"I don't have to tell you I love you. I fed you pancakes. "- Kathleen Flinn
I'm just in time to help you with Sunday morning breakfast on this long Thanksgiving weekend. Maybe you just said good bye to all your house guests. Maybe you are worn out from extended Black Friday shopping. Maybe you just need to feel like a kid again. Maybe it's dinner time and you forgot to plan a meal given the food coma you've been in for the last few days. For me, it was a call from my daughter to have friends for dinner. I had planned the last of the turkey day leftovers, but didn't have enough to spread around. I offered her the choice of grilled salmon or pancakes. Obviously pancakes won, hands down.
I have been making these pancakes for years and years. They smell so good, they are so light and fluffy. They are as easy to make as a boxed mix with the rewards of superior flavor and no artificial ingredients. If you are pancake lover, these are for you!
Best Ever Pancakes (Ever!)
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons golden flax meal (optional)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for griddle
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
mini chocolate chips-optional
grated apple tossed with a little cinnamon-optional
1. Preheat electric griddle to 350 degrees F. or heat stove-top griddle to medium heat.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and flax meal in a medium sized bowl; set aside
3. In a smaller bowl whisk together milks, melted butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour milk mixture into well.
5. With wire whisk, combine ingredients until combined, but not completely smooth. A few lumps are good. If too thick add in a tablespoon more of milk. Stir gently.
6. With a paper towel, carefully grease griddle with a little butter. It should sizzle, and droplets of water when dropped onto hot surface should sizzle and jump when ready.
7. With 1/3 cup measure, pour batter evenly onto griddle, shaping as necessary with cup. Drop on chocolate chips, wild blueberries or any other addition you may like at this point.
8. Cook pancakes until edges firm up and tiny bubbles appear on surface and underside is golden brown. Carefully flip pancakes and continue to cook, until done. It generally tends to take just a couple minutes per side, though your griddle may cook differently.
9. Serve immediately with butter and pure maple syrup for best taste (please don't use artificially flavored pancakes syrups-promise? Ok , we can stay friends). ; ) Serves 4-6.
tip: if using grated apple to flavor pancakes, roll grated apple in a couple sheets of paper towel and squeeze out excess moisture before tossing lightly with cinnamon. Unlike chocolate chips or berries, gently fold grated apple right into batter with rubber spatula.
Gluten-free Variation: substitute 2 cups of your favorite cup for cup gluten free flour for all-purpose flour in the recipe. I have had great luck with Bob's Red Mill cup for cup (blue label) gluten-free flour.
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it." -William Arthur Ward
I know I talked a little about gratitude in a recent post, but it is a subject that bears repeating. The other day I received a newsletter email from Hay House. Hay House, if you are unfamiliar, is a publishing house that deals in spirit lifting, life affirming and conscience-expanding products. The late Wayne Dyer is perhaps their best known author. So I am just going to share what Hay House summed up as easy ways to practice gratitude, not just now at Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. I promise you it will expand the goodness in your heart and your life. Why not give a few a try?
"1. Leave handwritten notes for loved ones around the house. It’ll be a pleasant surprise for them.
2. Walk through your home and give thanks to each room, meditate over the good memories created in each section of the house. Thank the furniture and appliances that help you.
3. Tell your pets how grateful you are to have their company in your life.
4. Donate old/unused toys and clothes to families in need or at local charities.
5. Thank your coworkers on the great job they’re doing.
6. Compliment the people you come across in your daily life. Compliments are small doses of gratitude that affect people in big ways.
7. Give thanks to nature. Take a walk and thank the trees on your street, the birds chirping or the bodies of water nearby. Relish in your natural surroundings. Breathe in the air and appreciate the life it gives.
8. When you eat a meal, give thanks to the food. Welcome how much it’s nourishing your body.
9. Share recipes and traditions with friends and loved ones. Have everyone contribute to the wonderful meal about to be shared on Thanksgiving. Share with them memories and good times you’ve had together. 10. Remember to thank yourself. Thank your body, thank your hard efforts and talents, and thank your spirit and existence in this world."
