My Favorite Pancakes

Growing up, pancakes were one of my favorite breakfasts. My mom would make them as a special Saturday morning treat, filled with chocolate chips and topped with Stonewall Kitchen’s now-retired Strawberry Piggy Sauce. Pancakes at Sarabeth’s in Manhattan or my favorite diner in Connecticut were my birthday brunch treat, and my first year in college, the meal I ate before I went off to the airport for school each term to say goodbye to the US for a few months. (The UK one-ups the US by having a Pancake Day, but their pancakes are actually more like what we consider crepes). I’d have them topped with strawberries and bananas and drizzled with maple syrup, because I liked blueberries and chocolate chips, but why change a good thing?

When my wheat allergy was diagnosed, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy pancakes in the same way ever again. Part of why I liked pancakes was the way they conjured up happy memories of childhood meals, before any of my struggles with food began, and the special feeling of having a treat on an ordinary morning I got whenever a plate was set before me. It wasn’t that I thought gluten-free pancake mix would taste bad. I just thought the pancakes would taste different. Which is true, of course. But that meant I didn’t really eat pancakes for a few years, until I started learning to cook for myself and coming up with new recipes. Pancake perfection was a distant dream, but I began to try anyway. Remember that saying, shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you’ll land among the stars? Well, I’ve taken that to heart, because the pancakes I’ve arrived at might not be perfect, but they sure do make me feel all warm and fuzzy the way I feel pancakes should. They’re sweet, fluffy, and gluten-free, and more than good enough for me!

 

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Frugal & Free for February

I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a family with parents who provided a loving home with all the little luxuries we’ve grown accustomed to in the Western world. I was given the opportunity to pursue a wonderful education, to study ballet with great teachers, to read every book that caught my eye, to travel to faraway places from a young age, and to make friends through these experiences who I could not imagine a life without.

One thing that I’ve realized over time is that what’s really stayed with me from my childhood into young adulthood is what I took away from those experiences. While the ‘things’ were always nice, they were not essential. Of course, I do love the books, and the small souvenirs from journeys around the globe. I enjoy having good running gear, and it’s comforting to know that I have the resources to keep a supply of cable-knit sweaters and leggings, sundresses and sandals, and boots and boat shoes in my closet (the high heels I could do without!) But the memories and the lessons learned – those are what made me the young woman I am today.

I have so much more than I could ever need when it comes to the material things, and yet like many in my position, often find myself looking at, say, a new scarf, and wanting to buy it because it’s cute, it’s ‘me’, I will eventually need a replacement for what I currently have, or any number of reasons. Every so often, I’ll go on a mission to clean out my closet and donate a bag or two to Goodwill, but the amount of “stuff” seems to hold steady. So I’ve decided to do something different. This month will be one of frugality, in which I will not buy any clothing or shoes. It will be freeing, because I will not spend time browsing in stores or shopping online – giving me a little extra time to accomplish all the other goals I have in life! Since it’s February, it will be a short, four-week experiment, but who knows – I might continue!

I have friends who have done the dollar-a-day challenge to raise money for charity, and they’ve achieved some awesome results. This is a little different, because I’m doing it to see if I can change the course of my life just a little bit, letting some of the superficial ‘wants’ fall away so it’s easier to see what’s really important. I like the idea that by consuming a little less, my footprint on this earth will shrink just a tad – I do think that we should all care about our planet! And maybe with the extra focus and time, I’ll get around to finishing a few of the short stories I have filed away, or trying out some new recipes. So here’s to a frugal and free February!

 

More time to dash through the snow with my puppy!

More time to dash through the snow with my puppy!

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Ushering in the holiday season with a Pumpkin Pouffle

When the leaves start to change and Halloween approaches, one of my favorite foodie times of the year has arrived – pumpkin season! This is a perfect gluten-free dessert for the Thanksgiving table, so I often try out different tweaks throughout the autumn to get it right (and consequently get to eat what is basically pie for breakfast). It’s a bit of a cross between a classic pumpkin pie and a pumpkin souffle, so I like to call it a Pumpkin Spice Pouffle!

Ingredients:

15 oz pure pumpkin (Libby’s canned is great, or if you’re ambitious and want to roast your own that works too!)
12 oz plain 2% Greek yogurt (for extra pumpkin kick, you can use 6 oz plain and 6 oz pumpkin yogurt)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sweetener (I like to use stevia and brown sugar mixed together)
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp flaxseed
1 tbsp grapeseed or olive oil

*Optional: cocoa powder and dark chocolate pieces, or maple syrup and maple candy

 

A delicious Cocoa rendition of my Pumpkin Spice Pouffle

A delicious Cocoa rendition of my Pumpkin Spice Pouffle (I also love the maple version!)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use the oil to lightly grease an 8×8″ pan.
Mix all other ingredients together in bowl (*if you use cocoa powder or maple syrup, mix in here)
Pour mixture into pan (*if you use the candy, place it in the pouffle now)
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
Let cool.
Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

© 2014 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.