Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Olivia's Favorite Buckwheat Pancakes (vegan and delicious)

Buckwheat Pancakes

I'm feeling thoughtful and reflective tonight. I have so many things I want to express and yet don't really have the words. Olivia, my 2 year old baby is becoming so aware of the world around her. Tonight we made a trip to Blockbuster, as we often do. Jeremy opened the door to the backseat on Olivia's side like he does every time he lets the kids come in the store, while I usually elect to wait in the car with the baby. Olivia watched, delighted as Jeremiah shuffled past. She started to giggle and kick her feet wildly which resulted in Isabella trying to dart past her as fast as she could. Once Isabella was out, Jeremy shut the door and started walking inside. What he didn't know is that the second the door closed Olivia went from laughing to arching her back and letting out a very loud yell. She then burst into tears as she watched her Dad, brother and sister walk further and further away. She cried loud. She wanted everyone to know that she was NOT happy with being left behind. She wanted to go too. She wanted to be apart of the action. It was heartbreaking and so great at the same time. I'm so used to her being complacent and unaware of most situations, like being left behind.

The thing is, Livy has something called Angelman's Syndrome. That poor little girl has been poked, prodded and tested for everything under the sun before we finally got a diagnosis earlier this year. She's the toughest little thing I know. She's very delayed. She doesn't talk. We don't know when she will walk. And she is generally just content. Only lately, she has been complaining more. Complaining in Olivia's case is good. It means she understands what is going on and can express that she is having none of it. It makes me laugh. It makes me happy. I feel that deep tug in my heart when I see that she is starting to understand and be aware. She is thinking for herself and she is smart. Usually mothers get frustrated when their kids start to crawl because when you set them down they will move. They are not going to be in the same place. I never had that problem with Liv. I set her down time and time again and she would just stay there. She couldn't crawl. That is until about a month ago when she started to scoot on her bottom. Now, she is a wild banshee (my favorite descriptive word for the kids) scooting all over the place. She used to just scoot around the room, here and there, from this toy to that one. But now it's not uncommon for me to set her down in the kitchen so I could grab some butter from the fridge, turn around and finally find her past the living room, all the way down the hall and in the gym where she is trying to shut the door behind her as if to lock me out. She squeals, kicks and laughs when I find her in there. I can tell she is proud of herself and her new found freedom. Nothing could make me happier or prouder. I am so much better for having her in my life. I am lucky.

Olivia with sister Isabella on her beloved therapy horse, "Rody".

Because she is delayed, we try to keep her mind as clear as possible, feeding her lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting her sugar. These pancakes are a weekend treat for her and she loves them. They are naturally sweet from the bananas and cinnamon and that's why she's crazy for them. She doesn't get syrup with hers, but I usually put a tablespoon or two of pure maple on mine. These are easy to whip up because you just mix everything in the blender. Very fast very healthy and very good. The only thing I would say is that the consistency of these vary quite a bit. Sometimes they never totally "cook through". They are mushy on the inside. There are no eggs or dairy in the recipe so from a safety standpoint it is perfectly fine. They still taste great and are thin, so it's not bad. I never mind when they are mushy in the middle, but it drives Jeremy crazy. However, they always set up nicely, and keep their shape, so no issues there. I think it has to do with your bananas. If they are overly ripe and mushy it causes the batter to be more that way. If they are firmer to begin with, your final product will be too.

Buckwheat Pancakes

This is a great way to eat pancakes in the morning without having to deal with the heavy food coma after.

Buckwheat Pancakes
adapted from Thrive, The Vegan Nutrition Guide To Optimal Performance In Sports And Life, by Brendan Brazier

serves 2-3

1 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (or whole flaxseed)
1/4 cup hemp protein (protein powder)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 banana
2 cups water
1/2 cup barley flakes plus more for sprinkling (or oat bran or buckwheat, sprouted or cooked) we use oat bran.
coconut oil or Earth Balance Butter for cooking

In a bowl, mix buckwheat four, flaxseed, hemp protein, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a food processor or blender, (we use a Vita-Mix) process or blend the banana and water while slowly adding the dry ingredients, until mixture is smooth. If using a blender, add the mix about a 1/2 cup at a time, blend and add more, and so on. Stir in the 1/2 cup barley flakes or oat bran with a spoon or spatula.

Lightly oil a non-stick pan or griddle with coconut oil or earth balance butter over medium heat. Pour in pancake batter to desired size, sprinkle with the barley flakes or oat bran and cook for about 5 minutes or until bubbles begin to appear. Flip, sprinkle with more barley flakes or oat bran and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.

I suppose sprinkling the barley flakes on top of each pancake is optional but that's how we do it. We have a great whole foods store in Steamboat called Bamboo Market where you can find all of the ingredients listed above. Most health stores will have this stuff in any area. The hemp protein is just the same thing as protein powder. We all know what that is, right? Well, since it's made with hemp, it's vegan which is what you are going for in this recipe. The coconut oil can be used again and again so it's a good thing to have on hand. It's very good for you. I like to put a little coconut oil on my toast instead of butter with a little honey (It firms up at room temperature like butter would in a refrigerator, but melts on the hot toast). I also use it on my son's face when he gets little rough patches or his chin gets irritated because of his sensitive skin. Flaxseed is wonderful for your body and we don't get enough of it so this is a great way to sneak some in. We also put flaxseed in our morning smoothie most everyday. If you can find it ground, it's better because then you won't have seed chunks stuck in your teeth!


  1. Olivia is precious! My good friends son is delayed and they are unsure why and doing a bunch of tests. I taught children with Autism for 2 years right out of college (not sure if you knew that) and quickly got a new found respect for the parents. I miss the kids so much!

  2. I didn't know this about your family, though I can totally relate. My son, Aidan, was profoundly autistic. Was because he is "healed" now, a complete miracle. I remember so well the celebration of every little moment. His disability brought such a sweetness to our lives that made us appreciate every moment of eye contact, every smile, every attempt at a word, every time he would allow you to touch him. I will keep your baby in my prayers!!

  3. What a great milestone for Olivia! :)

  4. Livy Lu! She is such a light in our lives! We LOVE you sweet girl! And we are going to attempt these bad boys again. I think I had the wrong bran last time.

  5. Love how you have found something special for your little peanut!

    Visiting from SITS :)

  6. I admire parents of special needs kids! My brother has Downs and is such a blessing in our family. Enjoy every moment, cause they grow up too fast!

    Thanks for your comment on my blog today!

  7. Krysta, I love this post about Olivia! She looks precious, and I'm so excited that she is becoming more aware of her surroundings. I'm sure you are such an incredible mom to her.