– By Andrea Gaines
Sprinkled throughout the month of September are four National Day celebrations that we thought would be fun to combine into one fun weekend event for your family. National Grandparents Day – September 10, National Kids Take Over The Kitchen Day – September 13, National Pancake Day – September 26, and National Coffee Day, September 29.
There are no rules here at the Blue Ridge Leader when it comes to what national days we choose to highlight, and how they are celebrated. So, how about this. Let the kids take over the kitchen for a day (or half day!) … with a grandparent or other appropriate oven and stovetop chaperone (adult) in attendance. And, let the kids choose the menu – pancakes, also promising to make sure there is lots of coffee around for the chaperones who may be helping them with the clean-up. Since the kids are in charge – with you or whomever you want there to enjoy the meal – let the young ones take pancake and coffee orders ahead of time. Building up a little enthusiasm for the event adds to the fun. No one needs to encourage a child to get creative with pancakes – think back to your own experience. But, we’ve listed below some of the more unusual foods you can add to pancake batter before it’s ladled onto a sizzling grill. We’ve also listed inventive ways to spruce up a regular cup of coffee. Have a great September.
Savory Pancakes: Add crumbled cooked bacon, shredded cheese and/or shredded zucchini and cinnamon to your basic batter, lightening up a bit on the sugar if you are making it from scratch. Savory flavors are just wonderful paired with deeply sweet maple syrup.
Double-Berry Pancakes: Add fresh berries and a drop of vanilla to your pancake batter. Blend the same ingredients – berries and vanilla – into a bar of softened butter. Berry butter on berry pancakes makes for a beautiful and tasty plate.
Layered-Like-Lasagna Pancakes: When your basic pancakes are ready to be served, set out a good sized bowl of plain Greek yogurt, along with your choice of layering toppings – shredded coconut, nuts, fruit, granola. Greek-style yogurt is best for its firm, dense texture. Guests can build their own layered-like-lasagna pancake stack, with yogurt and toppings in between.
Spruced up coffee: Actor Clark Gable once remarked, “I never laugh until I’ve had my coffee.” Well, let’s have a good laugh while we think about what to add to our coffee while the kids wreck the kitchen. Spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and pumpkin pie mixes are really nice additions to coffee, particularly when paired with cream and sweeteners. Cocoa and mint, or mint oil, are delicious in coffee. And, since the kids are in charge today, why not bring out the whipped cream or – now hear me out – the ice cream. A dollop not only cools a cup of coffee, but also turns it into a warm and cool dessert of sorts.
P.S. With the weather still so beautiful, maybe your Kid’s Kitchen Takeover can take place in the back yard, or where ever you choose to grill. Pancakes can be made on the grill in a cast-iron pot or any other flat grilling surface you can place safely atop your grill grate.