Tuesday, September 25, 2012

return from the edge of nowhere

So I sorta dropped off the face of the earth for a while.  We were in full swing with Pancake Week when this tragedy occurred:

Ouch.  Anyway, that combined with an influx of work and running caused me to forget to update this lovely blog.

Oh, how did I break my phone into a million pieces? Well, somehow when I was getting my keys out for my office, it leapt from my bag, hit the railing, and landed three stories below. On rocks (face up).  I peered over the edge and observed as it lit up and thought, well, maybe not so broken.  Oh, broken. Indeed.  However, it actually still functioned, once I wrapped it in a bit of plastic that was formerly index card packaging. After three days, my friend fixed it, and there wasn't even a scratch on the LCD--amazing! (His comment: I've never seen one quite this shattered.)  I figured if this phone could survive a three story fall, I should not replace it until it absolutely dies.  It's like the cat of phones.

The rest of the post will be photographs of what I've been up to (and the remainder of pancake week).
Corn pancakes with guacamole, yogurt, and sriracha

Oatmeal chocolate chip pancakes with yogurt and bananas

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie from Oh She Glows

My first Birchbox!

Using the polish from my Birchbox--Color Club in "Tweet Me"

Pumpkin bread and vanilla bean tea (Mighty Tea, also in my Birchbox) for tea time 

Post-Winslow Half Marathon snack: boiled egg with sriracha. Long live the rooster sauce. 

This week's tea treat: blueberry cranberry bread. YUM.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

MOAR pancakes (espresso chocolate)

On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, I teach at 7:30 am, which requires me to get up at ridiculously early hours if I wish to be alert, caffeinated, fed, and prepared for class.  Earlier if I wish to add running or some other activity to that list.  This morning, I needed to finish reading student work so I could hand it back to them, so I made a pot of coffee, mixed up the ingredients for my pancakes, read student writing for 45 minutes, then woke L up to make today's pancakes.

He didn't even begrudge me the missed hour or so of sleep.

Today's pancakes: chocolate espresso.  I spotted the recipe in my Runner's World, and I think they will be good--in theory. Today's batch didn't taste very chocolately or espresso-y, so they need tweaked.  I'll give you the recipe and let you try it out and decide.  (They have a forum going on pancakes too...with more recipes!)

In a twist of fate (and a slight lack of ingredients), I turned these pancakes into vegan delights.  But you can feel free to substitute back in all the non-vegan ingredients you like.  The main trick was to use flax "eggs" instead of real eggs, which work effectively to bind the ingredients together and still produced a nice pancake.

In terms of filling-ness, these pancakes stuck with me almost until lunch time, so they are winners as far as that goes.  I plan to remake these (perhaps not this week) and up the espresso and chocolate flavor. Suggested adjustments are listed at the bottom of the recipe

Day 2 Pancakes: Chocolate Espresso
(adapted from recipe in the October 2012 issue of Runner's World)
Makes 16 decently sized pancakes.  Serves 8 (2 pancakes is PLENTY, believe me).

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup barley flour (or other whole grain flour)
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar (I completely forgot to add this...oops. It'll be good with it, but wasn't bad without)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (with juice of 1/2 a lemon added to curdle. Alternately, buttermilk works)
  • 1/4 cup espresso
  • 2 flax "eggs" (mix 2 tbsp flax with 6 tbsp warm water. Let sit until it's gooey)
Mix dry ingredients in your batter bowl (what? You still don't have a designated batter bowl?).  Make a well, then add all your wet ingredients.  Add more water/milk if you need to thin it out a bit (or a bit more flour if you need to thicken it).  Cook it on a griddle and gobble it down hastily as you dash out the door for class/work/important appointment/to lie on the couch.

Adjustment ideas:
My main complaint is that these didn't have enough chocolate or espresso flavor. So, I might try doubling the espresso to 1/3-1/2 cup (and reducing the milk to keep liquid levels equal).  I also used instant espresso powder, so I might add some of the powder to the dry mix AND use the liquid.

I forgot the sugar, and I suspect that it might also help the chocolate/espresso flavors pop a bit.

But, more importantly, I see some potential for a chocolate/espresso syrup to top these.  If you didn't want them to have the sheen of healthfulness they have with my hippie flax eggs and my crunchy-granola whole grain flours.  If you feel extra crazy, you might try throwing CHOCOLATE CHIPS (or chopped chocolate) into the batter. Or on top. Or both.  Sometimes you have to live on the edge like that, so you may as well add whipped cream and make them dessert pancakes.  That you maybe went ahead and ate for breakfast because they have whole grains and stuff.

If you want to de-vegan these, simply use buttermilk and eggs in place of the almond milk and flax eggs.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


I am so excited about pancakes after spending time at L's parents' home, eating delicious pancakes (Swedish pancakes and oatmeal pancakes).  I also got a thrill when I cracked open my newest Runner's World, and there was a whole page full of pancakes.

You know what this means: I plan to eat pancakes. And a lot of them.  All week long.

For you, this means: pancake recipes!  (More pancake recipes, anyway.  Here's a link to all my posts where I've talked about pancakes or given you pancake recipes).

Pancakes are so good.  They are quick (generally), infinitely modifiable, and have the potential for as many add-ins and toppings as you can dream up. And I can dream up some, believe me.  They can also be pretty hearty, meaning that when I'm in a hangry daze because I've been running ridiculous amounts, pancakes will bring me out of zombie/angry mode and back into the land of satiety.

I'll talk about the RW pancakes later (I plan to make some of the recipes, so...), but today, I threw together a batch of pancakes out of what I had on hand.  I had to go buy coffee, and a package of Bob's Red Mill barley flour was lurking in the discount bin--score!--and some overripe bananas, which are always a cheaper way to buy them. Plus, they are perfect for baking with.

I've gotten really good at just throwing things together and emerging with delicious pancakes.  It's problematic, though, because I have a hard time translating that into a usable recipe.  Here's an attempt, though:

(and, sorry...no pics this morning. I was too hangry to think about it)

Banana Barley Pancakes
Makes 8 hearty pancakes, enough for 2.5-3 people of varying appetites.

  • 1/2 cup barley flour (or whole wheat or all white, or a mixture that you try)
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • ~3 tbsp wheat germ
  • ~2 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • almond milk (or buttermilk and no lemon juice)--no idea on the quantity, maybe ~1 cup??
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • 1/4-1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
In your pancake batter bowl (or a regular one), put your flours, wheat germ, and flax meal in.  (I add things like wheat germ and flax meal to up the nutrient quotient because eating pancakes can otherwise seem like a big ol' sugar/white flour fest.)  Add in sugar, leavening, and cinnamon (and any other spices you might like).

Make a little hollow in the middle of your flour, and put egg; mix briefly.  Add some almond milk and stir, then add the lemon juice.  Continue adding almond milk until your batter is the right thin-ness--not soupy or too liquid, but smooth and pourable.  (There's not really a good way to describe the consistency. It should be relatively thin. Maybe thick like a milkshake that's drinkable with a straw! Yeah!)

Mix in your banana and walnuts, being careful not to stir it up too much (I just use a fork and stir until everything is incorporated).

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop batter onto a hot griddle and cook.  Eat with your favorite toppings: mine is yogurt and fruit, L's is sriracha and honey (which I also like. I just like yogurt more).

Think of this recipe as a playground.  I might post what seems to be my master recipe later in the week, from which you can play (though I'm sure you'll get a sense of it here).

Pancake week, y'all.  It's going to be awesome.