Posted in Exercise and fitness, fitness, holidays, mind and body, recipes, Uncategorized

Should “Healthy” Pancakes Taste This Good?

Yes, we will be doing recipes here, too. Something for everyone, right? And I’m thinking these might be a perfect addition to an Easter breakfast. 🙂

These past few weeks I’ve craved (diner) pancakes. Before I started cutting back white-flour products, I would order them on occasional breakfast trips out. Now, three bites gets me an instant headache from the flour AND the sugary table syrup.

I tried making a white whole wheat version, but they always felt heavy. They certainly didn’t capture that “diner flavor.” Then, shortly after Christmas, I picked up some woman’s magazine that talked about Paleo recipes. Almond meal came into my home and life changed—a little, anyway.

I found the original recipe here. I followed it exactly the first time, but I have this need to tweak every recipe I come across and really wanted to cut back the flour. Either way, the flavor—and even the texture—resembled those of the diner!

pancake ingredients
The (18-oz) jelly jar is holding about 1-1/2 cups of pre-mixed dry ingredients, enough for the 5 or 6 6-inch (?) pancakes pictured below.

Rather than list the entire recipe with my changes I’ll keep this short and note only the changes I made:

I cut back the white whole wheat flour to ¼ cup and increased the oatmeal to ¾ cup. (Next time I might add an additional ¼-tsp of baking soda too.)

I used ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt (b/c it’s all I had) and thinned it with ¼ cup of 1% milk (dairy or almond—both worked fine).

I ALWAYS add extra vanilla. 😉

I made some plain, added chocolate chips to a few, and even some dried coconut flakes. (I did blueberries last time, which I keep frozen.) They all worked.

pancakes (healthy)
Can y’all tell I’m a huge fan of green, especially that obnoxious lime version, lol? My dream vehicle is Jeep Wrangler in that shade–non-metallic, please. 😉

Rather than fry the pancakes in canola oil, I sprayed my griddle and cooked them the old-fashioned pancake way. Next time I make my tweaked version, I’ll let them cook a few minutes longer. I think oatmeal is a touch heavier than white whole wheat flour, so the batter has to cook a little longer to rise (?).

I transferred them to a spatter screen, to keep the bottom of the pancake from getting mushy from condensation. Once they’re cool I put them on a plate.

These keep well in the fridge for a few days. (The flavor gets better.) I’m sure they can also be frozen for a quick and healthy breakfast just before school. (I toss them in the toaster on low. Works really well.) Layer them with yogurt and fruit or maple syrup and a touch of butter. PBJ or almond butter and jelly are good too. (Yes, I’ve tried it.)

Are you constantly looking for healthier versions of comfort food standards? Do you follow a recipe ‘as is’ or are you compelled to put your stamp on it? Will your kids eat your take on their favorite foods?

(Images of my dream vehicle–just for fun. Parents and caregivers need some. 🙂 )

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all who celebrate! Please take a moment to remember (and pray for, if you are so inclined) those who aren’t as blessed as we are.

Until next time,

Joanne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Parenting, Uncategorized

Parents’ Mishaps–You Are Not Alone

We’ve all been there–done something we can laugh about when we look back.

As parents, we are harried. My kids are 18 and 16, and still my day never seems to end. When they were small and needed constant close supervision, I remember how many things I had to keep track of. Chances are, something gave.

Last week I was listening to the radio. one of the morning show hosts is a fairly new mom; she has a toddler. Long story short, her male counterpart asked her why she thought to text him one morning, when she locked her keys in the car. (Not sure if her daughter was in her car seat when she did so.)

He told her he felt badly; he was too physically far away to be able to help her in any way.

She maintained how stressed out she’d felt that morning, and how she just wanted to talk to somebody at that moment; that she sat down on the curb and cried while she waited for AAA to show.

The DJ’s story reminded me of when my older guy was still an infant. The day before my mishap, we’d gone to see my husband’s family. My brother-in-law is a volunteer firefighter, and is often involved in rescues. We wound up in a discussion about a man whose wife had asked him to drop the baby off (at daycare?) one summer morning. Because the man wasn’t in the habit of doing so, he forgot he had the baby and went directly to work. He supposedly came back to find his child had died in the extreme heat of a car in the summer.

