Healthy hot chocolate blender pancakes

The toddler absolutely stuck his finger into this pancake right before this photo.

The toddler absolutely stuck his finger into this pancake right before this photo.

There were 500 reasons why I loved living in Manhattan, but the city in winter was not one of them. Pushing a stroller through mountains of dirty snow and then the huge puddles on every corner once they melted, was torture. And not for nothing, but New Yorkers stop picking up after their dogs when it snows. Like, do you think the snow renders your dog's poop harmless? Because the only thing grosser than frozen dog poop is melted dog poop. But I digress.

So now we're cozy in our house in the suburbs while arctic winds and snow howl outside (and the only frozen poop belongs to OUR dog).

And while we've amended our diets for the inevitable post-holidays detox, it's not as easy for M to swear off sweets (nor do we expect him to), so we're toning them down and transitioning away from indulgence and toward moderation.

Enter, hot chocolate pancakes. The name is enticing and fits with the frigidity of our current climate. BUT! The ingredients are more wholesome than the name implies.

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One thing I like about this recipe is that, unlike other recipes that use banana as a natural sweetener, they don't actually taste like banana. I mean, I love bananas, but I don't always want my baked goods to taste like them.

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I also think that the mixture of malt powder and cocoa powders tastes more like hot chocolate than cocoa powder alone. *If you don't have malt powder, use 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder total and add 1-2 Tbsp of maple syrup to the batter.

And while we're at it, let's talk about "blender pancakes" as a concept. As an admittedly lazy cook and housekeeper, I'm skeptical of getting out the blender when it's not strictly necessary. Maybe I'm scarred from not having a dishwasher for most of my adult life, but it seems so much more complicated to clean the blender than to wash out a bowl and spoon.

Anyway, the blender is totally justified here because the oats get chopped up nicely and incorporated more easily. Without blending, you'd either have chunky pancakes or you'd have to wash a food processor and a bowl and spoon. In conclusion, thank god for dishwashers.

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Hot Chocolate pancakes

1 large banana
1 cup quick oats
2 eggs
¼ cup milk (dairy, almond, soy, coconut, rice- anything will work)
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp malt powder (*See note above if omitting malt powder)
1.5 Tbsp cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, scraping the sides if necessary.

Heat a frying pan with the butter or oil of your choice over medium low heat. Pour out about 1/2 cup of batter (we're looking for about 4-inches in diameter) into the hot pan and let cook until 1 or 2 bubbles form on the raw side. (You won't get lots of bubbles as you would with regular pancakes.) 

Once a bubble or two form, carefully flip the pancakes over and cook for 4-5 minutes on the other side, until a crust forms and the pancake feels firm to the touch. 

Serve warm with berries, syrup, powdered sugar, nut butter, or honey.

Yield: 5-6 medium pancakes

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Tomato soup and cheese waffles

Tomato soup and cheese waffles | Me & The Moose. Winter weather means tomato soup and grilled cheese, so switch it up for your next snow day with cheese waffles. Also, you can skip the dairy and still make a creamy tomato soup if dairy isn’t your thing. #meandthemoose #tomatosoup #cheesewaffles #wafflerecipes #souprecipes #dairyfreesoup #lunchrecipes

Well, we're two months into official winter and it FINALLY snowed for real in NYC. We've had some accumulation here and there, but it was always sandwiched between 50-degree days and melted right away. The only things I like about snow are the quiet, dampened hush that blankets even this manic city, and the excuse to make tomato soup and cheese waffles. Grilled cheese is the typical tomato soup accessory, but I've made these waffles for M a few times this winter and it was time to break them out again.

I've thought about making these with whole wheat flour, but snow days feel a little indulgent. Also, to cart a toddler around a city in the snow, Ethan and I take turns on human sled-dog duty because no way are a stroller or little legs making it over those snow drifts. So...we earn that white flour. And, on the flip side, the soup is Whole 30 as long as you use clarified butter and compliant chicken stock. On balance, this meal is healthy-ish.