Gratitude- pass it on!♥
"Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili." -Harry James
I think fall officially left northern Colorado today. Brrr! It's so cold! Snow is in the forecast, wind and over-night low temps in the teens and twenties are showing up this week. I think I'll have no choice but to hibernate! OR I could make a big pot of chili and wait it all out. This is a recipe from my recent e-cookbook 10 best Poultry Recipes: Easy Chicken and Turkey Entrees for Everyday of the Week . I hope you'll give it a try. You can control the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of red chili flakes and deciding which intensity of roasted green chiles you use. I love to add in extra veggies like summer squash and even lima beans. What other add-ins would you choose?
My Favorite Turkey Chili
This is a staple in our house during the cooler months. We love it soooo much! It’s loaded with turkey and veggies and you can always add more (butternut squash or diced zucchini anyone?). I like to double or even triple the recipe so I always have some on hand in my freezer. Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list. Once all the ingredients are prepped, it goes together fast, then you basically simmer it and forget it. A single batch could be cooked in the crockpot all day as well.
2 ½ pounds ground turkey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups diced onions
4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 cup shredded carrots, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper chili flakes, or to taste
1 ½ tablespoons (4 ½ teaspoons) ground cumin
¼ cup chili powder
1- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1- 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 ½ cups low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
1- 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup fire-roasted diced green chiles
Salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup frozen corn, thawed (optional)
1. Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. As soon as pot is hot (a drop of water sizzles when it hits surface), place turkey in pot. Season with ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper. Cook, stirring often to break up meat, until browned, about 7 minutes. Remove turkey to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
2. Lower heat to medium and immediately pour olive oil into hot pot and stir in onions, garlic, carrots and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent. Stir in cumin, chili powder and chili flakes. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching.
3. Add turkey back into pot along with tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, chiles, broth and beans. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
4. Bring contents of pot to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for at least 90 minutes and up to 3 hours (I always go with the longer cooking time), stirring occasionally, Add in more liquid if chili appears too dry. OR place all contents into a crock pot except corn and cook, covered, on low for 8 hours.
5. If using corn, stir into chili during last 20 minutes of cooking. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 servings
Suggestions: Serve chili over rice, on top of a baked potato or as is in a bowl. Top with sour cream, thin slices of green onion and shredded cheddar cheese and/or pickled jalapeno slices. A big fat square of corn bread is always a good idea.
“Thanksgiving is a joyous invitation to shower the world with love and gratitude.” -Amy Leigh Mercree
Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away (wha?!!). Do you already have your menu planned? I know most families tend to stick with the tried and true favorites year in and year out. I'm always up for trying a new side or two, and would rather have brownies than a piece of pie, but that's just me. If you are like me about trying new sides (I mean how much green bean casserole can one consume in a lifetime?) then this just may be the recipe for you. I mean , how bad could it be? It has bacon! If not for Thanksgiving, try it another time. It would be a great side alongside roasted chicken or pork. You can even make it ahead and reheat it gently at dinner time, if you can't afford to sacrifice any more oven space. Many markets sell the squash already peeled and cubed this time of year if you need to save some work.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Bacon
2 pounds peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1 " dice (about 6 cups)
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
4 slices good quality, meaty, apple-wood smoked bacon, cut lengthwise in half and then diced (1/4")
1 1/2 cups diced onions
1/4 cup Extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt. approx
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, approx.
fresh thyme sprigs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12 x 18" baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In large bowl, place all ingredients, except salt and pepper. With clean hands, toss to combine well, breaking up any clumps of bacon as you go.
3. Spread squash mixture evenly over the two prepared sheet pans. Though it would all fit on one, you want the veggies to roast, not steam, so more space is better. Sprinkle each pan evenly with salt and pepper. Scatter thyme sprigs over top of each pan (5 or 6 sprigs per pan).
