Banana Pancake Saturday

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It’s sunny and a cool 68F outside. I’m seriously debating doing the laundry today, but I prefer slow Saturdays — one of only two days when I can wake up whenever I want to. Still, I was roused at 7:30am. It must be the bright sun outside my window, peering through the almost black out but not quite black out curtains. I stayed in bed. Then a call from Manila came — I begged off. I wanted to enjoy more of the morning in bed, just staying under the sheets.

I eventually walked to the kitchen at around 10am or so. I suddenly remembered I had a new batch of bananas arrive with Monday’s grocery delivery. These days, I order them to make them overripe for the next loaf of banana bread. Bad news from the scales notwithstanding, I decided to make banana pancakes for breakfast. The banana bread can wait until later.

I do the complete mix like most everyone else, but I usually jazz it up with Parmesan cheese when I feel like making Pancake House-pretend cheese pancakes. Or I would sandwich slices of Kraft Caramel in between regular pancakes. For banana pancakes, I use the following ratio:

  • 2 portions pancake mix
  • 2 portions water
  • 1 portion banana

For this batch, since it was breakfast for one (the boy sticks to cereal and milk or pretzels when it’s too late in the day), my “portion” was 1/3 cup. So I did

  • 2/3 cup pancake mix
  • diluted with 2/3 cup water,
  • then added 1/3 cup mashed bananas (which is approximately 2/3rds of a good size banana or all of a small one)

Using 1/3 cup batter, I came up with 4 pancakes.

Banana pancakes Saturday

I don’t know about you, but I’m nuts about Banana Nutella Pancakes. I try to sneak in a sliver or two of butter between the first pair of pancakes, then dress up the top pancake with some delicious Nutella. Can’t do without the chopped almonds on top!

Banana pancakes Saturday

For some reason, I love pecans with my banana bread, but almonds for the pancakes. Maybe it’s the texture of the bread or medium the banana is mixed in with.. Others would add whipped cream, but I prefer my pancakes slathered with heavy cream. Sinfully delicious!

Banana pancakes Saturday

I didn’t even put any syrup anymore because the Nutella took care of that, and if you ate this with more banana as pictured, the ripe slices will add enough sweetness. But that’s just me.

Banana pancakes Saturday

Breakfasts like this are a weekend luxury. Back when I was commuting to work in the city, breakfast meant coffee — and an occasional treat of a slice of banana bread or a bread pudding muffin. (Hence, the quest to make both while sheltering in place.). But the fancy pancakes on weekends was a treat I looked forward to these days when I am allowed some “Me” time.

It’s almost noon and the boy is still asleep. No surprise there. And wonder of wonders, I’m about to publish my second post of the day.

I have two boxes to assemble heading home. Then there’s the sewing and hopefully some jewelry making. I am ready to take a stab at stringing this fancy labradorite necklace I had bought stones for a year ago. Not that I can wear them anywhere right now — but crafting has always been a very good form of relaxation for me.

Here’s to a quiet and relaxing weekend for everyone.. try some banana pancakes when you can.

Banana pancakes Saturday

Weekend breakfast = “ME” time

Weekend breakfast: cheese pancakes
I’m writing this as I’m enjoying that stack of cheese pancakes I whipped up for brunch this Sunday.  I save the big breakfasts for the weekends when I have the time to actually cook one, and because I like to eat lightly during the week when I’m watching what I’m eating.  Breakfast then would be my regular iced coffee and a quarter cup of high fiber oat bran, mixed in with a third cup of warm skim milk and a dash of sweetener.  I let it sit for a few minutes to thicken and I end up with almost a half cup of my version of an oat meal breakfast.  Or I would occasionally pick up a bread pudding muffin from my favorite stop on my way up to work these days: Eli Zabar’s over at Grand Central Market.

Weekends, though, are different.  I wake up when I want to (unless my thirteen year old wakes up before me and requests for a special breakfast which is rare!  — waking up earlier and asking for a special breakfast, that is!). I would know what I was having the Friday before when I would make a “bread run” through my favorite bakeries in the city — say when I feel like whipping up some French toast (give me some real challah bread!) .. this time, I only picked up some tomatoes (craving my tomato scrambled eggs), and I knew I would have pancakes for Sunday.

Weekend breakfast: tomato scrambled eggs and iced coffee

And there are the weekends when I’m on my own, and I get to structure the whole weekend around me.  (Laundry time included.)

I love the complete pancake mixes.  (I don’t know what I would do without dear Aunt Jemima!) While I don’t mind having them as is, slathered in syrup and heavy cream, I make a fancier version by adding something along the way.  I grew up on Maya hotcake mixes, and I remember happily making pancakes for merienda (afternoon snack) for the entire family.  Of course back then, I used a carajay (our Filipino version of a wok) and had to mix the egg and water in and cook the pancakes using a touch of oil or butter.  Fast forward to now in New York where I’m a mom and after I actually discovered I could cook!  We have Aunt Jemima and our old reliable non stick pans for those gorgeous pancakes..

My favorite version is a decadent caramel pancake where I sandwiched sliced bits of caramel squares in between, or put a good layer on top and microwave to melt..  I had tried mixing in the caramel as slivers in the batter, but the caramel would melt and stick to my turner. Messy.  When you are simply adding the caramel, there is no adjustment to the recipe.  I follow the 1cup mix: 3/4cup water as prescribed by Aunt Jemima.  

