Tonya Strickland is a newspaper reporter turned mommy blogger who launched her family adventure blog Two In Tow & On The Go earlier this year to share pictures tips and stories about things to do with kids on California’s Central Coast. You can share in their adventures (along with all the reasons they like to get out of the house) at @two.n.tow on Instagram + Facebook or visit the blog at twontow.com.
Rainbow Pancake Muffins with Two In Tow & On The Go
So … truth is, I don’t like to bake. Or cook. Or do anything in the kitchen, really, besides hide from my kids each morning as I huddle next to the coffee pot. My blog is about getting my 1 and 3 year old littles out of the house – so some major avoidance of kitchen duty just *might* play a part in that.
But, at the same time, I like finding activities for my kids to do. And my kids LOVE to bake treats. They love making them. They love eating them. They love wrapping their tiny pudgy fingers around wooden spoons and plastic cups and doing all the scooping and the pouring and the sprinkling. It’s, like, a whole thing.
And since I’m a sucker for happy, occupied children, often times you’ll find me in my kitchen scrambling for last minute ingredients that I didn’t plan for while simultaneously pinning a random recipe two seconds before I follow it (kinda) and Googling “what can you substitute eggs with?!”.
That pretty much sums up the other day when we planned to make blueberry muffins. That is, until I realized we didn’t have any muffin mix. Oh, and I’m also allergic to gluten. And apparently really love making things complicated. BUT we did have gluten-free pancake mix. With Funfetti! And what small child (or any reasonable adult, for that matter) wouldn’t love to make some awesome rainbow/unicorn/fairy muffins? The kids were stoked.
But ….. How do you turn pancake mix into muffin mix? Well, like anything good in this world, there’s a Pinterest hack for that. Whipping out my phone with kids begging to see vidoes of themselves in the background, first I found this recipe from Family Fresh Meals [https://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2014/06/easy-baked-pancake-muffins.html#_a5y_p=3502654] for “Easy Baked Pancake Muffins.” I was absolutely kicking myself for not having an amazing assortment of silicone cupcake liners in all these bright and fun colors. Like, how perfect is this picture [https://www.pinterest.com/pin/186547609541846497/]? I die. Alas, I just had plain ‘ol white paper liners. The struggle is real, people!
I went on to the next pin.
And that’s when I found Smashed Peas & Carrots’ recipe for “Pancake Mix Muffins” [http://smashedpeasandcarrots.com/pancake-mix-muffins-recipe-egg-free-can-be-dairy-and-gluten-free/] that were also gluten free and egg free. It’s important to find a gluten-free specific recipe, as I’ve come to find out on more than one (unfortunate) occasion, because the various wheat substitutes don’t cook the same way, or for the same length of time, as their deliciously gluten-y counterparts. So we followed Smashed Peas & Carrots’ recipe and gathered all the ingredients. Then I added a unicorn to the picture just to be trendy. Cute, right?
Pancake Mix Muffins /from Smashed Peas & Carrots\
Prep time: 5 mins // Cook time: 14 mins
Serves: 12 muffins
2½ cups pancake mix
½ cup granulated sugar (or evaporated cane juice)
1½ cups milk (almond, soy, or coconut works well too!)
¼ cup butter, melted
May add mix-ins such as: ½ cup fresh blueberries, ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (we like Enjoy Life brand), or top with cinnamon sugar before baking!
Place all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and mix until well incorporated but do not over mix.
Add in mix-ins of your choice and fold into the batter.
Fill greased muffin cups ⅔ full.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 14-16 minutes.
Let cool and enjoy!
Makes 36 mini muffins or 12 large muffins
So we did all that stuff, mostly. Except I didn’t have any fun mix-ins, because, you know, it’s me. And since my kids are tiny humans with less than perfect measuring skills, they didn’t quite “fill the greased muffin cups ⅔ full.” They filled them like this:
But while my 20 month old was busy with his dutiful scooping, he totally had what I affectionately refer to as “Baby Think Face,” which is when the kids are concentrating on a task so hard, it chubs out their baby cheeks and I SWOON AT THE SIGHT. Makes all this baking fuss super #worthit.
Oh, and I should also add that one really awesome thing we DO have going for us on the baking front is that my husband made those awesome learning towers you build from pieces of wood attached to an Ikea stool. So our kids look SUPER CUTE at the counter, being all tall enough to reach stuff.
If you’re intrested, we straight-up copied these plans for the towers: [http://www.mintinthemiddle.com/2012/11/lucy-recommends-learning-tower.html] from Mint In The Middle. Except I didn’t have time to paint ours all cute. Because kids.
Anyway, the muffins. They turned out pretty funny:
So then I scooped a second pan with my masterful adulting skills and they turned out fairly normal:
The kids gobbled up both types of muffins all the same. And really liked them! And that made me happy. Until I surveyed the true extent of the kitchen duty damage: piles and piles of wet paper towels, soggy with batter slopped on top of aaaaall the kitchen utensils.
But, I mean, cleaning up ridiculously messy messes is basically our everyday anyway. And just lookit my 3 year old’s happy wittle rainbow pancake muffin smile. Like I said, I’m a sucker for a happy kid.
Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!