I’m a big fan of routines, especially when it comes to bedtimes and getting ready for school in the mornings. Admittedly, Heather (and others) occasionally resists my attempts to control time. However, my rigid personality means that the kids and adults in my house rock at hitting deadlines and showing up to bus stops on time. Another awesome benefit? My compulsive routine-following naturally leads to ways of creating a fun family tradition now and then.
FYI, this is not a post about the holidays. I admire many Christmasy traditions like matching reindeer pajamas and midnight masses, but holiday traditions are not my thing. I’m talking about turning an everyday, ho-hum activity into a fun, family tradition that is repeated often.
The Family Tradition of Pancakes
My family’s most successful family tradition is our Sunday night pancake dinner. We spread an old bedspread out on the living room floor, turn to a favorite show and chow down on pancakes. On the floor, with the TV on. The kids eagerly look forward to this event and I love it because these dinners are cheap, easy and stress-free.
Now, even though I try to make our weekly pancake tradition a causal fun fest, I still need to make it a healthy meal. I try to save the off-the-rails junk food dinners for a busy Friday night or an upcoming special event.
So, I stay away from boxed pancake mixes and I only buy pure maple syrup. The kids can butter their pancakes but I keep a watchful eye on the amount. I also serve a bowl of fruit, usually strawberries or sliced apples.
See, I can be fun and rigid at the same time! Seriously, the kids are fine with my attempts to keep our fun family tradition somewhat healthy. Furthermore, not only do I try to keep the food healthy, I’m trying to instill quality parent/child togetherness which hopefully helps us raise well-adjusted kids.
But Back to the Food
So, are you wondering how to make the pancakes without using a boxed mix? It’s a simple process and the kids can help. In fact, asking your children to help make the pancake batter fosters more camaraderie plus helps develop the habit of cooking and making homemade food.
I started with the Joy of Cooking pancake recipe and modified it to my liking. Check it out:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 5 scant TB white table sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 TB melted butter; we use a brand with no trans fats
- 2½ cups skim milk
- 1 TB vanilla; we always use real vanilla and never imitation
- Stir dry ingredients well
- Once wet ingredients are added, stir until moistened. Add more milk if a thinner batter is desired.
- Heat a large skillet or griddle. Pour a small to medium-sized circle of batter and turn when edges look done.
- Stack on a plate and enjoy with butter and/or syrup. Dinner (or breakfast) is served!