4. Place pans into hot oven. Roast veggies until slightly caramelized and bacon is cooked, about 25-35 minutes, rotating pans half-way though cooking from top to bottom.
5. Remove pan from oven and discard any thyme stems. Transfer hot veggies to a serving dish and top with a few fresh thyme leaves for garnish. Serve hot. Serves 6-8.
Got leftovers? Spoon leftovers into your favorite burrito-sized flour tortilla along with some cooked rice and shredded Colby-Jack cheese for a fun veggie-centric burrito. Heat gently in microwave or oven to heat through and melt cheese. Happy Thanksgiving feast!
I don't know about you, but some days I don't really want to fuss too much over dinner. In my house we love breakfast for dinner or any other time of the day. Frittatas are one of those fairly quick to make dishes if you have any leftovers lying around, and not so difficult even if you don't. The variations are many and the rules are not so hard and fast. The only thing to really remember is to use pre-cooked meats and veggies and to make sure the "Add-ins" cover the bottom of the skillet. Don't like potatoes? leave them out. Don't want meat? Add in more veggies. The sky is the limit! Cheese is totally optional, too. So you see, frittatas are way easier than making omelettes, and best of all, they are good even straight out of the fridge. So you can make dinner and have leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day. Why not give it a try?
Ham and Tomato Frittata
18 large eggs
3 small (2 1/2 inch diameter, approx.) Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled, cubed and cooked
1 cup diced, smoked ham (from the deli or leftover)
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded
1 1/2 cups cherry or cherub tomatoes, halved
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons basil leaves cut in chiffonade (roll together and cut into long thin strips)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs with salt and pepper until very well mixed; set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a well seasoned, 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until sizzling. Add in onions and red bell pepper. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add in potato and ham and cook, stirring, until just heated through.
3. With a spatula or wooden spoon, gently pat ingredients into an even layer in skillet. Sprinkle tomato halves and basil evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.
4. Give eggs a good whisk and then immediately pour evenly on top of the ingredients in the skillet. Continue to cook on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes until the edges just begin to show signs of setting. Remove from heat and place in the oven. Cook for 12-15 minutes more, until top of frittata feels firm when touched with the palm of your hand (of course it's hot so don't linger over this). You don't want to over-cook the eggs or it will be rubbery.
5. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Cover the handle of the skillet with a towel or pot holder to remind you that it's HOT!
6. Slice into 8 pie shaped pieces and serve. Wrap any cooled leftovers in plastic wrap and refrigerate. . Eat leftovers cold or warm gently on medium heat in the microwave.
Anther combination we love- Sausage, Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper:3 cooked, crumbled mild Italian sausage links, 1 cup thinly sliced leeks, 3 small potatoes(peeled, diced and cooked), 1 roasted red pepper (stemmed, seeded and diced), 3/4 cup chopped spinach (frozen thawed and squeezed dry), 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheeses, 2 tablespoons oil packed sun-dried tomatoes (drained and diced). Follow cooking instructions above.
"Pumpkin spice and everything nice, that's what fall is made of." -unknown
A week or so ago, I was shopping at my local Trader Joe's store (do you have Trader Joe's near you? Isn't it just the best?!!), when I walked by a big display of Pumpkin Butter. At first I just noticed and continued walking, and then a bolt of inspiration hit me. Mind you I had never even tried pumpkin butter before. I had no idea of the actual consistency or flavor profile, yet I bought a jar. Why? Something in my head said Pumpkin Butter-Pecan Blondies would be a good idea. And guess what? It was! These blondies are so good. You are going to love them. And you know what? If you or your loved ones are not of the pie for Thanksgiving ilk, these will make the perfect Thanksgiving or anytime fall dessert (a la mode would NOT be a bad thing). Obviously I developed the recipe with the Trader Joe's brand of pumpkin butter, but 10 ounces of any pumpkin butter should work. Are you ready to get baking? Oh, and the house is going to smell so good, too (bonus!).
