Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Chocolate-Covered Strawberry" Oatmeal Pancakes

Valentine's Day occurred in our house a few days late because of our vacation to Arizona. It crossed my mind to pack everything up and take it with us to create a fun day for the kids, but we decided to pack very lightly and all of our pink, red, and heart shaped items were left at home. I wasn't going to let the kids miss out on their day of fun special treats, though! They don't know that the rest of the world celebrated love and romance nearly a week ago! My favorite part of the day is probably breakfast, because the kids are always so delighted to find heart shapes somewhere on their plate! The oatmeal in these pancakes make them a little more hearty (pun intended) than regular pancakes, and also replaces wheat flour and sugar in the overall volume of pancake that you are eating. The chocolate chips are optional; I thought I'd throw them in as a special treat on a holiday!

1 batch of your favorite pancake batter
1/4 cup of skim milk
1-2 cups quick oats
2 cups frozen strawberries, mostly thawed and chopped coarsely
about 1 cup chocolate chips

Prepare your favorite pancake batter or mix. Add in the extra milk, oats, and strawberries. Mix until well incorporated, with 3-5 strokes of your spoon. Do not over mix the batter, it may be lumpy, just be sure that the oats and strawberries are evenly distributed.

Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium-low heat until a pat of butter or drop of water "dances" on it. Butter the cooking surface well. Use cooking spray or butter to lubricate the sides of  metal heart shaped cookie cutters. Place a metal heart shaped cookie cutter on the cooking surface and use a spoon to place batter within the cookie cutter, making sure that batter covers all corners. Drop a few chocolate chips evenly throughout the surface of the batter. When the top of the batter appears "play dough-ish" and bubbly, use tongs to hold the cookie cutter as you push the shape out gently with a butter knife. Use caution here, the cookie cutter will be HOT! Once the shape is out of the cookie cutter, use a spatula to flip it over. Cook for another minute or so, until the bottom of the shape is slightly browned and the chocolate chips are melted. You may need to use the butter knife to trim any stray batter.

You can also use this method to cook eggs into heart shapes, but Jonah has been asking for pancakes for breakfast all week.

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