Top Ten Gluten Free Treats For Your Sweet This Valentine’s Day

Florists are hurriedly filling their shelves, rose petals dripping to the floor; chocolatiers present rows of gleaming handmade creations for lovers to gift to each other; and restaurant staff starch tablecloths, polish cutlery until it gleams, and cook plates of perfect aphrodisiacs. These are all beautiful ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day, but I’ve always been more of the homemade type. Something made with hand and heart for the one you love. The time is the gift, and love is a verb.

Here are my Top Ten Gluten Free Treats for Your Sweet this Valentine’s Day from Thoroughly Nourished Life:

Two forks and a plate with a massive slice of my Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting would be a sweet end to Valentine’s Day.

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOr how about two spoons and a tub of my Irish Coffee Ice Cream? Chris and I bonded over our love of whisky, so this would be a perfect Valentine’s Day treat.

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNeed a vegan salty sweet treat for your beloved? Tahini and Peanut Butter Cookies would be welcomed by anyone – bonus points if you wrap them up in a cute little box with tissue paper!

Peanut Butter and Tahini Cookies | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNeed a little spice in your life this Valentine’s Day? (Don’t worry, this isn’t about to turn into that kind of blog!) Try my Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting!

Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeChocolate and Peanut Butter, not since Romeo and Juliet have there been two more meant for each other. Here in my Peanut Butter Doughnuts with Chocolate Peanut Glaze, rather more successfully than those teenage lovers, chocolate and peanut butter are united in heavenly doughnut form.

Peanut Butter Doughnuts | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOh so you aren’t going away to a tropical island with your lover for Valentine’s Day? Neither am I, but I’m tempted to bring the tropical home with a batch of Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream. These gluten free cupcakes are also perfect for a Gal-entine’s Day celebration too! Perfect for that Sex and the City / Friends marathon!

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeHow about some pure, lustful, lush chocolate indulgence? My Frosted Peppermint Brownies are an aphrodisiac for sure….(leave out the mint and candy canes for pure chocolate sin…)

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIs your sweetheart a cookie monster? I’m lucky that I have found a fellow cookie monster to love, and my Even Better Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of our favourite indulgences. Best when paired with binge watching Parks and Recreation.

Even Better Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comBreakfast in bed, or maybe brunch in bed in your plans for this weekend? My Zucchini, Carrot and Walnut Pancakes (with plenty of maple syrup) are a sweet and wholesome start to the day.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAnd now, for the pull-out all stops, don’t bother going out for dinner, just grab a fork and your stretchy pants and let’s eat in bed, piece de resistance – Chocolate Brownie Cookie Dough Layer Cake. It’s over the top, it’s more than over the top. It’s magnums of champagne, 25 carat diamond, a thousand red roses strewn on white silk sheets over the top, but sometimes, that’s exactly what love needs to be.

Chocolate Brownie Cookie Dough Layer Cake 3

And a few more love-ly links from around our internet world:

  • Just in time for our Lady and the Tramp Valentine’s Day re-enactments, Not Quite Nigella gives us perfect Bean and Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs. The call it bella notte….
  • Red Velvet is Chris’s current love language, and doughnuts, well of course, doughnuts are the ultimate symbol of love – they look like a hug after all. Lynn from Fresh April Flours combines the two in her delightful Baked Red Velvet Doughnuts.
  • If a jar of Nutella is one of your ultimate couple foods (just add two spoons for happiness) – this Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake from Urban Bakes is the perfect up-your-game treat for Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! And even if Valentine’s Day isn’t your thing, I hope you have an extra sweet weekend too!

