Pan-Fakes: Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

oatmeal banana pancakes, healthy pancakes

Looks like pancakes

Most of us have an alias that we use when say, ordering a latte at Starbuck’s or making a dinner reservation. Some may even have a fake name they use when meeting unwanted suitors out at a party or bar. Mine used to be Sylvia. I don’t know why, just was.

One of my best friend’s alias’ is Mimi Henderson – sounds like her real name, but isn’t -long story for another post. Fake-Name Mimi has two young boys and she likes to cook healthy for them. Like she made their baby food from organic-only ingredients when they were tiny little people. So, during my last visit when I went to her cupboard and found organic wheat or whole grain or something ‘pancake mix’ – I shouldn’t have been surprised. Moreover, when I prepared the ‘pancakes’ using said mix, I wasn’t surprised when the children did not enjoy them…not even one bite of a bit. They were icky, grainy, cardboardy and not like pancakes at all.

So, before my next trip to see Mimi and the boyz – I set out on a quest for a better fake pancake. And, I gotta tell you – these oatmeal, banana, healthier, non-dairy pancakes are pretty great.

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. Once you’ve blended and rested the batter in your KitchenAid blender, soak the pitcher immediately! The Quaker Oats get stuck to the sides and are tricky to remove.
  2. If you choose to serve with real maple syrup – please heat the syrup up – nothing worse than cold syrup on warm pancakes…even if they are fake
  3. Select perfectly ripe bananas as these will contribute to the creaminess of the pan-fakes

Pan-Fakes, The Healthy Dairy-Free Breakfast Treat (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bananas – you want them perfectly ripe – not green, not brown

    quaker oatmeal pancakes banana pancakes

    Real Ingredients for PanFakes

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Quaker Oats – I have this giant container of quick 1-minute oats which are perfect
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder – not the same as Baking Soda

 

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium/low. A 10 or 12 inch All-Clad one is perfect.

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender. I have an awesome KitchenAid blender – powerful thing it is!
kitchenaid blender non-dairy pancakes

In a KitchenAid blender Fake stuff happens

2. Blend…Use the mix setting first to combine everything and then use the puree setting to completely breakdown the little pieces of oats. I mean if you’re gonna fake it, fake it well.

3. Once blended until creamy and lump-free, let the batter sit for 15 minutes – it thickens during this resting period

gluten free pancakes breakfast

Super Blend it!

4. After the resting time – ladle into a non-stick pan. No need for spray or oil.

5. When the fake cakes bubble and dry around the edges, flip ’em. Another benefit to these fake cakes is that the first batch is pretty.

6. Continue to cook about a minute more until done.

gluten-free pancakes recipe

Unlike real pancakes – the first batch is pretty!

7. Serve with fake butter if that’s your jam…But, I figured it was fake enough already so I smothered with real butter and pure maple syrup.

healthy pancake recipe

Of course…I served with REAL butter and syrup

 

Eating healthier isn’t usually my thing – but I do like to test out a good fake. And, the next time Sylvia goes to see her bff, Mimi Henderson, Mimi’s boyz can finally have a PanFake they’ll enjoy.

 

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Snow! Snow! We Can Eat Again! – French Toast

french toast breakfast recipe french bread

Perfectly Browned

I have to tell you, I kinda love a good snow storm. OK, I don’t really have to go anywhere today – so, maybe it’s easier for me. I still get that ‘maybe school will be canceled tomorrow’ excited feeling the night before. I even slept with my shades up last night so that I could see the white stuff falling when I woke. True.

During one snow event when we were little, as the heavy snow came down, my sister proclaimed: ‘SNOW! SNOW! We can eat again!!!’ (You, my follower(s) may now really think we were starved as children…no – maybe just food obsessed)

cinnamon sugar shakers snow

Filled with yummy goodness – ours was yellow and plastic – but served us well.

What my sister was talking about was the cinnamon-sugar-snow-bowls my mother would let us make with fresh snow.

We’d take a bowl out to the backyard, scoop up some snow, cover it with a tasty mix of cinnamon and sugar from a bear-shaped shaker and down it while watching the snow fall.

Yum. Pretty sure parents wouldn’t let kids do that anymore – what with the acid rain, pollution and potential dog pee, peanut allergies, Lyme disease etc.

I don’t know what it is about a good storm that makes me what to eat more. It sometimes even drives me to bake – see chocolate chip cookies. Maybe it’s the comfort of knowing that all of the potential weight gain will be well concealed by the eskimo-like attire I’ll be forced to wear if I venture out…maybe.

