Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dessert for dinner

Pancake day is today and it's tradition to have pancakes for dinner around these parts. It's the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the last day before the 40-day lent period. Traditionally, this was the last day to have fat, eggs (meat) or anything bad for you before the long lent stretch. Hence, pancakes for dinner was a treat and a way to use up all that stuff around the house. I'm not giving up anything for lent but I am on a diet and will continue with it after this Shrove Tuesday treat (and extra trip to the gym).

Pancake day for me is about another tradition: the fortune-telling trinkets found inside the pancakes. Growing up, my mother would put coins in our pancakes and that was supposed to symbolize prosperity or the promise of wealth. It often just turned into a way to get some extra money and a competition over who got the most coins.I remember going to a friend's house one year for pancake day, though, and I ended up with her mother's wedding ring in my pancake! Here are some common pancake trinket:

-a penny, to symbolize poverty
-a nickel, to symbolize wealth; We often received quarters :)
-a string, to symbolize a fisherman (if a boy got the string, he would be a fisherman, if a girl did, she would marry one)
-a wedding ring, to symbolize that you would marry soon; I've also heard it means you won't die an "old maid"
-a button, to symbolize that you would never marry
-a nail, to symbolize that you would soon pass away
-a thimble, to symbolize that you would be a seamstress (a girl) or a tailor (a boy); I've heard that a thimble could also mean you will have a lovely house/household when you grow up.

And here is a great recipe for those who are not trying to use up all the butter, sugar and eggs in the house for this one meal (from SparkPeople):

100 Calorie cinnamon pancakes 
Whole Wheat Flour, 1.25 cup
Baking Soda, 1 tsp  
Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, 2 tbsp  
Skim Milk, 1 cup  
Eggbeaters, .5 cup  
Vanilla extract, 1 tbs
Cinnamon, 2 tbsp 

Mix flour, baking soda, and splenda in bowl. Mix milk, eggs, and vanilla in another bowl. Beat into dry mix roughly, so as to add more air to mix. Stir in cinnamon last. Serving size is 1/3 cup mix. Use a cooking spray on the skillet when cooking.

Serving size is one pancake. If you use less than 1/3 of a cup batter (like 1/4, or 1/6) you can have two for 100 calories. You can also add smooshed bananas to the batter, blueberries,peanut butter, use real eggs instead of egg beaters, or add a touch of brown sugar instead of the splenda. I also generally add a tsp of baking powder to pancakes to make them extra fluffy.
Number of Servings: 8

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