The Household COO - Part 2

Have a Roaring Breakkie with Some Dino Pancakes!

It’s a holiday and I was feeling ambitious, so I dug out the dinosaur pancake molds to make these…

Dinosaur Pancakes

The dinosaurs look a bit ratty but they passed the test for the boys who were so delighted to be chomping on dinosaurs that they forgot that pancakes aren’t really their usual fare. They are a bit more work than the average pancake – which goes against the grain of my usual effort (given the lazy bum that I am in the kitchen) but I guess they achieved their purpose since the boys were eating them and G1 even requested them for breakfast the next day. It never ceases to amaze me how easily novelty food wins the kids over…

Ingredients:

  • 180 g plain flour
  • 45 g rye flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 c milk
  • 1 egg
  • 45 g butter, melted

Equipment:

You will need dinosaur pancake molds (or any other pancake molds of your choice).

Untitled

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  • Whisk the mixture until smooth.
  • Heat up a non-stick frying pan.
  • Grease the insides of your pancake molds and place it in the pan.
  • Pour in some pancake batter and spread it into the corners of the mold.
  • When the batter starts to bubble, remove the mold and flip the pancake over.
  • Remove from heat when pancake is golden brown on both sides.
  • Serve with maple syrup or honey.

Monday Noodle Nights

Somewhere along the way, Monday nights became “noodle night”. I’m not complaining because it’s one of the easier dinners to prepare despite the fact that everyone has their own preferences on just how they like it. It’s also a surefire winner with all three boys so it’s nice to have one night of the week that’s guaranteed to end in praises for the chef. I may be a lazy chef but that doesn’t mean I don’t relish the praises that my boys sing when they love my dinners.

The end result is not particularly visually appealing so here’s a picture of what I put in it instead:

Bee hoon dinner

What’s in it…

  • Maryland chicken or thigh – one for each person
  • prawns, shelled – 3 for each person who wants some
  • eggs (one for each person who wants one)
  • bean sprouts, washed
  • Vermicelli / dried noodles – depending on individual preference
  • 1.5L water (this is usually how much water I use for 4 people)
  • 2 chicken stock cubes, MSG-free
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • generous dash of ginger and white pepper

Notes:

  • I use Eco-Brown’s vermicelli (bee hoon) because it’s got good handling properties – i.e. it doesn’t get soggy so easily (which is a major complaint of one of my boys)
  • For the boys that don’t like vermicelli, I use Cintan steam cooked and air dried noodles
  • Our soy sauce of choice is Knife brand for no other reason other than that one of my boys prefers it to the rest
  • Our sesame oil brand of choice is Ghee Hiang but we also like Knife

Method:

  • Soak noodles in water in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Put the chicken into a pot and fill with water. Bring to the boil for a few minutes until you see the meat scum accumulating.
  • Remove from heat and tip out the water. Wash the chicken.
  • Place the chicken back into the pot and add the 1.5L water, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, pepper, and chicken stock.
  • Bring to the boil then reduce heat. Simmer for half an hour.
  • Add half a teaspoon of cornflour to the prawns and add to the soup.
  • Add noodles and egg. Increase the heat.
  • When the egg is done, remove from heat.
  • Serve.

Recipes: Cinnamon Coffee Cake

It’s called a Cinnamon Coffee Cake but the funny thing is that it doesn’t have any coffee in it. Perhaps they called it that because it goes well with coffee? Anyway, I figured it was time to make something for me instead of always something for the boys. I’ve always had a thing for cinnamon ever since I read about the spice melange – the fictional awareness spectrum narcotic from Frank Herbert‘s phenomenal work of fiction – Dune. The spice melange was described as smelling and tasting like cinnamon so I used to imagine that my cinnamon infused nutriments were actually laden with melange instead. I imagine that was how I acquired my taste for cinnamon – during my imaginary days on the planet Arrakis.

Benefits of Cinnamon

Although it doesn’t have the effect of melange in expanding consciousness, it turns out that cinnamon might actually have some health benefits, such as:

  • regulating blood sugar
  • lowering cholesterol (specifically LDL)
  • reducing inflammation
  • fighting bacteria
  • reducing arthritic and menstrual pain
  • improving fertility
  • antioxidant effects and cancer prevention
  • may be beneficial against neurodegenerative diseases

If that’s not enough reason to start acquiring a taste for cinnamon, did you know that cinnamon helps metabolize sugar up to twenty times better than food not eaten with cinnamon? That can be pretty helpful if you’re watching your waistline.