It gets a little trickier when you are adding dry ingredients like shredded cheese or mashed bananas, because the consistency of the batter changes.  How much you add of your extra flavoring ingredient depends largely on how much you want to have that flavor present in your pancakes.  I go by the simple rule of thumb that if I’m adding something to flavor up my pancakes, I don’t want a hint of it, I want it present and adding oomph.

For cheese, I usually end up putting in a quarter cup to each cup of mix, and then I up the water to a full cup.  I use shredded cheese that comes in those packets and when I’m out of that, I would usually do two tablespoons of the grated Parmesan which is stronger in flavor.  Just a heads up that the cheese can add pungency to the pancakes, so sensitive noses beware!  Personally, I prefer cheese pancakes with corn syrup, and I do them with a generous bath of heavy cream.

Weekend. Real fast: cheese pancakes
Another nice addition to pancakes is bananas which will give you a banana bread-like flavor.  I mash up half a ripe banana to each cup of mix and again, up the water from 3/4 cup to 1 cup.  You want your pancakes to flow and settle on the pan and not be chunky and all clumpy.  Mashing the bananas will give you clumps, but you also need those to incorporate into the pancake mix seamlessly.  I try not to mash my bananas to too smooth a consistency because I like biting into my bananas as I eat my pancakes.  If you want only the flavor without the banana bits, then mash away to a smooth paste and watch it disappear into your batter.
Weekend breakfast: Banana pancakes
Finally, how about some red velvet pancakes?  There was a time I had left over red velvet cake which I needed to disappear quick before it started showing in my middle portion. Again, rule of thumb to add around a quarter cup of crumbled cake bits to every cup of mix, but with this one, no adjustment necessary for the water.  The cake comes moist and literally extends the batter without adding more dry ingredients that would stretch the liquid portion of the recipe. At least that’s how it worked for me.

There are so many ways to make breakfast for one a special treat to celebrate you.  We often get caught up making special meals for others that we forget we deserve the special treatment, too.  On weekends when all is quiet and I only have me to worry about, I give it the extra effort to create a special treat and take care of me.

Oui

Positive thoughts.  Woke up to a text message this morning that made me whisper those two words.  Oui. =)

One of my favorite words is “Yes”.  When Angelo was yet a toddler when “No” apparently became a favorite word, I would tell him I don’t like that word like I don’t like “cannot”.  So we heard more of  “yes” and “can”.

As I am a closet francophile, “OUI”, of course figures as a favorite word.  It tells me yes.  It says I understand and I’m okay.  I don’t know if it’s more of me saying that to myself or me just declaring it so I will be.  As Fe says, the universe is listening — and I’m listening to Fe.

Saturday morning pancake breakfast.  Oui indeed!  =)  I was getting lazy to mix up the batter and wait for the three pancakes to cook perfectly on the non-stick pan, but I looked at the sun shining so splendidly outside and I told myself it was a perfect weekend comfort food treat I couldn’t miss.  After assembling my pancakes (with tons of butter, heavy cream and maple syrup), I sat on the breakfast counter wrapped up in my own little world here and doing some “me” time, logged on, checked who was online (everyone out), if there were any new e-mails (none).  Just taking my sweet time and I drifted off to YouTube.

Just saw the official video of JASON MRAZ of a now favorite song, “I Won’t Give Up” whose lyric video I first saw and which I fell in love with.  I am officially a fan now.  The official video below is an even more profound masterpiece — you cannot argue with the power of human emotion onscreen, be it as still pictures or snippets of film.  If you had listened to the song and knew of it before watching the video, you’d love it and appreciate it even more after watching the clip below.

“And when you’re needing your space

to do some navigating,

I’ll be here patiently waiting

to see what you find.”

Oui.. =)

Personal Treat

I like weekends because breakfast is not a hurried production.  It’s also the only time of the week when I can whip something special up for myself after preparing breakfast for everyone else.  Today I decided I wanted pancakes.  Slathered with butter and topped with my favorite Harry and David Caramel Sauce — yum!  I would’ve loved to pour on some heavy cream but I’m all out.  Still, that was quite a treat.

I sat by the breakfast counter and had a leisurely breakfast while listening to music via YouTube.  It’s the start of a long weekend here on our side of the world, what with Martin Luther King Day being observed this Monday.  A much needed break, indeed.

It’s been a busy week at work and I am still adjusting back to being back from Manila — not so much jetlag-wise — I think I’ve pretty much recovered from that.  But more like adjusting back to trying to wean myself from pining for those three weeks of rest and relaxation with family and friends.

Work has been very hectic and will get even more hectic.  I can use as much of the weekend as I can get.

So after the espresso and the pancakes, I got another giant mug of coffee.  I sat, browsed the net, uploaded these pictures I took for this blogpost and just enjoyed the morning.

We often end up taking such simple pleasures like sitting down to take it easy forgranted, when it is probably the best remedy to a quick recharge more so after a busy week.  All week long, I’m the first to wake up and I start puttering around the kitchen getting my morning off to a start while it is still dark outside.  I get everyone’s breakfast ready and then I get down to getting myself off to work.  Everything is at a hurried pace that usually leaves me breathless by the time I walk out of the house.

Weekends afford me a chance to slow down, enjoy every bit of the exercise of getting breakfast ready, and actually fixing up a personal treat for myself like today.  At least during weekends — that’s good enough.  I can sip my coffee at leisure instead of doing it at my desk when I get to work.  I can stop and decide how the day will be instead of letting it roll out in rote fashion.