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lemon poppy seed pancakes + something funny

I made these gluten free and vegan pancakes rather spontaneously for my man and I a little while ago. Originally I just wanted to make some simple lemon cornmeal pancakes with sliced strawberries on top, but decided to add poppy seeds at the last minute to evoke that familiar and much-loved combo of ours. I made a syrup out of the sliced strawberries and some coconut palm sugar because (oops!) we were out of maple syrup. All the better. This combination was a total win. There’s that familiar crunch from the poppy seeds and the bright lemon zest  that brings out the luscious and sweet berries. I’m loving the glut of them right now at the farm stands, rows of ruby red jewels in green quart containers. The cornmeal makes the pancakes gorgeously lemon-yellow too. It’s sunshine for brunch.

Seeing as I’m hitting the one year mark on this blog (crazy!), I thought I’d get a little, teeny-bit more personal. I have to confess something to all of you. Something crazy in a funny kind of way, something silly that isn’t all that earth shattering, but it’s kind of big for me. No judgment here, right? Okay. I only learned how to ride a bike about 5 years ago. I know, kind of weird. One afternoon I rode around all wobbly, had an alright time, bruised and dirtied up my legs a bit, flew into a giant bush, laughed in a way that only a young adult riding a bike for the first time can, felt a bit sore, felt amazing, might have cried once. Then I kind of forgot about it for a long time.

By that I mean I didn’t pursue it in a serious way. Here and there I would remember that it was a little fun, wish that I could navigate tight streets like all of the cyclists racing by when I lived in the city, so fast and free. I dismissed the thought of trying to take it seriously from my mind. It was more than nervousness and embarrassment getting in the way. I was genuinely scared to put the work in to make myself good at something, that people would see my lack of experience with something so basic, that I could actually hurt myself… I thought it was too late to get the whole thing on lock.

Then a few days ago Mark sent me a text with a picture of a beautiful, royal blue bike that was all mine. Despite the fear and embarrassment I had felt for most of my adult life about the whole thing, I was really excited and motivated by his confidence. We went for a little ride that night, sky grey-ing over, a storm looming. Riding around in circles in an empty parking lot, practicing turns, braking, big smile on my face the whole time, laughing at all of the little wobbles. I was hooked right away, instagram-ing it (naturally), plotting when to go riding next, all of the little improvements we could make to my sweet new ride and on and on. The sun came out and set over the water. We watched it on some big, craggy rocks, waves crashing in. I could hardly sleep that night; the excitement, the change in direction, the new light that was right here. Ever feel that? It had been a while for me.

Similarly, I started this blog and opened up a big part of my life to anyone passing through about a year ago (first post here! Oooh boy). I had wanted to for a while, ideas of it bubbling away in the back of my mind, hesitation abounding (I thought it was too late to get on the food blog thing, but oh hey: here’s something recent from Shanna proving that totally wrong). A few friendly nudges here and there from amazing people, and here we are today. I’m so happy that we are here because it lets me connect with all of you over a few words, an image, a bite to eat… I know I’m really fortunate to have encouraging and wonderful people around, to live in such an inspiring environment and to have a partner that pushes me to not be afraid of anything. I’m also so grateful for all of you who read, who drive me forward to do better, those who say such lovely things at just the right time.. you’re all so great. I love sharing my life and little food anecdotes with you here. Hopefully we can ride along together for a while longer :)

All love,
Laura


GF and vegan lemon poppy pancakes with juicy strawberries
serves: 2-3
notes: If you have a trusty GF flour blend that you love, feel free to replace my listed flours (rice and sorghum) and arrowroot here with the blend (you’ll need a total of 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour). Or, you could replace the same amount with spelt, whole wheat, all purpose or other gluten-containing flour if you like (again, 1 cup + 2 tbsp flour total).

berries:
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar
juice of half a lemon
tiny splash of vanilla extract

pancakes:
1 cup non-dairy milk (+ extra depending)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp rice flour (brown or white)
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil + extra for the pan/griddle
3.5 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine the sliced berries with the coconut sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Allow to sit and macerate/get juicy while you make the pancakes.

Stir the non-dairy milk and lemon juice together. Set aside and allow to curdle while you mix up the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the rice and sorghum flour, arrowroot powder, cornmeal, baking powder, lemon zest and poppy seeds. Add the coconut oil, agave nectar, vanilla extract and the non-dairy milk and lemon juice mixture. Stir with a spatula until thoroughly combined. I had to add an extra couple tablespoons of milk at this point to get it to that typical pancake batter consistency, but yours might be different depending on whether you use different flour.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly brush the skillet surface with melted coconut oil. Drop 1/4 cup portions of the batter onto the pan and gently spread the batter out with a small spatula. Once you see little bubbles in the batter and the edges look a bit dry and golden, flip them over, about 1/2 minute. Cook the other side until golden. Remove and set cooked pancakes on a warming plate. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve warm with the juicy strawberries spooned on top and a dollop of yogurt if you like.

