Buckwheat Pancakes (Inspired by The Long Winter)

Buckwheat Pancakes

By Katie Mae, of Nourishing Simplicity

Fluffy buckwheat pancakes dripping with butter and brown sugar syrup are the perfect winter breakfast.

The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder are near and dear to my heart. My mom had read the series twice through to us by the time I was eight and I read them as my first “big books” when I was nine. To this day they are my favourite children’s series.

I love the stories Laura wove of her family’s adventures and trials as pioneers, making their stamp in history.

I am and always have been drawn to the passages about the food they prepared. The stories are a traditional foodie’s dream as they transport you back to a day when it was common knowledge that cows should eat grass that produces rich yellow cream, that freshly rendered lard should a kitchen staple, and that white sugar is only for special treats.

Over the years, I have created many recipes inspired by Laura’s famous classics such as lemonade, sourdough biscuits, and corn meal mush. One I recently added to my repertoire is buckwheat pancakes. Buckwheat pancakes were a meal that Laura’s future husband Almanzo and his brother Royal served Pa when he braved the bitter cold in the book “The Long Winter” to buy wheat for his starving family.

Almazno and Royal were eating supper. Almazno had stacked the pancakes with brown sugar and he had made plenty of them. Royal had eaten halfway down his stack, Almonzo was nearing the bottom of his, and one tall stack of two dozen pancakes, dripping melted brown sugar, was standing untouched when Pa knocked at the door.

“Come in, Mr, Ingalls! Sit up and gave some pancakes with us!” Royal invited him.

“You boys certianly live in the lap of luxury,” Pa remarked. The pancakes were no ordinary buckwheat pancakes. Almazno followed his mother’s pancake rule and the cakes were light as foam, soaked through with melted brown sugar”

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I may not know Mother Wilder’s secret but these delightful buckwheat pancakes are still light as foam. The lightness comes from the overnight soaking, and the baking soda interacting with the acid in the yogurt (or other soaking medium).

Buckwheat pancakes have a decided tang that comes from the grain itself. For this recipe, I used  part freshly ground buckwheat and part freshly ground whole wheat flour. You can use only buckwheat for a gluten-free option but the pancakes will not be a light. These are perfect paired withAlmanzo’s favourite fried apples and onions and breakfast sausage.

Fix yourself a plate and dive in while enjoying the warmth of your home, instead of a tiny claim shanty like Laura’s family lived in.

Resources:

(Amazon links are affiliate) 

Buckwheat Pancakes Inspired by The Long Winter

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups yogurt/buttermilk/dairy kefir/coconut milk kefir
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sucanat (or unrefined sweetener of choice)
    1 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoons unrefined salt

Directions:

1, In a large mixing bowl combine the two flours, yogurt, and water. Mix thoroughly and cover with a cloth. Allow the batter to set on the counter for 12 to 24 hours.

2. Add the sucanat, eggs, baking soda, and salt to the batter. Mix until smooth.

3. Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Pour the batter on the skillet to create the size pancakes desired.

4. Allow the cakes to cook for about two minutes or until bubbles form over the cake. Flip the cake and cook on the other side for about one minute.

5. Repeat until all the batter has been used.

For The Love of Food and Books- Buckwheat Pancakes Inspired by The Long Winter
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups yogurt/buttermilk/dairy kefir/coconut milk kefir
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 TBS sucanat
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp unrefined salt
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the two flours, yogurt, and water. Mix thoroughly and cover with a cloth. Allow the batter to set on the counter for 12 to 24 hours.
  2. Add the sucanat, eggs, baking soda, and salt to the batter. Mix until smooth.
  3. Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Pour the batter on the skillet to create the size pancakes desired.
  4. Allow the cakes to cook for about two minutes or until bubbles form over the cake. Flip the cake and cook on the other side for about one minute.
  5. Repeat until all the batter has been used.

 

Merry Christmas (Harris Christmas Letter 2015)

Merry Christmas letter

Merry  (Belated) Christmas Everyone!

