Category Archives: Pantry

Quick Cookies, Muffins and Pancakes, Oh My!

I have recently become a huge fan of the Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking and Pancake Mix (don’t live near a Trader Joe’s? Don’t fret — many health food stores have a similar multi-use baking mix on their shelves). Yearning for some healthy chocolate chip cookies? Want some pancakes or waffles on Sunday morning?

This mix makes baking super simple. It’s like using a pre-made cake or cookie mix, but because you add some of the ingredients, you can control how much sugar and fat you’re using. Plus, you control the mix-ins!

Thus far, I’ve made chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies, a multigrain fig quick bread, a blueberry coffeecake and chocolate-chip banana pancakes. Yes! All with one mix!

Here’s the deal: The mix includes flour, oats, baking soda and baking powder, a little oil, buttermilk, oat and wheat bran, a little sugar and salt. The basic ingredients for many healthy baked goods. You only need add a little more sugar, some butter/oil/applesauce for moisture and the goodies!

Here are some of my favorite recipes using this mix:

Blueberry Walnut Coffeecake

1 cup soymilk

Juice from one lime

1 egg

2 Tbsp Spectrum Spread or butter

2 and 1/2 cups of Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 and 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

1/2 cup walnuts


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and coat an 8 by 8-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, add the lime juice to the soymilk until it curdles (if you don’t like soymilk, you can skip this step and just use 1 cup of buttermilk).

3. Stir the egg, melted butter/Spectrum Spread, and sugar into the soymilk mixture and mix well.

4. Add the Multigrain baking mix and stir until the flour mixture is barely moistened.

5. Fold in the blueberries and walnuts.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.

7. Allow the pan to cool for at least 15 minutes and serve!


Chocolate-Chip Banana Pancakes

2 and 1/2 cups Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix

1 cup soymilk

2 eggs

2 Tbsp melted butter or Spectrum Spread

1 mashed banana

1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

1 cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat a saute pan or griddle on medium heat and lightly coat it with butter or oil.

2. Mix of the ingredients together, being careful not to overbeat, lest you want tough pancakes!

3. Using a spoon, carefully ladle about 2-3 Tbsp of batter into the pan to create a nice, round pancake. Keep the griddle on medium heat so that the pancakes don’t burn.

4. When a few bubbles appear on the top surface, flip the pancakes over. Your pancakes should be lightly golden brown and cooked on the inside. If you still have raw batter on the inside, cook a little longer before flipping.

5. Serve warm!


Tags: , , , , , ,

Science Class in the Kitchen

If you remember your elementary school volcano experiment correctly, when you mix baking soda and an acid like vinegar, you get a bubbly eruption. When you add baking soda — also known as sodium bicarbonate — to a recipe with an acid (yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, cream of tartar), the same chemical reaction occurs and you get carbon dioxide bubbles. Those bubbles help your cake rise and become fluffy.

Note — many recipes that use this leavening method call for buttermilk. If you’re out of buttermilk (or abstain from dairy), by the way, you can make an equally good alternative by squeezing lemon juice into soymilk to create a vegan substitute.

Baking powder, on the other hand, is baking soda with an acid (like cream of tartar) already mixed in. Unlike baking soda, which has a bitter taste, baking powder has a neutral taste so it’s used in recipes where there is no acidic ingredient (or at least not enough of it).

Another good tip: If you’re out of baking powder, you can make your own by mixing two parts cream of tartar to one part baking soda.

As for “cream of tartar,” interestingly enough, it’s a byproduct of making wine! Cream of tartar — also known as potassium bitartrate — is an acidic salt made during the fermentation of grape juice in wine casks. It’s used to stabilize egg whites (which is why you’ll see it added to meringues) and as the acid in recipes using baking powder.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 8, 2008 in Pantry


Tags: , , ,