The next day, I remember going to a nearby shopping plaza. I had a mini-van that I had turned on to run the A/C—so that the vehicle would cool while I was putting my son in his car seat. I don’t remember the details, but I locked him in the running, air-conditioned car—with me not in it.

I generally don’t panic, but the horribly tragic story of the man forgetting his baby in the car had freaked me out. If I had a cell phone I’m sure it would have been in my purse already in the car. I ran into the closest shop—the pizza place—and begged someone to call for help.

Within minutes, our mobile precinct—a bus-sized converted RV—showed (It looked very much like the one in this image. Talk about mortified!) The very kind police officers jimmied open my door—which–lucky for me–they still did back then.

After the police left and I calmed down, I noticed I had left the front passenger window open a few inches. Had I not lost my brain, I could have asked the pizza guy to borrow a long-handled utensil (i.e., a spatula). With it, all I would have had to do was push the button to unlock the door.

We’re all human, my dear parents and caregivers.The preceding is only ONE of many incidents my children and I have survived. (Trust me, I’ve truly been blessed that some things I never foresaw happening didn’t end worse than they did.)

Do you have a parent mishap story? How did you feel then and how do you feel about it now that you can look back on it?

Be well, everyone. Thank you for your time.

Joanna

 

Posted in School-related, Uncategorized

Ah…the PARCC…

Happy Friday and upcoming weekend, everyone!

I promised we’d cover all types of topics here. Not sure I want to tackle this one, but the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is quite the hot one these days. It has been for months and most likely will continue to be so, especially once scores start coming in.

Hype, angst, opting out, refusal, teacher evaluation, funding; Bill Gates and Pearson profiting from it—just some of the buzzwords associated with PARCC. (I won’t touch the lock-and-key PARCC’s predecessor paper-and-pencil tests were kept under; rumors of teachers and/or test administrators at risk to lose their jobs if they happened to glance down at a student’s test booklet while walking around the class—I mean, seriously??? Over a test? What’s it made of, anyway? And yes, I understand it all ties into funding a given public school system. I’m thinking every kid’s education should weigh equally, and not because a test ties into the determination to allocate $$$.)

I don’t know enough about PARCC. I do know it is designed to test knowledge of the Common Core Standards, what kids learn from education supposedly aligned with those standards. (Feel free to enlighten me–please.) Being a parent and a public school civil servant myself, I know it’s there and that I have to deal with it. (I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to do so directly on the professional side.)

“Opting out” is not a choice in my state, but a refusal letter can be sent to the principal at any time, even after testing sessions are under way. Older Son is a senior and doesn’t have to take it. Younger Son is a sophomore and asked if I’d write him a letter of refusal.

I looked into it (some) and spoke to his guidance counselor.

This year, PARCC scores supposedly ‘won’t count’ against students or teachers. (Test results will eventually count as 10% of a teacher’s evaluation—the initial number was 30%.)

At present, passing the PARCC is not a high school graduation requirement. (My state’s stance on that could supposedly change at any time and count retroactively. If that’s true, I can’t see how that is fair play. I also have to wonder: what DOES count in PARCC’s place? Previous standardized tests used are no longer an option.)

Younger Son, not the most scholastic of children, has shown serious potential for proficiency on his PSATs. (He was a handful of points shy of the proficient mark.) These DO count as a graduation requirement, and can be used in lieu of a PARCC score. He will take them again as a junior, with a year more of education under his belt when doing so.

At sixteen, Younger Son is old enough to tune in to all the hullabaloo surrounding the test. He sounds jaded by it, and has an attitude toward it. Given his personality, I don’t see him sitting for the test and giving PARCC his best shot. I’d hate for the state to decide to count his potentially lower scores against a teacher who did his/her best.

So, for this year, I’ll let him forego a PARCC venture. Come next year, I would hope for more definite information on which to base this decision.

Your thoughts? Assuming you have children in the 3rd-11th grade range, are you for them taking the test or not? Why?

Links to two articles that provide a touch more background. These are to be considered FYI–not necessarily MHO–just two of a multitude that caught my eye. The first, however, is from Scholastic, so I’m hoping they’ll be more fair and unbiased. No way to tell for sure:

Common Core Under Attack

Mom: Why My Kids Won’t Be Taking the Florida Standards Assessment Tests

All the best,

Joanne