This is a tasty meal with an unusual recipe that comes with a lesson.

CTR-7 Pancakes

Printable Version

yields enough for two adults and a child or two

double the recipe for hungry hippos and larger families

Before you start:

There are only two unusual ingredients that you may not already have in your home: Rice Vinegar and Pure Maple Syrup.

I highly recommend it, but you can use white vinegar (or maybe even lemon juice) instead of rice vinegar and fruit preserves or jam (or maybe homemade butter syrup, but probably NOT artificial or imitation syrup) instead of maple syrup.

Also, this recipe is perfect for high altitude and low humidity (Provo, UT). It might be terrible in low altitude or high humidity. I can't say.

1.Mix milk and rice vinegar
Let sit for 5 minutes to "sour"
¾ cup milk
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  (or white vinegar)
2.Mix baking powder, soda, salt, and sugar1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons white sugar
3.Mix flour in with other dry ingredients (above)1 cup all-purpose flour
4.Mix egg and melted butter
Pour egg mixture into soured milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  (microwave 15 seconds at a time)
5.Pour flour mixture into liquid mixture while stirring. Whisk until lumps are broken down
6.Heat ceramic pan (or other evenly heated pan) to medium heat with a very light coat of butter, oil, or spray.Avocado oil
  (or cooking spray)
7.Pour ¼ cup of batter onto pan.
Cook until bubbles appear and pop.
Turn and cook for similar time.
If the pancake burns throw it away and turn down the heat.
If the pancake is too dry, throw it away and turn up the heat slightly.
8.Mix sour cream with maple syrup
(mix to taste, 50/50 is pretty good)
A dollop of sour cream
Splash of pure maple syrup
  (or real fruit jam)
9.Cook the rest of the pancakes to golden brown
10.Top pancakes with the cream syrup topping and eat them up!

ProTip: I like to throw my pancakes in the toaster to make them nice and crisp. This works just as well to revive refrigerated or frozen pancakes as it does when they're fresh.

ProTip: Avocado Oil is simply amazing. It has no taste or smell and has a very high burn temperature (meaning it won't burn). We use a Misto Pump Oil Sprayer with just a few Tablespoons of Avocado Oil as our go-to spray (Important: DO NOT FILL more than a few Tablespoons, regardless of what the instructions say or meter shows, or it won't work well).

Note to the Uninitiated

This is no longer just my tech blog. It's now my life blog.

If you happen to be a technical follower chancing upon this, please read my I'm coming out (but not that way) post before worrying that I'm brainwashing children to believe that there's no such thing as climate change or that fully-formed man popped into existance by magics.

I'm a Sunday School teacher in my church and my purpose in not to "indoctrinate the children", but rather help them at an early age to have the tools to be able to reconcile the juxtaposition between things that seem to be good and things that seem to be bad and provide memorable lessons that I hope will be a reference to help them to make choices that will bring them the most success in their lives.

The Lesson: Choose the Right (for 7 year olds)

We taught this lesson in a few different parts.

First: Salty Brownies, Recipes, and Chefs

Today we're going to talk about why it's good to choose the right.

We took an otherwise perfectly good brownie, cut it (3x3) into nine small pieces, and "powdered" it in a bag of salt.

We asked the kids if they were excited to start off with our "powdered brownie" treat. Of course they were! We had them all count to three and try at once (so that no one had an advantage of learning from others).

We had the trash can and cups with water ready. Though one kid didn't spit it out. Tough guy! :)

Then we had some discussion about how salt is good. We talked about putting salt on potatoes, corn, etc. We talked about how salt is an ingredient in cookies, brownies, etc. We asked what was wrong with these brownies.

The message was this: Salt is good, but it can be used incorrectly.

Then our discussion shifted:

What do you call the rules for how to use ingredients to make food? A recipe.

What do you call the person who creates the recipes? A chef.

It's someone who knows how to create a good recipe.

We had them repeat back in their words what a recipe is.

Note: At the end of the class we did give them good brownies.

Second: Christ's Temptation

We para-read a few versus of Mattew 4:1-11 (translated into children's English on-the-fly).

Satan tempted Jesus to turn rocks into bread when he was hungry. Is there anything wrong with eating bread?

Satan tempted Jesus to jump off the roof and trust that God would keep him safe. Is there anything wrong with trusting God?

Satan tempted Jesus to worship him to get power and money. Is there anything wrong with having power or money?

All of these are good things.

Food is good for our bodies. Trusting God helps us feel peace and be happy. We get money and power when we work and do business.

What was wrong?

Satan tempted Jesus to use a miracle when it wasn't needed, to doubt if we was truly God's son and to prove it, and to worship (which we defined as pray to, sing about, and try to become like) Satan.

Third: Vinegar & Baking Soda Pancakes with Sour Cream

We gave each of the children the recipe above, told them that it's something they can make with their parents, and asked them a few questions:

Who has tasted vinegar? Does vinegar taste good? No.

