Valentine’s Day is just around the corner people. Have you made fancy dinner reservations for pre fixe menus that are marked up 30%? No, well good luck scoring a table now. Fear not. I’m actually of the opinion that eating out on Valentine’s Day is a rip off and not very romantic. If you really want to impress your suitor, make them breakfast for dinner. Specifically these whole grain pancakes.
Serve them with heart shaped bacon. Trust me.
(No pictures exist of the finished product, because we ate it so fast. Instructions below)
I made these for dinner last night for my gal pal’s weekly ritual of “hate watching” The Bachelor. In addition to the pancakes and bacon, I served Yukon gold homefries (roasted with salt, pepper and a little of the reserved bacon fat. OMG) and fruit salad. It was a nice little meal. Though I was making it for a crowd, the meal can easily be scaled back for two people. The pancake recipe I adapted from King Arthur Flour has a shelf stable mix so you can make pancakes at the drop of a hat. How genius is that? I have a jar of mix hanging out in my fridge, which in my head is super resourceful and kind of Martha Stewart meets Carrie Bradshaw. In the unlikely event that I meet a dashing man and need to throw together an impressive meal without much notice, I can nonchalantly whip up some whole grain pancakes in no time flat.
So these are whole grain pancakes with oatmeal, whole wheat flour, flax seed meal etc. They are very good, but lets be real… they are not the same as traditional enriched flour pancakes. The flavor is great, but if fluffy pancakes are your thing, stick with the real deal. To quote my friend Lauren of the blog Oh My Puddin, “I prefer a lighter pancake, but if you want to eat pancakes and also to have a healthy colon, these are great.”
Whole Grain Pancake Recipe
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Pancake Mix (makes several 1 cup batches that each yeild 6-8ish pancakes)
4 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats
4 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal* (not in original recipe, but adds nice nutty taste and extra omega 3 fatty acids)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup coconut oil* (original recipe calls for vegetable oil, but coconut oil is healthier and tastier)
1 cup homemade mix
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
To make the mix: Grind the oats in a food processor until they’re chopped fine, but not a powder. Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.
To make pancakes: Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk (or a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk; or 3/4 cup liquid whey), and 1 large egg. Don’t worry if it seems thin at first: the oats will soak up the milk, and the mix will thicken a bit as it stands. Let the batter stand for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Heat a lightly greased griddle to 350°F (if you’ve got a griddle with a temperature setting; if not, medium-hot will do). Drop the batter onto it in 1/4-cupfuls (a jumbo cookie scoop works well here) to make a 4″ diameter pancake. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface without breaking (after about 2 minutes, if your griddle is the correct temperature), turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side, which will take about 2 minutes.
Heart Shaped Bacon
Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil. Use the best bacon you can get your hands on – thick cut is preferable. Cut strips in half and fold into heart shape as pictured above. Bake at 400 for around 20 minutes or until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel. Toss foil in the trash, reserving a few tablespoons of the bacon grease in case you feel like roasting some potatoes.
Oven Roasted Homefries
You can make these in the same pan, just discard the foil and reserve some bacon grease. Keep the oven at 400. Add lots of salt and pepper. Shake the pan every 3-5 minutes to ensure it the potatoes don’t stick. They should be golden brown in around 15-20 minutes depending on the type of potato you’re using.
So last night after work I attended a social gathering with one of my favorite organizations, LOOP. It was great to see everyone. I always feel motivated after spending time with this fun crew of young professionals. Even though it was a great event, I wanted to squeeze in a workout that day so I inconspicuously ducked out in time to make it to the 7:30 Zumba at the Y. Or so I thought.
I was in such a rush to get home, change, and get to class, that I didn’t double check the schedule or even grab a bottle of water. I walked into the room just as the instructor turned on the music. I quickly dropped my purse in the corner and took my usual spot. The instructor was a super handsome, super fit, and sort of enormous slash tough looking guy. Hmmm, not who I expected to see leading a latin dance based aerobics class, but hey I can roll with it. The warm up was to a fast tempo latin track. It consisted of a lot of squats and little jumps and jabs – a whole lot less grapevining and pivoting and hip shaking than I’m used to… After about 15 minutes of serious kickboxing type combinations, I started to wonder when we were going to start dancing. I was breathing pretty hard, and sweating like I normally do by the end of Zumba class.
Between songs I looked around at my classmates…. One of the things I love about working out at the Y instead of a swanky pretentious gym is that the members are really diverse. In my Zumba class there are young folks, old folks, fit folks, fat folks. Last night however… these were not those folks. I had 30-40 lbs on the next largest girl in this class. There were only around 10 of us, and they were all Adonises. After two more tracks of punching and kicking and squatting and jumping I was finally sure that I wasn’t in Zumba…
I was in freaking Les Mills Body Combat.
After the 5th track I was barely able to breathe… and not just in an out of breath because we’re exercising kind of way but in an OMG how embarrassing would it be if I DIED at the Y in the body combat class kind of way. I doubled over and started gasping/giggling. The instructor asked if I was ok. All I could say was “this… isn’t…Zumba” and gasp/giggle some more. My classmates (who were also struggling to breathe at this point, gasp/giggled at my comment).
