Tag Archives: Recipes

Menu Plan Monday 2/23/15

Menu Plan

We’re in “eat what we’ve got” mode around here in an effort to use up the things we have stored in the freezer and the pantry! Consequently, this Menu Plan Monday may consist of some odd combinations! I expect us to stay in this mode for another week or so, so it’s likely to get even more bizarre. Oh well, I’ll be glad to be able to open the freezer without having things tumble out at me. Opening the freezer shouldn’t be hazardous. Plus, I hate when I discover things in the pantry that have expired before we’ve gotten to them. This is our effort to keep that from happening!

With no further adieu, here’s the menu plan for feeding people this week:

Monday

BreakfastGluten Free Pumpkin MuffinsGluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

Lunch: Kids: Banana Dog & PB&J, Adults: Leftovers from Sunday

DinnerMahi Mahi, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach Salad

(We’re also responsible for the snack at Girl Scouts this day, and my daughter has requested her favorite treat – Blueberry Muffins!)

Tuesday

Breakfast: Leftover Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

Lunch: Salmon Patties

Dinner: Potato Soup

Wednesday (CC Community Day)

Breakfast: Cereal and Smoothies

Lunch: PB&J (for DS), Hummus and Carrot Chips (for DD), Quinoa and Brown rice with Garlic (for Me! These have been my favorite grab and go lunch discovery this year! Heat them in the pouch. Then, I like to dump them in aEasy lunch ideas! container to which I’ve already added some feta and black olives. Delicious! If there are leftovers, I just pop the lid on and bring it home for lunch here the next day.I get mine at Costco for a better price than at Amazon, but thought you might want to see a picture. I also found them once at Aldi!)

Dinner: Beans and Gluten Free Cornbread

Thursdsay

Breakfast: Gluten Free Pancakes

Lunch: Leftover Potato Soup or Beans and Cornbread

Dinner: Tenderloin (from the freezer), Butternut Squash, Green Beans

Friday

Breakfast: Leftover Gluten Free Pancakes

Lunch: Boiled eggs, Salad

Dinner: Gluten Free Pizza

Saturday

Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal

Lunch: Whatever you can find.

Dinner: Black Bean Soup

Sunday

Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal

Lunch: Fruit and/or Veggies Tray for our Home Church group, Beef Stew

Dinner: Breakfast for Dinner

 

Snacks for the week

Homemade: Super Swim Bars (Granola Bars), Popped Amaranth and Bananas, Almonds and Chocolate Chips, Smoothies, Popcorn, Apples/PB/Granola Sandwiches

Storebought: Fruit PouchesFreeze-dried FruitGluten Free Pretzels

 

If you’re looking for a menu plan template, you are welcome to download one by visiting the Printables page.

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Homemade Hot Chocolate

World's Best Hot Chocolate Recipe

World's Best Hot Chocolate Recipe!What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods these days? We have been iced and snowed in for nearly a week here are our house. This kind of weather is very unusual around here, so we’ve enjoyed the chance to slow down a little. The kids have spent so much time out sledding and playing that they are falling into bed at night and sleeping in late in the mornings. As homeschoolers, we could press on with a normal school schedule if we chose, but all of the children that live near us have schedules dictated by one school system or another and they’ve all been off and itching to play. I’ve also been “snowed under” with the tax returns I do at this time of year, so it’s been a good time to let the kids have a break and enjoy the type of play that just isn’t possible around here on a regular basis!

As a result, I’ve had piles of boots and coats and hats and gloves at my back door on and off all week (when my children haven’t been off piling up their boots and coats at a neighbor’s door) and I have served up lots of homemade hot chocolate. My sweet husband finally had to explain to some of the children yesterday that we were going to have to cut everyone off before we ran out of milk. The children who don’t live here were fascinated to learn that we buy our milk directly from a farm and won’t be picking any more up until Saturday. So, when we’re out, we’re out! This was very disappointing, because apparently, I make the “World’s Best Hot Chocolate!” Who knew?

So, just in case you need an excellent (and easy!) recipe for Hot Chocolate, here you go!

 Homemade Hot Chocolate

(makes about 36 cups)

1 1/2 Cup Cocoa (or raw Cacao Powder)

3 Cups Sugar (or Organic Cane Sugar)

3/4 tsp Salt (or Himalayan Salt)

Mix these together. I like to run them through the blender or the food processor so they are more finely ground and dissolve more easily, but it’s not a must. Store in an airtight container.

