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banana oatmeal nutella pancakes

Lately, I've been doing a lot of "in the larger scheme of things..." thinking.  Here at astronomy camp, we've been talking a lot about big things, like black holes, supernovae, and ominous things like "dark matter" and "dark energy."

Thinking "in the larger scheme of things" can make me feel small and insignificant.  I am smaller than a dustbunny of a dustbunny of a dustbunny in our solar system, which is one of many in the Milky Way Galaxy, which is one of billions of billions of galaxies in a universe that is constantly expanding.  We are living on the periphery of a very average galaxy, orbiting a very average star... puts my seething rage toward the dude who took my java chip frappuccino at Starbucks yesterday into perspective.

That's the thing...if I'm so incredibly small, do things really matter? 

The universe isn't going to care if I smiled at you on the Metro.  Space aliens will never find out if I replaced the toilet paper roll.  Mars wouldn't know if I wrote you a handwritten letter or a sloppy Facebook message.  The black hole at the center of our galaxy definitely doesn't give a damn whether I washed my hair this morning (thank god).

I guess this is one way of looking at things, "in the larger scheme." But the other geeky way of looking at our place in the universe is that every action has a reaction.  Every shake and rattle sets off another and another.  In this scenario, the little things do matter.

Although the former way of thinking about it is tempting (and gives me an excuse not to wash my hair so often), I'm pretty convinced that the latter is better. 

Think about flipping pancakes. The trick to making good pancakes is to wait until you see little bubbles form around the edges of the pancake. These super tiny bubbles signify that the pancake is "flippable."
These bubbles are smaller than my pinky fingernail.  In the "larger scheme of things" they are  practically invisible. However, that little bubble makes the difference between a big, shriveled, goopy mess of pancake batter and a glorious, fluffy stack of pancakes. The difference between a grouchy, hungry morning spent washing batter off my black yoga pants, or leisurely watching pools of butter melt atop fresh flapjacks while sipping a mug of coffee. 

With love, 

1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 banana, mashed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup Nutella
Stir together all of the ingredients except for the Nutella in a large bowl until well combined.  Gently swirl in the Nutella.
Spoon the batter into a hot skillet over medium heat.  Cook each pancake until the batter starts to bubble at the edges, flip and cook until golden brown.  Continue cooking remaining pancakes. 
Enjoy with butter and maple syrup! (and perhaps some more Nutella!)

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  1. Erica, your pancakes look amazing (as per usual) and I love the way you write! It is so cool that you are at astronomy camp. Is astronomy something you want to go into later on? Can't wait to give your pancakes a try!

    1. Thank you so much! It's great to hear from you! I am not sure if astronomy is something that I will ultimately want to pursue, but I love looking at the sky and thinking about these big questions. We're learning super cool things about where we came from, and where the universe is going... borders on philosophy sometimes! Let me know if you try these out! :)

  2. oooooooooh these pancakes! They look so spectacular-love the bananas...and oatmeal..and NUTELLLLAAA

  3. Pancake batter on yoga pants = no bueno, but these cakes look too good to be true! <3

    1. Hahaha I'm glad you understand the woes of batter-y yoga pants ;) Thank you Alanna!

  4. Such an interesting little discussion! I know it's an easy argument to say that we are so small and insignifcant that we don't matter...but if we do not matter - then why are we conscious? Why are we made of energy and personal emotions? We are not just objects living life here - this is a world that we have created. We are not third person objects - we are individual being existing inside these bodies in this universe...Infinite regress is so confusing!
    BUT OMG, those pancakes...those. pancakes....and that drizzly syrup...
    Do you wanna know what really matters?
    Pancakes. Pancakes really matter (and always will).


    1. Thank you for your insights! I always look forward to your thoughtful comments, Tashiana. Let me know if you try these out!

  5. At school I studied a book called The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, have you read it? One of my favourite quotes was about how we are but a blink in the Earth Woman's eye (here's a link to the full quote: We are small, but, like you, I think that the world is made up of small important things that affect one another. If we could only make all of those things positive, imagine what a wonderful world it'd be. We'd all be eating these pancakes, that's for sure! They look delicious x

    1. I have not read that book, but it sounds fascinating! I am always a sucker for a good quote. I love that idea of making positive changes, despite their small scale size. Thank you Natasha!

  6. Awesome pictures! These look delicious!

  7. Wow gorgeous Erica! I love your pouring shot - just perfect! I would love to wake up to a stack of these pancakes in the morning :)

    1. Thank you so much, Jessica! Let me know if you try these out!

  8. All that drizzled syrup is making my mouth water. Life should have more pancakes in it! Love this post too. It's important to sometimes think about the bigger picture and our place in the world.

  9. I can't even tell you how many times I've thought about how things don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. I have to remind myself that they DO, though. While the world doesn't care about one thing you do, YOU should care about what you do (especially if it makes you happy:) I feel like we would have some really deep conversations if we met in real life, lol :)
    Astronomy camp sounds so fun! And these pancakes look pretty darn tasty too :D

    1. Thank you so much Leigha, it's always lovely to hear from you! I would love to meet in person someday and talk about all of these super meta things :)


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