Custom Pancake Bar & Reading List

Custom Pancake Bar 1

Sometimes I forget that my kids don’t always know where things come from (“Is the corn in cans different from corn-on-the-cob?”) or where things go (“What happens to the water after we flush it?”).

So I like to show them the extra steps for things when I can.  Of course, I don’t have wheat growing in my backyard so we won’t be grinding that into flour to make pancakes completely from scratch any time soon.  But what I CAN do is grab some colorful books to demonstrate the process.

I wanted to make a “Custom Pancake Bar” with my girls to show them how versatile pancakes could be.  But even without the grinding of flour, I still wanted to do more than just stir up a box mix.  Pancakes are easy anyway.

We’ve drawn with pancake batter and celebration pancakes are always fun, but I realized that I had yet to post an actual pancake recipe on this blog.  I’m calling this recipe the “Overnight or Now Pancakes” because I like to make the batter the night before, but it could also be used right away.

I am not, by any means, a morning person.  So I like to get things ready the night before:  breakfast, school lunches, my coffee maker … whatever CAN be done WILL be done.

Like this batter.  All made up and left to sit in the fridge until needed.  I also set up the griddle and toppings and even our plates the night before.

Because having kids means I’m often required to do things before I’m caffeinated.

Which can be … interesting.

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We had a lot of fun with this, though, because we personalized all of the pancakes.  Some had just mini chocolate chips or raisins, others sprinkles, and some a combination of everything.  A few had walnuts and cinnamon sugar, which is quite possibly my new favorite.

My daughter even made a face for one with walnut eyes, a chocolate chip mouth, and sprinkle hair.

There are other toppings you could incorporate, like blueberries or pieces of apples or bananas.  Coconut is also good (kinda like I used on my Tropical French Toast).  Just remember to use extra butter when flipping to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Before I share the recipe, I want to talk a little about the books we read.  I picked them all up at the library, but I’ve included (affiliate) links to Amazon in case you’d rather have your own copies.

Pancake Picture Books

Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle

This one is great because it shows the ENTIRE process for making pancakes from scratch – including harvesting wheat and churning butter.  The colorful illustrations demonstrate that there is an awful lot that goes into making our meals, but the story is told in a way that is playful.

There is also a board book version of Pancakes, Pancakes that is abridged.

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola 

This wordless picture book is a delightful story about a woman who wakes up and decides to make pancakes.  But she’s out of eggs and milk and needs to get some more from her chickens and cow.  She even gets maple syrup from a nearby farmer.  But when she gets back with the syrup, her pets have turned her kitchen upside down and she can no longer make her pancakes … but luckily her neighbors had the same idea!

The pictures are pretty straightforward but drawn in a charming way.  And because the wordless pictures are easy for kids to “read,” it works well for either story time or reading-to-self for even the youngest of readers.

Mama Panya’s Pancakes

This story is a little different.  It also includes some steps in making pancakes, like buying flour and spices, but it focuses more on the people doing the cooking.  It tells us about a boy named Adika who is headed to the market with his mother, who also happens to invite everyone he sees back to their place to eat their pancakes with them.  It’s a wonderful tale of joy and generosity with a positive message about sharing.

There is a recipe, but my kids were more interested in the background information.  They were eager to hear all about village life in Kenya, and as soon as I started to read off the glossary of Kiswahili words, my 7-year-old jumped up to grab a paper and pencil so she could take notes.  I loved the way this book helped me to show my kids that things as basic as shopping with mom or sharing exciting news with friends (or making pancakes) are universal concepts practiced all over the world.

The Runaway Pancake 

This is a fun story which is based off of a fable from Norway and Germany about a pancake who really doesn’t want to be eaten.  He rolls through the forest trying to escape everyone who is trying to eat him, but makes the wrong decision to trust a seemingly kind but very hungry pig.  It briefly mentions how pancakes are made, but the real draw here is the silly story and cute illustrations.  It’s also one a beginning reader can read on their own.

And now … back to the recipe!

I’ve made these to have a noticeable taste of vanilla, and strongly suggest that you invest in some Madagascar pure vanilla extract because it has simply done AMAZING things with everything I use it in, from cookies to cheesecake to, well … pancakes!

But the vanilla in the recipe could easily be halved if (for some strange reason) you’re not a big vanilla fan.  And you could stir in your add-ons ahead of time (like chocolate chips or walnuts or sprinkles) instead of doing it the pancake-by-pancake way.