Update! 5 Proven Brain Benefits of Cinnamon:

  1. Cinnamon may delay or reverse cognitive impairment – a study in rats found that cinnamon improved cognition and reduced oxidation in the brain.
  2. Cinnamon may be beneficial for Parkinson’s patients – a mouse study found that cinnamon protected dopamine production systems and improved motor function in Parkinson’s disease.
  3. Cinnamon may curb food cravings – by targeting a brain chemical involved in glucose and cholesterol, eating cinnamon may decrease food intake and help you lose weight.
  4. Cinnamon’s scent can boost memory in a task – a small human study suggests that merely smelling cinnamon can improve performance several types of memory tasks.
  5. Cinnamon is a good source of the powerful antioxidant manganese – 2 teaspoons of cinnamon provides about half the RDA of manganese, a powerful antioxidant that is crucial for brain and body health.

Contra-indications for Cinnamon

Consuming food flavoured with cinnamon is generally not a problem. It should be noted however that excessive consumption of cinnamon is not recommended for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Cinnamon Cake

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Notes: this cake has also been fortified with flaxseed and partial wholemeal flour substitution. Ingredients:

  • 90g butter
  • 110g castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g plain flour
  • 60g wholemeal pastry flour
  • 30g flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 3/4 c butter milk

Method:

  1. Prepare cake pan. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Mix flaxseed meal with egg and put aside.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add in flaxseed and egg mixture.
  5. Mix on medium speed until well combined.
  6. Pour into prepared pan.
  7. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until your skewer comes out clean (poke a skewer into the cake and pull it out – check if any cake batter sticks to it).

Cinnamon Crumble Cake Alternatively, you can add the cinnamon as a topping by doing the following: Ingredients for main cake:

  • As above but without the brown sugar or cinnamon powder

Ingredients for cake topping:

  • 45g butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 56g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Repeat step 1 to step 6.
  • Combine ingredients for cake topping and mix until well combined.
  • Press the cake topping mixture through a coarse sieve over the cake mixture.
  • Go to Step 7.

Cinnamon cake 2

Recipes: Wholemeal Strawberry Cake with Flaxseed

We’ve made strawberry cake before but I just had to find a way to make a “healthier” version so we came up with this one… Don’t worry, it tastes better than it sounds.

Containing flaxseed meal – touted as the new wonder food because of the numerous health benefits it offers – this is another cake that tastes good enough to pass as a “regular” cake. Sponge-like in texture, the cake lacks the prominent strawberry flavour of our previous strawberry cake. If you prefer, you can consider substituting half the sugar with the equivalent weight in strawberry jam to give it that extra burst of strawberry flavour.

As far as modified recipes go, I think this one’s a keeper…

Strawberry Cake

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 130g sugar
  • 30g flaxseed meal
  • 3/4 cup strawberry puree
  • 80g wholemeal flour
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda

Method:

  • Prepare a baba cake pan.
  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Mix the flaxseed meal with the eggs and set aside.
  • Place all other ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  • Add in flaxseed-egg mixture.
  • Beat on medium until well combined and smooth.
  • Pour into prepared cake pan.
  • Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until your knife comes out clean.

Nutritional Benefits:

Nutritional benefits of strawberries:

  • Strawberries are rich in the essential nutrients – vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and fiber.
  • Strawberries also contain the antioxidants anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin and kaempferol. These antioxidants have all been shown to have protective effects against certain types of cancer.
  • Strawberries have also been shown to be beneficial against the following medical conditions: heart disease, stroke, cancer, blood pressure, constipation, allergies, asthma, diabetes, and depression.
  • Strawberries are also recommended for pregnant women because of their high folic acid content which is important for preventing neural tube defects in the developing foetus.

Nutritional benefits of flaxseed:

Aside from your nutritional benefit of the strawberries and wholegrain flour, we have also added flaxseed meal which offers a number of health benefits. Although flaxseed contains numerous healthy components, there are three main constituents responsible for the bulk of its health benefits:

  • Omega-3
  • Ligans
  • fiber

Flaxseed has been shown to be beneficial for:

  • reducing the risk of heart disease
  • protecting against cancer
  • lowering cholesterol
  • preventing hot flashes in menopausal women
  • improving blood sugar (thereby reducing risk of developing diabetes)
  • protection against radiation

Recipes: Fruit of the Forest Cake

This was an experimental cake so I wasn’t too sure how well it would go. As with all experiments, there is always some amount of trepidation when the cake goes into the oven because you don’t know whether it will be edible when it comes back out. Thankfully, all the worry was for nothing because the cake that come out turned out just fine – at least, I thought so. And G1 did approve it when he had it for afternoon tea.

So here you go…

Fruit of the Forest Cake

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Ingredients:

  • 165g puree fruits of the forest (blackberries, strawberries, raspberries)
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 220g sugar

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare round cake pan.
  • Puree blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. You may want to sieve the puree to remove the gritty bits. Alternatively, you can put it through a high-powered blender like the Vitamix to pulverise it.
  • Combine all ingredients except the blueberries into a mixing bowl and mix on medium until well combined and changed in colour.
  • Fold in blueberries.
  • Pour into the cake pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until the knife comes out clean.

Nutritional Benefits:


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