Zucchini, Carrot and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free

Zucchini bread and carrot cake united in pancake form! Puffy, fluffy, thick pancakes with chunks of toasted walnuts inspired by a cafe favourite, but easy enough for everyday.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI ate a two tall stack of these while reading the newspaper on Sunday morning. Does anyone read the newspaper anymore? I like to grab a copy on the weekend after a long walk and settle in at the kitchen table with a late breakfast and read about what’s happening in the wide world that’s fit to print and, of course, do the crossword. The sun streams in the window and a light bay breeze tickles the leaves of the bougainvillea vine that grows over half of the house. It’s a moment of bliss to be grateful for. On a normal day the internet and the radio are my source of information about the world, but on a Sunday, with a stack of pancakes, the smell and smudge of newspaper print fits perfectly.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese pancakes are packed with cafe-favourite inspired flavours. Carrot cake and zucchini bread combined and smashed into pancakes! Which lends you totally legitimate reason to smother them in maple syrup, or your choice of pancake topper (almond butter, jam, honey, butter – whatever your pleasure), I like to think of it as frosting for your pancakes. Sweet carrot, mixed with cinnamon and crunchy toasted walnuts, all wrapped up in the warm cloud of maple syrup kissed pancake batter: Sunday morning bliss.

Now, I like my pancakes fluffy but substantial and these puffy, flavoursome delights deliver on both fronts. The batter features one egg and two egg whites for extra fluff, and a mix of milk and plain Greek yoghurt for added thickness and a tender crumb. True zucchini bread/carrot cake flavour is represented by a respectful dose of cinnamon, vanilla, and toasted walnuts.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeTo tell you a secret though: there is only a small amount of brown sugar in the mix, and no added fat at all. This is a cafe brunch that won’t have you weighed down for the rest of your weekend, and is perfect for weekdays too. The leftovers from this batch are tightly wrapped in my freezer and are steadily making their way to work in my lunch box as a morning tea treat. Unfortunately no-one has invented a desk-sized bottle of maple syrup. Now that would be newsworthy.

These are a great idea to make with little nourished lifers too! Get them to help with mixing and stirring the batter, and show them how the bubbles on the pancake mean its time to flip it over. I have great memories of making pancakes with my parents, which is probably why they are my Sunday newspaper breakfast of choice. Enjoy!

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeZucchini, Carrot and Walnut Pancakes

Gluten Free | Makes about 12 (10cm/4-inch) pancakes | Recipe easily halved
Leftovers will keep, well-wrapped, in the freezer for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 80 grams almond meal
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg + 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Method

  1. Use the large holes of a box grater to coarsely grate the zucchini and carrot. Wrap grated vegetables in a few layers of paper towel and squeeze to remove some of the moisture. Set aside until required.
  2. Place walnuts under broiler and turn broiler on medium-high. Cook for 6-7 minutes, shaking tray occasionally to turn walnuts over. Once toasted, remove from the broiler and allow to cool before roughly chopping to use in pancakes.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together almond meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl vigorously whisk together yoghurt, milk, egg and egg whites, vanilla essence, and brown sugar until well incorporated.
  5. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  6. Using a wooden spoon mix in grated zucchini and carrot and toasted, chopped walnuts.
  7. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  8. Using a large ice cream scoop portion out pancake batter onto pan. Use the back of the scoop to encourage the batter to spread into a circle. Remember to leave plenty of room between pancakes for spreading and flipping. I cooked one pancake at a time on a small pan but to speed up the process use a larger frying pan.
  9. Cook pancake for three minutes on one side. Small bubbles will begin rising to the uncooked surface. Once most of these have popped, flip the pancake and cook for another two minutes on the second side. Transfer to a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest of the batter.
  10. Once all pancakes are cooked serve with your favourite toppings.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Blueberry Pumpkin Buckwheat Pancakes

Long weekends and pancakes go together like pancakes and maple syrup. Or pancakes and honey. Or pancakes and golden syrup. Or pancakes and – I think you get the point. Long weekends are my favourite time for making a pancake breakfast. I can take a long walk down by the water and think about how we are doing as a world and a species at the moment, and realise that even though there are some big rifts in the fabric that binds us all, that there are things that each of us can do every day, and in the moment, that can effect change on a small scale. Like taking the time to make our families a pancake breakfast and sit down together to talk about how important it is to extend a hand of kindness, or to lift someone up when they are low.

Blueberry Pumpkin Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

One of the best things about a long weekend pancake brunch is that you are eating pancakes on a Monday. Monday pancakes taste the best, because its like you are cheating on your other Monday morning breakfasts and treating your tummy to some holiday goodness. Holiday Monday brunches also mean more time to patter about in the kitchen, taking care that each pancake is cooked to perfection, and then revelling in some newspaper time between bites of these cakey, pumpkin-spiced, blueberry-bursting, pancake  towers. And these pancakes are gluten free so everyone in the family can enjoy them!

