Small-Bite Sundays: Pancakes and Cozy Winter Reads (12/8/19)

Small-Bite Sundays -- winter

IT’S BAAACK! My Small-Bite Sundays series, in which I indulge in some old-timey blogging and share whatever I feel like sharing. I’m not sure why I abandoned this practice back in 2018, but I realized that it dovetails perfectly with my approach to VeganMoFo this year (low-pressure rambling, basically). So! I intend to get back into the small-bite spirit in the months ahead. I probably won’t post every weekend, but hopefully it’ll help me retain some of the happy blogging momentum I gathered during MoFo.

Right now I’m looking at the photo I chose for that graphic above, and I’m wishing we’d get some snow here in Maryland. It’s been cold lately, but we’ve yet to see the flakes fly. (Well, apparently that’s not entirely true: I was in Puerto Rico at the end of October/beginning of November for work, and on the day I flew home, Steven texted me in the morning to say it was snowing (no accumulation, just flakes). Leaving the gorgeous hot and sunny weather of Puerto Rico for the chill of Maryland was… rough.) Now we’re in full-on holiday mode, and I wouldn’t mind a nice snowstorm. Ah well.

Small bites to read, winter edition

I’m dedicating the month of December to lighthearted reads only! As I do every year, I set myself a reading goal for 2019: This year, 85 books. I’m one away from finishing! I’ve read quite a lot of nonfiction this year, and to be honest, some of those reads are still weighing on me.

In particular, I can’t stop thinking about Darcy Lockman’s All the RageI haven’t even been able to write up my Goodreads review for it yet, because there’s so much I want to say. Lockman writes about the way even the most egalitarian (hetero) partnerships tend to fall back into gendered roles when children enter the picture, and the stats are bleak. She explores the (many!) reasons why this happens, but it’s a tough, painful read. Steven and I have worked hard to cultivate a partnership based on equality, and I’ve always just assumed that equality would continue if/when we have children. Lockman’s research shows that we’ll have to work really damn hard to make that happen, though. I absolutely recommend this book if you’re at all interested in this topic, but be warned that it’s a tough read. I had to take frequent breaks — I even returned it to the library and then checked it out again later! — because it was really bumming me out.

…which brings me to my December reading goals. :) I’m focusing on lighthearted, cozy reads for this month, because I deserve it! Right now I’m reading Graham Norton’s Holding. Yes, that Graham Norton! While browsing the stacks at my beloved local library a few weeks ago, I noticed his name on the spine and was immediately curious — I didn’t know Norton was a fiction writer! When I realized Holding is a mystery set in a small Irish town, I added the book to my quickly growing stack. Turns out Norton is quite a good writer, wry and charming and focused on the minutiae of small-town life in a way that reminds me of J.K. Rowling’s non-Harry Potter fiction. This is a more than respectable debut novel! It’s a quick read, but enjoyable if you like light mysteries (and/or small Irish towns).

(Also, quick note — if you use Goodreads, add me as a friend!)

Small bites to eat, winter edition

A slightly skewed top-down view of a kitchen table loaded with food and plates.Thanksgiving dinner! My brother and sister-in-law visited from Seattle for the holiday, and we had quite a nice, low-key Thanksgiving. We had a Gardein roast, stuffing, roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a gingery sweet potato mash. Our friend Sara brought over a delicious cranberry sauce she’d made, which featured chunks of apples and oranges and was topped with pecans. For dessert, we had apple pie, cranberry-orange bread, and pumpkin pie (the classics). This year I tried Bryanna Clark Grogan’s pumpkin pie filling, and it got rave reviews. I used canned coconut milk and upped the spices, and I also used my pecan-date crust because my sister-in-law is avoiding wheat at the moment.

As an appetizer, I picked up a bunch of fancy olives from Wegmans’ deli bar. They have a seriously impressive selection, with literally dozens of varieties of stuffed olives, oil-packed peppers, and more. Perfect for an antipasto platter.