When you’re ready to make some hot chocolate, measure out 2 Tablespoons of the mix into a cup. Add 1 Tablespoon of boiling water to the cup and mix. Then add:

1 Cup Milk

1/4 tsp vanilla

And, of course, if you really want to treat yourself, be sure and add marshmallows!!

Yummmmm!

By the way, I’ve run the nutritional information on this, and it’s about 220 calories if made with fresh, raw milk. If you want to make it with less sugar, you can. I’ve made it with 1 teaspoon of powdered stevia in place of one of the cups of sugar. It’s still delicious! Since the sugar is bulky, you’d only need about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the mix to make a cup.

Gluten Free Applesauce Bread

Applesauce Bread Gluten Free Quick Bread

There’s just something about applesauce bread. It’s warm and comforting. It smells FANTASTIC while it’s baking. It’s wonderful plain, it’s delectable with butter, and I love it with peanut butter! It even makes a great sandwich for lunch with peanut butter and possibly a little bit of honey. Yum!

Now that I’ve typed all this, I need to go and make some more.  NOW.

Gluten Free Applesauce Bread

Gluten Free Applesauce BreadIngredients

1 1/2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour*

3/4 cup Rapadura or Sucanat (or 1/2 cup honey**)

1/2 teaspoon xantham gum

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup applesauce

2 eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or top looks set and toothpick comes out clean.

* You can buy yours pre-mixed, or there’s a great tutorial by Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, or here’s what’s currently in mine (we like a whole-grain-type flour):

  • 4 Cups Sorghum Flour
  • 3 Cups Brown Rice Flour
  • 2 Cups Potato Starch
  • 1 Cup Tapioca Starch

Basically, you’re shooting for a mixture that’s about 70% whole grains and 30% starches.

** If you choose to use honey, you’ll want to watch it closely. Honey browns more quickly than the other sugars.

Applesauce Bread Peanut Butter

We love Applesauce Bread with peanut butter SO much, that it was impossible for me to take a picture without someone taking a bite out of it first!

Applesauce Bread

And, if you don’t move quickly around here, little hands will suddenly appear in your pictures helping themselves to the subject of your photography. We aren’t the most patient bunch.

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Gluten Free Biscuits Recipe

Gluten Free Biscuit Recipe

This is our family’s FAVORITE recipe for Gluten Free Biscuits! It goes together quickly and easily and the recipe can be adapted to use more than one starch or flour, so you can tailor it to what you have on hand.

So, with no further adieu, I offer you (drum roll, please!) . . .

Gluten Free Biscuits

Gluten Free Biscuits Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Starch (Potato, Tapioca, or Cornstarch . . . I typically use a combination of Potato and Tapioca)
  • 3/4 Cup Flour (Brown Rice or Sorguhm)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, whey from making yogurt, or milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F Spray a baking sheet or stone with cooking spray, or use parchment paper.
  2. Place the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Process for a few seconds until mixed.
  3. Sprinkle the butter chunks evenly over the flour mixture, cover, and process with until the mixture resemble coarse crumbs (about 15 seconds).
  4. Pour the liquid evenly over the mixture. Process for 8 1-second pulses, or until the dough gathers into a moist clump (you can also move dough back to the mixing bowl at this point and mix it by hand).
  5. Using your bare hands, quickly gather a clump of dough, lightly form it into a biscuit shape, and drop it onto the cookie sheet. Repeat this for all the remaining dough, trying to handle the dough as little as possible (it’s sticky).
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Makes 6-8 biscuits (I often double the recipe).

You can make these without the food processor and just cut the butter in with a pastry cutter. They’re still delicious. They don’t turn out looking quite as pretty because the texture of the dough tends to be chunkier, but don’t let that stop you from trying them! You don’t want to miss out on a good thing just because you don’t want to use a food processor! Mmmmmmm!

Gluten Free Biscuit Recipe

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Quick Dinner Recipes: Egg Drop Soup and Tuna Fried Rice

Quick Dinner Fried Rice

One night this past week, I went to the freezer to pull out the salmon to make for dinner, per the Menu Plan, only to discover there was no salmon there. ACTUALLY, there WAS salmon there, but I couldn’t SEE the salmon because it was buried in the chaos of my freezer . . . and that should be the subject of a whole blog series in and of itself: creating order from chaos in the freezer. I’ll get right on top of that.

In the meantime, here are the “save the day” quick dinner recipes that got us through that evening:

Quick Dinner Recipes –
Egg Drop Soup and Tuna Fried Rice

 

Pin-Quick-Dinner--Recipes Egg-Drop-Soup

Egg Drop Soup

Ingredients:

5 cups chicken broth
3 cups packed baby spinach leaves
3/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon vietnamese fish sauce (or substitute miso)
3 eggs
salt
Optional: sliced green onions

Directions:

Heat chicken broth over medium-high heat until boiling.

