Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pancakes, Pollock, and Another One Pot Meal

For those of you perhaps more sugar, fat, or otherwise more diet conscience than I am, this morning's whole wheat oatmeal pancakes will have you rejoicing. This is about as close as you can get to a "healthy" pancake while still retaining a fluffy texture and tasting good. I served them with a few sliced strawberries, bananas, and raspberries, which funnily enough, lead to a battle of the wills with my newly 3 year old Josephine. The kid will eat kale no problem, but for some reason she has decided she doesn't care for berries. Since one my core parenting mantras is "you must eat everything on your plate", this turned into a lengthy foodie fray, but, wouldn't you know, Mommy won, and just in time for us to head out to the Dallas Museum of Art.

For all of you moms local to DFW, the first Tuesday of the month is a great time to set out on an artistic adventure with your babies, toddlers, or big kids and head to the Dallas Museum of Art. Admission is free for everyone and there are all manner of crafts and programs taking place. is such a satisfying experience to take my children their, knowing how educational and wholesome it really is. Unlike 'craft workshops' or 'story times' that take place in commercial centers or toy stores, the atmosphere at a museum is entirely different.There are no
advertisements or gimmicks, no parental guilt trip in to buying something at the end- It is entirely for enrichment. After participating in the children's activities, we strolled along through part of the gallery. It is remarkable how you can get your child interested in art by bringing it to their level, holding them close and examining the details of a painting- "Look at this river starting here, and see it getting faster and faster and going over the rocks, and what's this up here, a little house, and
look I see little people on the hill side, perhaps they are a family like us...". It was a wonderful afternoon. Josephine even managed to leave quite an impression on a few passers by by asking where Jackson Pollock was- She is very familiar with his paintings due to her favorite book, Olivia, (who she mirrors in every other way). It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

This evening's dinner is one of my family's (and anyone else lucky enough to try it) favorite dinners. It is quick and comforting, with minimal fuss and fabulous flavor. For those of you who are not accustomed to more doughy dumplings, please do not be turned off- they are surprisingly light.

Best Ever Chicken and Dumplings

1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper
2 TBS unsalted butter
3 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 TBS flour
4 cups (1 quart) chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
fresh parsley for serving

For the dumplings-
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 TBS fresh parsley
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup milk

Heat a large pot over medium high heat and melt the butter
Add the chicken, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and cook stirring often until golden, about 4 minutes
Add the carrot, celery, and onion, season with more salt and pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes

Add the 2 TBS of flour and stir, cook another 2 minutes
Add chicken broth and peas and bring to a boil

Meanwhile make the dumpling dough-In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley
Work in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until small pea sized clumps form

Add the milk and stir, then knead a few times until dough comes together (it will be slightly crumbly, do NOT overwork the dough or the dumplings will be tough and heavy)
Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough into the pot, reduce heat to low and cover, and cook another 10 minutes
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsely

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

3/4 cup quick cooking oats (not old fashioned)
1 1/2 cups plus 2 TBS buttermilk, for divided use
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 TBS unsalted butter, melted
1 TBS pack brown sugar

In a medium bowl, soak oats in 3/4 cup of the buttermilk for 10 minutes
Heat griddle over medium heat
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg
Stir egg, remaining buttermilk, melted butter, and brown sugar into the oats and stir to combine
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and quickly incorporate, taking care not to over-stir, which result in heavy pancakes

Reduce heat on the griddle to medium low, oil the surface, then pour batter into rounds (about 1/4 cup per pancake) and cook until bubbles appear on the surface, flip and cook one minute more

Serve with 100% pure maple syrup and some fresh fruit

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