My perfect weekend morning is a sunny nature-filled long run followed by the replenishment of cooking a fat, hot stack of homemade vegan pancakes. There is nothing better in this world to reset than the pause of pouring over my sizzling griddle, eyes wide as my runner’s high mind eagerly awaits the bubbling of my precious pancake’s surface.
Vegan pancakes were my go-to refuel through my collegiate track/cross country career – seriously, I used to bike across town on the weekends just to raid my loving parents’ kitchen in order to craft the perfect batch (and all this time they thought I was coming home to visit them!). They were my ultimate strength while putting in the miles for my first marathon; they were my obsession while training for my third. While that third marathon never actually happened (yet!) because of my move from Vienna before the race date, the weekend pancakes remain a steady habit.
I may not be running 18-milers anymore, but after my weeks of biking from Jamaica Plain to South End to Cambridge to Milton Hill to Mission Hill and beyond to teach yoga, I have felt just as entitled as ever to my pancake indulgences.
But should I really need to justify making stacks of pancakes if it’s what I truly love to do? Do I need to always be better, faster, stronger, and more productive to earn my approval to eat breakfast like a queen? Do I need to claim with gritted teeth to love making them for a troupe of hungry eaters? A younger me would have unquestioningly uttered yes and thrown myself to the grind, busting out pancakes at the speed of light for a crowd and being left with none on my own plate.
Yet the me now that has endured back-breaking pressure from myself and others around me; who has survived stitched feet, severed ribs, broken hearts, and wounded everything between; who has seen the world from Pagoda-view moped rides in Myanmar, from wine-country trains in Austria, from Rikshaws in India, from the Metro in Paris; from tuk tuks in Thailand, and from my bike in Boston… this me screams NO to feeling obligated to defend my luxurious pancake ritual; nor my purpose for running without training; nor my career moves, friend selections, style choices, or sentence structures.
Here’s to radical self-care and self-respect that is indulgently unapologetic. For me that looks like running for the thrill of it and baking extravagantly-topped vegan pancakes. But we each have our own cup of tea. What is your flavor of self-love? Below is the basic recipe if you’d like to try mine. Flavor it up with your spice of life, and enjoy with a satisfying smile.
The recipe (makes 4-5 pancakes; Double the recipe to enjoy with 2 lucky friends)
1 Cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 flax egg (1 Tablespoon ground golden flaxseed + 2 Tablespoons non-dairy milk) (sub with ¼ mashed banana if you’d like the batch to be a bit chewier)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice of ½ large lemon
2 Cups non-dairy milk (I love Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk)
5 teaspoons olive oil
ADD-INS + TOPPINGS OF YOUR CHOICE!
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt; Stir with a fork until the mixture is even. Prepare your flax egg by adding non-dairy milk to flaxseed in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisking together, and allowing to set until gelatinous (about 2 minutes). Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract into 2 cups on non-dairy milk (you should see the non-dairy milk begin to curdle with the acidity of the lemon).
Mix the prepared wet ingredients into the flour mixture, and blend with a spatula or a fork until there are no clumps. Add in any solid toppings (e.g. banana slices, blueberries, craft chocolate chunks, walnuts) and blend until combined.
Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a 9-inch circular non-stick frying pan. When the oil begins to sizzle, add in ¾ cup of the pancake batter to the pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on the first side or until bubbles begin to form. Flip to the second side and cook for about 3 minutes. Repeat for the remaining pancake batter.
Top with your favorite pancake pairings (think Vermont maple syrup, vegan cashew yogurt, coconut flakes, vibrant fruit slices, or melted craft chocolate).
IMPORTANT: Before biting into in your tall stacks or love, find a window with ample lighting, top an adjacent surface with flower petals, beads, scarves, or thematically-relevant books, adjust your camera to the manual aperture setting, and snap away for your pancake gallery photo shoot. You may have to stand on a chair for the best bird’s eye angle. Don’t mind your curious roommates when they walk in on you. The pancake smells and your gorgeous food decorating skills will make them too ravenous to notice your eccentricities so serve them a portion for putting up with the great kitchen mess you’ve made. Then indulge in the remains yourself with great ecstasy.