Blueberry Pumpkin Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These pancakes are puffy and fluffy for several reasons: puréed pumpkin, baking powder, brown sugar, and an extra egg white. Once you bite into the soft crumb you notice the spices. I love the combination of cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger especially with pumpkin and blueberries. I don’t like my pancakes overly sweet because I enjoy accessorising my pancakes with different kinds of sweeteners – usually jam or golden syrup – and because I have found that sugar in a pancake doesn’t give as much sweetness as a syrup added at the table. For these pancakes I poured golden syrup over my stack and let the sweetness trickle through.

Blueberry Pumpkin Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

For my northern hemisphere friends, these are the perfect way to welcome a season of pumpkin laced goodness, for my southern hemisphere pals we can use that extra pumpkin puree that is lurking in our freezers….or is that just me? If blueberries aren’t in season where you live, you can leave them out, or replace them with chocolate chips, dried fruit, or even some chopped pecans. Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy these little treats for breakfast soon!

Blueberry Pumpkin Buckwheat Pancakes

Gluten Free | Makes approximately 8 pancakes | Leftovers keep well wrapped in the freezer up to 2 months

Note: If you do not require these to be gluten free, simply use 170 grams (1 1/4 cups) plain flour instead of the first three ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams buckwheat flour
  • 40 grams almond meal
  • 30 grams white rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinammon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 punnet (~3/4 cup) fresh blueberries
  • Favourite topping for serving

Method

  1. In a large bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, almond meal, rice flour, spices, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together pumpkin puree, milk, egg, egg white, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  3. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until no lumps remain.
  4. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  5. Using a large ice cream scoop portion out pancake batter onto pan. Use the back of the scoop to encourage the batter to spread into a circle. Remember to leave plenty of room between pancakes for spreading and flipping. I cooked one pancake at a time on a small pan but to speed up the process use a larger frying pan.
  6. Dot the uncooked top of the pancake with a few of the fresh blueberries.
  7. Cook pancake for three minutes on one side. Small bubbles will begin rising to the uncooked surface. Once most of these have popped, flip the pancake and cook for another two minutes on the second side. Transfer to a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest of the batter.
  8. Once all pancakes are cooked serve with your favourite toppings.

Blueberry Pumpkin Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tell me, dear readers, what are your favourite long weekend breakfasts? Your favourite pancake toppings?

Oat and Apple Pancakes with Stewed Apple

Sunday was one of those quietly blessed days. The sky was a bright blue glass dome and the sunshine was a water-colour stripe across our sunroom floor. We slept easily and well as the sun crept into our bedroom and lit the walls and the wind brushed the leaves of the tree outside against the window panes. We rose, we pottered around and introduced ourselves into the world on that bright cold morning. We escaped from the thickening crowds and entertained ourselves inside our own four walls for the remainder of the day. I stayed close to the stove all day. Warming my body and warming my soul with old favourites and new ideas. It was a simple kind of day. It was a deeply enriching simplicity where you realise that all you have right now is all you really need to make you happy and nourished forever if only you remember to look through the eyes of gratitude.

Apple and Oat Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI dreamed of these pancakes all week and Sunday felt like a brunch day. Too late home from an early morning errand to be breakfast and too sweet and cake-like to be called lunch. I whisked together the batter, waited patiently for each pancake to bubble and be flipped and then wait for its siblings to join it in the plate to keep warm. I listened to Edith Piaf and Dean Martin and padded across the wooden floors on bare, cool feet. A gift of apples from a friend-in-passing became the caramelised topping for the substantial but fluffy pancakes. When all was complete I curled up in a sun-washed chair and devoured my oat and apple pancakes. I looked out across the bay and realised that my heart was calm, my mind was completely in the moment: I felt thoroughly nourished.

