Thanks, everyone, for all your wonderfully supportive and encouraging comments about the osteopenia diagnosis. I’ve been boning up on the topic (sorry-ouch) and have some great recipe ideas to share in the next while (and even one today). I’ll also get to my responses asap. . . sorry I’ve fallen behind a bit!
Last week, out of nowhere, I made a monumental resolution. Flushed with excitement, I rushed home from work and announced to the HH, “I have a great idea. I think we should be more spontaneous from now on.”
He appeared flummoxed (this happens all too often when I make my pronouncements, it seems). “Okay, so now we’re making plans to be spontaneous?”
Hmmn. I SO hate it when he’s right.
“Well, how about this, smarty pants?” I countered. “I went grocery shopping today and I spontaneously bought these overripe tomatoes on sale, even though I had no specific plans to cook anything with them.” Touché!
“Oh, well, then, that settles it,” he capitulated. “You’ve convinced me. Okay, let’s go to Paris for dinner!’
Foiled again. But did he have to look so darned smug about it?
Well, this past weekend, I am proud to say, I did manage some spontaneous fun. My friend Eternal Optimist rang me late Friday afternoon with an invitation for the HH and me to attend a show at the local Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club–to which she just happened to have free passes!
Well, without a second’s hesitation, I told her, “Um, I’ll just have to call and check with the HH to be sure he hasn’t booked anything else. Oh, and then I’ll have to walk The Girls. Oh, and feed them. Oh, yeah, and after that, I’ll just finish cooking tonight’s dinner before I wrap up a few things for work–but hey, if I can manage to get all that done before the show tonight, then heck, YEAH! I’M THERE!” Whoo-hoo! I love this unfussy, impromptu, last-minute socializing!
Okay, I’ll concede that I may not be the most spontaneous person in the world–but with good reason. In the faraway days of (non-alcoholic) wine and roses–in other words, high school–my best friend Sterlin was sleeping over at my house one late-October weekend when my parents were out of town. As we sat, eyes transfixed on the TV (I think Dallas was on), our friends Gary and Jackie dropped in unexpectedly (how spontaneous of them!). They invited us out to the local Dunkin Donuts. It was late; we were tired; but then, they made us an offer we absolutely could not refuse:
“Okay,” Jackie challenged, “If you two come out right now as you are, the donuts and coffee are our treat. ” Had we heard correctly? TREAT? No matter that our garb at the moment was our flannel nighties; no matter that it was 11:15 PM; FREE donuts? FREE coffee? We flung a blanket round our shoulders and hopped in the car!
Once there, of course, the rules changed (these were, after all, seventeen year-old boys.) “Okay, we’ll still treat you,” Gary announced, “but you have to go in there without us and buy the donuts.” In our nighties. With a blanket wrapped around us. Would we possibly be that gullible? Well, we were, after all, seventeen year-old girls.
I’m sure you’ve guessed the end of the story. The second we exited the car–scree-eech!–they were off like–well, like two seventeen year-old boys in their father’s car. And we were left abandoned, streetlights trained on us like the spotlight at a prison lineup, at 11:30 at night, in the middle of Dunkin Donuts’ parking lot, wearing flannel nighties and a blankie.
So you see why I’m perhaps a bit spontaneity-shy these days.
Despite my adolescent trauma, I did end up joining the EO on Friday–solo, as it turned out, since the HH was felled by a major cold and didn’t feel up to it. It was actually a most enjoyable evening: the show was hilarious and I really appreciated being able to share some long overdue “Gal Time” with my buddy.
This morning, browsing through my Google Reader subscriptions, I came across this mention of Dreena Burton’s Carob Pancakes on Trust My Intuition’s blog. The description of these was so enticing that I decided–entirely extemporaneously!–to whip up a batch of my own devising. I vaguely remembered learning in nutrition school that carob is (surprisingly) high in calcium; so, with my newfound attraction to all things spine-supporting, I threw together a combination that was both appealing and brimming with bone building nutrients.
The resulting pancakes were extraordinarily light and fluffy, with a cakelike texture (versus the sometimes damp, heavy griddle cakes you’re served in restaurants). Carob on its own is slightly sweet, so you may not feel the need for maple syrup on these; in fact, we had ours with syrup, and I could easily have omitted it (if you spread with almond butter instead, you’d be adding even MORE calcium!). The carob flavor is subtle and melds beautifully with the soft pockets of sticky, luscious date. (and don’t worry–even if your dates are stiff to begin with, the cooking process will soften them). For nutritional info, see my calculations after the recipe instructions.
I adored these pancakes. Made with carob, they were even safe for The Girls to taste a bite or two. (“We loved those pancakes, Mum! Let’s have pancakes every day!”) Unfortunately, the poor HH couldn’t really taste these at all, since his congested sinuses have dampened his sense of smell. (“Sorry Dad’s sick–but since he didn’t like them, can we eat his, then?”)
I may not be having dinner in Paris any time soon, but here in Toronto, these made one very delicious–and spontaneous–breakfast. One that would beat Dunkin Donuts, any day.
Carob and Date Pancakes
Feel free to change the fruits in these cakes if you prefer something else. Next time, I’ll likely make these with chopped prunes, as I’ve been told they’re also good for improving bone health (thanks, Andrea!) P.S. When I said these are light and fluffy, I meant it–that’s only 3 pancakes in the photo, above!
1-3/4 cups plain or vanilla soy milk
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) ground flax seeds
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. (60 ml.) sunflower oil or other light-tasting oil
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) pure maple syrup
2/3 cup (165 ml.) chopped dates
2 cups (280 g.) whole spelt flour
3 Tbsp. (45 ml.) carob flour or powder
1 Tbsp. (30 ml.) baking powder
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) baking soda
1/4 tsp. (1.5 ml.) sea salt
1/4 tsp. (1.5 ml.) ground cardamon, optional
chopped pecans, for garnish
In a small bowl, combine the soymilk, flax seeds, vinegar, oil, maple syrup and chopped dates. Set aside while you measue the dry ingredients, or at least 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, carob powder, baking powder, soda, salt, and cardamon, if using. (Note: even if you don’t normally sift your flour, you should sift the carob powder, as it tends to clump up in the batter otherwise, leaving little lumps of carob).
Pour the wet mixture over the dry and mix well. It may seem a bit thin; this is as it should be.
Heat a frypan over medium heat; spray with olive oil or nonstick spray. Using a 1/4 cup (60 ml.) measuring cup or an ice-cream scoop, scopp the batter (taking care to include a few bits of date in each cupful) and pour onto hot pan. Spread a little with the back of the scoop to create an even thickness.
Cook the pancakes until bubble break on the surface and the outside edge is dry and just beginning to brown (3-4 minutes). Flip and cook the other side 2-3 more minutes. Repeat until all the batter is used. Makes about 12 pancakes. Garnish with chopped pecans just before serving, if desired. These may be frozen.
NUTRIENT ANALYSIS: [Note: I used this program to determine the nutrient content (does anyone know of a better one?). Since it doesn’t have spelt flour OR enriched soymilk as options, these numbers used whole wheat flour and plain soymilk; the calcium–and most other nutrients–will increase if you calculate with spelt and enriched milk.]
Per serving of 2 pancakes: Calories: 330; Protein: 8 grams; Fiber: 9 grams; Calcium: 215 mg.
[This recipe will also appear in my upcoming cookbook, Sweet Freedom, along with more than 100 others, most of which are not featured on this blog. For more information, check the “Cookbook” button at right, or visit the cookbook blog.]