Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sunday Morning Pancakes

I am not afraid of carbs. That may be obvious given that my first recipe post on this blog was for zucchini bread, and the second is for pancakes. My philosophy when it comes to carbs is moderation and portion control. I don't shy away from pasta, bread, rice, waffles, muffins, or pancakes. I just eat reasonable portion sizes, and always try to accompany them with some veggies and fruit.

Recently, I rediscovered a cookbook my mom bought me for Christmas about five years ago, Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. I was super excited about the book because at the time, my older daughter was nine, and refused to eat a single vegetable, except lettuce, and only if it was smothered in ranch dressing. The cookbook is made for people who want to sneak vegetables into their kids' food, and I couldn't wait to try the recipes. But then I opened the book and was a little disappointed. Several of the recipes called for "trans-fat free soft tub margarine spread". I'm married to a chef. We don't do margarine in my house. And I hate to say that because I sound so snotty but it's one of the few things that I just refuse to eat. I was also overwhelmed by the book, because almost all of the recipes incorporate vegetable purees, which she suggests making and freezing ahead of time to use as needed. At this point in my life, that doesn't sound so daunting. But five years ago, the thought of it literally made me give up and put the book on my kitchen shelf to collect dust.

And there it stayed, until about six months ago, when I finally realized that making vegetable purees was not rocket science and I could easily just make a few at a time for recipes I wanted to make that same day or the next. I realized, albeit five years later, that I didn't have to follow her system of making a ton of purees and I could use butter instead of margarine. Sounds simple right? I just needed to do it my own way. But for years, I couldn't.

Confession time: I am a rule follower. Big time. The thought of doing something different than the way I was told used to practically paralyze me with anxiety.  I don't know exactly why, and most of me thinks I shouldn't delve too deep into it. The point is, until recently, I was genuinely unable to comfortably modify recipes or think outside the box, at all, when it came to cooking. But then I had a break through, and I'm so glad I did. Because it opened up the possibility for me to make and eat things that I love, while still maintaining a (mostly) healthy style of eating.

Sundays are my favorite day to cook because I can take my time, and make recipes that I don't usually have time for during the busy week. This is especially true for mornings. Most mornings I end up eating breakfast at work. I'm the first one out of the house in the morning and I'm always in a rush, even if I somehow manage to wake up early. It's Murphy's Law. And I don't particularly like eating first thing in the morning anyway. I like to wake up a bit first. So when I go to the office, I pack my entire day's worth of meals and snacks, including breakfast. My older daughter typically eats breakfast at school, and the little one eats with my hubby before he takes her to preschool. So it's rare that we even get to eat breakfast as a family. But Sundays are different.

For a long time I made scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast on Sundays. My older daughter and I would have turkey bacon, and the hubby and little one would eat the real stuff (and whatever was left of the turkey bacon). We would have toast, and fruit, coffee, and juice, and sometimes I would make pancakes. But they were never really that good. So they felt like a waste of time. And I hate to waste my time.

Then a few weeks ago, I was flipping through Jessica Seinfeld's book, and found a recipe for pancakes made with sweet potato puree. It just so happened I had some sweet potatoes on hand, so on Friday I roasted and pureed them, and stuck the puree in the fridge for Sunday. And then I remembered I had a pancake mold! My aunt used to sell Pampered Chef (remember them?) and I have had this teddy bear shaped pancake mold for 15 years, and never opened it. Ridiculous. But I just never do Martha Stewart/Pinterest stuff like that. So I spent all weekend anxiously waiting to make Sunday morning bear shaped pancakes. And I just knew my three year old would be equally as excited about them. Here is the recipe I used:

1 cup water
1/2 cup sweet potato puree
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Krusteaz Heart Healthy Buttermilk Pancake Mix
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for the pan)

Makes 4 servings

Mix all ingredients except the oil together. Mixture will be lumpy. Set a griddle or pan over medium heat and add the oil. When the pan is hot, pour pancake batter by 1/4 cup full onto griddle or pan for each pancake. You should end up with eight pancakes.

Each serving (2 pancakes) clocks in at 153 calories, 25 grams carbs, 5 grams fat, 4 grams protein, and 2 grams fiber. And they taste soooooo good. The sweet potato kinda makes them a little crunchy and a beautiful orange color. And the cinnamon and sweet potato together make them sweet, even without syrup.

Sunday came and I spent all morning doing this:

Look at the poor little guy on the upper right, he's got some sort of a growth.

Supposedly, if you turn the bears upside down, they can be rabbits too. Minus the ears, I didn't see it. I finally finished all the bears and proudly presented them to the little one. And she immediately began to cry. What the what?! I was so confused. "Honey, what's wrong?" I pleaded, my heart dropping into my feet.  "Maaaaaaama! You were supposed to make Christmas pancakes!" she responded. I get a lot of "supposed to" at home. I like to think that my daughter believes we are so bonded, we must share thoughts, which is both adorable and infuriating all at the same time. But I came up with a solution anyway.

She handed me the Christmas shaped cookie cutters, still left out from December, (busy, I am busy), and I proceeded to cut a stocking, santa, star, and angel shape out of my beautiful bears. I would show you a picture of what those pancakes looked like, but the little one promptly devoured them once they were the correct shapes.

But here is what mine looked like:

Topped with homemade chocolate almond butter and sliced banana and strawberries. Because that's how I roll.


  1. Ha ha! Sorry your bears didn't work out! But extra points for craftiness whether it was Christmassy or in the shape of a bear.

    Yum! Sweet potato sounds amazing! Kinda like pumpkin pancakes?

  2. You can make them with pumpkin too! And they are fantastic :)