Stir in the spinach leaves, sesame oil, and fish sauce  (or miso) and cook until the spinach begins to wilt.

Beat eggs well.

Stir broth mixture with one hand, so it moves in a circle around the pan, while slowly pouring in the eggs with your other hand.  Swirling motion and heat will cook and create thin ribbons of eggs.

Spoon into individual bowls and top with green onion if desired.

Tuna Fried Rice

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 tbsp. milk

olive oil

4 cups cooked brown rice
1 5-oz. canned tuna, drained and flaked with fork
3/4 cup corn
3/4 cup peas
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. soy sauce
Optional: 3 tbsp. cup finely chopped green onions (green part only)
Directions:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to pan to coat.  Whisk together milk and eggs. Add to skillet, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until eggs are set. Remove from heat. Fold eggs into quarters and chop finely. Hold eggs on plate.

Recoat pan with olive oil, and place over medium high heat again.  Add green onion, if desired, stirring for about 2 minutes.  Add rice, corn, peas, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and soy sauce.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Add tuna and eggs, gently stirring for another 2 minutes, until heated through.  Serve.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

Mmmmm . . . Fall and pumpkin . . . they just go hand in hand. Truthfully, I like pumpkin just about anytime, which is why I keep a lot in my freezer year-round. I like to decorate with pumpkins that roast well and look good – Fairy Tale and Cinderella Pumpkins have been my favorites over the years. Using my decor for food later makes me feel SO much better about spending money in the fall on some pumpkins to sit around the house. And, as long as you don’t make them into Jack-o-lanterns, they usually last the full season and leave you plenty of time to roast them and get them in the freezer. This year, I’m trying a cushaw squash, as recommended by the farmer at the market this year. It’s a totally a different look, but he says they’re delicious! We shall see!

Gluten Free Pumpkin MuffinsThis morning, we tried out a new recipe. We’re always trying out new recipes. My husband says I have a very difficult time leaving well enough alone. True. Why settle for “well enough” when you can shoot for “AMAZING!”???? I try something new and then tweak it and tweak it and tweak it. I prefer to think of recipes as a “suggestion.”

So, I pass along to you my “suggestion” for Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins.  This recipe was adapted from a recipe I found at Grain Meal Wagon. Their version is dairy and egg free, so if you’d like to see their version, head on over there. My version is below.

You’ll see these are made with oat flour. The lovely thing about oat flour is that anyone with a blender or food processor can make it and you can make it in small batches, so you have just enough for a single recipe. Just blend or process oats (rolled or quick) until you have a texture you like (I like mine to still have some small identifiable oat crumbs in it, so it’s not all super fine.)

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

Dry Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly-ground oat flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca or potato starch
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 3 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups sucanat
Wet Ingredients
  • 1 TBSP Molasses
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup milk (any kind)
Optional Ingredients

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.

2. Add wet ingredients. Mix well.

3. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top.

4. Spoon the batter into muffin cups. (I use silicone ones. I LOVE them!)

5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

 

Empty Coffee CupI thought the pumpkin seeds (pepitas) really took these from very good to fabulous, but my children preferred to eat their muffins naked. Silly kiddos. These would also be delicious with some mini chocolate chips, if you wanted a sweeter treat. They were fantastic with a cup of coffee this morning! And, can I just show you my coffee cup? For Christmas this past year, I gave my daughter a gift certificate for a “girls’ day.” She and I painted pottery, had lunch together, and went and got manicures and pedicures. So fun! I painted this mug myself and it’s my favorite to drink from in the morning.  It just brightens up the day. Plus, it really DOES just beg to be filled. A little tip, though: if you’re right-handed and you plan to write yourself a cute note inside your coffee cup, make sure you’re holding the cup correctly.  Otherwise, you’ll be reading your message upside down, and early morning pre-coffee is just simply not the time to be reading upside down.

 

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Saturday Special: Kill the Colored Ants!

Ants Header

We have ants. Again.

We live in a fairly old house, and it’s just not sealed as well as it should/could be. About every 2 or 3 months, we get a good rain (like night before last) and a colony of ants decides they need to seek shelter by moving into our house. I don’t know about you, but I HATE ants. My husband says we need to name them and call them our “kitchen friends.” He is not in charge of dealing with the ants, obviously. He IS in charge of the videoing around here (see below). You’ll see that we are pretty easily amused.