Tomato soup and cheese waffles | Me & The Moose. Winter weather means tomato soup and grilled cheese, so switch it up for your next snow day with cheese waffles. Also, you can skip the dairy and still make a creamy tomato soup if dairy isn’t your thing. #meandthemoose #tomatosoup #cheesewaffles #wafflerecipes #souprecipes #dairyfreesoup #lunchrecipes
Tomato soup and cheese waffles | Me & The Moose. Winter weather means tomato soup and grilled cheese, so switch it up for your next snow day with cheese waffles. Also, you can skip the dairy and still make a creamy tomato soup if dairy isn’t your thing. #meandthemoose #tomatosoup #cheesewaffles #wafflerecipes #souprecipes #dairyfreesoup #lunchrecipes

A couple of notes: I like to use parmesan and mozzarella in these waffles, but one could easily sub other cheeses. And don't be shy with the pepper. It may seem like too much to feed a toddler, but the pepper really gives the waffles a punch and doesn't taste spicy in the final product. AND the Tbsp of maple syrup (or sugar of your choice) is vital. I've omitted it before and the waffles don't taste the same.

If possible, look for homemade chicken stock or, if you can muster the energy, make your own. I am unbelievably lazy about making my own because we have a store near us that sells delicious and inexpensive homemade stocks. I will say, if we ever leave the city and don't have access to said stock, I'll start making me own. The difference is remarkable. And try to use the potatoes. While ESSENTIAL if you don't have any on hand, the potatoes and the butter give the soup its creaminess without adding actual cream.

First things first, get your soup started.

Tomato soup and cheese waffles | Me & The Moose. Winter weather means tomato soup and grilled cheese, so switch it up for your next snow day with cheese waffles. Also, you can skip the dairy and still make a creamy tomato soup if dairy isn’t your thing. #meandthemoose #tomatosoup #cheesewaffles #wafflerecipes #souprecipes #dairyfreesoup #lunchrecipes

Non-dairy Creamy Tomato soup

2 Tbsp butter (clarified or regular)
½ red onion, roughly chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
3 new potatoes or 1 small russet potato, diced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 oz)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
28 oz box or can of diced tomatoes
2 cups rich chicken stock
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
Optional: 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh oregano

Melt the butter over a medium low flame. Add roughly chopped onions and caramelize for 5-10 minutes. The more color the onions have, the sweeter and deeper the flavor will be in the finished product. When onions are caramelized, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the potato and tomato paste and stir to coat, cooking for about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn down flame to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Whizz the finished soup in your blender or with a hand blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a glug of balsamic vinegar and/or some fresh oregano, if desired.

Yield: about 6 cups or 48 oz

Tomato soup and cheese waffles | Me & The Moose. Winter weather means tomato soup and grilled cheese, so switch it up for your next snow day with cheese waffles. Also, you can skip the dairy and still make a creamy tomato soup if dairy isn’t your thing. #meandthemoose #tomatosoup #cheesewaffles #wafflerecipes #souprecipes #dairyfreesoup #lunchrecipes

Savory cheese waffles

Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 cup white flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 egg, lightly whisked
3/4 cup buttermilk
½ cup parmesan
½ cup mozzarella
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir lightly to combine. Add the lightly whisked egg, buttermilk, cheeses, and maple syrup and stir to combine.

Spoon 3 Tbsp of batter onto each side of your waffle maker and cook according to your machine’s directions. If you like a larger waffle, spoon ¼ cup onto each side. In that case, yield will be about 5-6 squares.

Yield: about 8 waffles

Tomato soup and cheese waffles | Me & The Moose. Winter weather means tomato soup and grilled cheese, so switch it up for your next snow day with cheese waffles. Also, you can skip the dairy and still make a creamy tomato soup if dairy isn’t your thing. #meandthemoose #tomatosoup #cheesewaffles #wafflerecipes #souprecipes #dairyfreesoup #lunchrecipes