Sometimes I come up with a recipe idea that feels original. I say “feels” original because I’m sure if I did a quick internet search I’d find someone else (if not many someone elses) had already done it. Most of the time, though, I find inspiration from other sources: cookbooks, bloggers, and most recently, restaurant menus.
My post for Hellobee last week was inspired by an item on the menu at the former Ubuntu in Napa, where Ben and I honeymooned five years ago. The vegetarian restaurant served a macaroni and cheese that replaces the classic béchamel with a lighter but flavorful carrot puree. Head on over for more details and to get the recipe for carrot macaroni & cheese.
My latest post for Astor Center’s blog is a soup inspired by some of the killer fall flavors I’ve been seeing on Pinterest. This sweet potato, apple, and toasted pecan soup is finished with a sage-infused brown butter and garnished with fried sage and pecans. It’s sweet and nutty with just a touch of warming spices. Head on over to Tasting Notes to get the recipe!
I’ve been pretty quiet for a while now, and while I could say I’ve been busy…that would only be a half-truth. Everyone’s busy, right? And plenty of those busy people still keep up with their blogs, putting out quality content on a regular basis. The real reason, probably more than half of the reason, is that my life has felt radically unbalanced, and sometimes I’ve been sad or even angry.
Sad and angry don’t make good blog fodder. I’ve read some poignant and thought-provoking posts written by those struggling to fight through their own battles, but an online journal composed of month after month of complaining about one’s situation isn’t something I want to read and certainly not what I want to write.
I’ve hinted at the hard time I’ve had adjusting to motherhood. While some days (some hours, some minutes…) I embrace that my body, my time, are no longer my own, at other times I feel overwhelmed and as though I have no control over my life. Anyone who knows me can attest to how important it is for me to be in control of my environment – not an ideal trait for a parent. Combating my own personality daily, while also worrying about finances, my health, and, I dunno, THE MEANING OF LIFE was making it hard to simply live life.
When you’re in a hole like that, the only way out is to dig up. Not an easy task but one that an be achieved one small shovelful at a time. It’s also more attainable when you have cheerleaders rooting you on, so it helps to tell a select group of those close to you how you’re feeling. My advice: Pick the people who are going to bug the crap out of you to keep finding a way to take care of yourself, the ones who call and text to ask if you’ve done that thing you said you were going to do until you actually do it.
I don’t know anyone who feels like they’ve found the perfect balance, but I’m happy to say I’m much closer to that goal now than I have been in over two years. I feel so, so lucky.
Today, I turn 30. I’m 30 years old and lucky and looking forward to what this decade has in store. My 20s brought me my husband and my baby but I still think the next ten years can be even better.
To celebrate this morning I made myself a pancake cake. I’ve wanted one since over two years ago when the couple at Green Kitchen Stories made one for their daughter and again this summer when Izy at Top With Cinnamon posted this beauty. This version is far less decadent than Izy’s but still felt like a treat. You could use any pancake recipe you like, but I made a barely sweet, gluten-free oat pancake. The pumpkin, peanut butter, and cocoa topping is rich, earthy, and just sweet enough to be called a frosting.
I had planned to eat the entire cake on my own but because it’s so nutrient-dense it is definitely a breakfast for two. Or, in my case, two days’ worth of breakfast.
Healthy Pancake Cake
for the oat pancakes:
3/4 c rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 c milk
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
for the frosting:
1 c pumpkin puree
3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Add the oats to a blender or food processor and process on high until ground into a flour. Move the oat flour to a medium bowl and whisk together with the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
2. Whisk together the milk, eggs, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla in a medium bowl or large measuring cup until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the oat flour mixture and stir to combine.
3. Melt enough butter to coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1 1/2 tbsp batter for each pancake, fry on the first side until bubbles begin for form on the surface, then flip and fry another 30 seconds on the second side. Move to a baking sheet or large plate to cool while you fry the rest of the batter. Leave the pancakes on the counter to cool, or, to speed the process move to the fridge.
4. While the pancakes cool, stir together all the frosting ingredients until smooth. Move the frosting to the fridge for at least 10 minutes to firm up a bit.
5. To assemble the cake, either use the pancakes as they are, or if they are irregularly shaped use a large biscuit cutter or glass to make uniformly-sized rounds. Layer the pancakes with about 1/2 tbsp of frosting between each. Then frost the top and sides of the cake. You may have some leftover frosting.