These are thick, cake-y pancakes. Hearty, winter morning pancakes for mornings where you linger in a sunny spot with a book and a pot of tea. They are filled with all the best winter things: oats, apples, cinnamon and stand up very well to reheating for an afternoon snack (or second breakfast helping). They also do well when cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer. Perfect for those extra lazy winter mornings, or for a lunch box friendly snack. These Oat and Apple Pancakes are perfect for cooking with children, and you can even make the batter the night before and leave in the fridge overnight. Then all you need to do is heat the pan and cook them in the morning. The stewed apples are worthy of multiplying. Any leftovers are delightful reheated for dessert topped with a scoop of ice cream or some thick Greek yoghurt.

Apple and Oat Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Oat and Apple Pancakes

Gluten Free. Makes 8 large pancakes.

Ensure your quick oats are gluten free. I used Freedom Foods Free Oats. I topped mine with stewed apples, you may wish to add a dollop of thick yoghurt, some golden syrup, or for extra indulgence, some ice cream.

Ingredients

  • 80 grams almond meal
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 70 grams buckwheat flour
  • 70 grams quick oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup greek/natural yoghurt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 heaped tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 medium apple, grated
  • Stewed apples to serve, recipe below

Method

  1.  In a medium size bowl whisk together almond meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, quick oats, cinnamon, gluten free baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together yoghurt, milk, eggs, vanilla and brown sugar until well combined. Gently stir in apple.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add apple mixture. Whisk until just incorporated.
  4. Heat a non-stick heavy bottomed frying pan over medium heat and add a little olive oil or butter to grease the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add approximately 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. You may have to spread the mixture out a little in a circular shape. Cook until bubble appear on the surface of the batter, about two minutes, once most of the bubbles have popped, flip pancake over and cook for another two minutes on the other side.
  6. Transfer pancake to a plate and keep covered while you repeat with the remaining batter. You may be able to cook more than one pancake at a time depending on the size of your frying pan.
  7. To serve, top with with stewed apples and other toppings if desired.

Apple and Oat Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Stewed Apples

This recipe is easily multiplied. I suggest making at least a double batch. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium apple, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon water

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Place over a low heat and cook, covered until apple is soft.
  2. Uncover and cook until juices have thickened slightly. Serve with pancakes.

Apple and Oat Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chocolate and Spice Pancakes (gluten free)

We might be a strange crew spending our Sunday morning watching old Christmas films and eating pancakes among stacks of black and white photos and Danish storybooks, but that’s the way we roll. And nothing pairs with these lightly cocoa flavoured and spiced pancakes than good company, a strong cup of tea, and your favourite Christmas movies.

Last week my grandmother celebrated her birthday, and on the weekend my sister and I visited her with pancakes in hand to mark the occasion.

My grandmother is one of the bravest women I know. My grandmother is one of the reasons that I know women should be interesting, complicated, intelligent, street smart, strong of character and opinion, unafraid of hard work and hard times, and always, always, well dressed.

My Mormor (Danish for grandmother) is a child at heart, has a ‘weird sense of humour’ (her own words), possess beautiful, delicate clever hands that dance over fabric or whatever crafty thing she is doing, and she always, always, has a hug for a daughter or granddaughter in need (no boys on this side of the family – girls only!). She taught me to crochet, to love musicals, to march to the beat of my own drum, make brave decisions, and fall in love whenever possible.

Happy birthday Mormor – we love you.

 

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While we watched Miracle on 34th St (the original with Maureen O’Hara of course) we brunched on these pancakes and some fresh summer fruit. These pancakes are like a cookie, but acceptable as breakfast food. Sneaky, I know. As they cook the smell of the spices from these pancakes will fill your house and coax even the most unwilling out of bed. The mixture can even be made the night before and stored in the fridge before being cooked the next morning – perfect for a chocolate-filled start to Christmas morning!

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Chocolate and Spice Pancakes (gluten free)

One of the most wonderful things about making a big batch of pancakes on the weekend is the possibility of pancakes for snacks or breakfast the rest of the week. Just wrap individual pancakes tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Take out, unwrap and heat in microwave for about 30 seconds and serve with your favourite topping. They also make a great snack cold spread with jam, honey or butter – perfect for lunch boxes big and small. 

(or if you are feeling extra naughty: heat one pancake, place a scoop of ice cream on top and drizzle with caramel sauce…believe me…)

This recipe makes approximately 16 medium-size pancakes.

