Banana Blueberry Almond Pancakes:
Several years ago, some teacher friends invited me for a girls night out, in Red Bank, for a cookbook launch. This is where I met Amie Valpone. As soon as the server walked around with the Olive and Cashew Tapenade and Best Friend Bars, I knew this was a match made in cookbook heaven. There are multiple go-to recipes in my repertoire from Amie, but the most often used one, and most popular in the L household, are the Banana Blueberry Almond pancakes. These are so healthy, just sweet enough and so very satisfying. They are the only pancakes, in my entire pancake eating history, that I have had no desire to add butter to (and that don’t contain a single sliver of said butter either!). Who said, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and sugar-free can’t be delicious?
You can snag a copy of her cookbook here!
Every year, at least for 6 of my 9 years spent as an elementary school teacher, it was tradition to have the students' families join us for a holiday ornament making party. This tradition was a HIT with kids and adults (and administration….helloooo 4.0 for parental involvement). Planning for this event began on Back to School Night when I would have the parents fill out the normal, run of the mill paperwork...which included a question about their favorite childhood book (and their history, as they remember it, as a reader). In the beginning of December, I would unearth this paperwork again, and give the kids their parents favorite book title - and request that they, themselves, choose a favorite title (a nostalgic one from their childhood….which they always referred to as a long time ago….or a more recent favorite). The kids would use time over the month to hop on a Chromebook, and google search quotes from these favorite books. After copying and pasting them (double spaced) into a word document….I would print multiple copies of these pages and have the kids begin slicing the lines apart to store in labeled baggies.
Meanwhile, in party planning mode, I would put out the sign up sheet for party and craft supplies. My contribution was always the plastic ornaments (which I had luck finding at ACMoore), and I would request different holiday colored ribbon, a large container of modpodge, foam brushes (enough for kids and parents), small plastic cups and for help in gathering empty egg cartons. The result was several paper covered tables in the lunchroom, kids smushed in next to parents, happily chattering away, munching on snacks and spending 1.5-2 hours, in this way, making these ornaments. This year, G made some special ornaments as gifts for family, with memories he had of special times with them. They too, were a hit. : )
This time of year, perhaps more than any other season, seems to be filled with traditions and family - each having their own ways to celebrate, to give and to share. In my family and in my home, it is absolutely not the Christmas season until we have made, and heavily sampled, the first batch of Christmas candies. My Mom and I have made these, for as long as I can remember, and it seems that family, friends, doctors, dentists (yes - we give them to the dentist) and even the mailman, look forward to them every year.
They are so simple, do not require any baking and I’ll guarantee that if you are human, and are not allergic to chocolate or peanut butter - that you can’t eat just one!