Sunday, January 02, 2011


I love this time of year - cranberries are readily available. I have an unnatural affection for them. I've been to cranberry country several times and was intrigued by the idea of flooding the fields for harvest. That must save a lot of weather-related angst for cranberry farmers!

One of the best Valentine's Day cards I ever received was a giant heart covered with cranberries. How sweet is that? I can't imagine how long it took him to glue the cranberries.

Yesterday was another day off (three in a row this week!) I took the chance do some cooking.

My go-to dish for parties is Grandma Leona's cranberry salad. I imagine the great nutritional value of the cranberries is smothered in the sugar, tapioca, marshmallows and pecans. Over the years I've reduced the sugar and marshmallows and added more celery - it's still delicious.  I whipped up a batch for the Spitznogle Christmas party this afternoon.

I also made cranberry syrup!  My cousin LuAnn grew and milled buckwheat flour and I wanted to make something special with it. Buckwheat pancakes and seemed like a great way to start the new year - if not my weight loss program.

The only hitch was that I've never made pancakes. How is that possible? I researched recipes and shopped for the stuff that I didn't have on hand -  basically everything, since the ingredient list didn't include diet Pepsi, cat food or popcorn.

Before I started cooking,  I dutifully entered the ingredients into the Weight Watchers recipe builder and almost fainted when it calculated 15 points per serving (I'm allowed 29 per day), but that didn't stop me - the cat wasn't going to dine on baking soda and lemons, although he might be intrigued by the buttermilk.

They were delicious! And by making the pancakes small, I was able whittle it down to 5 points a serving, including the syrup.

I also learned some valuable pancake making lessons:  Multi-tasking is not possible. The smoke alarm is sensitive. Rubber spatulas melt. Skillet handles are hot. I have an exceptional talent for swearing.

When I first started the project, I had the notion that making pancakes would be a fun to do with someone else. Unless I find a guy that thinks batter all over the kitchen and scorched fingers are sexy, that's probably not a great idea.

In the meantime, I have ten pancakes in the freezer....

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