Musical pairing – New Kid In Town by The Eagles
All I remember about that particular Valentine’s day is his downy-fuzz blonde hair and tiny little hands wrapped inside white flannel mittens decorated with red hearts. It had been a challenging delivery with labor starting and stopping the entire week before the baby boy finally arrived; trips to the hospital and then back home again only to be repeated every 48 hours or so. A scan finally revealed the baby boy wasn’t positioned correctly, was now in distress and a cesarian was quickly scheduled. But just as we were being prepped and wheeled into a waiting operating room, the baby boy flipped . . . and suddenly . . . he was here. Blonde-hair, blue eyes, 7 pounds, 9.5 ounces and 22-inches long, my baby boy was finally here.
Didn’t that scene just happened yesterday? Didn’t my baby boy with the basset-hound cheeks, running naked through the house and smelling like bath soap, wrapped in a towel just turn 2? Didn’t my boy with dancing blue eyes telling tales of his latest Star Wars adventure, cape tied haphazardly around his neck and riding his big wheel just turn 7? Didn’t my boy with the impish grin, having removed all the knobs off the wall heaters in his great-uncle’s house, just turn 8? What were the dreams I dreamed for you, baby boy? I don’t remember my dreams that day . . . only those mittens . . . oh, and feeling quite pleased that you arrived on Valentine’s Day.
My boy is grown now and has a ready-made family of his own. He works hard, loves big and speaks his mind . . . (wonder who he gets that from???) And he makes me proud. He’s a good citizen, he’s caring and he’s helpful. He can be grouchy at times but he fiercely loves his brother. He sends me pictures of the new puppies his dog has just given birth to; he tells me how happy he is that I’ve found The Professor after all these years. He calls to tell me about a new grill recipe he’s making or he calls to ask for a childhood recipe. And he sends me a text that simply says, ‘I love you mom.’
If we lived in the same town, I’d bake his favorite birthday cake – angel food with whipped cream and strawberry filling. But I’d also make him these pancakes – I know he’d love them even though at first he’d probably roll his eyes and say I was crazy for even thinking about putting beets in a pancake. I can just hear him now, ‘Beets are for dinner mom, they are not for breakfast and they sure as hell aren’t for pancakes!’ And his eyes would twinkle and he’d laugh and then he’d take a bite of these beautiful crimson-pink pancakes and admit that his mom still knows a thing or two . . .
Happy Birthday son . . . I love you.
Now don’t turn your nose up at these pancakes because they have beets in them; I double-dog-dare-you to make these once and then come back here and tell me you don’t love them as much as I do. Not only are these stunning to look at, the beets add a sweetness and depth of flavor that most pancakes lack – they do not taste like beets – pinky swear!! And the quinoa adds another flavor component without being gritty or tough. Light, tender, perfectly sweetened, these pancakes are something really special – serve them with a good quality real maple syrup – they deserve nothing less.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets in a glass or metal baking dish with about ½ cup water in the bottom. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until very tender, about 1 hour. Cool, peel and puree the beets in a food processor or blender until smooth. You will need ½ cup of beet puree (any remaining puree can be frozen for another time). (SMITH BITES NOTE: I took a cheat here and purchased cooked beets from my area’s Trader Joe’s refrigerated section – NOT canned beets. But next time I purchase fresh beets to roast for dinner, I will roast extra just so I can make these again.)
- Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, melted butter, egg and ½ cup of beet puree until smooth. Using a spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently combine. The batter should be the consistency of lightly whipped cream and crimson in color (SMITH BITES NOTE: mine was more pink than crimson).
- Although the batter is best if used immediately, it can sit for up to 1 hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. When you return to the batter, it will be very thick and should be thinned, 1 tablespoon at a time, with milk – take great care not to overmix.
- Heat a 10-inch cast-iron or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Rub the pan generously with butter; this is the key to crisp, buttery edges, my favorite part of any pancake. Working quickly, dollop ¼-cup mounds of batter onto the pan, 2 or 3 at a time. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top-side of the pancake, flip it over and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total. Wipe the pan with a cloth before griddling the next batch. Rub the pan with butter and continue with the rest of the batter. If the pan is too hot or not hot enough, adjust the flame accordingly to keep results consistent.