Last night I made Pot Roast – a truly hearty meal in preparation of the storm.

This morning it was French Toast (serves 2).

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. You can use slightly staled bread – you know you have some in your microwave or even freezer
  2. There’s no substitute for real maple syrup and there’s no excuse for serving cold syrup

Ingredients:

  • vanilla french toast snow

    The Good Stuff

    2 Eggs

  • 2 TBSP whole milk/cream – ok, I only had 2%, but the fattier the milk, the better
  • 8 slices of left over french baguette or 3-4 slices of bread – whatever you have. I had left over from the Baguette I bought yesterday at Fairway – best bread.
  • 1/2 TSP of  Good Vanilla – I just got the Nielsen-Massey Madagascar stuff at Williams-Sonoma during a post-holiday sale
  • Butter
  • Real Maple Syrup

Directions:

1. In a bowl, crack the eggs and whisk together with the milk and vanilla

2. Slice about 7-8 slices of last night’s baguette and dump them in the eggy mix – I soaked the first 5…then the rest for batch 2.

french toast recipe breakfast

French Toast Soak

3. Let them soak for a bit – especially if you went the baguette route. Flip ’em over and soak ’em until they’re soft but not overly soggy

4. Heat a skillet on medium and throw some butter in there – it’s snowing, you can use all the butter you want, it won’t count. Plus the butter adds flavor and will help brown your breakfast.

5. Put the eggy soaked breads in the skillet. Be patient.  Wait to flip until there’s a lovely brownness on one side – you can sneak a peek to check for brownness.

french toast breakfast browned

This is the right amount of brownness

6. While waiting – heat your syrup – just nuke it for :20 seconds or so. I mean, what’s the sense of serving a warm breakfast if you’re going to ruin it with cold syrup. Seriously!

7. Flip the deliciousness and cook the second side until equally brown

8. Serve with warm syrup and butter

Every time it snows I can hear my sister’s voice – maybe she’s giving me permission to eat all I want until the storm passes. Maybe she’s just reminding me of how delicious life was with a bowl of cinnamon-sugar-snow. Either way, I’m heeding her message – Snow! Snow! We Can Eat Again!

Making X: Don’t ASAP Your Scrambled Eggs

scrambled eggs gordon ramsay CDB William Steig

Perfectly Scrambled – Not abbreviated

We were all abbreviating things long before we starting LOL-ing or telling each other that we’d BRB.

Please, verbal and written abbreviations go back to Before Christ – BC to be exact. I mean you don’t think Julius Ceasar was all ‘hey Mark A, wanna head down to the 4-M? Heard Lady C will be there?’

In the AD years – FYI – we started using abbreviations like ASAP, PDQ and tons more well before anyone had a cell phone.

CDB book kids William Steig

Best Book Ever

Growing up, my professor brother (please address him as Doctor James, but don’t ask him to write a prescription) found, loved and shared a book by William Steig called C D B!…as in See The Bee.

The book is written in phonetically fabulous single letters or 2-letter combinations. Each letter or short letter combo becomes a word when read correctly – kids, this is like when you write ‘Gr8’ instead of ‘Great’. Get it?

This approach is way toats more difficult than just using the first letter of a word to signify that word. Steig’s approach requires the reader to use sounds and maybe even the ol’ noggin to determine what the writer is saying.

William Steig C D B scrambled eggs

This Hen Has 5 Eggs

Because of our family obsession with C D B, we often spoke Steig shorthand at home. Like if we wanted eggs for breakfast, we might ask our mother ‘F U N-E X?’ to which she might reply (if we were lucky) ‘S, V F X’.

I’ve been making myself scrambled eggs for years. I have a method. I have a taste and consistency that I love and a cheese that I had determined to be the ideal cheese for scrambled eggs…I could scramble those puppies up in no time flat.

