Baked Pancakes, Cauliflower Puree

Recently I talked about making almond meal and using it in primal pancakes.

I’ve since tried the almond meal in baked pancakes (a misnomer, I know, but I don’t know what else to call them), and it’s fantastic.

The recipe is very simple. Put two tablespoons of butter in a pie pan. Melt the butter in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix three eggs, half a cup of flour, and half a cup of milk. I’ve tried wheat flour, oat flour, and almond meal, and all work great. I haven’t tried replacing the cow milk with coconut milk. Pour the batter into the pie plate, and bake for 20 minutes. (Shave off a couple of minutes if you use straight almond meal.)

One nice thing about these is you can put two or three cakes in the oven while you get the rest of breakfast ready; they aren’t as labor intensive as regular pancakes.

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Next (and unrelated), recently I purchased five nice heads of cauliflower from Target for a buck each. I steamed, pureed, and froze them. I used my new Tovolo silicone ice cube trays, which I really like.

The plain puree was also a great side-dish with butter and a little salt and pepper. I plan to add the dethawed puree to scrambled eggs and such, a la Jessica Seinfeld.

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Amazing Primal Pancakes

Somebody recommended Rick’s Primal Pancakes, and they are absolutely amazing. These are honestly the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten. I think it’s something about the flavors of the coconut with the almond.

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I used the recipe as listed, except I doubled it. The given recipe consists of 1 egg, 1/4 cup Almond Meal, 1/4 cup of coconut milk, 1/8 t cinnamon, and 1/8 t vanilla extract. They were a bit runny, so I think you could increase the ratio of meal to milk. (I imagine you could also use cow milk.)

I wend shopping this morning at Sunflower before I made breakfast. I was going to purchase almond meal, but it can cost over $10 per pound. Before I left, I read Yvette Marie’s suggestions for making almond meal. So I paid something like four dollars a pound for bulk raw almonds at Sunflower, then made my own meal. (I didn’t sift the meal, as Marie suggests, but I don’t mind it a little crunchy.) It turned out great.

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Avoid Identity Theft

The United States Post Office sent me a pamphlet from the Federal Trade Commission about identity theft. The pamphlet states, “Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.”

Take note, Qwest and Comcast. I very nearly dropped my Qwest phone and internet service last week. Internet service had been spotty, and when I called to complain Qwest’s representative demanded that I give him my Social Security number over the phone. When I refused, he suggested that he could also send me to the disconnection department. I hung up.

I had Comcast on the line and was very close to purchasing its services — until its representative demanded my Social Security number over the phone. I told her that was unacceptable.

Fortunately, an employee of Qwest who was sent to work on the problem explained to me what was going wrong with the internet service, how he intended to fix it, and how Qwest does not really need my Social Security number over the phone, in his opinion. Finally, somebody from Qwest lived up to the company’s loudly-touted “spirit of service.”

(If Comcast would stop spending so much money sending me junk mail and simply offer me a reasonable deal without demanding unnecessary personal information, I’d probably sign up with Comcast. But, aside from the jerk that Qwest subjected me to over the phone, I’ve been fairly happy with Qwest, except when I’m trying to watch a video online, which is slower.)

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post should be taken to suggest that I do not still advocate the phasing out of Social Security, the privatization of the Post Office, and the abolition of the FTC.

Happy Halloween!

How dare people throw parties and enjoy themselves on Halloween? The Denver Post, whose editorials could use a good wake-up scare, is upset that people are spending a few dollars to celebrate the holiday. The sub-head of an October 26 editorial complains that, while Halloween “used to be a simple, fun holiday,” now people spend (gasp!) $5 billion to celebrate. “That’s right, 5 billion,” the editorial repeats. The Post laments:

These days, you’re likely to see yards turned into horror movie sets, with orange lights, talking skeletons and smoke machines. The parties start days before the holiday and frequently involve printed invitations and catered food.

Stop the madness! …

It would be a shame to see this once-simple holiday turn into yet another commercial extravaganza with the potential to linger on your credit card bill for months.

