Curious George Pancakes

I meant to put this up yesterday when it could have been a Wordless Wednesday post, but since I didn't get to it until today I'll just have to include some more words.

We made Curious George Pancakes for breakfast!  They were a huge hit, of course, and the kids asked for them again today (haha!).  They might, however, become a weekly treat!  Or maybe we'll find something else cool and easy to do with pancakes...

I was inspired by Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons, but I did make a few changes.  (You really should peek at her post too, though, because her pancakes look more Curious George-y than mine.  Still, my kids were thrilled.)  I made whole wheat pancakes for the heads, 1/4 a marshmallow for each eye, and carob chips for the pupils, nose, and mouth.  I have nothing against mini-chocolate chips for the mouth and eyes, but I didn't have any at home.

Here's the Curious George crew:

We added strawberries, milk, and homemade syrup for breakfast, and the kids seriously thought they were in heaven...or at least they acted like it for the whole meal!

Delicious Calzone Roll

Wow...where did the last month go?  Wait, wait....I know!  I've spent nap time resting (instead of blogging).  But that's a story for another day.  Today, I have the most awesome recipe to share!  I found the original here, but I doubled it and changed a few steps so I could use my Kitchen Aid.  I also had to add some flour because I live in Houston and the humidity is out of control.  If you don't live by the Gulf, you may want to use about two cups less flour than I did.  So, here's what I did:

1.  Pour 2-1/2 cups warm water into your Kitchen Aid.  
     Add  3 Tablespoons sugar and
             1-1/2 Tablespoons active dry yeast (Saf brand is awesome!!).
     Let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast is bubbly.

2.  Add  2 teaspoons salt,
             1 Tablespoon dry milk powder, and
     about 8 cups whole wheat flour (freshly ground is amazing!).  Add the flour gradually (especially the last couple cups) with the dough hook spinning.  Pay attention to how it is mixing.  Stop adding flour when it consistently pulls away from the edges and holds together in a ball of dough.  Let it knead for about five minutes.

3.  Let it rest for about five minutes, and then check the gluten (**see note at bottom).  I finished kneading mine by hand for about 5-10 more minutes.  Let it rest for another 5-10 minutes while you prepare your toppings.

4.  For toppings on one calzone, I chopped 1/4 medium onion, 3 Italian sausages (mild because my daughter won't eat anything spicy!), and pulled out grated mozzarella cheese, and a little bit of pizza sauce.

5.  Divide the dough into two balls.  Each ball makes a foot-long calzone.  Knead slightly, then roll one of the balls out on a lightly floured surface until it is about the size of a 10" x 13" cookie sheet.  Use the back of a butter knife and cut strips like the black ones in the diagram above.  Carefully transfer the dough (still flat) to a greased cookie sheet or baking dish.

6.  Pile your toppings up in the middle of the calzone (the part you didn't cut).  I used very, very little pizza sauce.  You really don't need any (and you don't want very much or it can leak out), but I wanted a little on my meat.  Save the sauce for dipping.  

7.  Carefully fold the flaps, criss-cross on top of each other over the toppings.  Use a tiny bit of water to seal the flaps to each other.  

8.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  You want it lightly browned on all surfaces.  My oven cooks fast, so you may want a few extra minutes.   

9.  Serve with Pizza Sauce and/or other sauces (hot sauce, Ranch, etc.).  Mmmm, I'm getting hungry again just writing this!  It's a good thing we made two!!  

As a side note, I think this would make a wonderful dessert too--you could put an apple pie type of filling in and I bet it would be delicious!  I also used it to make individual calzones.  To do this, go back to step five.  After you roll it out, cut it into 8 pieces.  Fill each piece with whatever you want--my kids loved helping here.  Kaia even put pretzels in hers (yeah...not in mine!).  They loved it!  Then, pinch them closed tightly.  We stuck a pretzel stick in Kaia's and it stayed in while it cooked (about 20 minutes).  

So, so yummy!!

** Note:  To test the gluten, take a large marble-sized pinch of dough and hold it up to the light.  Try to stretch it out thin enough that you can see light shining through the thin part of the dough.  If the gluten is ready to be cooked, this is pretty easy.  If not, a hole will break through where you're trying to stretch it thin.  In this case, knead it by hand some more.  ;)