Food Instructions

Daniel Tiger's Pancakes

My kids love "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood". It's an animated spinoff of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" that takes place in the Land of Make-Believe. Upon rewatching episode 109 in which the Tiger family picks fresh strawberries to make pancakes, I realized that their recipe is roughly the same as the recipe that my kids prefer. Mr. Tiger isn't terribly specific about all of the amounts or the ingredients themselves. He says the following as they add the ingredients: "Flour…Aha…Baking Powder…Salt…Milk…Careful…and Eggs" before Daniel mixa-mixa-mixes and Mrs. Tiger brings in the strawberries.

My recipe is really close, assuming that "Aha" is the sweet and tasty stuff.

-2 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
-Aha (2 Tbsp sugar and a generous amount of cinnamon and vanilla extract)
-1 Tbsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-2 cups skim milk
-2 large eggs (we use Egg Beaters®)
-berries and/or nuts to taste (I usually use canned blueberries and crushed almonds. If the berries are in syrup, be sure to rinse them off.)

Mix all of the dry ingredients and the sugar in a large bowl. Mix the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together and then add the wet to the dry. Add the berries and/or nuts to each pancake after it is in the pan but before the flip (a departure from the Tigers' procedure).

It's a simple enough recipe for the kids to make with adult supervision. They're also relatively healthy and really tasty. The same batter works for waffles as well. I've stopped buying buttermilk (I used to use Alton Brown's buttermilk waffle recipe). We make a double batch for the six of us and usually have a few left over to put in the freezer. They reheat well.

Bittersweet Holiday

This is my invention… or discovery. As much as any drink using common ingredients can be original, this one might be considered to be such. It smells like the winter holidays and warms your belly. It's basically just a Manhattan sans cherry with rum instead of whiskey…actually it's exactly just a Manhattan sans cherry with rum instead of whiskey, but that's a significant difference.

-2 oz. rum (preferably of the dark variety)
-½ oz. sweet vermouth
-1 or 2 dashes bitters (NOT optional)

I don't stir, chill, or shake. Hell, I don't even measure. I know my cocktail glasses and their limits. I don't stir, chill, or shake my Manhattans either and rarely use a cherry. I generally reserve the fruit and veg for clear liquors. Anyways, drink responsibly and preferably with loved ones.

Zefram's Gingerbread Cookies

Zefram adapted this recipe from the back of his copy of "The Gingerbread Man" in order to match our kitchen stores. These are the soft and chewy style of gingerbread cookies as opposed to the thin and crispy kind. This makes for lower precision for your cookie shape due to the rising of the dough, but they're fun and easy. The little ones need only minor supervision when they bake a batch. A little goes a long way with these heavy and very rich cookies. The original recipe says it'll make 50 cookies but calls for you to use a 2" cookie cutter. We take a more freeform approach which usually ends up making about a dozen much larger cookies. As usual, try not to eat ALL of the dough before it makes it into the oven.

-2½ cups white whole wheat flour
-1 tsp. baking powder
-¼ tsp. baking soda
-¼ tsp. salt
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1 tsp. ground ginger
-1 tsp. ground cloves
-1 tsp. ground cloves
-1 large egg
-1 packed cup dark brown sugar
-⅔ cup dark moleasses
-6 Tbsp softened butter

Add dry to wet until well blended. Refrigerate for one hour. Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out on floured board to ~¼ inch thick and cut shapes. Bake on greased sheet for 8 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.

Warning: If you help Zed make them, be prepared for lots of jokes about how thick and/or slow "spy butts" are.