Ingredients:

  • 160 grams buckwheat flour
  • 40 grams cocoa powder
  • 80 grams almond meal
  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (gluten free if required)
  • 1 ½  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice (pumpkin spice)
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, cocoa powder, almond meal, brown rice flour, baking powder, spices, and sugar.
  2. In a separate medium-size bowl whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla essence.
  3. Add milk mixture to flour and beat until a smooth batter forms.
  4. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  5. Using a large ice cream scoop portion out pancake batter onto pan. Remember to leave plenty of room between pancakes for spreading and flipping.
  6. Cook for two minutes on one side. Small bubbles will begin rising to the uncooked surface. Once most of these have popped, flip the pancake and cook for another minute on the second side. Transfer to a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest of the batter.
  7. Once all pancakes are cooked serve with your favourite toppings.

Tell me dear reader, what has your Grandmother taught you? 

Any favourite Christmas movies – I’m open to suggestions? 

What will be on your table for Christmas breakfast?

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Nourished Life Gratitude List Week Thirty-One

Earlier mornings and longer nights make me want to stretch out in the sun like a cat and just feel the sun on my belly. It isn’t time for holidays yet but already, in that great Australian way, things seem to be slowing down as we approach the holiday season. I want to sit out on a breezy verandah and sip cool lemonade with a good book in my hands and the sun on my knees after a morning run. I am ready for nights filled with the smoky scent of barbecue heat, good friends gathered around the table, and walks down by the harbour with Chris under the cover of stardust. I am so grateful for this time of year when everything seems defrosted, and we start to prepare for time with family and friends under an endless summer sky.

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Monday:  tonight I was grateful for an easy evening, discussions about more travels (and soon) and the Gouda, oh the Gouda. See – Monday nights don’t have to be hard. Also lying in bed with Chris after dinner and watching a movie together. I am grateful that we can talk about anything, and also spend quiet time just enjoying each other’s company.

Tuesday: I am grateful that we got a report out the door on time and with minimal fuss so that I could go home, run, and then spend the evening with my darling and my parents while I made donuts for Chris to share with his work friends.

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Wednesday: a local café asked me to make some Halloween cupcakes for them so I started by baking some black velvet cupcakes! And they worked – I am grateful that the great baking gods of chemistry and Martha Stewart came together for a successful outcome.

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Thursday: I have the best bakery assistant in the world – my Mama. As long as I pay her in cupcakes and hugs she will happily construct and fill cake boxes and hold the icing bag while I fill it with frosting. I may bake some sweet things in the kitchen, but nothing compares to my Mum.

Friday: I am grateful that being a grown-up means that I can decide what to make for dinner. Simple: Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes.

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Saturday: Today brimmed with things to be grateful for. I had my long run (Week 2 of Cadbury Half Marathon Training), then went to the markets with Mama and a neighbour-friend, and then met up with Casey, Cassie and Melissa for some Italian hot chocolate at a gorgeous little shop. The evening brought round some time with a hard-studying Chris (ugh, devil maths) and a great vegetarian risotto at a new favourite restaurant (so much gluten-free stuff and flexible for vegetarians too!). Thank you to The Roman Empire Restaurant for a great meal and wonderfully knowledgeable staff members. As Chris and I pulled into the driveway a fireworks show started down by the harbour and we stood together in awe as the sky burst into colourful flowers of flame. A perfect end to a majestic day.

hydrangeas

Sunday: Mum, Dad, Molly and I went for a walk around the wetlands – just what I needed to recover from yesterday’s run. Then it was home for banana bread and fruit salad for breakfast, baking for a Pink Ribbon Morning Tea tomorrow, and then a Sunday afternoon nap on the couch.

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Now, I can feel my tummy rumbling and I have a fridge full of delicious farmer’s market produce to satisfy my desires. I am also reading a captivating book that I can’t wait to share with you later this week.

Tell me, what are you grateful for this week? Any baking exploits? (I feel like I have spent the week covered in flour, butter, and sugar) Any plans for Halloween?

