Reflections on Simple Living & Squashy Blueberry Pancakes

It seems I am really adapting to woods life. This was made very evident the other day when we walked into the grocery store. The ambiance was such a contrast to what I am now used to, and I felt like I had wandered into a strange alien world: everything seemed so bright, white and clean, and there was a constant hum. People seemed very clean, ironed and tidy, and preoccupied with their shopping.

Living with less, I am for the most part content. The homestead I am at has no refrigerator, no oven, no air conditioning, simply an outdoor kitchen and a yome for the owner, a trailer with a porch for the wwoofers. I am constantly a little damp, dirty, smelly, and sun-kissed. I get tired when the sun goes down and wake up early with the birds and rooster. When I have my own homestead one day, I will be able to make some minor adjustments to make myself totally content. I think I could even get used to cooking over the open fire full time if I designed a barbeque-type hearth. I have been using the public libraries to update my blog, check email, etc. It will be  interesting to see just how off the grid I can get used to!

wild harvested blueberries

In the homestead garden, we have huge light green squash ripening. We’re not sure what kind it is, but it looks a lot like a Hubbard squash. It is delicious and the fruit is so huge that I decided to get creative with ways to eat it. With sweet potato pie in mind, I decided to try to make pancakes with the squash as the base. Keep in mind, I don’t have Internet at the farm, so I made this up completely; there might be a better recipe out there somewhere! First I chopped and cooked the squash in the awesome Lodge cast iron dutch oven over the fire so that it was nice and squishy and mashed with a potato masher. The next morning, I mixed some whole grain pancake batter, corn meal, one egg from our chickens, and cinnamon and folded in the wild harvested blueberries with the squished squash.

cooking over the open flame

They took a little while to cook through, but held together well and tasted delicious, a little sweeter than normal pancakes. We topped them with Vermont maple syrup. I definitely see more squash blueberry pancakes in my future – there’s still another half of our huge squash to eat up!

Vegan Gluten-Free Banana Walnut Coconut Pancakes

These vegan gluten-free banana walnut coconut pancakes are DELISH!

Start with homegrown bananas…

Mix buckwheaties and oats in the blender to make a gluten-free flour. Add bananas, hand-crushed walnuts, non-sweetened shredded coconut, coconut oil, molasses, vanilla, and enough water to achieve batter consistency.

Pan fry in coconut oil. I found it helpful to make smaller sized pancakes with this recipe. Whenever I make pancakes, I remember making them as a kid for my family (from Bisquick, no less) and my mom scolding me because I pressed them flat with the spatula. “I like my pancakes fluffy,” she chastised. Well Mom, unfortunately, with this recipe, you must squish. It was difficult to get the middle cooked through without the outsides getting burned no matter how low the heat. So squish away!

They turned out marvelous: nutty and sweet and stuck together well. I topped them with more walnuts, coconut and a little syrup.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Sprouted Buckwheat Pancakes

One of the last meals that I made in my Richmond apartment was buckwheatie pancakes. Buckwheaties, as I know them, are sprouted dehydrated buckwheat groats. I don’t have a dehydrator, so after sprouting, I just spread them on my stoneware pie pan and let them sit on the windowsill in the sun for a few days. They’re usually pretty dry after one or two long, sunny days, but if you want to store them, you want to make sure they are thoroughly dry.

And, I know it kind of defeats the purpose of buckwheaties being a raw food, but I really wanted to make them into sprouted buckwheat pancakes. Plus, sprouting grains and seeds makes them more easily digestible. I ground the dry buckwheaties in my blender, then added some all-purpose flour, baking powder, molasses, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a bowl. I used coconut oil to fry the pancakes. Dipped in maple syrup, they were the perfect tasty high-protein finger food throughout the day full of the duties that come with moving: packing, lifting boxes and scrubbing.

Sprouted Buckwheat Pancakes