Some egg-making – though – just shouldn’t be abbreviated. And, if you ask Gordon Ramsay, there’s really only one RIGHT way to make perfect Scrambled Eggs. And, it takes a little extra time.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs (not X) (serves 1 – test kitchen just me today)

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. Don’t worry about the fact that you only have a 1.5q sauce pot – it’s the perfect thing for perfect scrambled eggs
  2. Let the pot cool before soaking it to clean – soaking a hot pot is bad. Just is.
  3. Add whatever testifiers and flavinators you want – but don’t stir anything in – not even salt, pepper etc until the eggs are almost completely done

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Eggs – you can buy organic if you must, but you know that cost like 2X non-organic ones
  • 1 Pat of Butter – just like a TBSP
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (I used to use Port Salut….but, for these eggs, a harder, sharper cheese is really better)

Directions:

1. In a small sauce pan on the stove, crack the two eggs and throw in the butter

perfect scrambled eggs gordon ramsay

Do Not Scramble B4 Putting In To Pot

2. Turn burner heat up to Medium and begin stirring the eggs and butter in small stirring circles (if you have a Power Burner…Med/Low is A OK)

scrambled eggs Gordon Ramsay perfect

G Ramsay Describes Technique as similar to making Risotto

3. The butter will melt and the eggs will come together as you continue to stir

scrambled eggs breakfast vegetarian

C, it’s working….

4. Once the eggs begin to scramble – I O W begin to form eggy scrambly pieces – remove the pot from the heat…but keep stirring

perfect scramble eggs vegetarian breakfast

D trick is the stirring – Scrambling Away – Gently – Remove from Heat

5. As the pot loses heat, return it to the burner, still at about medium and continue to stir

6. Keep on active burner just long enough to reheat the pot…then remove it ASAP! Keep Stirring

scramble breakfast all -clad pot

B patient – Scrambling Away! Sorta Shocking How Well This Works

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until the eggs reach the desired consistency. Normally, I prefer a drier scrambled egg…but with this technique, a more creamy, grits-like consistency works better

NOTE: Gordon Ramsay stirs in some creme fraiche and some chives…but you really don’t need the creme fraiche and chives just make it a very expensive scrambled egg dish – unless you have some on hand.

8. Serve topped with some lovely grated sharp cheddar cheese

perfect eggs

Just perfect

There are great occasions for abbreviations. Like texting your BFF.  There’s also the times you just need to speak in code – my roommate from college, PKO used abbreviated, acronym-speak well before the first text was sent. Never did figure out what she was saying…

But, BTW, when you want the perfect scrambled eggs. you need to take your time and not try to make them ASAP.

Magic Pancakes: Made With Love

pancake bisquick breakfast

Picture Perfect Pancake

When for a brief time I lived outside of the city, there was a chicken dish I made all the time – very simple, easy and because I could use the frozen Perdue chicken breasts…always available in my freezer. I referred to this very basic but delicious dish simply as ‘The Chicken’. Like ‘Hey, what’d you have for dinner last night?’…’The Chicken’.

Someone once asked me why when I made ‘The chicken’ it tasted so much better than when he made ‘The Chicken’. And, I always told him the same thing: because I make it with love.

Cooking isn’t as simple as just following the directions. I’m not saying it’s hard. I am saying that you can always taste the difference when something is made by someone who loved making it or loved the idea of eating it.

The ‘Love Ingredient’ may not always be tangible but it is always detectable. Love heats the bread in the bread basket. Love makes the perfectly runny poached egg. Love cares enough to whip up real whipped cream.

And, sometimes, the love is in the extra ingredients and care in creation. When it comes to pancakes, I like them crispy, fluffy, light and creamy. Hard to achieve this using just a simple mix…Or, God Forbid – a prefab batter…

So, I do a little love doctoring to make them magic, to create the ideal pancake. Not a lot of work…just a little bit of love.

Magic Pancakes: Made with Love (Serves 2 – 4)

Ingredients:

Perfect Pancakes

Magic Pancakes: Mise En Place

  • 1 Cup Bisquick Baking Mix
  • 1/2 Cup milk – Yes, skim or 2% or whole milk are all fine.
  • 1 TSP Sugar (Crispy Love Creator)
  • 1/3 Cup Sour Cream (Creamy Love Creator)
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 Egg White – Whipped to stiff peaks (Fluffy Love Creator)
  • Grade A Pure Maple Syrup
  • Butter

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the Bisquick, Milk, Egg Yolk, Sour Cream and Sugar with a whisk

light and fluffy crispy pancakes

Pancake Batter To Be Combined

cuisinart hand held mixer silver

Magic Mixer

2. In a separate bowl, whip the egg white to stiff peaks. Love separates the egg and whips the egg whites. You can do this by hand…but, it’s a little more love than you might have. I like to use my Cuisinart hand mixer.

3. Fold the whipped egg white into the Bisquick/Milk/Egg/Sour Cream/Sugar batter. Fold it in carefully so as to not deflate the fluffiness

light and fluffy pancakes

Don’t Over Mix!