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes for One (gluten free)

Halloween is less than a week away, so let’s talk about what scares us…

I’ll go first. I am scared of birds – all birds: chickens, magpies, budgies, anything with wings has me ducking (no pun intended) for cover. I am scared that one day my cat is going to realise that we are all scared of his awesome power and use it to take over the world. I am scared of spooky movies, that weird Kraft cheese that comes in a jar (how….why…), the chemicals in bug spray, taking the rubbish out to the bin in the dark, and crawling into bed alone. I am scared of snakes and lizards and things that crawl.  I am scared of life passing me by too quickly without me remembering to seize each day and put my mark on it somehow. I am scared of missing out on adventures, leaving some corner of the earth unexplored, of losing my love of letting go and getting gone.

DSC00984There is nothing scary about these pancakes though – apart from how healthy they are! I was inspired by a post I saved a little while ago by Top with Cinnamon, but in honour of the approaching spooky season I decided to give them a little pumpkin and spice treatment. These aren’t sturdy pancakes (like these), but rather delicate and light – a breakfast (or dinner – no judgement) that won’t weigh you down. Subtly spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, and although they contain banana they don’t taste like it. These Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes are a breakfast that nourishes that part of your soul that needs pancakes (I can’t be the only person who has this part) and nourishes your body without filling it up with excess sugar. Pancakes you can feel good about!

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Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes for One (gluten free)

This recipe was adapted from ‘2 Ingredient Healthy Pancakes‘ by Top with Cinnamon

Makes about 8 small pancakes (~3-inches across). Serves One. Choose your favourite toppings; I used berry jam and some sliced strawberries and topped the stack with some Greek yoghurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of cardamom
  • Toppings of choice ( see above)

Method

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the whole egg, egg whites, puréed pumpkin, banana, and vanilla essence until well combined.
  2. Sprinkle over buckwheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom and beat with a whisk until thick and fully incorporated.
  3. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and spray lightly with cooking oil.
  4. Spoon a small amount (I used about 2 tablespoons) of mixture onto the pan. Bubbles will rise to the top as the pancake cooks. Once most of these have popped (about one minute), flip over and cook for thirty seconds to one minute. Use a thin spatula as the pancakes are very delicate.
  5. Remove to a plate, keep covered until the rest of the batter is cooked.
  6. Pile up on a plate and top with your favourite pancake accessories. Perhaps try some honey, Greek yoghurt and berries, or for a weekend breakfast perhaps ice cream and maple syrup.

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So dear reader, tell me, what are you afraid of? Or, better yet, have I tempted you into making pancakes for breakfast this weekend?

The Best Buckwheat Pancakes Ever (My Dad Said So!)

My Dad is the kind of man whose presence fills a room. He isn’t a very big man, but his spirit is large and all-encompassing. He has that slightly old-fashioned thing called charisma. People are drawn to him as moths to a burning flame. At first sight, first sound, sometimes they mistake him for a ruffian, a blokey-bloke, a petrol-head, loud-mouthed blue collar worker. But those who dismiss him here miss the true Bob that lurks beneath. They miss his clever callused hands that can build or fix anything from a whole house (he has majorly renovated our home at least twice) to a broken gold necklace with tiny links. They miss out on the man who is my best food critic, who actually pays attention to the food you place in front of him, and will give you constructive advice on how to improve. A ‘good job’ or ‘very nice, bub’ is well-earned praise from a man who can make choux pastry and marshmallows to feed a hundred if he had to.

My Dad and Me.

My Dad and Me.

My Dad has the kindest green eyes – his eyes are the truth to the old chestnut of a person’s eyes being the windows to their soul. Always hidden behind the lenses of his glasses his eyes tell the true story of my Dad. He is an artist of design, a practitioner of aestheticism that varies widely in its focus and sees beauty in unexpected places, a voracious reader, a meticulous organiser, a hopelessly devoted dog owner (Molly outranks everyone in the house), and above all, he is my Dada.

Thank you Dad for all the ways you show your love to Jess and I every day – from sneaking extra pieces of cake into my bag because you know I have to eat every hour and a half, to building me a beautiful frame for hanging my herb pots, to giving hugs that cure everything and make all the bad things disappear. Thank you. I wish I could show you the million little brilliant points of light you shine into my day. I love you Dad.