It has been quite the year for the Harris crew – like every year. Or more accurately, like every year with children.

By far the biggest event we experienced was adding our dear little Larkin to the family in February. She has been a joy, a blessing, a handful, and a head full of curls and mischief. We love her to bits, and she was worth every moment of morning sickness and the work of labor, and the long months of recovery. She has been our first true baby extrovert, and has loved visiting with other people and eating food far earlier than our other two.

While perhaps you’d think that after all of the morning sickness, and long birth recovery, we would have kept things simple. But I was SO happy to be feeling more like myself that I felt it was time to make sure the other two girls (now nine and five) got the opportunities they wanted after a slow year for them.

Both did soccer for the first time this year. Aria, four when she started the program, was absolutely adorable and determined, even when she was feeling nervous. She would put on her “game face” which was fierce, and attack the ball. She also very politely would allow others to take the ball if they so desired (this is what happens when your children are good at sharing!). Elena, our now nine year old, threw herself into a team experience – most of whom had been playing for several years. She buckled down and learned the basics quickly, and really worked hard to put herself out there and learned and improved so much! We are proud of both of them for trying out new things, and being willing to work hard at them. It was truly an inspiration to us.

It also gave their parents a good opportunity to be sport parents (not something we were expecting!). The tension during games is real, people.

They also continued their ballet lessons this year. It’s a small studio and perfect for our girls. They love it! Joel’s mom was a professional ballet dancer, and that has provided extra motivation for them to learn ballet. At the Christmas recital this year, Elena showed so much improvement and grace that she brought a couple of moms to tears as they remembered Joel’s mom, who passed away five years ago. We miss her still.

One of the unexpected things that happened was making a sudden move from the house we were renting. For various reasons, our basement had gotten very moist, causing mold issues. It was hard. We ended up finding a new place to rent and moving in a short period as it was causing some health issues for some of us in the family. It was a very stressful time, having a newborn baby, trying to pack up a house, and having to sort through a lot of moldy stuff while being concerned about the health issues of mold. It was sometimes emotional – we had to throw away the majority of our baby clothes I had saved for Larkin. We had to get rid of the majority of our Christmas stuff as well – including very nice stockings, and a lot of homemade ornaments. As soon as we made the move, I had a health collapse that was likely caused by the stress of the move and mold exposure. It included very sudden adult onset allergies, and chemical sensitivities that caused me to react to just about everything. Someone’s perfume, or the dryer sheets they used on their clothes would cause tears to run down my face, and my neck to start burning. A new fan’s off gassing caused red streaks to appear on my face. I felt like I was going to have to live in a bubble the rest of my life. During that time, our children were mourning the friends and neighbors they left behind.

But if that was the night, dawn started to appear. The community in the building we moved into has been incredibly supportive and kind, and we have made new friends here. Our apartment is small, but adequate. As time marched forward, being out of the house with a mold problem quickly reversed some issues one of my children was having, and my symptoms very slowly started to go away. We are still working on rebuilding my health especially, but great progress has been made (I can now go out in public with hardly ever having a reaction!). While the move was hard in many ways, it was so obvious that it was the right move to make, and we are thankful for that clarity. It has been clear to us that while life can seem to be spiraling into confusion from our perspective, God is gently leading us still.

Yes, there were difficult moments this year when we wondered what the future held, but there were far more moment of joy and thankfulness.

This Christmas we plan to gather around our small, but beautiful Christmas tree to open gifts bought with love for each other. Yes, our stockings may be dollar stockings and not our nice knitted ones from the past, but our love for each other is constant and not something to be taken for granted. My heart is full of thankfulness. And so I can genuinely say,

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Kimi

12 Kitchen Gifts or Stocking Stuffers $10 or Under!

12 kitchen gifts or stocking stuffers for ten dollars or less
Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Here are some fun kitchen stocking stuffers or mini gifts – all of which are $10 or under! Whether you want to stuff a stocking, or a small gift for a friend or gift exchange, this list could have some great ideas for you.

I tried to keep with the type of kitchen items that we actually use in our own house, as no one needs useless kitchen junk cluttering up their kitchen. These are both useful and fun!

