Saturday, March 28, 2009

Very good low fat pancakes

Usually I prefer savory breakfasts like eggs and bacon. But once a year or so I will wake up with a hankering for pancakes. Or, more accurately: a hankering for maple syrup. Sweet, delicious maple syrup. I could eat it by the spoonfull over the sink, but this morning I felt like breakfast would be probably a better idea. Pancakes it would be!

So I was looking for a pancake recipe that would be the perfect vehicle for maple syrup. Something not sweet, without any add-ins, but fluffy so it can soak up lots of syrup. I came across this recipe and tweaked it a bit to make it low-fat (because who needs extra fat in a maple syrup vehicle?) and it came out perfect. The extra step of whipping the egg white makes the pancakes extra-fluffy.

They were exactly what I was looking for (apologize for the quick iphone photo, I thought it would be better than none):


Anyway, here's the recipe, with my modifications:

Homemade Pancakes
(3-4 servings)

  • 2 Eggs (separated)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce (or oil, if you're crazy like that)
  • 1 cup milk (plus some for consistency)
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
-- Beat egg whites until stiff - set aside.

-- Beat egg yolks, add sugar and salt, beat in.

-- Add baking powder, beat until just mixed in well.

-- Add flour, milk, and oil. Beat until smooth(not too much otherwise the baking powder won't react correctly)

-- Add egg whites to batter and FOLD gently. Let batter sit for 15-30 minutes prior to cooking.


-- Heat up the pan to medium.

-- If your pan is nonstick, just brush the surface with a little oil, if your pan is regular, coat the bottom with oil.

-- When your pan is hot, decide how big you want your pancakes to be. I like small 2-inch pancakes, so I just use a tablespoon to spoon out the batter. But if you like bigger pancakes, get a 1/4 cup measure out, or maybe a 1/3 cup measure. This is so you can dump all the batter for one pancake on the pan in one go.

-- When you're ready to go, get a big heaping spoon of batter, and dollop it into the pan. Try to dollop it in the center and let the pancake spread out naturally, you will get the nicest edges this way. Remember: once it's down, it's down. DO NOT mess with the edges, etc, afterwards because you will have an ugly pancake. If two pancakes are touching, don't separate them at this point, just follow the next step.

-- Now, the hardest part: don't touch the pan, and let the pancakes cook undisturbed. DO NOT lift the pancake with a spatula to check how brown it is, you will just let all the air out of it. You will know the pancakes are done when the bubbles come up, burst, and the holes stay open, and when the edges look dry. At this point the pancake will be mostly cooked through, even though the top still looks wet.

-- When you are ready to flip, flip the pancake in one smooth motion. Again, if you mis-flip, just leave the pancake, once the batter hits the pan that is where it lives. Messing with it will just make it look worse. Here is where you might want to adjust your stove temperature, if your pancake is too brown or not brown enough. What you are looking for is a nice brown pancake that is cooked most of the way through. I find I have to adjust my stove temperature constantly throughout my pancake making, usually somewhere between 3.5 - 5 (med-low to med)

-- The second side shouldn't take nearly as long, since you should be mostly just browning the top at this point. You can usually see the edge where it is browning, take it out when it is brown enough.

When it is done, top with whatever toppings you prefer, brown sugar, butter, maple syrup, ice cream, or whatever you like! Enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The problem with diets

A friend of mine in Vermont recently won a free 6-week bootcamp, and I have been following her amazing progress ( cheering her on. In the process I have discovered her trainer Ben ( who is also inspirational, being formerly a "fat kid" who changed his life to become a fitness trainer.

While I think the intense daily workouts and strict diet plan is good for reducing and making a big change in my friend's life, I worry what will happen after these six weeks are over, because I believe that to sustain the weight loss over the long term, the changes have to be long-term as well. And I don't think this current boot camp plan is sustainable over the long term. Working out an hour a day with a trainer, who has the money for that? And carefully pre-planning every single meal? This is the problem with many diets, they are just not sustainable. While this is good for my friend right now as she wants to get down to a more healthy weight, she will need a new plan for the long-term to sustain her new lower weight.

To sustain weight over the long term, we must make small changes that we can truly keep on doing forever. These things will be different for each person, maybe someone could commit to only eat one plate of food every meal, not going for seconds. Someone else might decide they want to eat at least 50 percent of every plate full of vegetables. I personally commit to run one biggish race every year, and then train for that race, and that gets me more active than I otherwise would have been. Someone else might challenge themselves to buy one new vegetable each week, look it up on the internet to find a recipe, and cook it up to try and increase their vegetable intake. These small but sustainable changes will make a big difference in the long run, and they will make the difference between sustaining a weight loss or just going back to your old way of life, which would also give you your old body back.

Small but sustainable wins the game!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

roasted Cauliflower and asparagus sandwiches

I made this tonight (minus the egg because I wasn't that hungry) but it was SOOO good, would be even better with an egg on top!

Just the cauliflower/shallot puree is a great find! But I find the cauliflower takes more like 45 minutes to roast at 400 degrees. So delicious!

Also, for some reason, my ear is ringing.