Sweet Potato Pie Pancakes with Marshmallow Sauce

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My grandmother makes the best sweet potato pie casserole. It’s a holiday staple in our family.

What could be better than mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter and sugar?

Oh, that’s right.

Maybe it’s the melted marshmallows on top…

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I woke up this morning craving something sweet and comforting in this cold, yucky weather.  I always love pancakes for brunch on the weekends, but I didn’t want just plain pancakes. You could probably tell from my Cream Cheese and Nutella Pancakes and my Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Fresh Blueberry Sauce that I love rich, decadent pancakes.

 I knew I wanted something rich, sweet and comforting. I just wasn’t sure what exactly.

And then my grandmother texted me.

And then a brilliant idea popped into my head.

Why don’t I make sweet potato pie pancakes?

And sweet potato pancakes wouldn’t be the same without my favorite part, the melted marshmallows on top.

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So I topped the pancakes with marshmallows and placed them under the broiler.

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But naturally I couldn’t stop there. So I made a marshmallow sauce.

 At every holiday dinner my family gets mad at me because I always eat all of the marshmallows off the top of the sweet potatoes.

It’s better than eating them out of the trash can though, right?

Yep, that really happened.

 My stepdad caught me eating stale marshmallows out of the trash can when I was a kid.

Oops.

And so I created this masterpiece (with fresh marshmallows, of course!)

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Fresh Blueberry Sauce {Hello Saturday, I love you}

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Hello Saturday, I love you.

I have been craving this day like a cup of coffee when my alarm goes off at 6:30 am on a Monday morning. Like water after a 6 mile run. Like french fries after eating salads for a week straight. Like peanut butter…every day. Like sleep after five days in Vegas.

OK, you get the point. But I’m really so happy it’s Saturday!

I don’t know about you but my breakfasts are always so rushed during the week and I look forward to the weekends when I can actually spend some time making a delicious breakfast. When I can actually sit down and enjoy every bite, rather than having to scarf it down, chug a cup of coffee and run out the door with coffee dripping down my shirt and spinach from my eggs stuck in my teeth as I try and juggle my gym bag, laptop bag, purse, lunch bag and coffee mug all at the same time. Then realizing I don’t have my keys, and they’re not where I usually put them on the counter and they’re not in my purse so where are they?! Is it just me or does anyone else have this problem in the morning? There’s nothing like the Valet guy at work telling you as you get out of your car that you have something stuck in your teeth and having to quickly come up with a whitty reponse like ” just savin’ it for later”. Yes, this happened to me this past week and it was super awkward. But definitely not as awkward as your skirt flying up right in front of all the valet guys when it’s laundry day and all you have left is a pair of underwear with ducks on them…

Regardless. It is Saturday! And finally there’s not a cloud in the sky and the temperature will be in the high 70’s. I really thought the rain would never stop this week. And what a better way to welcome a gorgeous weekend than to start it off with some lemon ricotta pancakes with a fresh blueberry sauce. The ricotta adds a fluffiness to the pancakes and the lemon adds a refreshing bite that makes them the perfect breakfast on a Saturday morning that doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down and dreading the next time you have to put a bikini on. And the fresh blueberry sauce brings all of the flavors together. Hey, it may not be my Nutella sauce, but it will sure leave you feeling satisfied, refreshed, and ready to take on this gorgeous day. And the best part? It won’t leave spinach in your teeth!

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Cream Cheese and Nutella Pancakes {the best pancakes you’ll ever have, inspired by Valencia Luncheria}

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Yes, that’s right…Cream Cheese and Nutella. All in one bite. All in one pancake.

This morning I made the best pancakes I’ve ever had. And I just had to share it with you right away!

These pancakes are inspired by one of my favorite treats at a restaurant down the street from me in Norwalk, CT called Valencia Luncheria.

Valencia is known for their arepas and empanadas. I actually first came across this place the night I moved into my current apartment in Norwalk, CT. I had just sat down after moving all day and turned on the TV to, what else of course, Food Network. Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives was on and Guy happened to be at this place in Norwalk. What a coincidence! I knew after watching the episode that I just had to go. And the next morning that’s exactly where I ended up. Less than half a mile away to the best thing that has happened to me since moving here, Valencia Luncheria.