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janet @ the taste space13/06/2012 - 3:30 pm

Hey Laura, Here’s to a another great year! I learned to ride a bike as a child but dropped it for 15 years. Picked it back up again 3 years ago, with the same bike I had in grade 4 at that, and practiced in the cemetery by my house. I started to commute to work and bought a new bike after a summer of commuting. A year later, I cycled 320km in a weekend. The following spring a hilly 356km over 2 days. Cycling with a great bike can change your life. :) I am signed up for another 320km ride this weekend but woefully undertrained this year so it will just be 180km, maybe a bit more. Anyways, keep at it. I love hearing about biking, so keep it up! :)

Amanda13/06/2012 - 3:33 pm

I only somewhat recently found your blog, but it’s one of my favorites. Congrats on your one year! Also, I can totally sympathize on the bike riding thing. I learned as a kid, but pretty much didn’t ride between the ages of 12 and 26. I finally bought a road bike last summer and definitely had those wobbly moments. Also, the whole switching gears thing threw me for a loop. I nearly rolled back down my first hill. haha

I can’t wait to make these pancakes! They’re so pretty!

Melissa // thefauxmartha13/06/2012 - 3:57 pm

Happy blogoversary! I can’t believe it’s only one year. You are an ole pro at this! Love seeing what you come up with, especially these lemon poppyseed pancakes. Yuuum! Cheers to many more blogoversaries!

Lisa | With Style and Grace13/06/2012 - 4:14 pm

I’m not sure how I’m JUST now discovering your site – it’s beautiful!! love these gluten-free pancakes, they’re going on my must make list!

Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn13/06/2012 - 4:17 pm

Congrats on hitting the one year mark! I gotta say that your first ever blog post was none too shabby – so, clearly, you hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since!
Your pics are fab – those poppy seeds dotted throughout the pancakes gave me an afternoon smile. The strawberries look like they came from a cartoon – they are so perfect. {Oh, and I am borderline scared of bike riding and therefore always avoid it – but your story is encouraging. Chances are I’ll make these pancakes before I go bike riding, though….}

Katie13/06/2012 - 4:31 pm

Those pancakes look amazing! And I just so happen to have some poppy seeds in my cupboard right now, which is pretty unusual. I love the bike riding story! I’m a bike commuter year round and have been for a few years, and I just love the adventures my bike can take me on.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar13/06/2012 - 5:01 pm

These are so pretty! Awesome idea!

Shanna13/06/2012 - 5:42 pm

These pictures are so crazy gorgeous I can’t handle it!

Heidi @foodiecrush13/06/2012 - 7:54 pm

Woo hoo to a fellow one-year-old! Congratulations on your many talents and accomplishments, not to mention learning to ride that blue bike. The blog is awesome, love it and your photography. I think the addition of poppy seeds to the pancakes is BRILLIANT and will be stealing the idea this weekend for breakfast.

Meister, Running While Smiling13/06/2012 - 8:54 pm

1) Lemon + poppyseeds + pancakes? I. Totally. Can’t. Handle. All. The. Delicious.

2) I am terrified of bikes, and so jealous of people who aren’t. Congratulations on your shiny new bike! Take an extra spin around the block for me? (Maybe one day I’ll get over this fear…)

3) I’m so glad you blog, and I’m even gladder (is that a word?) that I found you on this crazy big blogosphere. Yours quickly became one of my favorites, and I am so thrilled to share part of my day with you, reading your stories and looking at your beautiful photos. So thank you, and keep it up, por favor.

Kathryne13/06/2012 - 10:57 pm

Hooray, Laura! Way to ride that bike. My bike is my favorite form of transportation, short of airplanes. I’ve never seen such fluffy, beautiful vegan, gluten-free pancakes. They really are sunshine on a plate. Lastly, so glad you joined the food blog scene. It’s never too late, huh? Thanks for the reminder.

Michelle13/06/2012 - 11:46 pm

I feel like we’ve watched a child grow up! So happy that the year or so of nagging you to start this thing worked out:) You have inspired so much in me, and brought so much deliciousness to my life!

xoxo

la domestique14/06/2012 - 10:27 am

What a great story! As a kid I was constantly on my bike. It was the key to freedom from a troubled home, and I would ride all day during the summer until the sun set and I had to go home. It’s so interesting for me to think of you just discovering the bike as an adult- how wonderful! Thanks for sharing that, and those fantastic pancakes. Congrats on a year blogging!

