Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pancakes...with a twist!

I got some Lifeway kefir while grocery shopping the other day and wanted to make pancakes using kefir instead of buttermilk. I noticed that they both have that same tangy taste and thickness. In case you've never heard of kefir, it looks like very thin,drinkable yogurt. 
Here is a little blurb on kefir on Lifeway's website: similar to yogurt but far more beneficial, Lifeway Kefir contains seven to ten billion CFU’s of 10 strains of bacteria, plus ProBoost, our exclusive pair of clinically proven probiotics to balance your body’s ecosystem, support digestive health and immunity – that’s 12 live and active cultures per cup.  These friendly, probiotic bacteria fortify your body and help to boost immunity, improve digestion, ward off side effects from antibiotics, fight lactose intolerance and may even aid in weight loss.

I don't really like eating this stuff plain, but it's great in smoothies, or as a sub for buttermilk since it has the same acidity level (so it can be subbed in baking when the acidity is important for the leavening agents). I used a pancake mix we got at costco a couple months ago; Krusteaz multi-grain pancake mix. It's kind of weird that it doesn't show up on their website, and an internet search yielded me with no results of anyone using the mix. That either means that its a very new product or that its only sold at select stores like costco.
This mix is great, its chocked full of grains and goodness :D All you have to do is add 1 1/2 cups water to 2 1/2 cups mix and one egg. However since I was using kefir I added a little water to thin it out since it would be too thick otherwise.
Put mix in the bowl-
Add the kefir/water-
Evverryy last drop!
I'm one of those people that will take out the spatula and scrape out every single food particle left from measuring cups and bowls :P
Add the egg:
And mix!
Here's the batter-
It seemed a little thick so I added a splash more water. I think next time I need to add even more water because the pancakes were too thick and a little doughy after I cooked them.
Then you let the batter sit for a couple minutes so it can get all bubbly. Look at those grains!
Now for the best part; the TOPPINGS!
That would be white chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, bittersweet chocolate chips, fresh and dried cherries, toasted pecans, and blueberries. Can you tell I like chocolate?
After the skillet was nice and hot it was time for pancakes!
Hello, gorgeous.
Classic blueberry.
After a pancake was done I put it on a cooling rack so it wouldn't get all soggy on the bottom.
Breakfast for tomorrow morning!
Of course I sampled one before going to bed and I must say, the kefir made them so fluffy and gave them that great buttermilk taste :D.

In the morning I woke up and had some of my pancakes which kept very well in a ziplock bag over night.
One blueberry, one toasted pecan.
I like to put my maple syrup in a small container so 1.) I can heat it up in the microwave since it is cold from the refrigerator and 2.) so I don't get carried away pouring the syrup straight from the bottle.
On the side I had a very juicy pear sprinkled liberally with cinnamon.
I love this combo...
For lunch I had leftover soup and homemade bread.
For the bread, one half was spread with butter and sprinkled  liberally with garlic powder and salt, and then put  under the broiler for a little. The other half has some laughing cow french onion cheese on it.
With some green tea on the side--

This lunch felt great because I was freezing that day! I just noticed that I seem to have a theme with cutting my bread in half and toasting only one half. I'm quite peculiar..

I was super excited to make dinner that night because I was going to make one of the things that was on my food-making bucket list: sliders! How cute are they? I actually don't think I have ever eaten a slider so I was pretty excited to try this out. I got the idea to make them from my Health magazine that had a recipe for sliders to make for a crowd (as an appetizer); also lean ground sirloin was on sale! It was meant to be(:
I halved this recipe for the meat mixture but changed up the toppings and buns. For toppings we had avocado, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, pickles, and the usual condiments. Make sure  you leave plenty of time for you onions to caramelize because it can take up to an hour sometimes! This time it took about 40 minutes.
Here is them at the start (that's one whole onion)-
And 15 minutes later...
Here is after about 30 minutes-
Still not quite there! But see how much they have shrunk already?
And look how cute these little mini wheat slider buns are!
I roasted some green beans on the side to act kind of as "fries".
Before the roast-
It's amazing how much green beans shrink after being roasted, I feel like I'm eating air almost! I roasted a 2 pound bag that we got at costco. Costco has THE best green beans I have ever tasted; and they are so fresh and clean straight out of the package! Usually it takes me a good 20 minutes to trim and wash green beans but these came pre-trimmed and super crisp. There was not one bad green bean in the whole 2 pound bag!

Soon enough dinner was ready:
Sliders, toppings, and green beans.
I ended up making two normal sized burgers as well because I ran out of slider rolls.
Look how cute they are!
Some with sharp white cheddar and some with medium orange cheddar cheese.
Here's the caramelized onions after they had finished cooking-
That small bowl is a whole onion! It's amazing how much they shrink down...
My first slider topped with the works: avocado, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, spicy mustard, onions, and a pickle slice. I didn't get a picture of my second slider but it was basically the same exact thing. Its hard to really tell how small these cuties are but the pickle slice kind of helps you with some sort of size comparison.
Cross section!
Ohhh yeahh :D
These burgers were not only downright adorable they were also delicious. My family usually seasons our burgers with taco seasonings so this other combo was a nice change of pace. It has Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper in the mix which gives it a really smoking flavor that I think everyone liked. In fact, I think this might be our go-to burger recipe from now on!
As I worked on homework I snacked on a chocolate-dipped hazelnut biscotti I snagged from the reception area over at the vets that my dogs go to. Who's going to pass up free biscotti?
Biscotti with none other than coffee! (decaf)
I sure hope the teacher doesn't mind a couple food crumbs in her book...oh and that when I was pouring the hot water for my coffee into the french press I did it right over the open book and got water all over one of the pages...note to self: do not pour water into something else right above valuable papers; outcome will most likely not be good. Woops! :P

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