When you walk into Valencia you feel like you’re stepping off of the beach. Leading up to the restaurant is a sand-covered pathway and tiki torches that make you want to put on a Hawaiian skirt and do the hula. Well, maybe that’s just me. But I really would have because that’s how happy I always am after leaving this place. The decor is very similar to the theme of the restaurant, Venezuelan beach food.

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Valencia is known for their arepas. In case you’re not familiar with an arepa, it is basically a fried open-faced corn cake that can be filled with just about any combination. My favorite combinations are the “Real Deal” which is chorizo and mozzarella and I also love the “Chef “which is chipotle jalapeno cheese steak (Philly represent, what what). Their guacamole is also to die for along with their super fresh ceviche. However, Saturday and Sunday mornings are the absolute best time to check out Valencia because that’s when they have their Bloody Mary bar! Oh my goodness. They have four different kinds of tomato mixtures you can choose from, from mild to Italian to spicy, and they also have just about everything imaginable you can put into your Bloody Mary, from bacon on a stick (my fav), to sweet potatoes, olives, pickles, blocks of cheddar cheese, shrimp…just about anything! It’s truly a reason in itself to drag yourself out of bed early on a Saturday or Sunday morning. And they also make this ridiculous green secret sauce they bring out to every table. They won’t tell you what’s in it but all I can tell you is it’s creamy like an avocado, it has a kick of garlic, there’s definitely cilantro and one day it may accidentally end up falling into my purse…just saying!

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But, what I haven’t told you about yet is my absolute FAVORITE thing on their menu. Their cream cheese and Nutella empanada. A perfect combination of cream cheese and Nutella, fried in an empanada and sprinkled with powdered sugar. I usually can only get through a couple of bites at this point of the meal but I make it happen and I am always SO glad I do. And this cream cheese and Nutella empanada is exactly what inspired me to make these pancakes.

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The key to these pancakes is to stick the cream cheese in the freezer the night before. This will ensure you actually get chunks of cream cheese in every bite. Otherwise I have found if not frozen, the cream cheese will bake into the pancake and you won’t get the oozy-goodness chunks of cream cheese in each and every bite.

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And the Nutella topping adds a richness that when paired with the cream cheese, just like in the empanadas, is a crazy good mouthful that makes you keep wanting more. So good, you won’t be able to stop eating. The entire stack. Like I did. And for added texture, I sprinkled chopped walnuts on top for a nice crunch. You can use any nut you prefer, but walnuts were all I had. Make this for your boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, brother, sister, husband, wife, friend, noisy neighbor who has a coughing problem (hey- that’s not a bad idea!) and they will surely love you forever. And hopefully stop coughing…

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Oat and banana flax pancakes

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What better way to start my blog than with a confession. It’s like a therapy session…only there’s no one talking back, or sitting across from me taking notes…and I don’t have to write a check at the end of the session!

But, really. If I’m going to share with the world my passions, my favorite things in life, my thoughts and feelings…I may as well get it all out in the open in the beginning, right?

Ok, anyway. On with the confession.

…Drumroll please….

I have an obsession with pancakes.

No…seriously. It’s a sick obsession. I wake up and think about pancakes. I determine the brunch spot by the pancakes on the menu. When I’m stressed, I make pancakes. When I’ve had a few drinks and it’s 2 am and there’s a pizza joint across the street, I go home and make pancakes. Before I can go on a first date, one of my first questions to him is if he can make pancakes. And on top of it all, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about these pancakes I ate one morning before snowboarding at Hunter Mountain in New York. Forget the frostbite, forget the bruises, forget wiping out after getting off the lift and bruising my tailbone, but my goodness. I could never forget those pancakes!

This is the place that changed my outlook on pancakes forever.

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And this is the pancake that changed my life forever.

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My mouth is watering just looking at this picture! Who would have thought, a cafe in the middle of nowhere Tannersville, NY with Krooked floors that makes you feel like you’ve had one too many to drink when walking to the restooms, would have created such a masterpiece. I mean, really. Just look at that beauty! A perfect mixture of oats and toasted grains, bananas, flax. It’s like a mouth-watering dream come true!

I have tried for months and months to re-create these pancakes. I’ve even called there pretending I had a food allergy and asking if they could tell me what’s in them. I’ve tried blowing up the picture and studying it until I thought I needed a new eyeglass prescription! But they refuse to tell me what’s in them. Well, listen here Maggie’s…you don’t want to tell me, fine. YOUR LOSS. I’ll just create my own version!

And so I did.  Continue reading