Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cream Cheese pancakes - an adaptation of the original

As with any dietary change we attempt, we try to find substitutes for those yummy foods we know and love.

Originally upon transitioning to a Paleo/Primal way of eating, I used this recipe from a blog called I Breathe, I'm Hungry. It's a blog that specializes in low-carb recipes.
The only problem was that I missed thick, fluffy pancakes. These, from my experience, don't make big fluffy pancakes. So, as with all recipes we find, we put our own little tweak on it to hopefully get the end product we desire.  

I started by adding coconut flour to keep with the gluten-free aspect. It helped to thicken the mixture, but never really got the consistency I wanted. So I kept trying. 

I had recently read the label on Bob's Red Mill baking powder and that it gets activated with heat, causing foods to develop air bubbles and thus "rise". I decided to try some in the cream cheese pancakes. I also increased the amount of coconut flour to make the batter just a touch thicker. 

I added 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 8 heaping teaspoons of coconut flour. This is how they turned out:

They rose beautifully!! And tasted just as great!


8 large eggs
8 oz Philadelphia Original cream cheese*
vanilla to taste (I use about 1 tbsp)
1 tsp baking powder
8 heaping teaspoons coconut flour

Blend the cream cheese, eggs, and vanilla using a stick blender (a regular blender would probably work well too). Blend in baking powder. Add coconut flour 1 tsp at a time until the batter is to your desired consistency - be careful not to add too much. Coconut flour thickens as it sits.

Pour on griddle (or pan) and wait til bubbles appear and start to pop and flip. If you flip too early, the pancakes will probably break - mine do. After flipping, wait a couple minutes to ensure the batter cooks through.

Top with butter and 100% pure maple syrup.

*I have found that Philadelphia cream cheese is softer than other brands and makes a thinner batter. When I use the generic brand at our local grocery store, the batter comes out thicker before adding coconut flour, so adjust your coconut flour as needed for your preferred consistency. 


For those who are dairy free, as my son will be again after his birthday party tomorrow, there is a dairy-free cream cheese recipe out there that uses cashews. I have not tried it yet, but have heard it tastes delicious with these pancakes. The recipe for the dairy-free cream cheese can be found here


If you're interested in using the same products I used to make these, you can find them at the links below. 

Bob's Red Mill Coconut Flour

Bob's Red Mill Baking Powder

I'd LOVE to hear what you think of these after you try them. Leave a comment in the box below, if you please. :) 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Low Carb Breakfast Lasagna

Tomorrow my family has a family Christmas celebration on my husband's side. Because everyone does the traditional meal plan for Christmas, this one is a bit different to break up the monotony of turkey and ham and other traditional Christmas foods. This one is a brunch. I rack my brain every year trying to decide what to bring to share with the family. Someone else is covering fruit, potatoes, and all the usual non-Paleo foods, so I'm always at a loss. This morning as I was eating my breakfast, it dawned on me what I could make that would be breakfast related and also Paleo without being your usual eggs and bacon.  

I want to preface first and foremost that this recipe is not dairy free, but it is gluten- and grain-free. It's a recipe I found at one of my favorite recipe blogs, I Breathe, I'm Hungry. I absolutely love that blog and think you should all get on over there and check it out when you have time. 

Anyhow, when I first ventured into the Paleo lifestyle, I perused a lot of recipe blogs and in doing so, I stumbled across a link to Mellissa's site for
 cream cheese pancakes. From there, I found her breakfast lasagna. So yum!  She says this feeds four, but it can easily be stretched on a buffet style family breakfast. It's very filing as a standalone breakfast dish, as well, so rest assured, you will not go away from the table hungry! 

Without any further ado... Breakfast Lasagna!


8 eggs, scrambled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
12 sausage links, fully cooked
12 cream cheese pancakes (unsweetened)

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, find an 8x8 inch cake pan. Place 4 of the cream cheese pancakes in the bottom of the pan. Layer in some scrambled eggs and sprinkle with cheese. Add a second layer of 4 pancakes, then lay all of the sausage links on top of the pancakes. Sprinkle with some more cheddar cheese. Layer on the last 4 pancakes, the remaining scrambled eggs and remaining cheese. 

Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes to melt the cheese (or if your pan is ceramic, place in the microwave for 3-4 minutes if you'd prefer not to bake it). 

Here's a picture of it from Mellissa's blog. 

This dish is very yummy and will be a returning visitor to your breakfast table. I promise! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quick update

Hi all. I wanted to give you a quick update.

I was hesitant to update previously because I didn't want to make the mistake of seeing something that wasn't necessarily there.

Since cutting milk and other dairy products, my son's behavior has improved. Tremendously. He went two whole weeks getting yellows and greens at school. However, at the same time, his teacher started using a different method of documenting his behavior, which might have made a difference as well.

She tracks his behavior now using a series of 4 faces drawn on his calendar. The first is smiling, which I consider to be yellow. Then there are two with a line for a mouth, which signify to me green and then blue. And finally, there is a face with a frown, which would signify red. It looks like this:

He starts every day with no smilies circled. His teacher monitors his behavior and circles the smiley that is appropriate based on her observation and judgement. She resets his smilies at lunch time.

So far, he has gotten either a smiling face or the first flat lined face for the first part of the day. Usually, the smiley face. Typically, the second part of the day is either the second or third smiley face. I'm not sure how to translate this combination of faces into the color for the day, so I haven't been posting his behavior charts.

The end of his day calendar might look like this:

Typically, I will average out the faces - for instance, if he got the smilies above, I'll say the day, overall, was green. If he gets the second face (the first one with the flat mouth) during the first half of the day and the third face during the second half of the day, I'm not sure what to make of it, other than he needs to work on his afternoons. She no longer tells me what he did wrong to justify the smiley selection for the day.