The individual way was an awful lot of fun for my kids, but just make sure to keep safety in mind!  Remember that flipping pancakes can cause splatter — and nobody wants to be pelted with splashes of hot butter!

When it comes to making the batter, we did it the night before and stuck it in the fridge.  It’s easy for kids to put together, which makes it nice for them because they are so involved in the whole process.

One of the things I wanted to mention, was that we decided to add some extra milk to the batter the next morning.

I don’t know why I did that.  I blame it on the caffeine deficiency.

Anyway, my point is that the pancakes still tasted great, but were much thinner than I had intended them to be.  It’s not necessary to add the extra milk like I did.  If you follow the recipe and don’t add any extra milk, your pancakes will be thicker than the ones photographed here.  Just stir the batter when you pull it out of the fridge in the morning and start frying!

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I used an ice cream scoop to measure out the batter.  My oldest daughter measured out one or two, but I mostly did that part.

And (again) make sure there are plenty of reminders of how hot the griddle gets and how much we realllly don’t want to touch it.

Cooking is fun, but safety is important too.

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Some of the add-ons made things a little sticky, so make sure to add more butter, or non-stick spray, when flipping the pancakes.

You can see where we made some with only one topping, like mini chocolate chips, and others which were combinations of toppings, like the one with chocolate chips, walnuts, and cinnamon sugar.

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Don’t those look delicious??

You can see where the cake sprinkles seeped color into the rest of the pancake, but the flower sprinkles held their shape and color nicely.  Both tasted nice, and the thicker sprinkles gave a little sugary crunch to the pancake.

I put them on the platter with the topping side up and spread them out so you could see which was which.

Leftovers refrigerate and freeze nicely.

Let’s get cooking…

Overnight or Now Vanilla Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 tablespoons (half stick) butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Optional:  Toppings like mini chocolate chips, nuts, sprinkles, chopped fruit, etc.

Combine the milk and vinegar and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to “sour” into buttermilk.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk eggs, melted butter, and vanilla into the milk.  Then whisk the milk mixture into the flour until the large lumps are gone.  Make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated, but don’t over mix.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or use right away.

Before cooking, stir in any extras you’d like.  For example, you can mix in about 1/2 cup of miniature chocolate chips, blueberries, strawberry pieces, or something similar.  Or you can do the Custom Pancake Bar (see below).  For the Custom Pancake Bar, do not mix anything extra into the batter.

To make pancakes, preheat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat.  Coat surface with butter or nonstick cooking spray, and spoon about 1/4 cup of batter onto cooking surface for each pancake.  Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and cook 2 minutes or until browned on the other side.

Serve with syrup.  Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen.  Makes 15 to 20 pancakes.

For Custom Pancake Bar:  Do not mix extras into batter.  Leave batter plain.  After scooping batter onto griddle, sprinkle your toppings over the pancake.  When it bubbles, flip the pancake and cook for about 2 minutes or until lightly browned on the other side.

*****

Click here for the free printable PDF copy of the recipe:

Overnight Or Now Pancake Recipe

Follow me on Facebook or Pinterest for more recipes!

Happy Cooking!

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Matching Personalized Monogram Gifts

Blue and White Chevron Matching Personalized Monogram Gifts

I love the idea of being able to set up an entire meal with personalized dishes and matching accessories.

Which is what these chevron patterned monogram gifts are for!  From the placemat and coasters for your breakfast at home to the lunchbox and water bottle for your lunch at the office, these are a great way to start any meal.

They’re great for kids, too!  I mean, sure, you might first think of yourself, or even your teenage daughter/granddaughter when you first look at them, but young kids also love to see their names on things – even when they’re just starting to learn their letters.  And not all of us want to have blinding primary colors or gigantic faces of Elmo plastered all over our kitchens.

We have to look at this stuff every day, too, amiright?

{Okay, okay… my girls have Jake and the Neverland Pirates placemats.  I admit it.  BUT, I love Jake, too.  :) }

Because we should be able to surround ourselves with things we love.  And things that no one will mistake as not being ours.  Especially if you’re living in a dorm or working in an office where your stuff keeps walking off…

Anyway, aside from the easy personalization, the other thing I love about this line of monogrammed gifts is that they come in different colors.  Below you’ll find the links for the blue, green, and pink versions!

Please share with me which are your favorites!  And don’t forget to also share them on Facebook and Pinterest!

