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,
Erica

 

Banana Oatmeal Nutella Pancakes

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 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 yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Nutella

Instructions

  1. Stir together all of the ingredients except for the Nutella in a large bowl until well combined.  Gently swirl in the Nutella.

  2. 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. 

  3. Enjoy with butter and maple syrup! (and perhaps some more Nutella!)

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

oatmeal dark chocolate chip pancakes

Last Friday was the Sadie Hawkins dance at school.
Scratch that.
Last Friday was the “Girls Ask Boys Winter Formal.” Apparently “Sadie Hawkins” isn’t politically correct enough for my school.  I’m technically on Spirit Committee… I should know these things.

My friend Veda and I had a track meet before during the dance. 
When my coach told me I had to sprint 400 meters, I though he was kidding.
He wasn’t kidding.
I gagged a bit just thinking about it.  Then after it was over, I gagged all over the place.  Yeah, I’m a real superstar on the track team. 😉
But at least I bring brownies.

When I finally got back home, it was already nine, and the last thing I wanted to do was get dressed. But I did.
I put on my dress, slopped on some red lipstick, hoop earrings, and heels.  Then I smooped my hair into a bun because I couldn’t even think of touching a flat iron (smooped isn’t a word, but “twirled” is way too elegant of a word to describe what I did to my poor hair).  In the end, it was half decent. Sort of like iCarly meets flamenco dancer. 

By the time we got to the dance, there were only 30 minutes left.  Everyone was already talking about who should have the after party.  Suddenly, I got a second wind.  Kind of like how I have a second stomach for dessert (no matter how stuffed I am), I have a reserve of energy for a good party (no matter how insanely tired I am).

But, as last minute plans usually go, no one ended up having one.

And you know what?  I was secretly happy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party as much as the next person (I’m a high school girl, I’m normal I swear…), but by then all I wanted to do was put on my Pink sweatpants (the ones with strawberries on the butt), lie on my bed with a huge bottle of Blue Powerade Zero, and play “never have I ever” with my friend Veda (even though we know everything that we’ve “never” done, it’s fun anyways).

I dropped off to bed around 1:30.  It was a long day.

In the morning, I woke up refreshed and with a serious chocolate craving. 
And these pancakes happened.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1
egg
a hand full dark chocolate chips

 
Place flour,
oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, vanilla, oil
and egg in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Heat a
lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop
the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each
pancake. Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

honey bunches of oats granola

As I sat at my desk, wearing my fuzzy Ugg slippers, with a big mug of chamomile and an even bigger packet of derivations and proofs, all I could think about is how badly I want to be in the kitchen.

I wanted to feel the warmth of the oven on my face, and pound out my frustrations in butter and sugar.  I hardly recognized my yoga pants without two big hand-prints of flour on them, and my camera looked so unfamiliar without any big, buttery thumbprints.  All I wanted to do is bake something.

So, being the savvy procrastinator that I am, I came up with an excuse why I had to get my hands on my Kitchen Aid.

In order to perform well on my exams, I needed a breakfast fit for a champion. Granola sounded good.  Then my inner procrastinator’s started to kick in:
Maybe this granola will knock those facts about the Hundred Years War out of me!
Maybe this will power me through that last derivation! 
Done. This granola had to be made. ASAP.
Those flashcards can wait…

So now on to the granola.  I bet that we can all agree that the best part of Honey Bunches of Oats are the “honey bunches” — or the little granola clusters.  The recipe that I’m about to share with you all is pure magic, because it turns regular Honey Bunches of Oats into pure granola!  Since I’ve been obsessed with brown butter lately, I browned the butter in this recipe.  Brown butter really takes the ordinary to the extraordinary. 

What do you like to eat when you have a big test?
With love,
Erica


Ingredients 

1 cup Honey Bunches of Oats cereal
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to
325, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Mix the cereal, flax
seed, and oats together, and pour onto the cookie sheet.  Bake for
about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile in a small saucepan, brown the butter, once the butter is bubbly and aromatic, add the brown sugar.  Add the vanilla and stir
until everything is well combined and the butter is melted, then remove
from heat. 