I’ve tried all sorts of natural ant poisons and repellents. Some of them work quite well. Some of them, like diatomaceous earth, are really messy and need to be confined to dealing with ants outside (where it works beautifully!). Other things like clove oil (I like to mix mine in a spray bottle with some water) and cinnamon also work well as repellents, but just don’t seem to be enough during this post-rain periods when there’s a sudden onslaught of the little buggers. My favorite way to deal with them inside is to poison them with a little combination of honey, borax, and warm water. It’s easy to mix up. Works to keep them gone for quite a while, and isn’t so messy that it makes me crazy. The only difficult part is being patient.  I have issues in that department. You need to give the ants a chance to eat the poison, so that means not killing every single one you see automatically for about a day. It’s HARD to let ants run a muck in your house, even if it’s only for a day.  But it’s worth it when they suddenly stop showing up and stay gone for a while.

The ratio that I’ve been using for my poison is:

  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 tsp Borax

Warm the water and mix the honey and borax in until it dissolves. Then, place the poison out in the places you are seeing ants.  I usually put mine on wax paper, but tin foil, parchment paper, or the like will work. You just want to make it easy for the ants to get to. You can just pour it in a puddle, pour it on a cotton pad, or you can soak a cotton ball in it. My children are big enough not to eat it, and our dog has never shown any interest in it, but you’ll want to make sure that children and pets don’t consume it.

Again, the key is . . . be patient.

It can take a little while for the ants to find your poison, but eventually they will. At first it will just be one or two.

A few ants

Then, they’ll tell all their buddies and soon you’ll have them totally surrounding the poison and fighting for a spot.

More ants

This time, I decided to try coloring the poison. I figure if we’re going to have ants, they might as well provide some amusement and be colored ants.

To do this, just drop a few drops of food coloring on the cotton pad or cotton ball, or color the whole puddle. I actually colored my cotton pad with three different colors, so we had different colored ants running around. They’re still ants. I still hate them, but at least they provided us with some entertainment this afternoon before they died. It’s ALMOST like I gave them a bigger and better purpose in life. ALMOST.

Before-After-PIN

Later today or tomorrow, the ants will dwindle down to one or two and I’ll clean up the poison and switch back to using clove oil or something to repel them. I’ll have done enough damage to the colony to at least keep them away for awhile, and in the meantime, we can work on trying to figure out where they’re coming from and get things better sealed.

Until next time, my little ant enemies!

As for the rest of you, I leave you with this awesome video my husband shot of one poor little sucker taking advantage of our hospitality.

And, maybe it’s because we’re a homeschooling family, or maybe it’s just that I want to give ants OUTSIDE my house a fair shake, but here’s a little video that shows how cool ants (or ant hills) can really be.

This post linked up at:

Tending the Home Tuesdays works for me wednesday at we are that family

Week in Review

Week in review

Wow! We had a great week this past week, but it sure blew by in a hurry!

On Friday, my husband, a friend, and a passel of kids headed to the Maker Faire in Atlanta. A Maker Faire, if you don’t know (and I’d never even heard of a Maker Faire at this time last year), is Fair . . .  for “Makers.”  So glad I could clear that up for you.

No, seriously, “Makers” are people who make things. It’s about that simple. It might be techy stuff or it might be crafty or artsy stuff (robot sculptures, anyone?), but it’s about all those folks coming together to share what they’re making and to help others learn along the way. It’s VERY hands on and the kids had a ball! Not that I was there with them . . .

Conversation with my husband earlier this year:
Him - "I'd like to take the kids to Atlanta for the Maker Faire in October."
Me - "You mean I'll be alone in the house for 24 hours or so?"
Him - "Yes"
Me - "Why have you not been taking them to the Maker Faire for years? And, by the way, what is a Maker Faire?"

. . . So, like I said, I wasn’t there with them, but my husband tells me that all the Makers that had booths set up were wonderful and more than willing to let the kids try and do stuff. They made LED badges, cool cars, launched rockets, rode hover crafts, and walked on water (well, cornstarch and water), and just generally had a blast! I’m actually not sure if I want them to go without me next year or not. We shall see which wins out – my desire to work on things at home uninterrupted or my desire to see and experience really cool things with my kids.  It’s a good thing for them to get to spend quality time with just one parent . . . right?? Right??

Maker Faire

And now, on to other things! We tried out two new-to-us recipes this past week or two that were DELICIOUS and I wanted to pass them along to you as you are making plans for feeding your own families this next week.  These were great and are definitely going into the menu rotation. They were also perfect for fall!