Who has tasted baking soda? Does baking soda taste good? No.

Has anyone mixed baking soda and vinegar? What happens? It fizzes everywhere and smells bad.

Would you put sour cream on a birthday cake? How about a brownie? No.

This recipe has vinegar. And it has baking soda. And it has sour cream. Even though some of the ingredients seem like they might not go together in pancakes, this recipe has important rules that make them all work.

Do you trust us? Do you believe that this is a good recipe?

It's the best pancake recipe that we've ever tried and if you follow the rules we think you'll like it too.

What do you think might happen if you mix the ingredients out of order? If you put the baking soda and vinegar together they might bubble and fizz.

We also pointed out that there's a special and important rule in this recipe. Most of the rules have an exact measurement, but the heat of the stove requires guessing and checking. Even if you follow all of the other rules but get the temperature wrong, it can ruin the pancake. If it's not right and the pancake burns or doesn't cook well, you can just throw it out and try again.

Conclusion: Choose the Right

Think of commandments like a recipe for a happy life.

Why does Heavenly Father gives us commandments? He wants us to be happy. He wants things in our life to work well together.

Why is it important to Choose the Right? So that we can be even happier.

What if we don't choose the right? We can learn and try again. We can always try again.

Just like we are Chefs and we're giving you a recipe that has rules that we know can make good food, Heavenly Father gives us commandments to help us have a happy life.

The History

The Pancakes:

My wife is from Latvia. There they put sour cream on lots of things that I would never think to (and use a lot of buttermilk too), and so I've learned new ways to enjoy sour cream.

I love crispy pancakes, like my grandma makes them. She loves fluffy pancakes, like her grandma makes them.

I decided to branch out and try a new recipe with hopes of finding something that was fluffy but could still have a nice crunch.

I was very fortunate to stumble upon Fluffy Pancakes on and, not having white vinegar on hand, substituted in rice vinegar, which gives a unique and distinctly sweet flavor.

I also decided to combine the ingredients in a particular order (as described above) which seem to me to help mix more evenly.

My wife suggested that we top the pancakes with sour cream (which might sound strange to an American). I was pretty set on syrup. The compromise between the two was amazing!

The Salty Brownies:

I had a teacher (perhaps primary, perhaps institute, I don't recall), who used salty brownies to illustrate a similar principle when I was young. The experince was visceral. I didn't forget it. :)

CTR-25+: The Emperical Truth

I love to be a Maverick. So often I see a recipe and I say "I bet this would be better if..." and I just go for it.

I'm not experienced enough of a baker or a cook for that to work.

I find that I'm a much better cook when I start with someone else's work, learn how to create the dish as the chef intended, and then modify it to match my taste afterwards.

I don't believe that the Lord intends us to blindy follow every command by rote. Don't mistake that as some suggestion that we should rebel and create counter-culture. However, just as we've seen ideas take hold and create huge changes in church policy and culture (i.e. Home Teaching replaced with Ministering), I believe that a little trial and error (and sometime repentance as part of that, which is all part of the process) can yield better results in local circumstances.

My Philosophy: Kids Remember

I try to be as "real" with kids as much as I can.

In my own experience I remember hearing (and continue to hear) a lot of naive (or outright untrue) answers and explanations given to children with religious questions.

For example: We don't keep the commandmants to please God, or so that he'll love us, or to pay back what we owe, or to go to heaven. God loves us whether we sin or not. We don't need to please him. Christ's grace is a gift. Though we may feel gratitude and desire to give back, this is not a debt we owe. Heaven is a far away (time and location) and non-descript (what is "perfect"?) place. It might seem like a good motivation to an imaginative child, but it will fail to hold for an inquisitive teenager - which a child will soon be.

Even though kids don't always understand what they hear, I know from experience that they can remember things that they are taught and then apply understanding at the time that it's relevant - a day, week, or even a decade later.

My hope is to find a balance where I don't "dumb it down" too much, but help kids learn things, first, that are true and, second, that they understand, erring on the side of truth and having faith that they'll remember and understand when relevant.

If we can learn to first trust God - that he wants to help us be happy and feel joy - and from that understand hat he loves us, I think that then we can better learn to love him (1 John 4:18) and accept his grace, and then earn his trust by following him.

Hence I tend to try to highlight "selfish" motives - to be happier, to feel joy, to be trusted and respected (and hopefully liked) by others, to have a better life - and err on the side of practicality - such relating repentance to a scientific process of testing for a desired result (joy in life) and course-correcting by thinking about what we have learned that we believe to be true and how we feel about what we've done and what we'll do next, rather than focusing on guilt (or my least favorite, making Jesus sad - we're not powerful enough to make Jesus sad, though he may choose to be sad with us to empathize with us).

By AJ ONeal

If you loved this and want more like it, sign up!

Did I make your day?
Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee  

(you can learn about the bigger picture I'm working towards on my patreon page )