Jess and dad

Dad and his littlest girl on her wedding day

Now, about these pancakes, the pancakes that did indeed earn praise from Dad on Father’s Day morning – they are sensational. Made from buckwheat, almond meal, and brown rice flour, they are naturally gluten-free so everyone can enjoy them (I wasn’t going pancake-less again!) and the perfect vehicle for your favourite pancake topping. I am a jam or honey girl myself (or Nutella, but I don’t keep it in the house for obvious spoon-scraping-the-bottom reasons); Jess is straight jam; Mum’s all about butter; Dad is a caramel sauce and ice-cream man; Chris goes for chocolate ice cream (that’s my man); while Trent is all about maple syrup and butter (very traditional). The pancakes themselves are fluffy inside and watching them puff gently while they are cooking is a pleasure in itself.

Here they come Dad

Here they come Dad

Best Buckwheat Pancakes Ever (gluten free)

One of the most wonderful things about making a big batch of pancakes on the weekend is the possibility of pancakes for snacks or breakfast the rest of the week. Just wrap individual pancakes tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Take out, unwrap and heat in microwave for about 30 seconds and serve with your favourite topping. They also make a great snack cold spread with jam, honey or butter – perfect for lunch boxes big and small. 

This recipe makes approximately 16 medium-size pancakes.

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams almond meal
  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (gluten free if required)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Method:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, almond meal, brown rice flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons caster sugar.
  2. In a separate medium-size bowl whisk the egg whites with remaining 2 tablespoons caster sugar until soft peaks form (check this guide if you are unsure). I used a hand whisk for this (great workout) but you can use a handheld mixer if you’d prefer.
  3. Measure milk into a small jug, add egg yolks and vanilla bean paste and beat until combined.
  4. Add milk mixture to flour and beat until a smooth batter forms.
  5. Add the egg whites and fold in with a large spoon until completely incorporated.
  6. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  7. Using a large ice cream scoop portion out pancake batter onto pan. Remember to leave plenty of room between pancakes for spreading and flipping.
  8. Cook for two minutes on one side. Small bubbles will begin rising to the uncooked surface. Once most of these have popped, flip the pancake and cook for another minute on the second side. Transfer to a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest of the batter.
  9. Once all pancakes are cooked serve with your favourite toppings.
Dad's pancakes in progress.

Dad’s pancakes in progress.

Dear reader, what makes your Dad special? Does he have a favourite breakfast or a hidden talent (like my Dad’s marshmallow skills)?

Bookends of Love and Pancakes

Sometimes Chris will drive over from his house to mine in the middle of the night – what a gift it is to have someone leave their cosy bed to join you just because they sleep better when they are holding you.

Even when we are staying under the same roof, I usually retire before he does; we are souls born for the opposite ends of the day: he is a night owl and I am an early bird. I don’t mind falling asleep by myself and he always comes in at the time of night I need him most: those middling hours where the threat of nightmare tends to dwell. I love to curl up within his arms. My body knows instinctively which way to twist and turn into his even in the depths of sleep. We dance under the covers throughout the night. Change positions as we get too warm, or an arm starts to cramp.

Choc-chip pancakes

Choc-chip pancakes

As he sneaks into bed late at night, so do I sneak out of bed in the early morning hours. We both have our bookends of the day where we find the best moments to nourish our souls as individuals, and those in-between to nourish us as a couple. I sneak out (with a kiss goodbye and a murmured reply) to run, or write, or visit the markets on the weekend, or to talk to Mum and Dad, or….to make chocolate chip pancakes for my still-sleeping Prince Charming. They are my gesture, my way of easing the hours of the day that he needs easing into. My way of starting the day with a show of love. Just as my darling ends the day that way.

Stacks on stacks of pancakes...

Stacks on stacks of pancakes…

These pancakes are fluffy, crispy on the outside. Once you pour the almond-vanilla-buttermilk dough onto the pan you need only wait about a minute before studding it generously with chocolate chips and then flipping it over to cook on the other side. Once you decide you want to make these you are only moments away from choc-chip heaven. I have even made these while doing dinner, cooled them on a cooling rack, and then packaged them in plastic sandwich bags to be taken for breakfast-on-the-run the next morning.

Sunday morning incarnation.

