Weekends. Sanctuaries.

Coming at you with a weekend.

I play music as I do things around the house on this unrushed, mostly unplanned Sunday morning. Lately I think I’ve been trying to catch the wind. Futile most likely, but for some reason I can’t seem to stop. Wind, leave me alone. Come back when you’re a pleasant breeze.

Sunday is pancake day. This morning pancakes broke me. (Sorry Joy the Baker, I cannot get your single lady pancakes to work!) In one stupid moment pancakes almost ruined my entire day. Just breathe, though, right? Turn to a favorite pancake. Funny how the same food that brought me to tears one minute, is perfectly golden and doused in maple syrup the next. Sometimes it’s good to stick to our favorites.

Sunday needs to relax, because Saturday was spent being busy. When one of your best girls is getting married in August some Saturdays are busy. Find bridesmaids dresses, have margaritas and beers, accidentally make off with diamond bracelets from my parents’ jewelry store, visit the reception location.

This is The Sanctuary on Penn.

Stained glass windows everywhere.

Even the bathrooms were lovely.

Have you ever been somewhere that just breathes a person? The Sanctuary on Penn fits my friend and her fiance perfectly in the history, the stories, the details, the scuff marks, the light, the many rooms, the leather chairs and dark wood bars, the fact that I can say bars plural.

Good luck penny floors.

Perfect. Wandering around this old church and picturing it filled with their guests was easily my favorite part of the day.

Pumpkin pancakes with apple maple syrup

Right now I am sitting in a coffee shop. Michael is sitting across from me doing work on a paper for Sweden. He’s a big deal. The couple at the table next to us is having a first date. Michael and I text back and forth about them. He has nice eyes. She’s a lot smaller than him. He was probably skinnier back in the day, but maybe he doesn’t have time to workout now that he has a 9-5 job. And HOLY SHIT WTF does that dude have a tail? Welcome to Broad Ripple. In order to make this afternoon more…cafe-like, I’m listening to Pink Martini on my phone. Some of their songs sound very Parisian cafe. All of them sound like they could be on the soundtrack of a black and white movie from the 40s. It’s making the ambiance less dude-with-a-tail-y. I feel fancy.

I love breakfast. Have I said that before? Making a pot of coffee, taking the time to cook eggs or pancakes or biscuits, making my plate look pretty before I set my fork to the food, and then sitting on the couch and eating at a relaxed speed without the pressure of having to run to work hanging over my head. I love drinking multiple mugs of coffee over a few hours, really taking in and enjoying the taste. Breakfast can really be a ritual.

I have two weekend breakfast stand-bys: eggs with runny yolks, poached in my new-old egg poaching pot from my grandparents house or fried eggs, or pancakes. I have a variety of pancakes in my weekend breakfast repertoire. The latest addition are these pumpkin pancakes. They’re filling and thick and made with whole-wheat flour, and full of autumn spices. And the apple maple syrup. Oh heaven. sautéed and cinnamoned apple slices briefly cooked in a dousing of maple syrup. This is the breakfast of autumn kings and queens. Or at least the exact breakfast I’d like to eat on a blustery November day. This recipe makes more than enough for one or two people for one meal. I still like to make the full recipe though, and put the extra batter in the refrigerator to use for a quick weekday breakfast.

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Corny Pancakes

I know, I know, I’ve been ridiculously absent lately. List of reasons:

  • I haven’t made any inspiring new recipes (until this past Sunday morning). I’ve been recycling delicious old favorites.
  • We’ve been searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. They’re the boyfriend’s favorite thing to spend money on at the grocery. Obviously, I am convinced I can make better than store-bought. We’re very close.
  • I’ve been totally copping out on Songs of the Week by posting just a song, no explanation, on my Tumblr.
  • Nothing noteworthy has happened and I don’t like blogging about random, meaningless things.
  • I’m going to work on sharing more things like awesome internet finds, my running updates, and things I’m making every day in the kitchen. (This’ll involve more photos, so bare with me as I struggle to become better!)

So, weekend breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the week. I love taking my time to make something a little more involved, slowly sipping multiple cups of coffee, and not eating like I’m taking part in a competition. I like pancakes, but so often the just basic, run of the mill, buttermilk variety bores me. Pancakes with a twist, an extra ingredient and more dimension, are worthy of weekend breakfast in my house.

For my birthday, my sweet brother got me The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century. This cookbook is a compilation of over 1,400 recipes gathered from the New York Times food section from as far back as the 1850s. There are sections on everything from drinks to fish to dessert. And a whole section on breakfast and brunch!

When I was craving pancakes Sunday morning, I turned to my new trusty kitchen companion, and I found Kathleen Claiborne’s Hot Cakes. They’ve got cornmeal in them, which gives them a great texture and flavor, and a lovely light yellow color. The whole pouring boiling water over cornmeal and sugar was a bit odd and resulted in a very thick, almost paste-like mixture. But once the milk and oil are added and the egg whites folded in, things even out. I put a bit of syrup on some of mine and apricot jelly on others. Definitely worthy of Sunday breakfast.

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Oatmeal Pancakes

OK, I’ll just put it out there. I’ve had a  hard month, the culmination of which, after three years of couples cooking, has me cooking for just one. There’s no hate, no anger, just a lot of sadness, and hopefully a friendship again in the future somewhere. Thank goodness I have amazing friends and family both here in Indianapolis and over the phone. I also have these sweet girls.

And Matt Nathanson, whose music has an uncanny ability to fit the lovey-dovey beginning of relationships and the heartbreaking end of them, too. And then there’s food. Saturday afternoon I stood over a mixing bowl, beating together butter and brown sugar for cookies, crying, and I literally muttered through those tears, “At least no matter how little sense everything else makes right now, butter and sugar will always make something delicious and magical.” It’s nice to know that I can combine ingredients in a certain way and know that they’ll be tasty. It is not nice to know that every time my cat visits the litter box, she’ll emerge stinking and desperately wanting to cuddle. These things are certainties.

OK, so enough about me and my wah wah wah life. THIS WEEK IS THANKSGIVING WEEK! I love this holiday. It’s the Pie Holiday. It’s the Food Holiday. It’s the Hang Out with Family and Just Eat and Be Happy Holiday. I’m sure you’re all planning menus, grocery shopping, and getting ready to start cooking up a storm. I’m going to try to document all the wonderful things my family and I cook and eat. I am not going to give you the few sweets recipes I have in my queue right now. Instead I give you: breakfast. Because you will need a good breakfast to prepare you for a day of cooking and family time.

Breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day. I love brunching with my lady friends. I love, love eggs with runny yolks that ooze in a buttery fashion all over toast and potatoes and greens. And I love fluffy, sweet pancakes and waffles. My dad makes the best waffles, but alas I have no waffle maker. My mom always made the best pancakes growing up, these quick and tasty ones from Betty Crocker I believe. I have sweet memories of standing on a chair by the counter, helping to mix ingredients for waffles or pancakes on weekend mornings.

So these pancakes are not the ones my mom made for us growing up. They’re full of oatmeal goodness that fills you up properly. I’ve been making them since the summer, when I topped them with strawberries, powdered sugar, and syrup, and I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to share them with you. Seriously, these are the best pancakes ever. I’ve been mixing cut up apples into them lately and smothering them in honey. Or mixing in some pumpkin puree.

So, OK, you should make these during your holiday weekend. In your robe. Lazily. With a cup of coffee.

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