I celebrated my first day back in Bloomington by checking off a predictable list of post-holiday to-dos: Unpack Christmas presents. Do laundry. Pay rent. Buy groceries. Make soup.
The best task, though, was saved for last: Redo kitchen chalkboard.
With the swipe of a towel, month-old doodles of snowflakes and pine trees disappeared, and the following quote, by the brilliant Neil Gaiman, was scrawled in their place:
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.”
So here goes 2016: the year of making mistakes, of trying and learning and changing. The year of Doing Something. For now, that Something for me is about making time for the people and things that bring me joy. It’s about learning how to be a better teacher and getting more comfortable in the grad student role. It’s about settling into this experience of living alone, single and strong. No — not settling into it; reveling in it, by making simple routines like breakfast into single-lady (or -lad) parties with these perfect pear pancakes. Think you need a good reason to get out the maple syrup? Think again. Every morning can be pancake morning in 2016. Get into it. Make mistakes. Throw yourself a party of one.
pear pancakes: party of one
Adapted from Joy the Baker
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon regular oats
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil + more for frying
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk* (see note at the end)
dash of vanilla
1 pear, diced
handful of pecans, chopped
maple syrup to serve
Serves one strong and confident single person
In a small bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine oil, milk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix together. The batter should be thick, but not lumpy.
Add the diced pear and stir to combine.
Heat a couple teaspoons of vegetable oil on a frying pan. Pour batter into two big cakes. Cook over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edges and flip. Cook until golden brown. Plate ’em, top with pecans, extra pear pieces, and real maple syrup.
The spirit of party-of-one pancakes demands that you make this treat exactly how you want it. More into bananas than pears? Walnuts over pecans? A handful of chocolate chips calling your name? Don’t hesitate. Throw it in. Do like Neil Gaiman and Do Something.
Happy New Year!
*Note about coconut milk: I used coconut milk primarily because I had it on hand at the time. (It’s actually something I almost always have on hand. Did you know coconut milk freezes wonderfully?) Also, I like that nearly imperceptible zip of coconut flavor it adds. That said, feel free to use whatever kind of milk you have. For you pancake purists, perhaps buttermilk is best.