Mom's Pumpkin Pancakes with Dark Chocolate Chips

*This recipe was originally published on the Big City Moms’ Blog. To see the original please click here.

Mom’s Pumpkin Pancakes with Dark Chocolate Chips

by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN, and Mom

Every week I whip up a batch of “homemade pancakes” for myself and my oldest son. Everyone loves these pancakes— including my clients who eat many meals with me. Make them Sunday morning and serve hot. Freeze or store the remainder in a Pyrex dish to serve each weekday morning. These pancakes taste so yummy that I can almost promise your kids will go to school having eaten a balanced breakfast. And while most moms don’t have to time to make everything from scratch, these pancakes are what I call “value added” or “nutrition added.” For time’s sake, I start with a basic wholesome pancake mix and then add in the nutrition.


See full recipe on the Big City Moms’ Blog.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Double-Chocolate Cupcakes

With Valentine’s Day in just a couple of days, we’re sure that spending time with your loved ones is on your mind.  Get your dose of love by baking these yummy cupcakes with your kids.  Try these delicious double chocolate cupcakes as a sweet snack!

Courtesy of Cooking Light


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼  cup butter, softened
  • ½  cup egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½  cup buttermilk
  • 1 ¼  ounces dark (70 % cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk.

3. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined (about 3 minutes).

4. Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to granulated sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

5. Fold in chocolate.

6. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with muffin cup liners.

7. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

8. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

The recipe and photo used in this post were courtesy of Cooking Light. To see the originally posted recipe please click here.

The Kids Cooking with Cacao… DIY Cocoa Tea and Inca Hot Chocolate

The Kids Cooking with Cacao…
DIY Cocoa Tea and Inca Hot Chocolate

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner—and a totally unplanned day to fill while in Lima, Peru—we took our boys to the Cocoa Museum for a class called “Beans to Bar.” Upon our arrival, I tasted their cocoa tea which is supposed to be great for altitude sickness as well as digestion without causing the jittery edge caffeine normally does. I had drank cocoa tea for the three days while we were in Cusco and Machu Picchu to help me manage the high altitudes! What a relief.


The children took the class while the moms helped and, of course, learned a few important new things along the way. For example:


One cacao tree produces about 40 pods—the big fruit-like looking thing hanging on the tree. Each pod contains about 20 to 60 beans; 100 beans are needed to make one bar of chocolate. After opening the pod, the beans are placed in a wooden box and left to ferment for approximately 3 to 9 days. Then, the beans are left to dry under the sun for three sunny days. But here’s the fun part!


The kids started their class at this point in the bar-making process. The beans were roasted for roughly 15 minutes until they started to make crackling sounds. (See the pictures for an informative visual story.)


Next, the shells had to be separated from the nibs. This was the children’s favorite part; it took quite some time to accomplish. But it was a perfect hands-on activity. The shells are used for brewing tea while the nibs are mortared down into a buttery paste to be used for making chocolate. The kids also loved making the paste by grinding the nibs in a circular motion. It did take some muscle power though. My oldest son truly loved this! When the process was complete, there were shells in one bowl and nibs turned into a paste in another.


We placed nearly one cup of shells in a pitcher, then added boiling water with one teaspoon of sugar and stirred the mixture for a minute. After straining to remove the shells, we poured our cocoa tea into a mug and sipped. Ooh la la…just delicious!





If you want to pep up the cocoa tea…

Next we made a tea from the cocoa paste. We added one cup of cocoa paste, 1½ tablespoons of honey, 2 teaspoons of chili spice and ½ teaspoon of Achiote spice (for its red color) to a pitcher with two cups of boiling water. It’s mixed by pouring the liquid from one container to another many times until the tea cools down a bit—usually about one to two minutes—then strained and served. I loved this version but the kids didn’t like the spice.

And then we learned how to make the first “hot chocolate” ever devised; it’s called Mayan or Incan hot cocoa.


We added 1 teaspoon cloves, ½ liter of milk and a few cinnamon sticks to a sauce pan, and then heated it to a low boil and set it aside. We placed 4 teaspoons of sugar and about 1½ cups of cocoa paste in a pitcher and then used a “molinillo”—a Mexican turned wooden whisk—to combine the sugar and cocoa paste. Then we poured the warmed milk, cloves and cinnamon mixture into the pitcher and again used the molinillo to combine everything together. And voila…you’ve created a most delicious hot chocolate!


While we made this delightful drink in tropical 80 degree weather, I definitely plan to make it at home…especially since it will warm us up during this particularly frigid winter! I even bought the cocoa shells to make the tea at home. If you want to try to replicate our experience, you can buy the cocoa beans right here in the States and then make it with your kids. The Cocoa Museum also sells their products online at