Pumpkin-Apple Pancakes

Two Autumnal flavors in one pancake!

Today is National Pancake Day and to celebrate I came up with a new pancake recipe. I usually make Lemon Ricotta pancakes on Sundays and since I love my simple recipe so much I just adapted it to accommodate pumpkin puree and apples. These were very delicious and a perfect way to start off the Sunday. We followed the meal with a 6 mile walk so I'm sure we burned some of those calories.

This is also my very first recipe post after the big move. I'm still not a 100% comfortable in my new kitchen but I'm getting there slowly but surely.


1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
cinnamon to taste

1 cup of flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 cup of pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2/3 of a cup of almond milk (or regular milk)


Toss the apples with some cinnamon to coat and add them to a small plastic microwaveable container with a lid. Cook in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then cook for 30 more seconds. This will soften the apples. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix all your dry ingredients then incorporate your wet ingredients.

Heat up a griddle to medium height (or just below). Add some butter and spoon some pumpkin pancake batter. Add some slices of apples on top. Once the pancake starts to bubble and you've checked with a spatula that it is flippable, flip it over and cook for another minute.

You can top these pancakes with maple syrup or some powdered sugar and serve alongside some scrambled eggs.

Farmer's Market Raspberries

I got these raspberries from the Davis Square Farmer's Market (of which I am still the mayor on Foursquare!). I thought it would be cool to take a photograph of the raspberries amidst all the plastic it came with. It's a juxtaposition between locally grown and freshly picked produce and something artificial like plastic bags.

Book Review ~ Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

I was contacted about reviewing Simply Suppers: Easy Comfort Food Your Whole Family Will Love by Jennifer Chandler. I jumped on the chance because now that I've officially moved in with Carlos I need to make dinner for both of us every night without fail and I need ideas. The more ideas I can get the better. And if the recipe ideas are simple, inexpensive and effective then it is a definite plus.

This book is simple and straightforward but also very thorough. There are lots of recipes for Soups, Poultry, Meat, Seafood, Pasta, Sandwiches, Grains, Vegetables and Desserts. There are several guides on what to keep in your pantry, how to make basic things like chicken stock, what recipes are good to keep in the freezer, etc.

I thought this book might be good for me because I still don't feel as though I have advanced very much as a cook. There are more firsts than there are repeats and I feel like I still have so much to learn and that the process is taking a lot longer than I thought. However, when I went through the recipes in this book I realized that I already knew how to make most of them. I even disagreed with some of the ingredients and methods and was able to reconfigure the recipes to my own style of cooking. In a very strange way, this book made me realized that my culinary skills are much better than I had originally thought.

I tested out a couple of the recipes. Here are the results:

Beef Bourguignon page 55 - I pretty much followed the recipe except that I cut down on the amount of red wine it called for (it said a whole bottle, I put half and it was still too much) and I cooked it for 4 hours in my Crockpot instead of 2 hours in my Dutch oven. I served it with egg noodles and it was fabulous.

Shrimp Scampi page 89 - I made this tonight. I used less butter and more white wine to make more sauce but wanted to cut down on the calories. I was cooking a lot of linguine to go with it so I wanted enough sauce for that. I simultaneously created Chicken Scampi for Carlos who doesn't eat seafood. It was delicious.

Peanut Butter Cup Tart page 221 - This recipe just beckoned to me. I really wanted to make it but it called for lots of heavy cream. Both Carlos and I are developing a lactose intolerance and we are trying to lose weight. So I ended up going to Allrecipes.com and found another lighter recipe for peanut butter pie which I made instead. I used almond milk and low-fat frozen whipped topping which made for a much healthier dessert. I was inspired by the book but I ended up going elsewhere for the result.

I had a few problems with the book. The photographs are not all that great, the recipes were pretty basic (with only a few that really piqued my interest) and many of the dishes are heavy on fat. I got the feeling that this was really a Southern cookbook in disguise.

I do recommend this to people who are learning to cook and want a compact book filled with basic recipes on hand for whipping up basic dinners. In this case, this book is very thorough and it's a great jumping off point for developing basic culinary skills and a repertoire of regular meals.

There are a few other recipes I'd like to try such as:

Potato Chip Chicken Tenders
Creamy Garlic Chicken
Shrimp and Grits
Praline Bread Pudding

So even though it's not the best cookbook I've ever seen, it's still a welcome addition to my library.

Visit Jennifer Chandler's website: http://www.cookwithjennifer.com/

Cafe Mangal

On our last Summer Friday adventure, Lisa and I ventured out to Wellesley, MA to Cafe Mangal, a Turkish deli/restaurant that was featured in the Hidden Boston blog.

Cafe Mangal at lunch time is more a deli than a restaurant. You go up to the counter and order from the menu. They give you a number, you pick a table and set your number sign at the edge of your table and they bring you your meal. The menu is enormous as you can see in the picture above. The line usually gets backed up with amazed and confused patrons struggling to decide what they should have for lunch.

The restaurant is very nice. A motley group of different tables, pictures on the wall and handmade jewelry and scarves for sale made up the dining area.

Cafe Mangal is a Mom and Son operation. The son cooks and the Mom handles the counter. They have a wall of fame with various pictures of celebrities (including one of tennis player Andre Agassi sporting a rocking hairdo) and family members.

Lisa and I started off our meal with iced teas. I had a regular plain Iced tea with lemon and she had a Iced Chai.

Lisa got a traditional Turkish wrap. A mixture of lamb, beef, potato and cheese was spread on the wrap, sprinkled with parsley and laid flat with a wedge of lemon on top for squeezing. You wrap it up yourself. Lisa gave me a little piece and I have to say it was quite delicious. Now if only I could remember the name!

I had a Roast Beef sandwich which was the special for the day. I know I know. Why did I buy a roast beef sandwich when I went to a Turkish restaurant? I can get roast beef sandwiches anywhere. But this wasn't just any roast beef sandwich! It was on freshly baked bread and had muenster, avocado and various other toppings. Quite delicious. It came with a chopped salad dressed with Cafe Mangal's special  homemade house vinaigrette which they bottle and sell in house. 

The meal wasn't complete with a nice piece of baklava. I would have been just fine with my iced tea but I was jealously ogling people ordering espressos and machiatos that were served in small square cups. I just had to have one. So I got a 1 shot espresso machiato to go with my baklava.

Don't I look cool drinking my machiatto out of my square espresso cup? I do, don't I? Oh come on, just humor me!

Lisa and I were both VERY HAPPY with the baklava. It was perfect. Soft, with a crispy layer of phyllo dough on top, sweet but not too sweet and not sticky at all. Our only complaint that it was way too small!

Cafe Mangal is worth a trip out to Wellesley for sure. Next time I go, I want to try their dinner menu and service. It will be like going to the restaurant again for the very first time.
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