We have a treat for you today! How many of you loved the chocolate chip pancakes at IHOP when you were a kid? You know who you are so please don’t pretend that you can’t remember that radiant whipped cream smiley face with those bright cherry eyes. You would look forward to it every time, and since it was a special treat for the weekend, your parents allowed you to order it. And as you enjoyed the fluffy pancakes dotted with melted chocolate, you would tell yourself, “When I’m a grownup, I’m going to have chocolate for breakfast every day!” Well today is a beautiful morning, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and we are feeling nostalgic. We decided to celebrate this gorgeous Spring day with something sweet. Something that would make our younger selves quite proud: crispy banana waffles drizzled with hot nutella syrup.
We have been looking forward to this week for a long time. Our ten-year old niece, Stella is flying down from Portland to stay with us! While one of the days will be spent at the happiest place on earth with thunderous mountains, Caribbean pirates and fantasy lands, we were also excited by her request to garden and cook with us, specifically matzo ball soup which she has never tried before. Now is the perfect time of year to be outdoors and to start planting seeds like tomatoes and basil, so we can’t wait to spend time gardening together in this pleasant sunshiny weather. When coming up with fun activities to do while she is here, we couldn’t help but also pick out a few delicious meals that we could prepare during her first solo California vacation. Pancakes quickly made the top of our list for breakfasts, and as we were looking up our favorite recipe in the Joy of Cooking, we noticed a lemon poppyseed version on the same page. Our impulsive curiosity led us to test these out for dinner the other night, and we were richly rewarded with a stack of hot golden pancakes—soft, fluffy, lush with lemon flavor, speckled with poppy seeds, and topped with a generous swirl of sweet honey butter. Breakfast for dinner never tasted so good.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! This is going to be a short post. We wanted to share something super quick and easy that you could whip up today in no time at all. This rich and creamy shake is dreamy and delicious and takes less than five minutes to prepare. It is cool, minty, and tastes like a decadent dessert, but in fact it is made without any ice cream, and the vibrant green comes from all-natural ingredients—not a drop of food coloring to be found! Made with frozen bananas, honey, vanilla, and almond milk, all the ingredients are mixed in a blender with fresh mint leaves and a splash of mint extract for an extra lift. The beautiful green color comes from matcha and spirulina which also give this smooth drink a slight pick-me-up as well as a boost of nutrients! This refreshing treat was inspired by today’s holiday, but this minty matcha made in heaven shake will be enjoyed throughout the year. Whipped cream is optional, but highly encouraged. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
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Matcha Made in Heaven Shake
2 bananas, sliced and frozen (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups almond milk
8 large mint leaves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon matcha powder (see note)
1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder (see note)
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
whipped cream (optional)
Combine the frozen bananas, milk, mint leaves, vanilla, matcha, spirulina, mint extract and 1 tablespoon of honey in a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness and add more honey as needed. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of matcha powder, if desired. Enjoy!
— To freeze the bananas, slice them and place the slices in a resealable plastic bag in a single layer, then lay the bag flat in the freezer until frozen.
— Matcha and spirulina powders can be found in natural food stores, and both are available online.
— To make this vegan, replace the honey with agave syrup or other vegan sweetener.
Although we didn’t get a white Christmas while visiting Portland, we had an unexpected white New Years in Los Angeles. On the first day of January, we traveled above the city where everything is peaceful and quiet and the air is clean and smells like fresh pine. We are so lucky to be just thirty minutes from The Angeles National Forest with gorgeous mountains and countless places to explore, stretching over 1000 square miles of uninhabited land. We found ourselves strolling through icy trails lined with beautiful manzanitas and majestic oaks still dusted with snow from last week’s brief rains. The hike began at 4500 feet, and while we were expecting chilly temperatures, we had no idea that we would be walking in snow! But the sun was out, it was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed peanut butter and honey sandwiches sitting on a boulder on the side of the trail while soaking in the sun’s rays. After a brief drive back into civilization, we came home to put the final touches on an original new recipe, a warm and comforting skillet of tender cauliflower, sautéed leeks, diced tomatoes, bright red chard, and poached eggs nestled between the vegetables, which is topped with deeply toasted pine nuts and a dollop of lime-infused Greek yogurt: say hello to winter shakshuka.
Smoothies are a fun way to start the day, and this delicious and ultra-creamy peanut butter banana smoothie could not be easier to make. With just six simple ingredients, this refreshing drink is packed with protein and vitamins, and comes together quickly in under five minutes giving your more time to lay in bed get your day started. Each glass contains an entire banana giving you a full serving of fruit, plus a dollop of creamy peanut butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a hint of vanilla, all blended with cold refreshing almond milk and a drizzle of honey for sweetness. Your taste buds may tell you that you’re drinking a rich and indulgent peanut butter banana milkshake, but they don’t have to know that in fact, you are enjoying a healthy and delicious breakfast.