4. Heat a skillet over medium and melt a just enough butter to ensure the pancake won’t stick. But, you don’t want a visible layer of butter.

5. Pour the batter into the heated skillet in 3 inch circles…Or, into a Mickey Mouse mold or freehand the shape of a car

walt disney world pancake mold

Pancake Fun Shape

bisquick pancakes

Freehand Pancake

6. Cook until the edges are dry and bubbles start to form on the top then flip

mickey mouse pancakes

Mousy-Cake

7. Cook another :30 seconds. Once the pancake fluffs up and is dry on the edges, it’s ready

8. Serve a stack with heated syrup and a little more butter. Love uses real maple syrup and heats it up.

pancakes light fluffy crispy

Heated Syrup and Just a little butter make it better…

With Christmas just around the corner, you may be having guests of all ages who would enjoy a carefully prepared pancake. Here’s just one way to show them you care: Make your pancakes with a little love.

Thinking Inside The Box: PopOver-PopIns

Williams-Sonoma Texas Tins

Popover-PopIns With Cheddar Cheese

For years I have been intrigued by the catch phrases and words that come in and out of vogue in business speak.

Sarah Palin and John McCain

Failure to Vet

For a while, it was very important that we ‘vet’ everything. Like ‘do you think we’ve appropriately vetted that idea/brand/event?’ I blame the overuse of ‘vet’, ‘vetting’ and ‘vetted’ on John McCain’s team who apparently failed to properly ‘vet’ his running mate, Sarah Palin.

We used to ‘think’. Then we learned to ‘brainstorm’. After that we were encouraged to ‘ideate’.

We have ‘balls in the air’. We ‘dance on the head of a pin’.

We wanted to be members of functional teams. And, now we need to be members of high performing teams – this one we like to abbreviate to just HPT.

It was once considered exceptional to give the job/project 100%. Until someone asked for 110%. And now I think the going give rate is 1000% Wow! That’s a lot!

We also have been accused of not being able to ‘get out of our own way.’ At times we ‘can’t see the forest for the trees.’ We have to always be ‘innovative.’ There are all those people who are ‘penny wise and pound foolish.’ Etc.

Thinking outside of the box

Brilliance

But perhaps the most overused of all marketing catch phrases is ‘thinking out of the box’. It’s so very important that we think ‘out of the box.’ With its overuse, thinking out of the box has literally become inside of the box thinking.

In cooking, sometimes the best ideas are inside the box. Especially when the box is a light, eggy, airy popover and inside is a delicious secret of sharp cheddar cheese.

PopOver-PopIns (makes 12)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1. Mise En Place

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • Butter for greasing the pans
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Popover mise en place

Mise En Place – Tres Important!

2. Mix all ingredients EXCEPT THE CHEESE in a bowl with a whisk. The mix will be thin.

williams-sonoma

Everybody in the bowl

Cheddar Cheese Popovers

Whisk it!

3. Butter two Williams-Sonoma non-stick Texas Tins and put into the heated oven for :02mins.

Popover pans

Buttered PopOver-PopIn Pans

4. Take the pans out of the oven and pour batter into each cup about 1/2 way up

texas tins williams-sonoma

Pour Into the Pans

5. Pop a pinch of the shredded cheddar cheese into the center of each cup

PopOver-PopIns

Place the Cheddar Cheese

6. Bake for :25-:27 mins – You’ll know they are ready when the edges are a rich golden brown. Because of the cheese well, they will pop over and pop in.

Williams-Sonoma Texas Tins

PopOver-PopIns Popped Out of the Oven

7. Pop them onto a plate….And put a perfect pat of butter into the steaming center

Williams-Sonoma Texas Tins

Pop Butter Into the PopOver-PopIns

One of the best things about the popover-popins is that they freeze beautifully. So, if you can’t eat all 12 at once, pop the leftovers into a freezer bag and into the freezer. When you’re ready to eat them, wrap them in tinfoil and pop into a 350 degree oven for :10 mins to heat through.

Thinking differently is key in many situations – creating newness and partnerships that are unexpected can catapult a brand into the forefront of the consumer’s mind. Just think about what the unexpected male spokesperson (Brad Pitt) has done for one of the world’s most iconic fragrances.

In popovers, though…with very few balls in the air and without dancing on the head of a pin – You can create a yummy goodness that’s all on the inside of the box. No need to vet that.