Just imagine how Labor Day through New Year’s could turn into one blurry buy-fest, filled with obligatory parties and gifts purchased out of desperation.

The Denver Post should take a chill potion.

If the editorial writers at the Post can’t enjoy themselves without going into debt, and if they can’t attend parties and buy gifts for some reason other than a sense of duty, that’s their problem. They should stop projecting their pathologies onto the rest of us.

Let’s see. The population of the United States is about 300 million. So Halloween costs about $17 per person. That’s a pretty good deal, considering how much fun most of us have.

In our family, Halloween is a pretty big deal. Partly that’s because, with so large a family spread out over so large a distance, it’s impossible to see everybody on every holiday. My wife’s parents have claimed Halloween as their own. The holiday fits with my (step) father-in-law’s interests: he’s a huge sci-fi and horror buff. So my parents-in-law throw a huge party every year, complete with food, costumes, elaborate and mostly hand-made props, and, yes, a talking skeleton (at least in previous years) that tells ghost stories. They even send out “printed invitations,” which my wife designs and prints on our trusty HP ink jet.

This year, the party features a magic show. My father-in-law hand-built a stage prop so that his friend and my sister-in-law could re-create one of Houdini’s tricks. I heard children literally scream with delight during the show. If the sticks in the mud at the Post can’t manage to similarly enjoy themselves on the holiday, fine, but leave the rest of us alone.

My wife and I spent about $65 on Halloween costumes (that we can use again in future years), plus some extra money for clothes that can also be worn in regular wear. We spent $48 on DeVotchKa tickets, which allowed us to enjoyed Colorado’s best band and the many spectacular costumes among the crowd. We spent additional money for food and drinks, including pie pumpkins and Jello shooters in Halloween molds. Oh, and we spent $14 to see The Nightmare Before Christmas, 3D. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed every penny.

Yes, people often celebrate Halloween on the Saturday before. So what? We enjoyed the events on Saturday, and we look forward to the events on Wednesday. The writers for the Post are more than welcome to stay home and watch television or clip their toenails on both nights.

The Post got the $5 billion figure — that’s right, $5 billion — from the National Retail Federation. Here’s what the release says:

With the year’s spookiest holiday approaching, consumers are looking to celebrate. According to the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, consumers are expected to spend more on Halloween this year than last year, with the average person planning to spend $64.82 on the holiday compared to $59.06 one year ago. Total Halloween spending for 2007 is estimated to reach $5.07 billion. …

Halloween party-goers are bobbing for more than just apples. They’ll also be on the lookout for candy, costumes and decorations. The average person will spend $23.33 on Halloween costumes (including children’s and pet’s costumes), though young adults will spend far more. In fact, according to the survey, 18-24 year-olds plan to be the most festive, spending $34.06 on costumes, nearly twice as much as they plan to spend on candy ($19.65). According to the survey, average spending will rise in all categories, including candy ($19.84, decorations ($17.73) and greeting cards ($3.92). …

The most popular activity on Halloween this year will be handing out candy, with nearly three-fourths (72.9%) of consumers planning to stay home to hand out treats. Other popular activities will include pumpkin carving (43.3%), decorating a home and/or yard (47.8%), and throwing or attending a Halloween party (28.3%).

This is just way too much fun for The Denver Post. What are people thinking, dressing up, putting up decorations, and enjoying time with friends?

I must have missed the Post’s editorial complaining about how much money people spend on baseball, which mostly comes down to hitting a ball with a stick. And is the Post next going to come out against parties in general? After all, they also often involve special dress, decorations, and food. And Christmas trees! I bet all kinds of people will buy trees and decorations later this year. Christmas sweaters, candies, cakes… too much fun! Just stop it, already!

Or could it be that people get more value for their Halloween dollars than The Denver Post gets for its incessantly whining editorials? Be sure to put the paper’s editorials to their best use: spread them out on the counter or the floor to capture your pumpkin guts.

Happy Halloween!