valves, spouts or other typical sippy cup parts that are hard to clean, break and get lost often.

Things we LOVE about this cup:

  • Its BPA free
  • It promotes proper cup drinking skills
  • It promotes good speech development.
  • It doesn’t break!
  • Its reusable (we use canning jars for everything at our house).

I found this cup as I was searching online one day for plastic free dishes for my kids. My son is well known for his food, dish and cup throwing skills. One of his favorites is to pour “wawa” (water) on the carpet. So I thought we were stuck using sippy cups.

Then I came across the EIO cup. I contacted the company and they sent one out right away for me and Leo to review.

I washed and put it together easily and handed it off to Leo. He quickly figured out where the hole is to drink from and was able to easily drink from it. He now requests it when he sees it on the counter.

So check it out for yourselves. I know we will be purchasing a few more so we can get rid of those plastic sippy cups! image

I work in Special Education and I have heard many speech therapists recommend no sippy cups after age 2 for proper speech development! The EIO cup can fill the gap between the sippy cup and a regular cup!

*Leo and I received a free cup to review for this blog post but no other compensation.

Sensory Bins: Recycled Kids Activity

I have been admiring the sensory bins that many blogger mom’s do with their kids. They are popular among home schooling mom’s, preschools, crafting mom’s and Montessori education. What has kept me from making them with my kids is that I have been working on not buying cheap dollar store (or other) toys, crafts and stuff just to occupie my kids time. Well since the weather does not allow them to play outside as much anymore I have been creatively coming up with more craft activities. Also my daughter attends a Waldorf preschool. We like her school and I think the activities that she does there are great, she misses the typical school crafts and activities she did last year in preschool.

So then I thought about it and decided I could come up with sensory bins that used stuff we already have around the house.

Our first bins are:

The Happy Birthday 4 Bin. This is for my daughter who will be 4 next week. She is so excited for her birthday so we decided to start celebrating a little early. It contains typical birthday stuff, candles, bows, birthday cards, napkins, etc and there is 4 of everything (except the tissue paper filler). All the stuff in the bin I had saved from past parties, gifts and activities so we are reusing everything. This was a great way to use up ripped tissue paper, recycled greeting cards, squished bows, etc.

To go along with this bin we are going to read: If You Give a Cat a Cupcake. Also we will work on a P is for Party letter to go with our alphabet letters that we are decorating our playroom with.

I decided Leo needed a bin to. Although I don’t see him leaving the stuff in the bin, so I know a mess is ahead. So I made him a construction bin full of trucks, rocks, scoops and frogs. I just used toys form theie toy bins but I had to buy a few small bags of rocks to fill the bin (we didn’t have any in our yard). We will reuse the rocks in other projects, our garden or future outside play.

I am excited to do a Christmas bin, recycle bin, baking bin and winter bin in the next couple of weeks or months. I will continue to reuse and recycle as many items for the bins as possible.

Update: 12-5-10: The kids played with their bins today. Rorie really liked it and did all the counting, art projects, made up her own games, etc. Leo played with his for about 5 minutes. Then he dumped it out on the ground and rolled around in the rocks! Maybe he is too young for sensory bins.

This is how Leo decided to have his Sensory experience!

and here’s Rorie’s (about 2hrs after she started playing with it)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

felt food

Still working on the felt food. This is carrots, strawberries and eggs. I like using the sewing machine to make the body of the food but closing it up and adding stems is very tedious. I am hoping to have the breakfast basket done in less than 2 weeks though so I will keep at it. Any tips are appreciated.

When I am making them I figure they don't have to be perfect because my kids are used to funny looking fruits and veggies since we have a garden, CSA box and shop at farmers market for our produce. So all the pieces are different and I don't worry about them all being the same size, shape or color.

Oh and it helps that Stacy and I are going to work on the baskets together. So I am making extra eggs and trading her for muffins, etc.

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