cooking Food

Foodie Friday: 2-Ingredient Pancakes

Last week, BuzzFeed predicted my mental age to be 25 based on what I selected from a breakfast buffet. I know, silly, right? My mental age is at least 32!

Now, granted, the selections in the quiz didn’t really leave room for my over-50, mid-pandemic, trying-really-hard-with-her-self-care self to make healthy choices. (C’mon, who’s gonna pick just waffles when you can have fried chicken and waffles?)

Truth be told, I eat much healthier than a breakfast buffet might allow. And, despite my detour for an occasional donut or cinnamon roll, I do my best to steer towards eggs, yogurt, and other proteins to get a good start on my day and diet.

So when I started seeing recipes for these 2-ingedient healthy pancakes (h-e-a-l-t-h-yp-a-n-c-a-k-e-s), I had to try them!

For example, consider Banana Pancakes: 1 ripe banana, 2 large eggs, butter or oil for cooking; mash the bananas, stir in the eggs, heat the pan, drop the batter, cook-and-flip, eat.

Or, Sweet Potato Pancakes: 1 medium sweet potato, 2 large eggs, butter or oil for cooking; mash the sweet potatoes, stir in the eggs, heat the pan, drop the batter, cook-and-flip, eat.

Now, if you’re an over-50, mid-pandemic, trying-really-hard-with-self-care self who happily notices the lack of wheat, gluten, dairy, or sugar — then these are recipes you really should try!

Even if you’re not on a lettuce-and-water diet, these two easy-peasy recipes are quite tasty, and yield 4 delicate, crispy-on-the-outside, custardy-on-the-inside pancakes.

And get this! The banana version delivers 14 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 450 mg of potassium, and is a good source of vitamins D and B6. The sweet potato version includes 15 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 449 grams of potassium, and offers up beta carotene, vitamins B, C, and D, plus calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Just like regular pancakes, you can add nuts or fruits, or top with yogurt or granola so they’re even more good-for-you.

AND — as my sweet-tooth inner child, maple-syrup-advocating spirit LOVES to tell anyone who listens? A quarter-cup of MAPLE SYRUP contains more calcium than the same amount of milk and more potassium than a banana. It’s also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron, and contains as many antioxidants as a raw tomato or broccoli.*

For more about pancakes, and to find out what Hogwarts House you belong in or what song you should listen to next, visit BuzzFeed’s PANCAKES page.

Or, if that seems to 25-year-old self, just head on over to The Kitchen to read more about these two delicious recipes. Enjoy!

2-Ingredient Banana Pancakes
2-Ingredient Sweet Potato Pancakes

Essay ©2021, Jen Payne. With all credit and thanks to The Kitchen for these awesome recipes! *Maple syrup facts from “10 Things You Didn’t Know about Maple Syrup,” Maple Syrup World.
cooking Creativity Food

Foodie Friday: Le Pain Aux Raisins

If you ever find yourself on Cape Cod, be sure to make your way to PB Boulangerie Bistro in Wellfleet. There, you will find “a taste of France” that includes — among other deliciousnesses — all of your favorite French pastry. Oh oui! Le croissant, le pain au chocolat, le croissant aux amandes, le pain aux raisins.

My last visit to the bistro was just a month ago. A guilty escape in the middle of the pandemic for sure, and worth the two weeks quarantine for the respite, as well as the croissants. But, not knowing when I might return again, I decided it would be fun to attempt to make some pastry myself.

With a little bit of luck.

A student of cooking shows since I was a teenager and a more-recent Great British Baking Show devotee, I knew early on that my first foray into this French pastry making — Le Pain Aux Raisin — was not going to make me Star Baker.

Which is not to say it didn’t make a decent showing. The raisins, soaked in whiskey for lack of cognac, were a highlight. So was the frangipane — a sweet almond cream filling I made from scratch — tasty, despite the hint of rosemary leftover in the spice and nut grinder.

Much to my surprise, the pastry even had some layers! Doughy, yes, but layers of doughy! That is a feat in itself— and should be considered such, given the rolling and folding and waiting necessary to create classic puff pastry lamination.

I confess, I was full of equal measure doubt and faith through the whole process.

I doubted the yeast was viable when it failed to produce its telltale foamy goodness. I questioned the lumpy dough and the technique of butter. I tried to convince myself the dough rose un petit peu in the covered bowl, though I wasn’t really sure.

Still I persevered with faith through the three rounds of rolling and folding and waiting, rolling and folding and waiting, rolling and folding and waiting.

I happily introduced the pastry dough to the rosemary frangipane and the drunk raisins.

I used my trusty Stanley tape measure to cut even, round discs. Then set them out on a tray, 2 inches apart for room to grow, covered them lightly…and took a nap.

Yes, I was full of equal measure doubt and faith — and humor.

In the time it took to make the pastry, I could have driven to Wellfleet, had a croissant by the beach, and driven home! I was pretty sure the dough was not rising any peu at all. And, in all honesty, I had no idea what I was going to do with a dozen or so pastry, because, well…pastry gives me heartburn.

And yet, in the end, there they were. Sixteen lightly browned, sort-of pain aux raisins — and I was proud.

As Julia Child once said, “If everything doesn’t happen quite the way you’d like, it doesn’t make too much difference, because you can fix it.”

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

And so…what the hell! Bon Appétit!

Thanks to Rebecca Franklin from The Spruce Eats for the Classic French Pain Aux Raisin and Frangipane recipes.

Photo & Essay ©2020, Jen Payne.
cooking Creativity Food

Foodie Friday: Sesame Tamari Sauce

I have been charmed of late by the dynamic duo of Ann and Jane Esselstyn, who host a series of YouTube videos featuring plant-based and heart-healthy recipes.

Their family, through individual efforts and the Esselstyn Foundation, is dedicated to “eradicating lifestyle related diseases through whole food, plant-based nutrition.” Ann and Jane have created recipes for several books including The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Plant-Strong, and The Engine 2 Cookbook. You can find out more about all of that on Jane’s website, here.

Jane and her mom Ann are a sassy duo, enthusiastic about their food lifestyle that includes lots of the healthy food things we all need more of in our diets. You know, things like kale.

This week, I’ve taken notes about their French Lentil with Grapes and Mint salad, chocolate tofu pudding, and cheesy chickpeas. But it was their Savory Sesame Green Beans recipe that had me at hello.

My favorite Chinese take-out restaurant, Moon Star — replaced now by a (gag) Chipotle — used to make the best sesame green beans. I ordered them a lot: seasame green beans, boneless spareribs, and steamed dumplings was a regular order. So when I saw the Esselstyns’ recipe, I had to try it!

The headliner of this dish is the Sesame Tamari Sauce, an easy-to-make concoction that will transform your beans or snow peas…or maybe even Kale. They’ll just POP with flavor!


2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari

Toast sesame seeds in the oven or in a pan, watching carefully so they don’t burn. Place in a small grinder or food processor and process just until ground. Put sesame seeds in a small bowl and add honey and tamari. Stir until mixed and just crumbly. Add to hot green beans or use with any vegetable. This recipe goes a long way: it is enough for 1-1/2pounds green beans.

So try it. Then grab a healthy snack and join me for a few more of these fun and informative videos!

Essay ©2020, Jen Payne. Original recipe from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure, by Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. M.D.