A small blue plate with a stack of pancakes, topped with a deep red fruit compote.In non-Thanksgiving eats, I made Isa’s Puffy Pillow Pancakes for breakfast this morning. <3 They are always a win! I added cinnamon (because, duh) and topped them with a fruit compote. That was another win. We had a team holiday party at work this week, and about half the fruit tray was left uneaten. It sat in abandoned the fridge for a few days, and I decided to bring it home on Friday because it would otherwise get tossed by the cleaners. Soft, squishy, slightly overripe fruit is not the best for eating raw, but cooked down into a compote with a bit of sugar, water, vanilla, and lime juice, it made for a perfect pancake topping. Food waste win!

~~~

What have you been reading and eating this week?

(FYI, this post contains affiliate links!)

Five Vegan Pancake Recipes for Shrove Tuesday

Although my pancake recipes are predictably and unimaginatively housed on my breakfast recipes page, I am a firm believer in the occasional pancake dinner. Pancakes are quick, they’re relatively filling, and they’re practically dessert! And I am all for the occasional dessert-y dinner.

If you’re feeling lazy and in need of a carbolicious meal tonight, might I suggest you make pancakes and say it’s all in the name of celebrating Shrove Tuesday? Here are a few recipes to get you started, both from me and from some of my fellow bloggers. (For more vegan breakfast recipes, check out my Pinterest board!)

Vegan pancake recipes for any time of day (or night)!

Vegan Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce // govegga.com

Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce (pictured above)

Spicy pillows of puffy goodness topped with a buttery apple pie-inspired sauce—what’s not to love? Check out my recipe here.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes with Cinnamon Swirls

This recipe from Minimalist Baker is the stuff of my breakfast-for-dinner dreams! Note that it’s a yeasted batter, so you’ll need to allow an hour for the batter to rise.

Puffy Pillow Pancakes

For classic melt-in-your mouth straightforward pancake goodness, look no further than the queen of all things vegan brunch-y, Isa Chandra.

Bright blue cloth with a white plate and a stack of seven thin, orange pumpkin pancakes. Scattered around them are a few mini chocolate chips.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Pancakes (pictured above)

This recipe is an oldie, but definitely a goodie! If you’re into towering stacks of wafer-thin pancakes studded with little chocolate bites, this is the recipe for you.

A stack of five pancakes, covered in maple syrup, sit on a blue plate. To the left are three slices of apples. In the background is a bowl of chocolate chia pudding and a bottle of ginger syrup.

Whole-Wheat Ginger-Apple Pancakes (pictured above)

Another one of my older recipes, go for this recipe if you’d like to convince yourself you’re eating a healthy dinner: It uses whole wheat (pastry) flour, after all!

What’s your favorite vegan pancake recipe?

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Five vegan pancake recipes for Shrove Tuesday -- or any day!

Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week One: Treat Yourself (and others)!

Just in time for the weekend, here’s a mouth-watering breakfast recipe for the whole family! Fluffy, cinnamon-y vegan pancakes studded with little bits of apple, topped with an oh-so-special sauce reminiscent of apple pie filling. Somewhere between decadent (thanks to that sauce) and relatively healthy (thanks to white whole wheat flour), these pancakes make for a special weekend breakfast that requires only marginally more work than regular old pancakes.

Vegan Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce // govegga.com

If a buttery sweet topping seems a little too rich for your blood, no worries. Read through the post-recipe notes for a lighter, fat-free sauce that works just as well but tastes a little less like dessert.

Vegan Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce // govegga.com

Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce

Makes 10 pancakes

For the sauce
  • 3/4 apple, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 2 T Earth Balance
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T water
  • 1/2 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Dash salt
For the pancakes
  • 1 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Heaping 1 T ground flax
  • 2 T canola or other neutral oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 C almond milk
