Today’s Freebie Roundup 3/9

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pancakes

I mentioned on facebook that I make really good pancakes, and so many people asked for the recipe that I thought I’d share it here, too.  I had used the same recipe for years…just the one out of the Better Homes and Gardens cook book but when I saw a recipe in a magazine called Perfect Pancakes,  I ripped it out and tried it.  They were pretty good, but I made a few adjustments and now they really truly are perfect. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

1 1/2 C. Flour
3 T. Sugar
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/8 tsp. Salt
Pumpkin Pie Spice (1-2 tsp. to taste)
2 Eggs
1 C. Milk
1/4 C. canned Pumpkin
Mini Milk Chocolate Chips

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and Pumpkin pie spice. Separate eggs and whisk yolks in a small bowl with milk and pumpkin.

With an electric mixer, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture just until combined; batter will be lumpy.

Fold in the egg whites, gently, just until no white streaks remain.

When whites are almost all mixed in, add half a bag of chocolate chips.

Cook…well…you know how to cook a pancake.  I use butter flavored Pam so that I don’t need to put butter on the finished pancake. Serve with syrup.

Notes:  Using pumpkin in place of oil makes this a better-for-you pancake.  I sometimes make it with whole wheat pastry flour to make it even better.  It is super yummy with apple slices that have been boiled with a little brown sugar instead of syrup.

I like the mini chocolate chips instead of regular ones, because the regular sized ones tend to sink to the bottom of the batter when you cook them and then they melt and burn when they come in contact with the hot pan.  I prefer milk chocolate, but my husband likes semi-sweet.  They are also pretty good with butterscotch.

These pancakes are light and fluffy; if you like a denser pancake, add the whole egg in with the milk and skip the egg white part; they’re still yummy that way.

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Helpful Microwave Hints

The microwave is one of those inventions that has changed the way we operate in the everyday kitchen. It saves me time everyday as I prepare dinner and fix lunch for the kids. I love that I can toss a bag of popcorn in and walk away to work on something else and come back to a bag of beautifully popped popcorn.

When we built our house the microwave was carefully planned into the kitchen design and cabinet layout. It’s shiny, reflective, stainless steel front adds a little bling to the kitchen and although I don’t use it for much it looks like it belongs. The most commonly used functions of the microwave in our house are defrost, reheat and the popcorn mode. Other than that it just sits and looks pretty.

The lack of use of the microwave for other tasks is because the user (me) isn’t educated enough to use it to it’s full potential. There are so many things you can do with the microwave. It’s part of the reason it is such a great invention.

I recently pick up a few tips for using the microwave. Some of them I had never thought of before. Although I’m not quite sold on baking or cooking in the microwave some of these tips might help if your in a hurry and need to get things done.

5 Helpful Microwave Tips

1. Meat & Vegetables – If your going to cook meat or vegetables in the microwave make sure to cut them into uniform shapes. Dicing the meat or veggies up evenly will help them to cook evenly too.

2. Cake Baking – I’ve never attempted to bake a cake in the microwave but it might be interesting to try. When baking a cake in the microwave use a round pan instead of a square one. It will bake more evenly and eliminate the problem of overcooked corners.

3. Refresh Snacks – Use the microwave to refresh stale snacks. Place a plateful of potato chips, crackers, cereal or other similar snack in the center of the microwave. Heat for 30 to 45 seconds and let stand for 1 minute to let crisp. (I’m not sure I would try this with foods after their best by date. But it might be good to try if you find the kids left the container open and the snacks are slightly stale.)

4. Scald Milk – Do your recipes ever call for scalded milk? You can use the microwave to scald milk. Place 1 cup of milk in the microwave and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Stop each minute to stir.

5. Nuts – Place 2 cup of nuts in the center of a casserole dish with 1 cup of water. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the nuts from the microwave crack the shells and the nuts should slip out whole.

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