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Banana Yogurt Pancakes

Banana pancakes aren’t anything new or innovative. I imagine them to be in the same camp as your go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe or the stir fry you make once a week. They are a classic and accepted addition to any breakfast menu. But, like with any template-type recipe, there are numerous ways to spice them up.

These pancakes use whole grain spelt flour, an old favorite of mine. I like it because it’s much more easily adaptable to recipes that use all-purpose or whole wheat flour (as opposed to other alternative flours), and it’s lower in gluten than regular wheat. My belly is happy to receive it. I also think it has a sweeter side than whole wheat; it isn’t as grainy and heavy, rather much lighter and more accommodating to assertive flavors. Any kind of fruit works well with spelt. 

I added some yogurt to the batter as well, in place of milk and other liquid ingredients. It makes them especially puffy and filling, and kind of gives you the feeling that you’ve shoved a complete breakfast into a pancake. Which is great, if you make these on a lazy Sunday morning as I did.



3 ripe bananas 2 eggs 2 T. maple syrup (if you like the batter sweeter, feel free to add more) 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt (or more, if the batter is too thick) 2 cups whole spelt flour 1/4 cup milled golden flaxseed 1 tsp. baking soda pinch of salt butter for the griddle sliced bananas, almonds, and cinnamon, for garnish

– In a blender, puree bananas, eggs, maple syrup and yogurt.

– In a large bowl, combine flour, flax, baking soda and salt.

– Preheat a large griddle or pan over medium flame. Rub with butter.

– Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and gently fold together, just until combined. Don’t overwork the batter, as spelt is delicate.

– Cook pancakes by 1/4 cup on preheated griddle, flipping when bubbles form on the surface and the edges are lightly golden. Cook for about 2 minutes on the other side.

– Top with sliced bananas, almonds, cinnamon and more maple syrup.


: :  H A P P Y   S U N D A Y  : :


Butternut Squash, Sage & Goat Cheese Omelet

On Sunday, I had some butternut squash leftover from a batch of muffins the week before, so I thought I’d toss it into my breakfast before it went bad. Butternut squash, like pumpkin, is one of my favorite Fall vegetables. I find it especially irresistible when paired with nutmeg and sage– it takes on both a sweet and savory, rich and smooth flavor that is comforting in the best way. Pureed, it is wonderful in breads, pancakes, soups, ravioli and muffins. Cubed and roasted, it can be tossed into pasta, any seasonal stir-fry, and omelets! 

I happened to have some fresh goat cheese on hand, as well as a new jar of ground sage, so those were the flavors of my Sunday morning egg feast. Omelets are pretty easy to make, and you don’t really need a recipe, but I’ve included one below so you can see what proportions I used. I left the eggs whole and cooked them just until the whites were set, because I like my yolks a little runny.


1/4 cup pureed butternut squash, or 1/2 cup cubed squash 1/4 tsp. ground sage freshly ground black pepper a bit of ground nutmeg 2 eggs goat cheese, to taste

– In a small skillet, cook butternut squash, sage, black pepper and nutmeg until tender. If using pureed squash, cook just until hot and the spices are fragrant.

– Crack eggs into a bowl, then gently pour into the skillet over the squash, being careful not to break the yolks. Sprinkle with more black pepper and top with chunks of goat cheese.

– Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until egg whites are almost set. Remove cover and broil on high for a few minutes, until top is cooked and cheese is starting to brown. Loosen omelet with a spatula, then slide onto a plate and enjoy! 


Blueberry Bread

Of all the fruits in the world, blueberries are far and away my favorite. They top my granola, fill my pies, become bubbly and fragrant beneath cobbler crust, leave swirly purple trails in my yogurt, are juicy and plump in my pancakes, and, of course, are baked into moist breads. 

These days, I find them at the market in towering displays that suggest anything but scarcity. With a stroke of luck, I discovered them on sale at Whole Foods last week and scooped them up by the armful. I ate a whole pint in one sitting. 


Since I’ve had little time for the weekend morning baking that I love so much, today’s project needed to be something special. My grandmother makes an amazing blueberry cake that she sprinkles with powdered sugar upon completion, and the smell of it baking never fails to remind me of summer and special family gatherings. A breakfast version is what I had in mind as I delicately folded the violet berries into a lighter, whole grain batter this morning. With applesauce and yogurt replacing heavier fats; a mix of brown rice, almond a coconut flours instead of wheat; and medjool dates en lieu of sugar, this bread is virtuous and completely wholesome. 

With my craving for blueberry bread healthfully satisfied, all I need now is a good dose of family. What are your favorite food memories?

Blueberry Bread :: Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour 1/2 cup almond flour 2 Tablespoons coconut flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk 2 eggs 3 medjool dates, pitted and chopped zest of 1 orange 1/2 cup lowfat plain yogurt 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


  1. Preheat oven (see step 5) and line a greased loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flours and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, whir milk, eggs, dates, and zest until frothy. Add yogurt and applesauce and blend to combine.
  4. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir in blueberries.
  5. Transfer batter evenly into the loaf pan. I baked mine at 325 degrees for well over an hour, but next time I plan to try it at 350 for less time.
  6. Once a toothpick comes out with dry crumbs, remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and serve, or allow to come to room temperature and then wrap in parchment. Keep in the refrigerator for a few days. 

Almond flax flapjacks

This week was spent trying to adapt to a new schedule and carving out a routine. We acquired furniture, made daily trips to the grocery store, and I think I still have boxes and bags to unpack. We scouted for the best deals, negotiated closet space, tried to be organized, and spent a great deal of time stumbling into each other on dark weekday mornings as Elliott started the coffee pot and I got the tea water boiling.

