Monthly Challenge: Nix the Pancake Mix

We’re more than half-way through January. I have almost worked through the last of the snowman sugar cookies stashed in my freezer which means a couple of things:

  1. The holidaze have come and gone
  2. I’m most likely looking fat-tastic (that is not actually a good thing)
  3. It’s time to start my New Year’s Resolutions

Wait, “start” my resolutions you ask? Yes, you heard me right. A wise sage (ok, a former boss) got me turned on to the idea of starting life improving changes in February, instead of the ever-so-clichéd New Year’s Resolve. First off, there are (usually) only 28 days – making it three days easier, if you’re trying to do something for a month.  Second, all the holiday victuals and goodies are likely out of your kitchen by this time of year (and in my case, onto my thighs providing some serious motivation.) Besides, it’s really too much to ask to start dieting (or self-improving) when your kick off date is technically a holiday. That’s just not right, people.

Which blissfully brings us to February – the month to recommit to everything you committed to do a month ago! And yes, I recognize it’s not technically February, but I want to give us some wiggle room before kick-off.

Whatever you’ve resolved to do: diet, stop smoking, be nicer to your kids, crochet sweaters for the family, etc etc. I say go for it. While you’re on the self-improvement ladder, might I suggest in adding one more rung on your ladder to the top?

My monthly challenge: ditch your pancake mix (and why not the waffle, muffin and biscuit ones while you’re at it). I know it sounds a little ridiculous, I mean this is supposed to be about sustainable living right? So perhaps you were expecting me to offer the challenge of replacing your light-bulbs, recycling your glass bottles more diligently or resolving to only eat organic produce. While all wonderful things, opting out of the Bisquick/Krusteaz/whatever other variety you’ve grown accustomed to is a much tastier way to move your family in a more sustainable direction.

First, it’s getting you into your own kitchen and out of the food-scientists concoctions and food-plants. Second, you control the ingredients – no added soybean or corn derivatives, inert gases to keep things fresh, or words you can’t pronounce. Third, it’s a great chance to get in the habit of cooking from scratch (and easy to do with kids); and since you most likely already keep the ingredients on hand, you’ve got less packaging which is usually a greener choice. (I’d say ‘always,’ but speaking in absolutes scares me.)

At our house, we use Mark Bittman’s “Everyday Pancakes” recipe, and often substitute whole-wheat flour for all-purpose flour, though the result is obviously more light and fluffy when using the white-stuff. Just six ingredients and less than twenty minutes. This will be one of the most delicious resolutions you keep!

Do you have a quick-and-easy from-scratch recipe for pancakes, waffles or muffins your family loves? Do tell, do tell!

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