  • Scant 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 apple, diced small

Method

First, add the Earth Balance to a small saucepot and melt on low heat while you prepare the apple. To do so, peel it and then chop 3/4 of the apple into thin half-moons (1/4″ thick at most). Chop the remaining 1/4 apple into very small dice and set aside.

Add the apple slices to the melted butter and then add all other ingredients. Stir to coat the apples, then turn the heat up to medium-low. When it starts bubbling, reduce heat to low and let simmer while you prepare the pancake batter.

For the pancakes, start by mixing the dry ingredients (excluding the flax and apple) in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flax with the wet ingredients and let sit for about 30 seconds before adding to the dry mixture. Stir or whisk just until all ingredients are combined, then fold in the diced apples. You should have a thick, puffy batter.

Start heating your favorite pancake cooking device while the batter rests a bit. In the meantime, give your apple pie sauce a few stirs.

Cook pancakes in scant 1/3 cups full for 3-5 minutes on each side. Cooking times will vary based on your stove, pan, etc. For best results, place finished pancakes in a tray in a 200˚F oven to keep warm while you finish cooking. When ready, serve with the apple pie sauce drizzled on top.

Notes

  • You can certainly substitute another flour, but be mindful of the liquid ratio. For pure whole wheat flour, you might need a little more water; for all-purpose, you might need a little less.
  • For a lighter, fat-free sauce, heat 1/2 cup applesauce on the stove and mix in the sliced apples, spices, vanilla, and sugar. Forgo the lemon juice and water. Simmer while you cook the pancakes.
  • I have a dedicated non-stick pancake pan — this All-Clad 11-inch griddle. I never need to use oil or cooking spray!

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Vegan Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce // govegga.com

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I’ve decided that mini chocolate chips are pretty much the greatest invention since, um, regular chocolate chips. First of all, they’re a tiny version of something that’s usually large(r), which automatically makes them awesome in my book. My irrational love of tiny things aside, they’re just so darn useful when you want a bit of chocolate, but regular sized chips would add be intrusive or ill-fitting. For example, if I’d put regular ol’ chocolate chips in the raspberry-banana soft serve I made the other day, they would’ve been annoying to eat – y’know how chocolate chips harden in ice cream? Yeah, I hate that; I don’t like crunching while eating ice cream. The mini chips, however, aren’t big enough to necessitate crunching when frozen; you just bite into them, release their chocolaty goodness, and that’s it! Perfect.

Enough about ice cream, though. Mini chocolate chips have another place where they shine – pancakes. Pumpkin pancakes.

Bright blue cloth with a white plate and a stack of seven thin, orange pumpkin pancakes. Scattered around them are a few mini chocolate chips.

Like 99% of the food blogosphere, I’ve been putting pumpkin into everything lately. Cookies, coffeecinnamon rolls, other things that begin with C… they all get pumpkin-ified. So when I was home sick yesterday and wanted to make myself pancakes for breakfast, it was pretty much a given that they’d include pumpkin. And when I realized that I could add mini chocolate chips, well, that’s when things got really crazy. Pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes? Oh yes. They happened. And the mini chips were perfect – they added just the right amount of melty chocolate without overwhelming the pancakes or making them seem too dessert-y. Not that dessert for breakfast is a bad thing, of course. ;)

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Ingredients
(makes 10 – 15 smallish pancakes)

1/2 C whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 C non-dairy milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Heaping 1/2 C pureed pumpkin
2 T vegetable oil
Scant 2 T vegan cane sugar
1/4 C mini chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, add the vinegar to the non-dairy milk and whisk until it’s frothy. In a large bowl, sift together all dry ingredients except the sugar and mix well. Add remaining wet ingredients and sugar to the vinegar-milk mixture and whisk until it’s well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined – do not overmix! (Keep the chocolate chips aside for now.) If you have time, put the mixture in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before cooking.