- Serve pancakes hot, straight from the skillet, with a pitcher of warm maple syrup, encouraging your guests to pour as they please.
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What a beautifully written post; your son is a lucky young man. A belated happy birthday to the “baby boy.” 🙂 And a belated Happy Valentine’s Day to you and The Professor.
We love beets, but it has never occured to us to put them into our pancakes. Will take your advice and see how they come out. Just have to wait a few more weeks until we can pull them from the garden…
Aw… what a beautiful story!! I think boys who are born on holidays are special – my husband was born on Christmas and both of my son’s birthdays fall on Easter and Thanksgiving every few years!!
These pancakes sound so interesting and I know that they must taste delicious since they are on your blog. Will definitely have to try these out – it would be nice to feel virtuous about eating pancakes!!!
Debra, as I was getting more and more involved in your story, my heart felt like somebody was squeezing it really hard. My first-born is a sophomore in college, and the youngest just brought home her last paper-bag filled with Valentine’s cards (it’s middle school next year, no more cards:(
Oh, I am happy they are growing up, strong and smart, thoughtful and still a bit needy, and I cry late at night when they cannot hear. But, I read words like yours, and I know that my tears are those of pride and joy.
Happy birthday to your baby-boy! I cannot imagine a better V-Day gift:)
BTW, I love beets, but it would not have occurred to me to use them in pancakes. And why not?
What a lovely Valentine’s present! A beautiful post, Deb.
Time goes by so quickly. My youngest will be 50 this year. And I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday.
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OK, Deb, I admit it–I got a little teary reading this. I felt my heart swell in my chest and the tears just popped out. Loved the memories and the man your son has become. It’s such a wonderful journey, isn’t it? (I’m totally impressed with the beet & quinoa pancakes, BTW!)
So sweet Deb. Missed reading this yesterday, but it’s the best Valentine’s story.
Quinoa pancakes sound yummie and very healthy…love the pictures 🙂
Debra, these are my kind of pancakes. Love the slightly unusual ingredients that I bet taste awesome put together in these pancakes. The story about your sweet little (now big) boy makes me weepy 🙂 xo
That is the sweetest post ever!!! I cant believe you have a GROWN boy! And these pancakes are so unique and fun!
These look wonderful! I’ve never had quinoa in pancakes, but it sounds like a great idea!
Oh what a lovely story, I got all teary-eyed reading it. You’ve expressed your love for your son in such a beautiful, touching way. I’m moved. As for the pancakes, I must try them but will need to hide the beets from my husband, it’s one of the few foods he still won’t eat (and I’ve gotten him to eat a LOT of things he swore he never would).
Time flies so fast, doesn’t it? What a lovely Valentine’s Day post. Happy birthday to your, son! Sounds like he has so much to proud and thankful for — including you! What a lovely plate of beet pancakes. I’ve never had them before and like Lael, I think they’ll go incredibly well with delicious maple syrup.
Oh gosh, what a sweet post! U just made me cry 🙁 He got all that from you of-course!!
Lovely Lovely LOVELY post!! Thanks for writing so well and touching my heart!!
Love these! I hope you and the Prof had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Quinoa in pancakes? Well WHY NOT? Quinoa has been a pleasant surprise and new addition to our kitchen, due to a few friends and family who are gluten free. Interesting post Deb!
So sweet! I adore beets and we just had friends from Canada bring us fabulous Maple Syrup. I’d not imagined the two going together before. Must try 🙂
Debra! Beautiful writing, I have more than one tear to wipe away. I must get my hands on Good to The Grain too, EVERYONE raves about it.
I had no idea that your pink pancakes were going to be so beautiful and unique! I love adding quinoa flour to my baked goods, and these pancakes look like they are just perfect for that powerhouse grain. But what I loved most was hearing you talk about your son..it warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing, sweet woman. You are a blessing to so many people!
