Fluffy Paleo Pancakes

I usually keep my comments on these short because I absolutely hate going to a website looking for a recipe only to read pages of commentary before we actually get to the recipe itself.

BUT…

For this recipe, I’m giving some commentary, because I think it’s important to know just what pancakes mean to this family. Finding a good recipe was almost an emotional boost.

My Poppa Miller, my maternal grandfather, was a master pancake maker. Master, with a capital M. One of the things I and my sisters looked forward to when we went to visit our grandparents was Poppa Miller pancakes for breakfast. Fortunately, my mother came in a good second place on pancakes, but nothing got us excited like packing the car for the trip south (North Idaho to the Bay Area) because we knew there were going to be Poppa Miller pancakes in the morning.

I can honestly say that I don’t know what made them so good. Poppa’s love sounds so corny, but that just about had to be it, because his recipe was the one on the back of the box of Bisquick, and no one else’s Bisquick pancakes tasted so good. He fried them in about a quarter inch of Crisco. There is no manna from heaven that was every so precious as those pancakes were.

The pancakes were such a part of our lives that when I talked to my children of my childhood, I always mentioned Poppa Miller pancakes. They were important enough to all of us that they warranted mention when I wrote his eulogy and read it aloud at his memorial service because I knew every cousin in that room would understand how important having those pancakes on Saturday mornings was.

No other food has left such an emotional scar on my soul. I’m actually crying as I write this, so I need to get to the recipe. No, they aren’t Poppa Miller pancakes, but they are very, very good, and I know I’ll be happy eating them as pancakes are something I was avoiding due to my Paleo leanings.

Mom found the original recipe on Nicole Hunn’s “Gluten Free on a Shoestring” site and tweaked it to our liking. You can find the original recipe here.

The recipe:

1 ½ cup almond flour
¼ cup tapioca starch or arrowroot
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup almond milk, room temperature
2 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted then cooled
2 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
2 Tablespoons honey

1. In a large bowl, add the first four ingredients and combine well

2. Make well in dry ingredients and add remaining ingredients. Whisk to combine. Set aside to thicken.

3. Heat griddle or skillet over medium-low heat. Adjust to your stove as you cook. Grease griddle with coconut oil

4. Use a quarter-cup measure to pour batter onto griddle. Turn over when bubbles start popping. It should be in 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook 30-60 seconds longer.

5. Top with your favorite toppings.

6. Enjoy

We had a way of eating pancakes that was guaranteed to get us odd looks, particularly in restaurants. It was my dad’s recipe, if you will. Instead of butter, spread each layer with peanut butter throw and over easy-egg on top (or fried for those who don’t like runny egg yolk), then pour on the syrup. We were very pleased to find that these pancakes hold up to having peanut butter spread on them, and Dad doesn’t use the stuff from jars anymore. His peanut butter is the hearty, fresh ground stuff. Now that I’m Paleo, I’ve switched the peanut butter out for fresh ground almond butter, but, yeah, I still throw that over-easy egg on top.

Buttery Crab Soup

I’ve gotten a lot of different and strange things as tips in my years as a hotel front desk agent. I’ve had boxes of candy, a fifth of vodka, a genuine linzer torte, and Starbucks. The strings, though, was when a group of hunters gave me a bag of five cooked and cleaned Dungeness crabs.

I ate one when I got home, but I did have that sense of “What am I supposed to do with these?” While I was at work the next day, Mom shelled them all, so I came home to a large dish of crab meat and endless possibilities. As it was chilly out, I opted for soup.

I love bisques, but I’m fundamentally lazy by nature. It was one thing to throw everything in a pot and call it soup, another altogether to have to actually work at it. I found a great paleo recipe for bisque on Jaime Hartman’s website, Gutsy by Nature, and then used most of those ingredients to make my own recipe. You can find the original right here. This is what I did:

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced to about 1/4 inch
1 med. white onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock or bone broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 lb shredded Dungeness crab meat.
Cayenne to taste (optional)

1. In a large soup pan, saute carrots, onions, garlic and Old Bay Seasoning in butter for about 10 minutes.

2. Add coconut milk and stock, then bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until carrots are soft.

3. Add lemon juice, crab, and cayenne (optional) and stir until all ingredients are hot.

4. Enjoy.

Be aware, if you use cayenne, that the cayenne increases in intensity as it sits. So the spiciness of the soup on day one will not be intense as the spiciness on day two, and so forth.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is the first one Mom and I worked on. We were in charge of snacks for church, but we had a visiting pastor whose wife had Celiac’s Disease and could not eat gluten. We looked at a lot of recipes, and it just seemed like so many of them were long and complicated. We found this recipe on the site “Detoxinista,” and you can find the original recipe here. We adapted it the way we liked it. I will post the warning that these are dangerous cookies. We literally ate half the batch “taste testing,” though one cookie was really all we’d have needed. The original recipe suggested these cookies were best at room temperature. They were so right. Let them cool before you eat them.

2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup butter
3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, salt, and baking soda, then add butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well.

3. Fold in chocolate chips. Roll a rounded tablespoon of batter into a ball and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove cookies and flatten with a fork until cracks appear on the edges. Return to over and back an additional 3 minutes.

5. Cool on tray two minutes then completely on a rack.

Makes 18 cookies.

Paleo Apple Pumpkin Butter

I love pumpkin. No, I really love pumpkin. I am not one of those fall-weather pumpkin spice junkies who dress in brown and beige while running off to Starbucks at the drop of the first leaf and then forgets it exists when Peppermint Mochas hit the menu. And, no, I don’t think there should be pumpkin spice everything. Pumpkin is something I have no trouble eating year round, though I will admit that it tastes better in the fall.

So, imagine my joy when my friend from Maine, Barbara Coffin, posted that she was making pumpkin butter, and better yet, IT WAS PALEO!!!

The original recipe Barbara was using came from a publication called Young Living for Life and their unaltered recipe, which uses essential oils, can befound, unaltered, right here.

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m NOT into essential oils. I’m one of those people who point and laugh and make fun of those of you who are (No hard feelings. It’s just for my entertainment.). So, needless to say, I don’t exactly have oils laying around the house to use for yummy spreads. I didn’t call on Mom this time but adapted this recipe on my own. Here’s how I made it.

15 oz. (1 regular can) of pure pumpkin puree
15 oz. unsweetened applesauce (I literally just poured the applesauce into the empty pumpkin can and then poured it into the sauce pan.)
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1. Mix all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.

2. Bring simmer over medium heat and let simmer for 45-55 minutes, stirring occasionally. I lowered my heat to medium low (set the stovetop on 3 rather than 5) about 20 minutes in. It pops all over the place, so stand back when you’re not stirring.

3. When you can pull the spoon out of the mixture and nothing drips off, it’s done. Spoon into little jam jars and cool before putting the lids on. Keep refrigerated.

4. Enjoy.

I think this is my new favorite topping for my Paleo pancakes.