Jacqui14/06/2012 - 11:18 am

Congrats on learning how to ride a bike, I think that’s awesome! And pretty bike you have there too ; ) I had the same exact rush of feelings when I learned how to surf for the first time, it’s an incredible feeling. Looking forward to more of your recipes and words.

sara14/06/2012 - 4:33 pm

so lovely. nothing as gorgeous as a hearty stack of pancakes. I love your space here, keep at it, little lady ;) for you and me both, it has it’s days, but you are full of great stories and recipes!

Ashlae14/06/2012 - 11:34 pm

I like you a little better now that I know you just learned how to ride a bike ;) I, however, know how to ride a bike.. but don’t own one. HOW PATHETIC IS THAT?

Gorgeous photos, as always. The pancakes look delicious! Perfect for a one year anniversary.

Reb15/06/2012 - 6:57 am

Congrats on the 1-year mark and your new mad bike skills! Absolutely love your blog and am constantly inspired by it to incorporate more raw/seasonal/vegan-ish into my own diet and blog : )

Kristy15/06/2012 - 11:19 am

Happy blog-birthday! Gorgeous pancakes! I often make lemon cornmeal pancakes, but I’ve never thought to put poppy seeds in them! This is wonderful! Thank you, and I’m so happy to have found your blog! :-)

Jeanine15/06/2012 - 11:48 am

Congrats on 1 year! and the bike riding!

I love cornmeal, these look delicious!

Kasey15/06/2012 - 12:34 pm

We all have to start somewhere! I think it’s fun to learn something like riding a bike later in life, and prove to yourself that you can totally get the hang of things, even when you’re not a kid. I started my blog in much the same way…I don’t think there’s ever a right time to start anything, just when you’re good and ready…the world will be ready for it, too. Gorg pancakes, btw. Happy 1 year anniversary to this beautiful space you’ve created!

Rachel15/06/2012 - 6:30 pm

Wow, only a year old? That’s more surprising than learning to ride a bike 5 years ago! Your blog is so gorgeous, put together and wonderful for being so young.
I can imagine your excitement over your new blue bike. There’s nothing like connecting to something that opens up a whole world you never knew about before. Enjoy your ride : )

myfudo16/06/2012 - 12:17 am

Love the pictures. This is a real healthy breakfast option. You inspire me…Keep posting =)

Breakfast | Meizac16/06/2012 - 9:46 am

[...] original recipe is here, and doesn’t it look beautiful/delicious? Plus, she’s local to my area of the province, [...]

Becs @ Lay the table17/06/2012 - 1:43 pm

The pancakes looks divine! I too am loving the strawberries – the British ones in season taste so much better than their European counterparts which are just huge and have no flavour!

I wouldn’t be embarrassed about the bike riding – I’m still not very proficient and I’ve been riding for years!

sarah18/06/2012 - 10:48 am

Oh, Laura, you are so lovely. I am so proud of you, for getting back on that bike! And so happy you have someone in your life who will nudge you to keep at it, and who encourages you.

Congrats on one year! I love coming to this space, to visit you and read about your musings and beautiful creations. Love.

art and lemons19/06/2012 - 7:06 pm

Laura, So happy for all your accomplishments, for getting on the bike again and again until look at you, you’re riding and for creating this wonderful space that is always inviting and a real treat to enter. These pancakes are exactly the sort of thing I crave, as ever, so so lovely.

Yes Please | Let's Get Happy!22/06/2012 - 5:51 pm

[...] and recipe found on TheFirstMess. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in food. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

Mere17/11/2012 - 3:05 pm

Hi Laura!

I literally JUST discovered your blog (via Love + Lemons) today and do not know how i haven’t come across it sooner. Your recipes and photos are absolutely stunning. I really appreciated reading this post because I am actually right in the midst of starting my own food blog–after being an avid reader of many for almost a year and having all too many reservations about doing it myself. It is so reassuring to be reminded that the bloggers I look up to and gain such inspiration from, like you, all started somewhere. So I just wanted to say hi and thank you for that. x

Inés13/07/2013 - 12:02 pm

Hi Laura,
I made these yesterday and they tasted very summery – I like your combination!
I used wheat flour and cornmeal and a bit less honey than the amount of agave nectar you used.
They tasted very good and are perfect for summer, thank you :-)

Laura Wright15/07/2013 - 9:32 pm

Loving your feedback on using honey, Inés! Glad you liked them :)
-L

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