Spray a nonstick pan with a bit of oil and heat on medium. Add batter to the pan in 1/4 cup measurements, or your measurement of choice, and drop a few chocolate chips on top of each pancake. If the batter is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water to the bowl of batter and gently mix until it’s more liquidy. Cook pancakes until they start curling around the edges or bubbling in the middle and then flip. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes and remove from pan. Continue until you’ve used all the batter.

Note: I like my pancakes on the slightly undercooked end of the spectrum. Cook your pancakes until they’ve reached your preferred level of doneness

Similar photo to the previous one, but it's taken from a slightly lower angle.

Mini chocolate chips, y u so cute?!

These pancakes might not have cured what ailed me (I’ve still got a pesky sore throat), but they sure did brighten my day!

What’s your favorite application for mini chocolate chips?

Brekkie for Din-Din: Whole-wheat Ginger-Apple Pancakes

Based on this post’s title, you might assume that I am a British four-year-old. Add 20 years to that age and replace “British” with “American” and you’re correct! Heh heh. But let’s be real – whether you’re four or 24*, breakfast for dinner is equally awesome. Last night I indulged in that time-honored excuse for eating sweet foods for dinner as a method for curing a mild case of the blues.

A stack of five pancakes, covered in maple syrup, sit on a blue plate. To the left are three slices of apples. In the background is a bowl of chocolate chia pudding and a bottle of ginger syrup.

Stacked!

These are Whole Wheat Ginger-Apple Pancakes and Hell Yeah It’s Vegan‘s Chocolate Chia Pudding (barely visible in the background). During my post-work dinner-making, I put together the pudding first and let it gel in the fridge while I mixed the pancake batter. Then, while I cleaned up around the kitchen, I let my pancake batter sit in the fridge for fifteen minutes or so. Vegan with a Vengeance taught me that pancake batter does best when the gluten has a chance to rest. ;) Once the gluten was relaxed, so was I, and I took the batter to its stovetop demise.

A similar picture to the previous one, but these pancakes have no maple syrup.

Nakie pancakes!

The act of chowing down on pancakes and trying my first-ever chia pudding (!) helped pull me out of the dumps, but the real restorative was the simple process of meal-making. I’m sure many of you can relate to the relaxing, cathartic nature of baking (and, often, cooking). Focusing my energies on mixing and measuring and mincing calms me down and quiets my mind. Following recipes gives my brain the chance to focus on a specific task, one with a set beginning and end (and a delicious result). And simply waiting for the disparate components of a recipe to cohere into a unified result is an exercise in patience, one I often need at the end of a busy or stressful day. In short, the kitchen can be a haven for me, as long as I’m mindfully making my meals instead of zipping through the steps, distracted and unfocused.

Food musing aside, let’s return to these pancakes. Would you like the recipe for them? Regardless of your answer, I’m going to share it with you. :)

Whole-wheat Ginger-Apple Pancakes

Serves two

  • 1/2 T ground flaxseed + 1.5 T warm water
  • 3/4 C whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 T baking powder
  • 1.5 T vegan cane sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/8 t ground ginger
  • Dash salt
  • 3/4 C almond milk
  • 1 T ginger syrup (optional; maple syrup is a fine substitution)
  • Scant 1 t very finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1-2 T almond milk (as necessary)
  • 1/2 medium-sized apple, peeled and diced

In a small bowl, mix together the flax and water and set aside. In a larger bowl, add all the dry ingredients and thoroughly mix. Add the remaining wet ingredients (except for the 1-2 T almond milk and the apple) to the flax mixture and stir until all the wet ingredients are incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. If the batter seems a bit dry, add the remaining almond milk as necessary. If possible, let your batter sit in the fridge for ten or more minutes.

