How’ve you been these past few months? Has your life drastically transformed? Did you move across the country, win an award, fall in love? Did you get a puppy? Hire a life coach? Go back to school? Start a new job?
Maybe your time has been occupied with less dramatic pursuits: have you listened to an absurd number of podcasts on an obscure topic? Perfected your method for cooking rice without a rice cooker? Discovered that leggings can and should be worn as pants with no shame or regret?
For me, the transition from summer to autumn has been a heavy mix of significant life events, murder podcasts, and some stuff in between.
Leo and I got a very grown-up, horrible thing called a mortgage, which is slightly terrifying, but we also used that mortgage to buy a sweet little flat in south London. We move in December and I get all tingly and excited when I think about it. (Major shoutout to my extremely handsome husband Leo for being a Responsible Adult and doing mortgage things.)
I’ve been working, cooking, running, spending a little too much time on Instagram, going to the market on Sundays, cooking some more, basking in the chill of autumn, and cursing the 5pm sunsets that have suddenly ambushed us. I’ve been planning a much-anticipated trip to New York and Ohio in November. I’ve been reading (Ready Player One, of course).
I’ve also been dealing with some less-than-fun health issues that have been occupying a lot of my time—I think it would be misleading if I didn’t mention this. Over the past few months, anxiety and gut problems have had me in a bit of a rut. After a lot of research, Reddit, and doctor’s appointments, I started following a low FODMAP diet to see if I can identify any food-based culprits. It ain’t easy.
If you haven’t heard of the low FODMAP diet, you might want to keep it that way. It’s a strict elimination diet that has you say goodbye to lots of tasty things (avocado, come back to me!) in an effort to discover food intolerances. Some people find it’s extremely helpful in managing digestive issues. For me, the jury’s still out—but we’ll see.
One thing I am certain about is that this whole low FODMAP thing has really maximized my creativity in the kitchen. Cooking without garlic and onions felt wrong to me at first, until I thought about other ways to pack a dish with flavor. One of my go-to ingredients now is the humble carrot, which is ‘safe’ to eat on the low FODMAP diet (I’m not a fan of the word ‘safe’ to describe food, but that’s another blog post). In some dishes, I’ve found that a carrot, grated then caramelized on the stovetop, does the same job as a caramelized onion. Who knew?
Carrots have managed to make their way into most of my meals, including breakfast. In fact, my favorite way to eat carrots lately is in pancake form, via the little recipe I’m sharing with you today.
I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that carrot-quinoa pancakes sound a little too wholesome, but never fear: they’re comforting and moreish, and they’re made extra special with a topping of caramelized carrots glazed in a bath of brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg. If a pumpkin spice latté could have a favorite breakfast, it would be these pancakes—they’re THAT autumnal.
In short, I’m back! I’m wearing leggings as pants! I’m figuring shit out! I’m eating pancakes! A long post—if you stuck it out, thank you. Now go eat some sweet, sweet carrots.
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (you can use regular all-purpose, too)*
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. flax meal
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. ground ginger
- 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 2 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
- 130g carrots, grated
- ½ cup cooked quinoa*
- Butter or coconut oil, for cooking
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 180g carrots, cut into batons
- maple syrup
- coconut yogurt
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, flax, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.
- In another bowl, whisk together the almond milk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla bean paste. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the grated carrot and quinoa.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the brown sugar, water, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the carrots and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes while you cook the pancakes, until the carrots are tender and the liquid has reduced to a syrup.
- Heat a skillet and grease with butter or coconut oil. Scoop ¼ cup of batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles start to form on top, then flip the pancake and continue cooking until the edges are dry and the bottom is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Serve the pancakes topped with the brown sugar spiced carrots and coconut yogurt. I also topped mine with a drizzle tahini and a handful of walnuts for some crunch. The brown sugar spiced carrots are covered in a lovely syrup of their own, but maple syrup is always welcome.
*If you don’t have any cooked quinoa on hand and don’t feel like cooking some up, you can omit it. I’ve made the recipe without quinoa and it’s still tasty, I just like the extra texture that the grain adds.