Oh my, time for the kleenex, you’ve touched me so Debra. Thank you for sharing your love for your son. You don’t know how much I needed a reminder like this today. Wishing you and the Professor a wonderful, love filled day!
How sweet. Sounds like you raised a fine man. Happy birthday to him! Love this pancake – ueber healthy and super festive.
What a lovely tribute to your son! I wish him a very Happy Birthday, and you a wonderful Valentine’s Day.
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Well Happy Birthday Deb. I always wish that to Mom’s cause well…it was a birthday we were intimately involved in and we deserve that, don’t you think?
Sweet memories…wishing right now I could be reading a box of Valentine’s card that a little girl brought home with her…that’s what Valentine’s Day does to me…I can only imagine the feelings it wells up in you!
Nice pancakes too!
What a beautiful story about your son, my boys are growing up so quickly, it’s hard to believe they’ll be leaving home so soon. This recipe looks awesome – I’ve never used quinoa in pancakes so I’ll have to give this a try.
There is nothing more precious or special than the love shared between mother & child!
I love how unique these are! I am definitely going to have to try this one out!
I’m sitting here crying, Deb. What precious writing. Happy Birthday to your sweet son!
Wow mom I knew you cared but jeeezz. Where did all the years go? it seems like just yesterday you were taking me to my 5th grade class room in our new house. Or how about the time you told me and my brother to “take it outside – I’m not kidding!!!!!” wow. how time just seems to slip away from me. Well mom I do “love ya” and I wish I was there to get a great big hug from you. Happy Valentines Day Mom!!!!!
What a beautiful post about your son! My own two boys are growing up so quickly and I can hope that, someday, I will receive frequent phone calls from them as you do from your son.
These pancakes sound wonderful – not crazy at all!
Ah, Debra, this is so sweet. I had tears in my eyes as I read it. They do grow up too fast. I’m trying to prepare myself for the day when my daughter leaves for college. It’s still years away but drawing near. It’s just too hard to think about. And I would be doing like you – trying to entice her with pancakes. Tell your son I’m glad you found the professor too. Life is better with love in it. Don’t you think? Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
Love it! I love quinoa flour, so I can imagine how delicious these would be! 🙂
wonderful idea! Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
heaven help me. those look amazing. <3
That’s the sweetest Valentine’s Day post I’ve read all day. Made me all misty. You write so beautifully.
Thanks so much Lana ~ it’s those memories that write themselves!
What a sweet post.
What a sweet and wonderful Valentine’s day post! I must admit to being a little skeptical about beet pancakes, but not about your love for your “baby boy”!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Pinky-swear promise Rowdy that you will love these pancakes; I wasn’t sure myself by they are tasty!
As far as I’m concerned bring on the beets!
You’re not supposed to make us cry on Valentine’s Day! Seeing my kids grow up too quickly always makes me catch my breath, and hope that they’ll just slow down a bit.
Beautiful post, as always.
Slow down a bit – now that i’m where i am, yes – would love the world to stop spinning for just a few moments to catch my breath!
Your post had me tearing up with a big knot w in my throat Debra! I know the feeling of having sons that grow up far too fast that it makes your head spin. Happy Birthday to your special Valentine son and Happy Valentine’s Day to his special mom!
Your pancakes look like an unusaual combination but something that I’d be willing to try. Great color for Valentine’s day too 🙂 Can’t beet that!
i teared up several times writing it Renee – Happy Valentine’s Day from one mother to another! Try the pancakes – you won’t be disappointed!
Loved this post. It was beautifully written.
BTW, who speaks their mind? You? LOL!
uhm . . . why yes, Gwen, I do speak my mind . . . LOL! and thank you for your comment – it means a great deal to me, really
Such a touching post… from the heart, full of love.
Hope you have a very happy Valentine’s Day!
i thought about you when writing this post Brian – because of your love of beets; i admit i had my doubts as to what beet pancakes would taste like – but they are something quite special – you need to make them!
What a sweet story, and an interesting pancake recipe to boot!