My husband and I both work a lot. And by a lot, I mean a LOT. Because we’re both fortunate to do work we truly love and that is fulfilling, we don’t slave over our work, but there are a lot of hours in the day devoted to it.
We also have three children (and a fourth on the way). And at some point, one must draw the line, set some boundaries, and establish priorities. So at our house, Saturday is Family Day. We’re all busy being productive all week, and Sunday we almost always have church and neighborhood commitments, so we’ve worked very hard–and it was hard, in all honesty–to set aside Saturday as the day we spend with our family. We take trips to the zoo, we play with the little ones, we talk long walks to the park and play on the playground, we work in the yard or the garden and invite the kids to dig in, and if I’m super lucky, on Saturday night my husband and I go out on a date.
The one thing we have consistently done is get up early and make a big breakfast. We’re all pretty much creatures of habit and would cheerfully eat breakfast cereal every day (you should see the looks on other shoppers’ faces when I come through the supermarket checkout with 11 boxes of cereal in the cart–and they don’t even know that I’m just shopping for the week!), but when there’s time, I really enjoy making something a little more substantial for all of us so we can linger longer.
A family favorite: scratch pancakes, from my step-mother’s recipe. These cook up quick and simple, and are super delicious. Our oldest and I like to leave them slightly undercooked at the center, but do as you see fit.
Scratch Pancakes a la Jo Ellen
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 c milk
3 Tbsp oil (I use canola)
1 tsp vanilla
Mix your dry ingredients together, then add the wet ingredients. Beat with a handmixer for at least 3 minutes, or long enough to get really light and frothy.
On a heated griddle or skillet (I use the latter, with a spritz of non-stick cooking spray), pour the batter. I used to use a large skillet and a 1/4 cup measure to make three pancakes at once. Now, I’ve thrown caution to the wind and use a 1/2 cup measure to make one HUGE pancake, and have kicked this whole process up to a two-skillet system to save time. You make ’em silver dollar, mighty-n-huge, whatever you like. Just watch as they cook: the secret to a really great pancake is the flip time. When you begin to see bubbles surface on your pancake, and ONLY then, flip over once. You’ll see the pancake rise slightly off the griddle, and can remove it from the heat then–again, ONE flip per pancake, yo.
They’re also great with bananas, blueberries, cinnamon, any variation you like–my mom is partial to adding 1/2 cup of sour cream with the wet ingredients, for a piquant je ne se quois.
We pretty much always make a double batch of these, with a few leftovers–those, we save for later. If they’re slightly undercooked at center, they reheat in the microwave just as light and fluffy as the day you made them.