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Coasters

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Lunchbox

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Mug

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Soup Mug

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Water Bottle

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Melamine Plate

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Porcelain Plate

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Napkins

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Placemat

Green and White Chevron Matching Personalized Monogram Gifts

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Coasters

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Lunchbox

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Mug

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Soup Mug

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Water Bottle

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Melamine Plate

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Porcelain Plate

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Napkins

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Placemat

Pink and White Chevron Matching Personalized Monogram Gifts

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Coasters

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Lunchbox

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Mug

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Soup Mug

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Water Bottle

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Melamine Plate

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Porcelain Plate

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Napkins

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Placemat

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Red & White Chevron Monogrammed Christmas Decorations

Red and White Chevron Monogrammed Christmas Decor

I’ve got holidays on the mind.  We’ve been doing tons of Halloween and Thanksgiving projects, but I’m always thinking ahead to Christmas… even tho it’s not quite Halloween yet.

It’s my favorite time of year.  :)

And with Christmas on my mind, some of the newest products I’ve made for my Joyful Expressions store include these red and white chevron monogrammed Christmas decorations.

The Red & White Chevron Monogram Tree Skirt is 44 inches in diameter and available in brushed polyester, faux linen, or coral fleece.

The Red & White Chevron Monogram Christmas Stocking are available in the same fabrics as the skirt, with your choice of sizes:  9 x 16 inches or 12 x 20 inches.

The Red & White Chevron Monogrammed Pillow come in polyester or cotton, and the sizes range from 16 inch or 20 inch square to a 13 x 21 inch lumbar pillow.

The Red & White Chevron Monogram Dated Photo Ornament has a monogram and personalization on the front, that includes the year, and a photo on the back.

The Red & White Chevron Monogram Ornament is about 2 x 2.5 inches and can be plated in either silver or gold.

Plus, they’re also available in silver:

Silver and White Chevron Monogrammed Christmas Decor

 

The links for the silver and white decorations are

Silver & White Chevron Monogram Tree Skirt

Silver & White Chevron Monogram Christmas Stocking

Silver & White Chevron Monogrammed Pillow

Silver & White Chevron Monogram Dated Photo Ornament

Silver & White Chevron Monogram Ornament

What colors are you decorating with this year?  Do you stick with the traditional reds and greens, or do you have a different favorite?

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Personalized Santa Christmas Photo Ornament and Plate

Christmas Dated Photo Ornament Christmas Dated Photo Ornament

This Santa-inspired personalized Christmas photo ornament has long been one of my favorites.  I created a couple of different ones for my Zazzle stores (like this and this), but this one pictured here is the most popular.

The reason I’m posting about it today is because I’m excited that people have been saying such great things about it!

Some of the comments left on Zazzle include:

“This was my first time ordering a product from Zazzle and I was extremely pleased with the outcome. The product was well made and the order was executed very efficiently. I received the product quicker than expected.”

“This is a nice ceramic ornament. The ribbon hanging cord is an added touch. Not flimsy at all. Good quality.”

Okay, not raving I-must-have-this-right-now-type comments, but still nice.  Nice enough to share.  :)

Actually, the matching plate:

Personalized Christmas Custom Photo Plate

got a slightly better-sounding review:

“This plate can be a gift for any occasion. The process of ordering was very simple, and the delivery was fast. While the colors suggest a Christmas gift, I gave this as a shower gift. The colors came out beautifully, the font choices were great and the recipient loved it!”

So, either way, I’m pretty excited about this design.  If you like it, too, please leave me a comment to let me know!

Custom Sand Heart Ornament for “Our First Christmas”

Custom Sand Heart Our First Christmas Ornament

I’ve always loved this ornament.

I created it from a photo I took a couple of years ago of a heart I drew in the sand of the shore of one of my favorite beaches.

And I just love the way it looks when it’s customized.  This is something I’ve given to family members as gifts, and it’s just so beautiful in person!

Here is the back of the ceramic heart:

Custom Sand Heart Our First Christmas Ornament

But the best part?  It’s fully customizable.  So it doesn’t have to read “Our First Christmas.”  It could say “Our Second Christmas,” “50th wedding anniversary,” or anything else that makes you smile.

It doesn’t even have to be about couples.  You could make one for your kid instead, with their name in the heart and “My First Christmas” on the back.  The possibilities are endless.

Plus, Zazzle has their awesome 100% satisfaction guarantee, so it’s a great place to personalize things.

Interested?  Click on the photos above to see the heart ornament, or check out Zazzle’s latest coupons!