Pumpkin Butter-Pecan Blondies
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped*
1-10 ounce jar pumpkin butter (I used Trader Joe's brand)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Spray foil-lined pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
2. Combine flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.
3. Cream together butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.
4. Reduce speed, add in egg and vanilla. Return to medium speed and mix until well combined.
5. On low speed, stir in flour mixture just until a few white streaks remain. Stir in chopped pecans.
6. Divide batter in half. spread half of batter evenly over bottom of prepared pan with an off-set spatula. It will be fairly thin.
7. Spread pumpkin butter over the batter but not all the way to the edges. Drop the remaining dough as evenly as possible over the top of the pumpkin butter.
8. Using off-set spatula and your clean fingers, carefully flatten/spread batter to cover pumpkin butter as much as possible. It will spread more upon baking. No need to cover all the way to the edge.
9. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until done and top feels firm (not hard) to touch when pressed with your fingers.. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. Makes 9 bars. Store in refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature, if you can, before devouring.
*To toast pecans, spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 8-10 minutes until just fragrant. Watch carefully. nuts go from perfect to burnt in no time flat. Allow to cool completely before using.
"If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is 'thank you,' that would suffice." - Meister Eckhart
You may have been wondering why I call this site Wonder and Gratitude, yet have not written much about either. Well, the honest answer is that I am still finding my "blog voice." Food is what comes most effortlessly to me and so that is easy to share. My inner self, however, is much more difficult to divulge. IS that true for you, too? I expect things to gradually evolve, and one day I'll surprise even myself by suddenly knowing exactly what I want to say and actually be able to say it. In the meantime here is just a little insight into how I feel about gratitude.
Yesterday I saw this cute little art piece by Lindsay Ostrom. Don't you just love it?!
Her art is super cute and her lettering is magnificent. I dream of being able to letter like she does. Anyhow, her little art piece reminded me, this month of Thanksgiving, that the past two years I made it a point to post a daily gratitude quote on my Facebook page for the entire month of November. I loved searching for the perfect quote that reflected how I felt about gratitude. I think the one above is my all-time favorite.
I first learned about gratitude as an intentional practice from Oprah years and years ago. In the time since, I have had an on again, off again gratitude practice. I write in journals, put notes in a gratitude jar and/or make a point of listing things I am grateful for out loud every night as I lay in bed about to go to sleep. Thank you, thank you, thank you! The magic of all or any of these practices is that when I am feeling especially challenged, defeated or sad, defaulting to gratitude always makes me feel better, if only momentarily. The thing is, even in my darkest, most difficult days (and I have had a whopping share of those) there is always, always something to be thankful for. As the author Ilan Shamir says in Simple Wisdom: A Thousand Things Went Right Today , "my fork performed beautifully." Yeah, sometimes that's all I've got, so I go with it.
Earlier this year, I discovered a project from Australian photographer Hailey Bartholomew. She has a wonderful TedTalk about her gratitude project, #365grateful, and she went on to make shorts about others. One I particularly love is about the artist Lori Portka, and her project to create and gift 100 pieces of art in gratitude. It's beautiful. Both of these influenced me to try my own #365grateful project. I thought it would make me have to be more present to the things in life I am thankful for. Everyday I'd have to be on the look-out for that one thing. I am photo-documenting it on Instagram if you care to have a look. So far I am on day 152/365. It has been fun. It has also come amidst one of the more challenging times in my life. I appreciate the distraction the gratitude brings. It's a shot of happiness and blessing that uplifts me no matter what. The hard things in life are really, really hard. Sometimes they are so hard I think I will explode from the pressure of it all. At the same time life is really beautiful.....or as Glennon Doyle Melton says, "Life is Brutiful," and I am grateful to live it.
A few of the things I have been grateful for so far- a weekend in New Hampshire celebrating the wedding of my niece, the gift of an art class with Junelle Jacobsen that changed my creative life forever, and of course, my kiddos.♥ What are you feeling grateful for today? I hope you noticed something today and I'd love to know what it is!