whole wheat pancakes, with or without pears

This week we took down the crib, the dark wood nest my parents bought us a month before our oldest was born. It was an exciting and nerve-wracking present to receive, taking center stage in the smallest room upstairs. There we found a safe spot for our two littles, a place to rest in the night. But now all four of us are warm and cozy in beds, sleeping proudly, like big boys and girls. Even so, I find myself trying to clutch at the time, not wanting to let go of tiny hands and feet, of squeaky voices. But each new day comes regardless; I wake, tossing off the covers, moving forward anyway.
This week we said good-bye to Aunt Ginger, so suddenly. She was salt-of-the-earth, quirky and kind, unafraid to give what she had. Now she is still, resting, in some safe spot of her own. I find myself clutching again, wanting to gather the time to keep it, or stop it, but peace only comes when I open my hands and just.let.go. Each night I find my bed and curl up next to my Love, holding on tightly in the dark. We are surrounded by shadows, but we find sleep there, too. Soon, however, we wake; the morning finds us, and we give into the sun another day. I rise, and my feet find the dark wood, a floor worn with age. I fling my sheets again, kicking them off to the skies where the wind can take them here or there. So far, they have always made their way back to our bodies, keeping us warm for a time. We are almost certain we will wrap ourselves in them again tonight.
Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to [create] the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are. – Anne Lamott
Whole Wheat Pancakes
adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
These pancakes are based on a recipe by Ms. Boyce, and I’ve tweaked it a bit, to fit ingredients I had on hand. I was so happy with the results – I have been searching for a whole wheat pancake recipe that didn’t taste dense and dull. These pancakes are fluffy, and the whole wheat adds great flavor. I have three options for you here – with or without all purpose flour [you can replace it with spelt and oat flour], and a version with grated pears [also an idea from Ms. Boyce].
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour [or 1/2 cup oatmeal flour and 1/2 cup spelt flour]
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk together. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and using a whisk, gently mix together [use a very light hand here, lumpy is good]. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes while the skillet heats.

Heat a 12 inch skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Brush pan bottom with vegetable oil. Using 1/4 cup of batter per pancake, add batter to the skillet [only 2-3 pancakes will fit at a time]. Cook until large bubbles begin to appear, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, about 1 1/2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing the skillet with oil as needed between batches.

with pears 
The pears are very delicate and light in these pancakes; subtle, but delicious.
Prepare ingredients as above, with these changes:
1 cup milk [instead of 1 1/2]
2 pears, ripe but firm, peeled and grated
Grate the peeled pears using the large holes on a box grater right into the milk mixture. Continue recipe as written.
  • Reply
    Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 4:09 am

    I love this entry so much.

  • Reply
    Friday, November 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    beautiful words for your aunt ginger…

  • Reply
    Cookie and Kate
    Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 5:24 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your aunt, Sarah. Hope those beautiful pancakes brought you a bit of relief, even if just for breakfast.

  • Reply
    Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 3:39 am

    So sorry about your aunt Sarah. Hope you’re getting a good amount of time to take stock and let the winds bring everything back into place. The complex push and pull of letting go is so hard. Hope you’re finding stillness in it all. Big hugs.

  • Reply
    Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 1:50 am

    My thoughts are with you and your family Sarah. Keep taking in life, one day, one breakfast, at a time, enjoying your husband and those beautiful children.

    A good whole wheat pancake is hard to find. I hope to try these. With AND without pear :).

  • Reply
    charlotte au chocolat
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    This is so very beautiful, Sarah. I’m so sorry to hear about your aunt… Sending lots of warm thoughts your way.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Such a beautiful post, Sarah. So sorry to hear about your Aunt – but yes, she is resting sweetly in that place of eternal light. Beautiful pancakes, too. Loving the addition grated pears.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Beautiful post, beautiful pancakes and reminder to make each day as beautiful as possible.

  • Reply
    Shannalee Mallon
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Beautifully written, Sarah. Heavy and hard, but beautiful. I’m so sorry about your aunt. May we all live intentionally with our one precious life.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    so beautiful. It all seems to be a lot to take in sometimes doesn’t it? I’ve made these pancakes before and love them. Yours somehow look way more romantic. I keep trying new pancake recipes, in search of *the* perfect one, but I don’t go back to the ones I still thought were really good. Needed this reminder. All of it. Love to you, friend.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I relate so much to what you write. I find myself thinking these terrible thoughts sometimes, like how long will this beauty last? How many times will I be able to kiss my husband and nuzzle into his neck? The truth is, I think being so very aware that life is constantly moving forward is just a reminder to really appreciate the people we love while we are all here to enjoy this life. And pancakes! xo

  • Reply
    Bev Weidner (Bev Cooks)
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Looooooove these cakes!

  • Reply
    la domestique
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I make pancakes for the husband a couple times a week, and have been looking for a wheat recipe to try. Morning time can be hectic, but I refuse to let it slip by without gathering at the table. Life is so fragile, I too find myself “clutching at time.” I’m sorry for the loss of your aunt, and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I like both recipes! These are so pretty!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I absolutely love the idea of grated pears in a pancake, how absolutely utterly delicious. Pears and caramel are heaven too, so think I’d have to down mine in a sticky sauce 🙂

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Aunt. It’s so strange when someone dies and life still goes on. It seems so unfair that one moment they were there, the next life carries on without them. Thinking of you and hoping your wonderful family can help you through these hard times.

  • Reply
    london bakes
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss Sarah. You and your family are in my thoughts.

    In some ways I find it quite liberating to know that life goes on. Whatever may happen, the days need to pass, we need still need to eat and sleep. These pancakes are a good reminder of that reality.

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