Monday, August 13, 2012

A Tale of Two Pancakes

Like many families, ours has a tradition of making weekend pancakes. I think we have been doing this for about 9 years now. We started with your typical Bisquick recipe, then moved onto homemade soaked whole wheat pancakes and waffles. When we went gluten free I searched the internet for a recipe I could use and came across this fabulous, and easy, recipe. We use buckwheat for it and I will write the our modified recipe below. These pancakes were such a hit in our house, and so easy and inexpensive, that we ended up making them twice a week...or should I say my husband Nik made them :). Yay for hubbies that cook!

Now that we are trying to do a little less grains we are only making the buckwheat pancakes once a week and once a week I am making coconut flour pancakes. I searched the web for good recipes and have now tried two. The first ones ended up way too dry but the second recipe yielded really great pancakes. Check out the original recipe here. I will write my slightly modified recipe below. 

While the buckwheat pancakes are the bigger hit with the kids, they do enjoy the coconut flour ones too. The coconut flour pancakes are quite a bit more expensive to make (how do you beat the price of cheap whole grains?!) but they are my personal favorites. They are super high in protein because of all the eggs, and I can give them to our baby who we have been keeping off of grains.

So if you are looking for a new pancake recipe, give one of these a try and let me know what you think! As usual, all of these are gluten, dairy and sugar free!

Blender Buckwheat Pancakes (Serves our family of 6) - from Sue Gregg's recipe, link above

Stage 1

  • 3 C buttermilk or cultured dairy alternative (we use coconut or rice milk and include 2 Tbsp of pomegranate juice in the 3 C to sour)
  • 4 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • 2 C raw buckwheat groats

Blend the above 3 ingredients on high for 3-5 minutes. We have a vitamix so blending for about 1-2 minutes seems to be sufficient for us. Let sit overnight.

  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
Stir the above 3 leavening ingredients in a small bowl.

Stage 2

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tbsp ground flax seeds

Add eggs and flax to the blender and blend on high for 1-3 minutes. Again, for us with the vitamix 1 minute is usually enough. Then add the leavenings you you mixed together the night before and blend just enough to incorporate thoroughly. Cook in waffle iron or griddle for pancakes. 

Coconut Flour Pancakes (makes about 2 dozen) - slightly modified from cheeseslave recipe, link above

  • 8 eggs
  • 4 Tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 3/4 C water
  • 3/4 C coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 C coconut milk
  • 6 tsp honey
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix eggs, flax seeds, water, coconut oil, coconut milk, honey and salt. Mix coconut flour and baking powder and coconut flour separately then add to the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Batter will be very thick. Spoon batter onto heated and oiled skillet to cook. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Our Cloth Diaper Journey

Prior to having children I Never, and I mean NEVER thought I would use cloth diapers. I started my first baby on disposables without even a second thought about it. She was a month or two old when a friend shared with me that she would be using cloth diapers for her soon-to-be-due son. Honestly, I thought she was crazy! Who uses cloth diapers?! But the more she told me about these diapers she had found the more intrigued I became.

She was going to be using Fuzzi Bunz, a very popular brand of what are called pocket diapers. These diapers have a wonderful soft fleece lining on the inside that absorb quickly and dry to the touch, making them more comparable to a disposable. They have pockets in which you place a triple layered terry cloth insert. They can hold quite a bit. And in theory the cleaning is supposed to be quite simple. I am not sure why, but my friend hooked me and I started researching right away and by the time my daughter was 6 months old she was a Fuzzi Bunz wearer.

My love for these diapers was very short lived as I right away came across problems. Feel free to ask me if you are interested in hearing more, but the short of it is that these diapers don't absorb the way they are supposed to if you have a build up of detergent on them, so you don't want to use to much detergent. But if you don't use enough detergent they don't get clean. Absorbency issues and stink issues were a common problem for me. I am extremely stubborn and wanted to make them work so I stuck with them, troubleshooting the entire time, through 3 children. I had seasons with each of the kids where life was just a little too tough to be washing dirty diapers all the time and I resorted to disposables. But for the majority of each child's time in diapers we used the Fuzzi Bunz. We saved a ton of money and more than that I loved knowing they we weren't adding too much to the land fill and that my baby had something quality touching his tooshy, but I wouldn't say I was ever completely happy with this particular diaper.

Because we had such a rough first year with our fourth child James, I put him in disposables. I tried to find a natural diaper (not sure how great they really were though). We even tried to do cloth for a little bit but it was short lived. But since I finished pumping I started thinking of going back to cloth. I had some new Fuzzi Bunz I purchased on sale before James was born, as well as some used ones from a friend. I gave them a wash to get them ready but the same absorbency issues arose and I decided, no more Fuzzi Bunz! I can't believe I stuck them out so long. I had heard a ton about simple prefolds and different covers. I hated to make a change with just a year of diapering to go, but I decided to give them a try. And thankfully the expense is a whole lot less than Fuzzi Bunz so I was less worried about wasting money (though I will have to sell my Fuzzi Bunz to recoup some of what I spent on them). So here is what I am using now:
  • Cloth-eez prefold diapers from Green Mountain Diapers
  • Thirsties Duo Wrap which I purchased from Amazon
  • Rockin' Green detergent for soft water 
So far I love these diapers. They are inexpensive and easy to use and wash, and I don't have to worry about the absorbency problems I had with the Fuzzi Bunz. I can reuse the covers as they easily wipe clean. The main pro that the Fuzzi Bunz had over these is that they dry to the touch, which decreases chance of rashes. But as long as I change James frequently enough I am hoping this won't be an issue. 

If I were to know what I know now from the very start, I would probably do the same prefolds with a wool cover. Wool is a great material plus it has self-cleaning benefits. But there seemed to be a bit of a learning curve to wool covers and I didn't feel like it was worth it being so close to being done with diapers. But if you are earlier on in the venture and are considering cloth diapers I highly recommend checking wool covers out!

I will keep you posted on how it goes with our new diapers. I am just a couple of weeks in so stink issues could still definitely arise, but hopefully they will work for us this year. My kids were all potty trained by age 2 so I do hope that James will only be in diapers one more year. Which brings me to one last plug - if you are truly interested in being environmentally conscious, you might want to consider potty training your kids at an early age (for those of you with kids :) ). No matter what diapering choice you make, the quicker you potty train the less impact your diapering will have on the environment (because even with cloth diapers you are still using up extra water and energy to wash them). I will write a post about our potty training experiences, but I am convinced the most children are fully capable of learning to use the toilet earlier and quicker than we give them credit for.