Pour the oat
mixture into a large bowl.  Add the butter mixture, cashews and
cranberries to the oat mixture and stir until everything is evenly
coated.  Add the cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Pour it back onto the baking sheet and spread it out evenly,
while pressing down firmly.  Place in oven and cook 20-30 minutes or
until golden brown (do not overcook), stirring occasionally. 
Remove from oven and let it cool completely before storing in an air tight container.

Adapted from Little B Cooks

doubletree copycat cookies

Have you ever stayed at a DoubleTree hotel?
Forget the Ritz Carlton, or the $30 peanuts at Hyatt.
Nothing says hospitality like a huge, warm chocolate chip cookie — handed to you before you can even set your bag down. 

I remember staying at a DoubleTree in Anaheim when I was little. I was sleepy, hungry, and antsy after a long car ride. We arrived at the hotel at some ungodly hour in the morning. Everyone was grumpy and exhausted.

Then, each of us was handed a buttery, melty, chocolate chip cookie.  Suddenly all of the memories of Rt. 1 traffic, illegible Mapquests, and the smelly rental car melted away — almost as fast as the chocolate chips in my mouth.

These cookies are kept in a special “warming drawer” behind the front desk at every DoubleTree hotel. They are buttery, melty, and chocolatey — with a delicious crispy outside and a chewy inside.
Thanks to this recipe, you don’t have to book a room to enjoy a warm DoubleTree cookie.

With love,
Erica

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (4.5 oz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 scant teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold – cut up
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/8 cups quick cooking oatmeal
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugars in large mixer bowl. Add egg and vanilla and stir until mixed.
  3. Add flour mixture and oatmeal gradually,
    stirring until incorporated. Stir in Heath Bits, Chocolate Chips, and
    nuts. Scoop dough up with a quarter cup measure and shape into big
    balls. Press them slightly to make discs. Set the discs on a plate and
    chill for a few hours or until firm. Note: You can bake these without
    chilling, but I liked the texture better after chilling.
  4. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets about 3
    inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-13 minutes. Cookies should still
    be slightly underdone (I didn’t want mine underdone and cooked them
    l2-13). Move to wax paper lined counter to cool, do not use wire racks.
    (I did both – wire racks made the cookies crispier, cooling on rack
    helps internal cooking for underdone cookies and probably makes them
    chewier).

Adapted from Cooking Madness

low fat oatmeal banana bread

look at that cinnamon crumble topping

I’ve gone bananas. Literally.

This is my fifth banana bread this week {excluding banana bread granola }.

I am eating a super ripe, splotchy banana as I type this post on my computer (some people find the brown, spotty one gross, I find them utterly delicious).

This happy little banana bread is full of heart-healthy oats, fiber, cinnamon, and sweet bananas. It is a real banana bread — unlike some of the other “banana breads” I whipped up earlier this week. Although delicious, some of those bad boys were more like banana cakes, rather than wholesome, breakfast-worthy banana breads {I’m lookin’ at you cinnamon crumble banana “bread”!}.

This is the perfect thing to pop in the toaster and eat while wearing fuzzy socks and reminiscing on summer memories. Don’t forget a little pat of butter (hey, even healthy banana breads deserve a cozy bit of butter).

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
makes 1 loaf  of  10 slices, 4 points per slice
– 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
– 1/2 tsp  salt
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 3 tsp canola or walnut  oil
– 2 large eggs, beaten

-2  tablespoons applesauce
– 3 large bananas, ripe
– 1 cup uncooked old fashioned oats

– Kashi cinnamon crumble cereal

Preheat oven to 350°F.
 Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, stir
together dry ingredients including the oats and cinnamon.

In a smaller bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. Add oil, eggs and applesauce and mix thoroughly.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.  Batter will be fairly thick.
Pour batter into pan, sprinkle with cereal and
bake until top of loaf is firm to touch, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from
oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Flip out and cool on a wire
rack for another 10 minutes. Slice loaf into 10 equally sized slices.

Adapted from Joy the Baker