My husband and I are in the midst of a cross-country move. It’s a good thing, a culmination of sorts, another stop (or start?) on the adventure we are living. We are full of so many emotions as we embark on this journey – excitement, joy, anticipation, contentment…but also sadness at leaving wonderful friends and a church we dearly love, fear of the unknown, uncertainty about what our life will look like. We are right in the midst of the bittersweet beauty of life, the dual experience of joy and sorrow that seem to intersect so often in our lives. And while it is not easy, we are so grateful to be alive, to be healthy, to be surrounded by the people and places we love that make leaving so much harder to do. We are fortunate beyond measure.
One of the things we have come to love about our little corner of Ohio is the wonderful local food community, the farmers, food artisans, shops, and markets that celebrate the abundance of beautiful food in this area. We live in a fertile part of the country where there is always something fresh to eat – and usually at a good price! We can easily get milk, eggs, and cheese that come from happy, healthy animals who are being raised and cared for in good, sustainable ways. We have access to delicious fruits and veggies grown just down the road from us. Living in Ohio has introduced us to gardening – it is as normal as home owning or lawn mowing here. We have been living on part-time and student income, so we have had to learn how to be creative with our food, to stretch our budget and to eat well with (relatively) little money. And it has been so very good for us – in terms of our health, our marriage, and our understanding of and connection to the world of growing and living things around us. We have been living a crash course and Ohio has been our school, and I wouldn’t trade this time for anything.
Now we are moving to Texas, to a dry and windy place where I fear that many of the things I have come to love and value about a local food culture will be vastly different. Gardening will be harder. The organic food community is smaller (though growing, from what I can tell). We are moving for a job, which after years of school feels like a dream! And we are so very thrilled. But I don’t know what my life will look like in the new place. The uncertainty is unsettling at times. Sure, it gives me room to dream and plan and pray and hope. But it also feels insecure and a little bit sore. No matter what the future holds, in the coming days, weeks and months, one thing I know for sure: we will continue to find ways to eat well (still on a budget!) because, if this time in Ohio has taught us anything, it is the vital connection we have to the land, to the animals, to the people, and ultimately to the Lord.
So in the midst of moving, I am finding comfort in good food, in simplicity, in remembering what is important, in spending time with beloved friends. This is one of those recipes that gives me comfort, a simple but delicious and nourishing breakfast (or lunch or dinner).
Grain Free Banana Berry Pancakes topped with Homemade Yogurt
(adapted from Green Kitchen Stories http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/)
Serves 1 – 2 but is easily doubled or tripled
1 ripe banana
1/3 c unsweetened coconut flakes
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
1/3 – 1/2 cup berries of your choice (fresh or frozen)*
Coconut oil or butter for frying
- Mash the banana in a bowl with a fork.
- Add 2 eggs and beat into banana with the fork.
- Add coconut flakes, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix well.
- Gently stir in berries.
- Pre-heat your pan on medium low for a couple of minutes. Add oil or butter and let it get hot.
- Pour in 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of batter to make pancakes.
- Fry until the pancake is solid enough to turn without breaking, 2 – 3 minutes on each side. Cook on both sides until nicely browned.
I like to top mine with plain homemade yogurt, real maple syrup, and more berries. (I make my homemade yogurt following Michele’s methods at Frugal Granola: http://frugalgranola.com/2010/07/how-to-make-yogurt/ It’s super easy and doesn’t require anything staying plugged in for long periods of time, which makes me happy. Plus, it has always tasted great!)
* I made mine this time with fresh local black raspberries topped with blueberries from the farmers’ market and they were delish! I have used a variety of berries with this recipe, including frozen mixed berries, and they have all turned out great!
Jocelyn is a freelance theater director in Columbus, Ohio. She loves cooking real food vegetarian meals for friends and family. She is married to Mark, who makes the best homemade pies and corn tortillas around. When she isn’t at the theater, she can be found working part-time in a neighborhood bakery, working in her container garden, preserving fruits and veggies, going for walks, reading, or watching movies with Mark.