Saturday, May 1, 2010

Whole Wheat Goodness: Pancakes, Bread in a Machine, Peanut Butter Cookies

Dear friends,

I know I already did a cooking post recently, but I've got some more recipes from my kitchen, and I've thrown in some extra life notes, too.  All of these use mainly whole wheat flour since it is generally healthier than plain old white stuff.  I usually just buy it at the grocery store, though my friend Tonya has offered to provide me with fresh ground wheat.  In the past, when I was baking bread regularly, I bought 25 pound bags of organic stone ground whole wheat bread flour at Economy Health Foods out in Apopka, but that's quite a drive for me and my bread machine was broken, so I haven't gone in a long time.   We have a bread outlet store close to us, where we can get premium Arnold's whole wheat bread for as little as $1 a loaf, as well as bagels, English muffins, potato rolls, etc.  That's our main bread source.

I also try to keep other baking staples on hand, including powdered milk to add extra protein, wheat bran and/or oatmeal for fiber, and yeast.  The packets or small jars of yeast that you buy in the grocery store are quite expensive, so I buy it in one pound bags at Sam's Club; it lasts a really long time in the freezer.  The kids prefer the texture if I use part white flour along with the wheat, and I accomodate them most of the time since I'm not a food purist.  I'm not a Mennonite either, despite the fact that two of my recipes were adapted from Mennonite books.

Whole Wheat Pancakes
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (or 2 cups whole wheat, 1 cup white)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups of milk (can make with powdered milk)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but highly appreciated!)
  • Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. 
  • Coat a griddle with vegetable oil and preheat it. 
  • Transfer some of the batter into a large measuring cup for easier pouring.
  • Pour batter onto griddle and fry your pancakes!
  • Serve with warm syrup.
I bought my griddle - a large rectangular one that covers two burners on the stove - at Walmart about 15 years ago.  It's simple and scratched up, but it still works.  I usually put a covered casserole dish nearby to keep the pancakes warm until they are all ready to eat.  That is, unless, the kids are waiting at the stove to grab them as they come off.  

Background note: I adapted this recipe from one in the Mennonite story book Prudence and the Millers by Mildred A. Martin.  The book has stories about health, safety and nutrition for children. It is in the same series as Wisdom and the Millers, Missionary Stories and the Millers (one of our all-time most favorite dog-eared books), and others.  Click the link above to see it at, a wonderful home school supply company with awesome selection and discount prices.

Peanut Butter Power Cookies

Cream together:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick butter (slightly softened)
  • 2 tsp vanilla (imitation is fine)
  • 3/4 cup water
Add other dry ingredients and mix thoroughly:

  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets, squash slightly with a fork, and bake at 375 degrees until browned.  You can also make bar cookies in a baking dish, but these can take a little longer to bake.

Background note: The kids had been wanting to make peanut butter cookies.   I adapted this recipe from two that I found in the More-With-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre, that my sister Barb gave me about 20 years ago.  It is a Mennonite cookbook with "suggestions on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources."  They talk a lot about making do with what you have.  That's one reason I made peanut butter cookies.  I had tried buying peanut butter at Aldi, but the quality wasn't as good as the Walmart store brand.  I didn't want to use it on sandwiches, but figured the flavor wouldn't be as obvious in cookies, mixed in with the other ingredients.  I was right.   "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!"

Whole Wheat Bread in a Machine

Pour into the bread machine pan and mix around a little with a spoon:

  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 2 tsp yeast
Add other wet ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg (beaten)
Add dry ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. wheat germ (optional)
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
Turn on your bread machine to the correct setting and wait for your yummy bread. I like to serve mine with butter and honey.

If you like, you can make up gallon size zip-lock bags of bread mix (dry ingredients only, not including yeast) and store in the cupboard. Then you can dump in the ingredients easily whenever you want to make bread. For six batches, use these proportions of ingredients, mix them all together thoroughly in a large bowl, then scoop a little over 5 cups of mix into each bag.

  • 18 cups whole wheat flour
  • 6 cups white flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 2 Tbs. wheat germ (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered milk
Background Note: I was on my way to the grocery store with several kids and one of them was really grumpy.   I told him I was going to take him home instead of to the store, and turned down a side street to double back.  There happened to be a garage sale there, and I saw a bread machine for $15.  I had lost the paddle on our old one, and knew it would cost more than that to replace it (having done it once before) so I bought it.  It didn't have an instruction book, but it's easy enough to figure out.  So I guess this unplanned diversion was "providential."   When I got home, I couldn't find the recipe I used for years to make bread in a machine and I couldn't get on the computer to look one up, so I hunted down a traditional bread recipe in a book and improvised.  Unfortunately, I started out with too much liquid.  I peeked into the machine to check on the dough as it was mixing and noticed it was too soupy, so I added another two cups of flour.  This in turn made too much dough, so it overflowed the pan and stuck to the sides of the machine in a delectable towering loaf.  But I did adjust the recipe so it would fit the machine, and it turned out just right.  Sometimes you have to twiddle with things a bit to get them to come out right.  That's life with a learning curve.

The pictures shows how that first loaf came out.  The top ripped off when I removed it from the pan.  I didn't even get a picture of the second loaf, because one of the kids took a piece off the top as soon as it finished.  Oh, and now that I have a bread machine again, I finally printed out the recipe and taped it to the inside of my kitchen cupboard, along with my banana cake recipe.  I also put a copy of it in my recipe notebook.  It's a regular binder that I started using because one of my spiral bound cookbooks fell apart.  I hole punched the pages and stuffed them in the notebook, and now I add in any other recipes we make up or glean from the web.  (Speaking of which is our favorite source.)

Bon appetit!

P.S.  You know me.  I can't resist throwing in some Bible verses.  I couldn't find any about pancakes or peanut butter cookies, but here are several that Jesus spoke about bread!  An abundant feast for the soul...

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation,  but deliver us from evil."  Matthew 6:9-11

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."  John 6:35

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.”  And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.  Matthew 15:32-39 

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”   Luke 22:19


  1. Glad you're finally using your bread machine! I was thinking about making homemade pancakes this morning. Thanks for the recipe which is similar to the one I have. :)

  2. You're making me hungry, Virginia!

    My pastor's wife gave me the More with Less cookbook years ago. Now it's spattered and dog-eared and missing its covers, but I still love it.

  3. I grew up on More with Less :)


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