Sunday morning incarnation.

Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Pancakes

These pancakes will make you immensely popular. Make them on a Sunday while your loved ones sleep, or on a Wednesday night when everyone needs a pick-up on Thursday morning. This recipe makes about 12 medium pancakes (I measure out my batter with an ice-cream scoop – the easiest cleanest method ever). You of course, can make them larger or smaller as you wish. A half batch also turns out well.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams of plain natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 75 grams almond meal
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (or dark or white) chocolate chips

Method

  1.  Combine plain yoghurt, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Beat well.
  2. Whisk together flour, almond meal, caster sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add yoghurt mixture to dry mixture and whisk together.
  4. Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray. Use an ice-cream scoop to portion out batter onto the heated pan. I cook about three pancakes at a time because this is what fits on my pan.
  5. Allow to cook for one minute then stud the uncooked tops of each with the chocolate chips. Let cook for another half a minute then flip and cook on the chipped side for about a minute and a half.
  6. Remove cooked pancakes from the pan and serve right away with ice-cream (for Chris) or cream (or both like my Dad), and some chocolate sauce never goes astray either. Or allow to cool completely and then pack in sandwich bags.

Tell me, dear reader, is there an unspoken way you show love to your family or partner? Are you a pancakes-for-breakfast kind of person? 

Monday Night Dinner Date: Summer vegetable, herb, and cheese fritters (gluten free)

A Monday night. A quiet house. Just Chris and I and a beautiful summer night to spend in each other’s company. We lazed the afternoon away lost in books: food for me; sci-fi for him. There is great comfort in the company of someone who loves to read as much as I do. Both of us caught up in our separate worlds, but only a heartbeat away. I smile when he turns the page and reaches across to touch my hand.

The night hours draw close, and we start to think about dinner time. I move around the kitchen, chopping and beating and frying, and listen to laughter in the living room. It’s been a month, and I can’t believe the power that laugh has over me. The bacon sizzles in the pan. I watch ethereal strands of egg white change from translucent to opaque while he fetches beverages for us. We talk of travel, the places we have been, the places we are longing to go. We make plans for the upcoming Australia Day weekend. Talk about food and an Aussie-themed playlist to set the tone for the day. These are the everyday moments that make up a life. These are my everyday moments, and my life. I am learning even more about the way that the minutes that make up hours are the essential particles of our lives. The Monday night dinner dates are the precious moments that buoy us through the hours we spend apart. The company of the one we care for is the craving that keeps us moving through our day.

A walk in the park, hand in hand.

A walk in the park, hand in hand.

Summer vegetable, herb, and cheese fritters (gluten free)

Makes about 8 fritters. These are great the next day either warm or cold. I nibbled on some with a salad for dinner, and they are the perfect after school or lunch box snack for kids (and adults) too. Or try them as a weekend brunch when you need a sturdy start to the day.

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chickpea (besan) flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup corn (fresh or canned)
  • 1/2 cup peas (if frozen, defrost and drain well before using)
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Fritters, his style (before salad)

Fritters, his style (before salad)

 Method:

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the chickpea flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and herbs. In a small bowl whisk together the milk and egg.
  2. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. To the batter add the corn, peas, spring onions, zucchini, and cheddar cheese. Mix carefully to incorporate vegetables into batter.
  4. Heat a non-stick frypan over medium heat, and grease with a little spray cooking oil.
  5. Spoon about 1/3 cup of batter onto the pan for each fritter. Cook until golden brown. This will be about 1.5-2 minutes per side. Remove from pan to a covered plate to keep warm while you cook the remaining batter.
Fritters her style (sans bacon)

Fritters her style (that is, sans bacon)

Serving: I love having someone to cook for. Someone who loves food as much as I do. These fritters are a perfect ‘his and hers’ dinner. Given my vegetarian and gluten free requirements I like to make things that can be slightly altered or added to that will suit both of us. I poached eggs for both of us, and fried some bacon to accompany Chris’s fritter stack. Served with a freshly tossed salad we both had empty plates and happy stomachs at the end of our meal.

Tell me, dear readers, what are some of the everyday moments that stand out in your life? What make up the minutes, the moments, the strands of the fabric of your day?