While most of them are adult-centered, there are some fun kid-friendly items too.

You may be able to find many of these items at local stores otherwise you can order them using the links below to my affiliate Amazon.

Two quick notes: Click on any of the photos or links to see the item (and reviews) on Amazon. Prices are reflected from when this post was written, and may change.

Silicone Mold, Mini Heart, $4.49

I love, love, love silicone molds! I use them to make homemade chocolates and gummies using nourishing, real food ingredients. The above mold is lovely for making your own gummy hearts or mini chocolates! How fun.

 

Whiskey Ball Mold, $8.99

These Whiskey Ice Molds have two things going for them. They are really cool looking, and they melt much slower than regular ice cubes allowing your drink to be chilled without getting watered down by melting ice.

Paper Straws, $4.99

We have left plastic straws far behind! We love paper straws . This is a great price for 144 straws too.

Stainless Steel Straws, $7.95


For a more permanent solution to plastic straws, check out this set of 4 beautiful Stainless Steel Straws ! (It also comes with a cleaning brush).

Ceramic Knife (Very Sharp!) and Vegetable Peeler, $9.99

 

This set  has a very sharp knife and a vegetable peeler! The perfect little knife for a wide variety of kitchen tasks. And a price that is hard to beat!

Harry Potter Wizard Hat, $5.58


For the child or adult fan, this cookie cutter is great!

100 T-Sac Tea Bags (for Bulk Tea), $6.84


For the flavor of bulk tea, but the convenience of tea bags, these are wonderful! I love these tea bags.

Double Walled Glass Espresso Glasses (set of two) 10.87

These beautiful espresso cups would be lovely for coffee lovers! I like how elegant and simple the design is.

Kitchen Shears, $7.99

Because everyone should have a pair of kitchen shears in their kitchen!

Animal Food Picks, $4.29

My kids love fun food picks! I use them when packing bento boxes, or when serving my kids a snack.

Silicone Cupcake Liners, $5.67


I use these silicone cupcake liners to give out small “munchies” snacks to my kids, and to help me pack bento boxes for lunches!

Knife Sharpener, $5.50

You can sharpen your knives the old fashioned way (which is best) or use a very easy knife sharpener.

Apple Pastila (A Honey-Sweetened Confection)

Apple Pastila - The Nourishing Gourmet

By Natalia Gill, from An Appetite For Joy

Imagine the bold, pure taste of apple presented in a wafer-like crisp. Apple pastila, the latest gift idea in this year’s 12 Days of Christmas Series, is a lightly sweet, Russian confection that is easy to make (though it takes a while to dehydrate in the oven). Its unique taste is surprisingly fresh and pleasant (and a little addicting!). It just happens to be grain free and dairy free too.

To make it, you’ll need two cups of your favorite applesauce, homemade or even store bought. Green apples, slightly underripe are best. This easy applesauce recipe yields two cups. This plum applesauce would be delicious as well.

The 200°F oven temp doesn’t officially cook the egg whites. Katie wrote a little about raw egg safety when she shared her delicious chai eggnog. Using good quality pastured eggs and giving them a wash in warm soapy water makes the risk very small, but there is always a risk. If you are uncomfortable with this risk see the notes in the recipe section below for how to make this candy at a higher temperature.

A little history

Apple pastila became popular in Kolomna, Russia (outside of Moscow), during the 18th century as a simple fruit leather to stretch the apple season. It was such a simple recipe that I’m sure it was present in other apple-growing regions as well. Later, egg white was added for a lighter texture. Now, different fruits, spices, and nuts are incorporated to make a variety of flavors. (In more recent years, pastila has been almost entirely eclipsed by a new variety of this style of dessert – the sweeter, marshmallow-like zephyr.)

Traditionally apple pastila is made in layered blocks or bars of varying denseness, but I like this easy 2-bite variation.

How to make apple pastila

Get your apple purée very smooth with a hand mixer or food processor. If it is unsweetened, add honey or sweetener of choice.

