Snackie Plates

At our house, everyone tends to get the munchies around 4 pm. I have usually just gotten home from a run, my sister Livvy is getting ready for swim practice, and my mom has arrived home from a long day at work and needs to reboot before pilates. So, we have fashioned something known as the snackie plate. Light and tasty, a perfect tie-over a couple hours before dinner. Today I decided to share two of my favorite snackie plates with you.

The first is toast topped with yogurt and peaches.

You will need:

Good quality bread. My personal favorite is my mom’s homemade, but a good substitute is La Brea Bakery whole grain loaf or Trader Joe’s whole wheat sourdough.

Greek yogurt. I normally use plain Fage Total 2%.

Peaches. Our favorite is the jar of peaches from Trader Joes, available in perfect condition year round.

Honey, for topping.

The rest is slightly self explanatory. Toast the bread, top with a dollop of yogurt, slice peaches on top, and drizzle with honey. Delish.

*Note: If you look closely at the photograph, you can see the plate is situated on top of a calculus book. This snack greatly enhances the strength with which I can bear calculus homework.

The second snackie plate I had in mind to share with you today is a simple cracker, cheese, and fruit plate. In fact, I am snacking on crackers (honey wheat pretzels from Trader Joes actually, but just as good), cheese, and fruit while reading this blog. Dinner is taking way to long to cook.

For this plate, you will need:

Crackers. The selection you see here are multigrain savory thins from Trader Joes. My other favorite is Trader Joe’s Pita Bite Crackers.

Cheese. I choose two cheeses for this plate: Le Petit Creme and Organic Pepper Jack, both from TJs. May I also recommend their Dutch Smoked Gouda?

Fruit. Any will do, but I am in to a blackberry fad at the moment so that is what I have pictured here.

I hope you enjoyed the suggestions I made, and feel free to comment on your own favorite combinations! My mom and I love wandering around TJs or Lassens discovering new pairings to try. I will talk to you soon. In the meantime, snack away ­čÖé

Oatmeal Pancakes

Emma here. Just saying, as a pancake maker, I have arrived. These don’t have buckwheat in them, and they do have their fair share of butter…but hey, they are really good. My sister even ate them. That’s how good they are. My pictures do not do them justice, because of course I cannot find the charger to my camera battery and thus had to use my phone. Oh well. Just make them. Trust me.

I decided that I needed to celebrate the first day of spring break, and what better way to do that then have a relaxing, quiet morning contemplating life and eating pancakes? I am stuck at home today with a sick sister who is watching disney movies and rereading all of her Hunger Games paraphernalia for the thousandth time, so I decided to do some cooking. With a nice hot cup of coffee next to me, I got to work. I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out, so, unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures during the process. I promise that next time I will. Especially once I find the charger for my camera battery. Hopefully the photos of the finished product will suffice for now.

Oatmeal Pancakes

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp agave syrup (maple syrup would work too)

1 egg

2 tbsp butter (plus more for cooking)

The night before: Combine buttermilk and oats in a bowl and refrigerate.

In the morning, take the buttermilk/oat mixture out of the fridge.

In another bowl, mix flour, soda, powder, and salt together.

Melt the butter and let cool. Once it is cooled, whisk it together with the egg yolk (save egg white) and syrup. Add this to the oat/buttermilk mixture.

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Whip egg white until light and fluffy in an electric mixer. Add egg white to the batter and begin cooking once the skillet is hot.

Warm a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, and brush with butter. Once the skillet is hot, pour just under a 1/4 cup of butter onto the pan. Once the batter looks set and starts bubbling, flip and allow the other side to brown. Keep pancakes warm until all are made, and then top with maple syrup, more butter of course, and fruit!

*Tip: If you don’t like the texture of oats in pancakes, grind the oats before adding them to the buttermilk, and add a 1/4 cup more of regular flour in the morning. This will give the pancakes a smoother consistency.

LEFTOVERS! I think yes.

Buckwheat for Breakfast and Buckwheat for Dinner

Emma here. I picked up a bag of buckwheat flour the other day and have found the opportunity to experiment with it several times this week in different recipes.

The first, and initial purpose, for the buckwheat was for a buckwheat pancake recipe I was dying to make. The perfect morning finally came – no first period which meant no school until 9:45 on Thursday morning. I went for a morning swim in beautiful weather, picked up the buckwheat flour and buttermilk on the way home, and got to work. This was the most delectable result:

The pancakes were light yet comforting, with a soft texture and nice flavor that was only enhanced by a dollop of butter and drizzle of maple syrup on my stack. I sat there in the quiet kitchen with my puppy at my feet, contemplating life and eating delicious pancakes. By far my favorite half hour of the week. Actually, I take that back. The Hunger Games midnight premiere takes the cake. But close behind were these pancakes.

My second opportunity to use buckwheat came today when my mom asked if I would please do something with all of those leftover cans of pumpkin in the pantry. All those leftover cans of pumpkin were actually her fault; she freaked out when she heard that there was going to be a pumpkin shortage and went and bought too many cans to count from Whole Foods in September. Oh well. Too much pumpkin isn’t necessarily a bad things. Well, my mom had potato leek soup simmering on the stove and we both agreed that pumpkin bread might not be a bad accompaniment to the soup. I would love to post a picture of her soup but we unfortunately ate it all, ending with my sister and I licking the pot, before anyone had the chance or will to get a camera. But I did manage to snap a quick few shots of the pumpkin bread and muffins:

I decided with soup that the pumpkin bread should be slightly more savory, therefore I cut out some sugar and added buckwheat flour to an old tried and true recipe. I added sunflower seeds to the top of the small loaf and got lots of oohs and ahhs and yums of approval from the family at dinner. The second half of the batter I added chocolate chips to for tomorrow morning.

So, now that I have shared my recollections about these two recipes with you, I am sure you are dying to know how to make both.

Buckwheat Pancakes

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

2/3 tsp baking powder

pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp maple syrup (plus more for topping!)

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp butter (plus more for cooking)

1 egg

*Recipe adapted from Wrightfood blog, original recipe can be found here.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, powder and salt.

Melt the butter and allow it to cool. While it is cooling, whisk together the maple syrup, egg yolk (save the egg white for later), and buttermilk. Add the butter once it has cooled. Make a well in the dry ingredients and fold in the liquid ingredients. Whip the egg white in an electric mixer until fluffy and solid and then gently fold into the batter. Immediately begin cooking after you add the egg white.

Melt butter in a pan on the stove, and once the pan is hot, pour in just under a 1/4 cup of batter. Cook on medium heat until holes bubble on top. Flip and cook for an additional 15 to 30 seconds on the other side. Keep warm until all the pancakes are made, and then dig in!

I had quite a few of these leftover (it was a solo breakfast) in my freezer and have eaten them for breakfast a couple times. If you freeze leftovers, make sure they freeze flat so that the sides don’t burn in the toaster.

Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

3/8 cup of butter

1/2 cup sugar

lots of molasses

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree (be generous)

1 cup white flour

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/8 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 to 3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup buttermilk

*Recipe adapted from Shaina Olmanson, original recipe can be found here.

Preheat oven to 360 degrees.

In a large bowl or mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and molasses. Add vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated. Stir in pumpkin puree.

In a separate bowl, add flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg. Whisk together until no lumps remain. Add half of the flour mix to the pumpkin mix, blending well. Beat in buttermilk. Add remaining flour mix and beat lightly until smooth.

For my small loaf pan, the cooking time was about 30 minutes. It will be more like 70-80 minutes for a large loaf. The muffins cooked for 15 minutes.