When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chocolate banana pancakes (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

This morning we woke up to a blustery winter wonderland outside and the news that school would be closed due to the massive winter storm that had hit overnight.   School closures are rare here, so rare that before today, Will had never had an official "snow day" and Noah, as far as I can remember, had only ever experienced one. You can imagine the absolute joy and excitement in our house this morning when the boys realized that they suddenly had been given a free day at home. Last night Will went to bed with his pyjamas on inside-out and a spoon under his pillow, because his teacher had let his class in on a secret:  apparently if enough students slept that way, it just might bring about a snow day. When Will realized this morning that that was indeed the case, he danced around laughing and shrieking, "It worked!  It worked!".  I love that he still believes in that special kind of magic.

The day has so far seemed like a gift to me and to the boys.  We have nowhere we have to be and nothing that needs to get done right away, so we've had plenty of time for building forts out of sheets and painting pictures of robots and reading and playing happily out in the mounds and mounds of soft, fluffy snow.  This morning was also the perfect opportunity for me to try out a new chocolate banana pancake recipe I've been dreaming of since last week, because I had two eager taste testers home to help me.  These scrumptious pancakes are a modified version of our favourite hearty oatmeal pancake recipe -- they're made from wholesome ingredients and are free of gluten, dairy, and eggs.  Yum! 

Chocolate Banana Pancakes

1 1/2 cups certified pure oats
2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup ground certified pure oats (I use a Magic Bullet to grind them)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tbsp ground chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp warm water (stir and let stand to make a gel)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 mashed ripe banana

Pour the almond milk over the whole oats and let them sit for ten minutes. Sift the ground oats, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, and baking powder together, then add them to the oat/almond milk mixture and stir to combine. Add the chia seed gel, melted coconut oil, and vanilla, and mix well.  Fold in the mashed banana.

Ladle the batter onto an oiled hot griddle. Flip the pancakes when the edges begin to set, and then cook the pancakes on the other side until they are cooked through.  (This recipe makes approximately 12 pancakes.)

To serve these pancakes, I topped a stack of them with a dollop of cashew cream (you can find instructions for making that here), then added a few fresh strawberry hearts and a sprinkling of finely chopped dark chocolate and drizzled them with pure maple syrup.  Oh my.

Noah and Will gave a very enthusiastic thumbs up to these decadent (and still healthy!) chocolate pancakes this morning after they inhaled them.  The pancakes were a delicious snow day treat and would also make a perfect breakfast for Valentine's Day next week.  I hope you enjoy them too!

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