I kept going. I was awkward as can be. You see, I trained in ballet starting at the age of 4 – I’m a dancer, not a fighter. My legs are turned out and I point my toes when I kick. I basically grand plie instead of squat. Its awful looking in a sort of dainty and hopefully endearingly awkward way. I was the Dance Team Captain my senior year of high school (Lancers what what ?!?!), but I just do not have this kind of coordination. I would get a combination down by the last repetition. I would kick the opposite leg of everyone else. I punch like I’m swatting at butterflies in a magical fairy garden. My awkwardness and poor fitness level (relative to the ladybeasts in the class with me, to quote Mindy Kaling: “My BMI’s not great, but I’m not like Precious or anything”), was compounded by the fact I hand’t brought water with me. I was a hot mess. It was hilarious. If someone had surreptitiously video taped me and posted it to YouTube I would be internet famous for all the wrong reasons.
The best part was that for the last half of the class, I couldn’t stop laughing at myself. The instructor tried his best not to laugh at me too, but he definitely laughed a little into his microphone headset a few times. It didn’t bother me at all. He was laughing with me, not at me. I think if I hadn’t been a gasping/giggling disaster… if I had instead seemed frustrated or intimidated, he would have been super supportive or explained things in more detail. But honestly him doing his best not to laugh at me, and failing, made it easier to get through the class.
My heart rate monitor says I burned around 780 calories. At Zumba I usually burn closer to 475 even when I’m REALLY shaking my white girl hips. I don’t think I’ll go back to body combat (not because it was hard – I secretly loved how hard it was), but because I’m the least aggressive person in the world and I just really didn’t like having to punch and kick things for an hour. It stressed me out a little. I do think I’ll look into body pump or another kind of class that will have similar intensity without being based in fighting/combat.
I hope you’ve had a giggle at my expense. Cheers to the weekend!
So don’t worry, you’re not on the wrong blog. I really am sharing a gluten-free, vegan recipe. I’ll snap out of it soon. Who’s up for cookies as my next recipe?! Kidding. Mostly.
Alright listen, I’m not a huge quinoa person. I know people rave about it for it’s health benefits, but I’ve always been kind of thrown by the fact it has a freaking tail once you cook it. It’s fine, texturally speaking. And if you cook it in stock instead of water, it tastes better. Kale I totally dig. Kale is hot right now, are y’all over kale yet? I’m not into kale because it’s trendy, I legit love all dark leafy greens. Mustard greens are actually my favorite, but kale is what they had at the store. I tried to have a combo of acid and heat in these veggies. Dark leafy greens are delicious when cooked with a little vinegar or lemon juice as well as some hot pepper flakes or hot sauce. You could put whatever veggies you have on hand in this dish. If you weren’t angling for a meatless meal, some sausage would be a nice addition. Or duh, you could put an egg on it. Come to think of it, an alternate title for this post could be “This Would Be Better With An Egg On It.”
This is one of those simple dishes that for the most part comes together in one skillet. It serves six, so I will be eating leftovers for a while.
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups low sodium stock (chicken or veggie, your preference)
1/2 large yellow onion
1 bag kale (approximately 5 or 6 cups, ribs removed)
1 medium butternut squash, cubed (about 2 cups)
1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Red pepper flake to taste
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
First, rinse the dry quinoa thoroughly in cold water. In a medium pot bring the stock to a boil. Add the quinoa, stir, let it return to a full boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Set a timer for 15 minutes and begin cooking the veggies.
In a very large saute pan over medium-high heat, saute the onions in olive oil for around 2 minutes or until they begin to become translucent. Add in the mushrooms, butternut squash, and then 2/3s of the kale on top of that. Feel free to walk away for a while. Nothing bad will happen. Kale is pretty sturdy and takes a few minutes to soften up. Once it starts to wilt, add in the remaining kale as well as the red pepper flake, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Saute the veg, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes. Add in a few dashes of stock and work the yummy brown bits (technical term is fond, but who says that?) off of the pan.
By now the quinoa should be done cooking. Leave the lid on, move it off the heat and let it sit there for 5 more minutes. Lower the heat for your veggies to medium-low. Finally, fluff the quinoa with a fork and dump it into the saute pan. Fold quinoa into the veggies to combine all the ingredients.
Boom. Done. 20 minute dinner.
You should probably put a fried egg on top of that. I wish I had.
Hey there! Hope you’re having a lovely MLK & Inauguration day. It’s been a while since I shared a recipe… and since there isn’t much going on in my kitchen, I thought I would share a bit of a rambling brain dump about what I’ve been up to lately.