When you’re ready to make the pancakes, heat a nonstick pan on medium heat and fold the diced apple into the batter. Turn the heat down a bit (to medium-lowish). Pour half-cup spoonfuls onto the pan and cook until bubbles form on the upper side, then flip them. When you can easily slide a thin, nonstick spatula beneath them, they’re probably ready. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

These autumnal pancakes hit all the right notes for me; they pack a great gingery wallop and they made for an excellent relaxed Friday-night dinner. I was glad to use some of the organic ginger syrup I purchased a while back; it’s a great product but I always forget to use it!

I also loved the chia pudding – I’ve seen it around the blogosphere for years now, but I’ve been hesitant to try it. After buying a big ol’ bag of chia seeds at Costco recently, I knew I had to give it a chance. And I’m so glad I did, even if it’s not the most beautiful of foods.

A bowl of very dark chocolaty chia pudding; it's not very smooth and has lots of little tiny chia seeds.

Ch-ch-ch-chocolate chia!

Although having crunchy seeds in a pudding does take some getting used to, the consistency is really fun, and the chocolaty flavor in this particular recipe was amazing. I could only eat a few bites, though, so I saved the rest for this morning. Maybe I’ll follow breakfast for dinner with dessert for breakfast. ;)

What do you make with chia seeds? What’s your stance on breakfast for dinner? Is cooking a stressor or a de-stressor for you?

* Help, I can’t stop writing using the Microsoft Manual of Style!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.

Pixiepine Swag & a Chocolate-Covered Breakfast

A package full o’ wonders made its way into my mailbox a few days ago. I was so excited to win Pixiepine‘s smoothie and drink mix giveaway, because look at all the awesome swag I received:

A whole lotta yummy!

Everything was wrapped in some beautifully cut tissue paper, but unfortunately it got a little ripped up and didn’t photograph well. :( But at least the contents survived unscathed! Yesterday, I tried out this Natural Calm powder mix.

Calming cows?

I mixed the packet with hot water as instructed and drank it like tea. The flavor was… interesting; it was sort of sour and I couldn’t really take more than a few sips at a time. But between bites of my cereal, I had no problem finishing my mug. I don’t know if I necessarily felt calmer after drinking it, but I’ve got so much going on right now that I doubt anything other than a stiff drink could mellow me out! ;P

This morning, I tried out one of the products I was most excited to receive – Amazing Grass Chocolate Green SuperFood. I knew I didn’t want to just drink this in a smoothie, but what else could I do? Hmm…

How mysterious...

What could be behind that packet?! Well, last night I remembered Katie‘s post about using it in super healthy pancakes! Chocolate for breakfast? Um, yes, please!

I think Katie must be psychic, because I woke up this morning to find her post about chocoholics in my Google Reader. Needless to say, this further solidified my resolve to make a delicious chocolate-covered breakfast. I decided to make a recipe mash-up for my pancakes, mixing Katie’s recipe with Isa’s pancake recipe from VWAV. Here are the results!

SuperFood? You better believe it!

These were yummy, but not quite perfect. I used half a banana, but next time I’ll use applesauce because I’m a freak who doesn’t really like bananas. And I used a flax egg, but I don’t know if that was actually necessary. I am glad that I used blackstrap molasses, though; you can’t beat that little boost of calcium! Anyway, here’s the first version of my recipe for Chocolate SuperFood Pancakes. You really can’t go wrong with a batch of ~8 pancakes that include 7 servings of fruits and vegetables!

Chocolate SuperFood Pancakes
Ingredients
3/4 cup flour (I used a blend of AP and whole wheat)
1 packet Amazing Grass Chocolate SuperFood
1 t baking powder
pinch salt
1 flax “egg” (1 T ground flax whisked with 3 T warm water… optional!)
1/2 small banana, mashed (or 1/3 cup applesauce)
3/4 cup vanilla rice milk
1 1/2 T blackstrap molasses
1 T Sugar in the Raw
Healthy handful chocolate chips
H2O as necessary

Make your flax egg and set it aside. Sift all dry ingredients except the sugar into a large bowl and mix. In another bowl, mix all wet ingredients plus the sugar and whisk together. Add the flax egg and whisk some more. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. If the batter is too thick, add tablespoonfuls of water until it reaches a good consistency. Throw in your chocolate chips, mix it all up, and cook on a lightly oiled pan over a medium burner. Voila!