  1. Chicken Carbonara from Holistic Squid:  This might just be my favorite recipe ever for using Spaghetti Squash! It was delicious and not at all difficult to pull together, especially if you have leftover chicken from earlier in the week handy. We were out of bacon (WHAT? How does that happen? That should not be allowed.), so I substituted some ham that we had on hand and it was still delicious. I’m sure with bacon it would of been even better. Of course it would have been better. EVERYTHING is better with bacon. (This was on our Menu here.)
  2. Squash and applesSlow Cooked Cider Pork Chops with Pumpkin and Apples from my Humble Kitchen: The recipe ingredients scream Fall. The recipe smell screams Fall. The recipe taste screams FAll. This is a perfect Fall recipe. Everyone in our house loved it and it made the house smell wonderful all day long! It’s not the fastest slow cooker recipe to throw together because of the browning of the pork chops and the slicing of the apple and the pumpkin (we used butternut squash), so it may not be the recipe you want to throw together when you’re leaving the house in a panic in the morning, but if you’ve got 30 minutes to do the prep, this recipe is WELL worth it. (This was on our Menu here.)

And with that, I bid you adieu! I hope you all have a wonderful upcoming week full of the people you love and the things you love to do!

 

3 Ingredient Dinner in a Flash

3-Ingredient-dinner

Okay, so you know how there are those days were absolutely nothing goes as planned and suddenly you look up and realize that in order to actually feed your family before it’s time to put the kiddos to bed that you really should have started dinner an hour ago? What? That never happens to you? Well, it happens to me.

All.the.time.

Waaaay more than I care to admit, actually. So, I won’t. I’ll just tell you that this is one of those recipes that you can throw together in a pinch with ingredients you tend to have around and no one will really know that you cannot manage your time well, and should, frankly, not be entrusted with the care and feeding of others. At all.

Dinner in a hurryEggs in Tomato Sauce

Serves 4
Ingredients

8 eggs
24 ounces of Spaghetti or Marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)

4 Tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Reserve 1 cup (8 oz) of the sauce
  3. Into 4 individual oven-proof bowls or ramekins, evenly divide the remaining 2 cups (16 oz) of sauce.
  4. Crack 2 eggs into each bowl.
  5. Spoon reserved sauce evenly over the eggs.
  6. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cheese over each dish.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

This is also delicious with a little feta and fresh basil, if you’re interested in adding an ingredient or two, but they aren’t required to make it delicious. Goes well with with crusty bread (if you eat that sort of thing) and a side salad or steamed broccoli if you’d like to balance things out with something green.

I’ll admit, part of the reason that I like this recipe is that it takes advantage of something we have an abundance of . . . eggs! Our backyard flock of 5 is producing all the eggs we could possibly eat, plus some. Right this minute, there are nearly 4 dozen in my fridge, so I am ALL about a recipe that puts some to good use!

Eggs for dinner

YUMMY and Simple Gluten Free Pancakes!

Gluten Free Pancakes

We eat pancakes pretty often.  Consequently, after my husband was diagnosed with Celiac earlier this year, we spent several months on the hunt for a good gluten free pancake recipe. We ate through many a dud before finding this recipe and making some minor changes to make it really work for us.  This recipe has a good “mouth feel” and isn’t too dry.  The flavor is really nice. This is a gluten free pancake tht I will happily serve to guests who aren’t accustomed to eating gluten free because it really doesn’t taste all that different from the pancakes we used to eat.

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice flour or sorguhm flour
3 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1 T honey
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients:

2 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 – 2 cups buttermilk (or a mixture of yogurt and milk or this is a great place to use the whey leftover from making yogurt) … whatever it takes to get the consistency you want.

Gluten Free PancakesDirections
  1. Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Mix until lumps are gone.
  2. Heat a skillet or griddle to medium heat.
  3. Add oil to griddle (I use coconut oil).
  4. Spoon batter onto griddle (I like to use a 1/4 C measuring cup). You may need to spread the batter out with the back up a spoon or the measuring cup.
  5. Cook until surface of pancakes begin to bubble and to look a little drier.
  6. Flip carefully and cook on other side for about 2 more minutes.
  7. If you like, keep pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven. You may want to cover them with tinfoil to retain their moisture if you won’t be serving them right away.

Serve with real Maple Syrup. These are also yummy with about 1/2 C of chocolate chips or blueberries.

Makes 10-12 pancakes.

Gluten Free Pancakes, Breakfast Table

 

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