- So I gave up booze at the beginning of the month. It’s been 21 days since I’ve had a drink (not that I’m counting, ok I’m totally counting). It’s not a new years resolution, or an attempt to sober up permanently… just a little break from alcohol for the sake of my wallet and waistline. I’ve challenged myself to be booze free for 60 days, so the first week in March is when I’ll be done with my little drinking hiatus. Honestly it hasn’t been that difficult. I’m feeling really great, dropping a few pounds (8 in 21 days!), and saving lots of money that would have otherwise been spent at happy hour. Even at brunch yesterday I was totally fine and not envious of my dining companions’ mimosa(s).
This is the truth. Via Etsy seller: timmelideo
- Speaking of brunch… I’ve been practically living in t shirts from the San Francisco based company, Buy Me Brunch. Y’all! Their shirts are so freaking soft and perfectly cut. You need one. I have both “buy me brunch” and “polite as fuck”. I’m thinking about ordering “not really a doctor” and “me gusta hip hop” as well. They sell “blanks” or just plain t shirts, and I think those would be great to sleep in. They look a little intense and edgy, which isn’t usually my thing – but they are adorable under a black blazer with jeans or with a cute cardigan. Lately I’ve been mixing really conservative and traditional pieces with funkier jewelry or playful tshirts. These shirts make great gifts too.
- In addition to not drinking for 60 days, I’ve been paying closer attention to what I’m putting in my body. I set a goal to log my food and exercise every single day in 2013 using MyFitnessPal, and so far I haven’t missed a day. Even when I have a not so great day, I still enter what I had to eat (which has helped me from feeling like “oh well, I already blew it today lets just keep eating terrible”). Want to be pals? My user name is WaspyRedhead. My parents and several of my friends are using the app too – so it’s a nice way to help the people I care about stay motivated and cheer them on.
- I haven’t been eating out as often lately, making a conscious effort to bring my lunch to work and dine at home for dinner. I’m also trying to eat cheaply… which means I’m relying on easy staples like cereal, eggs, rice & legumes etc. One of my most frequent dinners for one at home is: brown rice, some herbs, a roasted veggie like broccoli, brussels sprouts or okra topped with a fried egg. I usually dose it with soy sauce and sriracha or hot sauce too. It is super delicious and easy, I blogged about it here.
I’m a big egg lover. Huge egg lover. I eat what is probably an alarming amount of eggs. I’ve even started a hash tag on Instagram to document my egg eating, #watchwaspyeateggs
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m working on a list of favorite recipes that I’ve shared many many years ago to “reblog” with updated photos etc. I’ll start sharing those soon.
After sharing a quick snapshot of the Instagram wall I created in my dining room, I’ve gotten dozens of questions about how I did it. I thought I would share some better images as well as the print vendor and specific hardware I used.
My apartment is loft style. It’s one big open space with off white walls, concrete floors, and metal ceilings. I love how bright and airy it is, and that it’s modern without feeling cold or sterile. I love a white color palate, but I felt like I needed some pops of color to make the space feel more lived in.
The genius angle of using Instagram prints is that instead of committing to one large piece of art, or creating an expertly curated vignette of smaller pieces, I have the flexibility to change out the photos whenever I feel like it. Currently, I’m using prints of architectural images and still life scenes from around Paris and San Antonio.
The juxtaposition of black and white images with over-saturated filtered-within-an-inch-of-their-life shots is fun. I also like combing special moments captured in two of my favorite cities – my hometown of San Antonio and my favorite travel destination, Paris. I wasn’t careful or intentional in the way I arranged the photos on the gallery wire, but somehow the Eiffel Tower and the Alamo ended up right next to each other.
The gallery wire and clips are actually super cheap curtain hardware from IKEA. It’s the “Dignitet” curtain wire which is only $12 for each set of wire and wall mounts. The clips are “Riktig” which are $3 for a pack of 24. I bought three sets of the curtain wire, and two packages of clips. Total cost for the hardware was $42. The hardware is simple to install, or so my friend Mitch who installed them tells me . Thanks again Mitch!
I ordered my prints from a company called Printstagram. They print calendars, posters, stickers, mini-books and more, all from your Instagram images. It’s a simple process, you log in and it connects to your Instagram account and you select the images you would like to print. I ordered two sets of 12, 4″x4″ prints for $12 each. You can’t even frame a poster for $24, so I thought this was a steal.
The images are printed on nice paper with a matte to satin finish. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and with how quickly the order printed and shipped. I highly recommend Prinstagr.am if you’re interested in getting hard copies of your digital images.
The total sticker price for this project is around $70. Much cheaper than a painting of similar scale or the cost to custom frame a bunch of pictures. The best part is that I’m not stuck with my current display. In the future I may want to feature photos from a different vacation. Or I’ve been thinking about switching it up to include pictures of street art from my travels (a subject I’m into documenting lately).
If Instagram isn’t your thing, you could use the gallery wire to display children’s artwork, holiday cards, wedding invitations, valentines, playbills and tickets from art events – the possibilities are endless. I hope you enjoy this project as much as I did – if you try it in your home I would love to see pictures!
Disclaimer: Printstagr.am did not compensate me to write this post. I am unaffiliated with them in any way. I just liked my prints and wanted to share this recommendation with my readers.