What I’ve done twice now is take the 20-minute walk to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning. I’m making it a tradition. I’m so glad we’re close enough to do this, as I like nothing more than fresh produce, eggs and flowers from local growers. For me, it’s the perfect way to start the weekend. Last week I found a small thyme plant that now sits on the kitchen windowsill; yesterday I splurged on some impossibly fragrant lavender salt and rich, decadent olive oil, both of which topped last night’s roasted baby artichokes. But that’s another post.


My mom was nice enough to come up on Tuesday to take me kitchen shopping. Without the basic necessities like sharp knives and saucepans, our meals for the first few nights included garlic smashed with the back of a spoon, and whole vegetables roasted with fish in my beloved cast-iron pan. And with only one fork in our silverware drawer, we took turns between stabbing and scooping until our collection was complete.

There have been a few noteworthy meals this week that I can’t wait to share, but I think I’ll start with some high protein pancakes I threw together on Thursday afternoon (and again Saturday morning). Besides peeling myself off the couch to make this quick snack, I didn’t do much that day in between popping vitamin C pills and napping. I’m not the best at adapting to new situations, and I guess my immune system took a hard hit with the stress of it all. Despite this, my appetite was still intact and a few of these dense-but-light cakes were delicious mid-afternoon. Smeared with a little almond butter or coconut cream, they’re perfect.


Almond Flax Flapjacks :: Makes 6 

3 eggs 1 tablespoon water + 1/3 cup or so a few liberal shakes of ground cinnamon and ginger 1 tablespoon raw honey (or more to taste) 1 cup almond meal (you can use store-bought almond flour, but I used a coarse meal that I had ground myself) 1/2 cup finely-ground flaxseed meal generous pinch of sea salt 1/4 teaspoon baking soda coconut oil for cooking

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon water, the spices and honey. Add almond meal, flaxseed, salt and baking soda and stir to combine. At this point, start adding water in modest splashes until your desired consistency is reached. The flax will absorb quite a bit of liquid, but you also don’t want to go overboard. My batter was thick enough so that they didn’t spread much in the pan, but thin enough so that they weren’t too dense. 

On a large, flat griddle (cast-iron pan didn’t work well for me on Saturday; uneven browning), melt a tablespoon or two of coconut oil over medium heat. Drop batter by the 1/4 cup and cook until bubbles start to form and you can see browning around the edges. Flip and cook a few minutes more. 

Serve with nut butter, coconut cream, or a drizzle of honey.


Blood Orange & Barley Cake

Busy doing nothing. That’s what I’ve been up to. Taking time to just be, not setting an alarm, lolling around in bed until (gasp!) 8:00 am. Going for walks, stretching, cooking all my meals to end up as warm, comforting bowls of goodness, lingering in DeMartini’s (our local produce supplier) and tasting each different variety of apple like a selection of fine wines.  I went over to Berkeley on Friday with two of my best girls, for the whole day, to do some yoga and sit in cafes.  This week, I haven’t noticed anything but what’s going on in that exact moment.

I’ve had lots of time to read, too. Last week it was Good to the Grain; this week it’s Louisa Shafia’s Lucid Food. With recipes separated by the seasons, Shafia hopes that each one will bring us closer to the farmer, the earth, and our own health. It’s my habit, as a full-time student, to read anything like a textbook: absorbing important tidbits, marking inspiring passages with a pencil, constantly thinking about how and where to apply this new knowledge. I have pages upon pages of notes from cooking and nutrition books alone. Naturally, both of these texts have been quite influential in my recent kitchen concoctions.

Combining tips and tricks from Kim Boyce’s ode to whole grains with seasonal and eco-conscious inspiration from Lucid Food, I came up with a cake that showcases the best of both worlds. Blood oranges, a wintertime treat, sit glazed in honey atop a Turbinado-sweetened crumb of whole-grain barley and wheat flours. The first try was lucky– I pretty much got what I wanted, and everyone at the party I brought it to seemed to like it. Next time, though, I might use more fruit on top for a prettier presentation. And perhaps try peeling away some of the bitter skin, although I’m not sure if the slices would still hold together or not. I’d also use less cloves– the amount listed here has been reduced.

With cookbooks as my text and the kitchen as my office, creating food like this is my favorite way to learn.

Blood Orange & Barley Cake with Cloves

Ingredients for topping: 3 blood oranges, sliced into thin rounds 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter (I used clarified butter/ghee throughout the recipe, and I really liked the result. It gave a nice earthy-sweet and toasty flavor– perfect with the cloves.) 4 tablespoons honey

Ingredients for batter: 1 1/2 cups flour (1 cup white whole-wheat, 1/2 cup barley flour)  3/4 teaspoon ground cloves 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature 3/4 cup Turbinado sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon dark rum 1/2 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 350′.

To make topping: Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet and add honey. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add orange slices on top of butter in a concentric circle design, overlapping slightly.

To make batter: Sift together the flours, cloves, baking powder and salt. Beat butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Beat in orange juice, then remaining flour mixture, just until incorporated. The batter may appear slightly curdled.

Spoon batter over orange slices in pan and spread evenly. Bake in middle of oven until golden, springy, and a tester comes out clean, 45 minutes or so. Remove from oven and let stand in skillet 5 minutes. Invert a plate over the skillet and invert cake onto the plate, keeping them firmly pressed together. Replace any oranges stuck to the bottom. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons more rum, if desired, and cool. Can be served warm, room temperature, or refrigerated overnight.