Overall, since Thanksgiving's passing, he has gotten NO frowns. HUGE kudos to my little man for that.

Now, on to my observations.

When he has zero dairy in his diet, many things change. He is not as rambunctious! He is more mellow, laid-back. He no longer argues with us about why he is or is not doing something. He doesn't require constant reminders to get dressed in the morning. He makes his own decisions and they're typically the right decision instead of whatever the heck he wants to do.

In the last couple of weeks, we have allowed some dairy back in. About a week ago he was off the hook unruly! He had enjoyed some cheese on his omelet that morning simply because I wasn't thinking and put cheese on it - b/c, well, omelets and cheese go hand-in-hand and I didn't even realize I was doing it. Our son called me out on it right away, but I let him enjoy it anyhow. But, it was also Kraft American slices, which really isn't cheese, but a cheese like product. It might have been different if it was a real, hard cheese.

He has had meals with whole fat cream in them and did fine. He did fine with a recipe that included cream cheese. And he has done fine with dairy butter. And fine with real cheese. However, about the time that we started allowing dairy back in is about the same same time he started getting that third smiley, the one circled above. So, I feel that quite possibly, dairy could be a culprit with him. But, gluten has also been present, so maybe gluten and dairy together are the problem. At this point, I still don't know. Only more time will tell. And I haven't talked to the teacher about it, so I don't know what her opinion is, I can only judge by the calendar that she is seeing an improvement in his behavior through the elimination of milk.

I can say that it is difficult to go dairy free when it comes to our favorite recipes. Our son loves mashed potatoes! I have made his mash potatoes with chicken stock and he has not indicated that he doesn't like them, so they have stayed - now I make them two ways (one with butter, one with stock) because my husband does not like them with stock only.

With the Christmas holiday approaching, I am not going to make a big fuss out of making sure he's remaining dairy free. I do, however, still provide dairy free snacks for him for school and dairy free lunches. I don't want to confuse his teacher since I haven't talked to her recently about this no-dairy experiment. My son questions why I am allowing him dairy right now, but I just tell him it's ok this one time and go about my day. December is a tough month because our family has a lot of birthdays, and of course, there's Christmas, so we'll start up fresh again on the 26th and see what kind of progress we can make. It might help, too, that by then he'll be used to his teacher's new behavior system for him and we'll get a true view of how he's being at school, and can eliminate the thinking that he's being so good b/c the system is new.

On a side note, he had his winter concert at school last night. He was a dream child! He performed when he was supposed to and when he wasn't performing, his hands were tucked nicely into his pockets, not fiddling with the children around him or fidgetting. He also was not talking to his neighbors, which a lot of his neighbors did. He looked around and what not, but he wasn't messing around, which is vastly different than what I had expected out of him. He was such a good boy! I was very proud of him. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New direction

On the 18th, after 30 days of uninterrupted gluten free, our gluten-free trial came to an abrupt and unintentional end as an unaware family member twarted my efforts by giving our son a brownie. I was tending to our daughter's needs and son asked if he could have a brownie, not realizing that not all brownies are gluten-free.

I was realistic in knowing that we likely wouldn't make it through the holiday unscathed, but I can't help but be a little disappointed that it came to an end so quickly. But at least we made it 30 days, which is a pretty solid testing period.

This unplanned ending opened the door to a perfect opportunity to try a different approach. In addition to no gluten, we are attempting dairy free. We sampled almond milk and he does not like it. I picked up the unsweetened vanilla flavor. Probably should have chosen one of the sweetened version or the chocolate version. I might pick up some of the chocolate this weekend and see how that goes. I submitted a refund request for the two half gallons I bought that he won't drink. Silk provides refunds if you don't "love it". Just waiting to hear back from them.

I have spoken to DS's teacher and told her we were going to be testing for a dairy allergy and she said she would help us as best she could. She asked me to provide drinks and snacks for him so that she can ensure she's giving him proper foods. So I did. I sent some cut fruit and 5 Juicy Juice Fruitfuls juice boxes with him to school yesterday for his snack. He told me last night that she forgot his juice boxes in the classroom and provided him milk to drink instead... seriously?? What happened to helping us? I've had it up to my neck with this teacher - between her disregard for our requests and disciplining him/changing his behavior color for some pretty stupid reasons, I'm about done with kindergarten. *sigh*

Anyhow, we're moving in a new direction. We're testing the dairy allergy now while maintaining the gluten-free diet to see how things go. I can't wait til he's out of kindergarten so snack time is no longer an issue. I feel so bad for him when his classmates are all eating a cupcake for someone's birthday and he is "stuck" eating cut fruit. :(

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is 19 days long enough??

Is 19 days long enough to know whether or not gluten is the problem? I am seriously considering moving to a sugar free or dairy free diet for our son. While I have seen some minor changes with the gluten-free diet, I think we need to do more. 

I am digging deeper. I am considering sugar and dairy. I think added sugar will be easier to combat. I can provide fruit for snacks at school. In fact, he asked about fruit and asked to make a fruit salad tonight for snack at school. Someone made fruit kabobs the other day for the classroom snack and he talked non-stop about them. So, I will be introducing more fruit into his diet in place of his normal sugary diet items. 

And no more gluten free brownies! We were ALL eating them too much and none of us need them. :) 

I think sugar will be easier to combat than dairy at this point... I want to get him used to eating fruit and vegetables before I take milk and cheese and all that from him at this point. And maybe it's simply a sugar hyperactivity thing. 

Gluten wasn't enough... Next step, sugar. If that's not enough, then we'll eliminate dairy as well.