Apple Pastila (Grain & Dairy Free) - The Nouirshing Gourmet

 

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites til stiff peaks form.

Apple Pastila (Grain & Dairy Free) - The Nouirshing Gourmet

 

Fold the egg whites into the applesauce.

Apple Pastila (Grain & Dairy Free) - The Nouirshing Gourmet

 

Drop your apple mixture onto a silicone baking sheet (best option) or parchment paper. Use standard parchment, not a cutesie variety like this one, or it may stick! Learned the hard way.

Apple Pastila (Grain & Dairy Free) - The Nouirshing Gourmet

Apple Pastila (Grain & Dairy Free) - The Nouirshing Gourmet

 

Dehydrate in the oven, and you have some light and airy apple goodness, ready to be sprinkled with sugar and wrapped up for loved ones!

Apple Pastila (Grain & Dairy Free) - The Nouirshing Gourmet

Looking for more holiday ideas? How about Chai Eggnog, DIY Mint Chocolate Lip Balm, Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts, or Garam Masala Pickled Onions?

APPLE PASTILA (GRAIN & DAIRY FREE)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsweetened apple puree (preferably from green apples – see recipe idea here)
  • 5 tablespoons of honey (or other sweetener, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional, see notes for alternatives)
  • 2 egg whites, beaten stiff

Directions:

1) Make sure your apple purée is very smooth. I beat it with a handheld mixer for about 2-3 minutes.

2) Add honey and almond extract (or alternative flavorings in the notes). If your apple purée is cold, you may need to gently heat it to get the honey to incorporate.

3) Fold in the stiff egg whites. Drop by spoonfuls onto a pan lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper.

4) Dehydrate for 7-8 hours at 200°F. After turning it off, leave them in the oven overnight to cool. Enjoy as they are, or sprinkle on some powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. (I use unrefined powdered sugar at home and organic white powdered sugar when presenting as gifts.)

Notes:

Higher temp option: If you choose this method, please use a silicone baking sheet and not parchment paper or the pastila will stick. If you want to get your egg whites to a higher temperature, preheat the oven to 350°F. After making your apple mixture (through step 3 above), bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 200°F and continue to let them dry out for 3 hours. Leave in the oven (turned off) several hours (or overnight) to cool.

Flavoring options: In lieu of almond extract, you can use a little vanilla extract, cinnamon, or your own mix of spices and extracts that go well with apple.

 

Apple Pastila (Grain & Dairy Free)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Confection
Cuisine: Russian
Serves: 40 pieces
 
2 cups unsweetened apple puree (preferably from green apples - see recipe idea here ) 5 tablespoons of honey (or other sweetener, to taste) 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional, see notes for alternatives) 2 egg whites, beaten stiff
Ingredients
  • 2 cups unsweetened apple puree (preferably from green apples - see recipe idea here)
  • 5 tablespoons of honey (or other sweetener, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional, see notes for alternatives)
  • 2 egg whites, beaten stiff
Instructions
  1. Make sure your apple puree is very smooth. I beat it with a handheld mixer for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add honey and almond extract (or alternative flavorings in the notes). If your apple puree is cold, you may need to gently heat it to get the honey to incorporate.
  3. Fold in the stiff egg whites. Drop by spoonfuls onto a pan lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper.
  4. Dehydrate for 7-8 hours at 200°F. After turning it off, leave them in the oven overnight to cool. Enjoy as they are or sprinkle on some powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. (I use unrefined powdered sugarat home and organic white powdered sugar when presenting as gifts.)
Notes
Higher temp option: If you choose this option, please use a silicone baking sheet and not parchment paper or the pastila will stick. If you want to get your egg whites to a higher temperature, preheat the oven to 350°F. After making your apple mixture (through step 3 above), bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 200°F and continue to let them dry out for 3 hours. Leave in the oven (turned off) several hours (or overnight) to cool.

Flavoring options: In lieu of almond extract, you can use a little vanilla extract, cinnamon or your own mix of spices and extracts that go well with apple.