Cherry Blueberry Chia Pancakes: morning breakfast staple packs a protein punch!

On weekend mornings if I’m not working, I will often take the time to make one of my favorite meals of the day: breakfast. Unfortunately, at the end of the week the fridge is relatively barren, and I try to scrounge ingredients to make something. Pancakes are a particular favorite in my house, but it’s carb heavy and not particularly filling. I’ve tried various strategies to tackle this problem with moderate success (see my earlier Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Pancakes) but this time I really outdid myself. The result was fruity, dense but also fluffy, and very filling pancake that we ate with jam while going over our wedding TO DO list.


The main barrier to my pancake making aspirations was a lack of milk, but I did have extra yogurt. I also planned to use Chia seeds to boost the protein content in my pancakes, and a lot of recipes I read used buttermilk with Chia seeds in pancakes. Since Yogurt+milk is one way to make a buttermilk substitute, I decided to try it. It was surprisingly delicious, considering the somewhat random assortment of ingredients.


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of Greek Yogurt (I used Siggi’s Blueberry, which contains 14g of Protein)
  • 1/2 cup milk, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped and pitted cherries

First, I mixed the wet ingredients: yogurt +1/2 the total milk (so 1/4 cup) with the Chia seeds, vanilla, and maple syrup. I let that mixture stand while I prepared the dry ingredients and chopped the cherries. This was the only time consuming part, but it was alright because during this time the Chia seeds soaking up the moisture and swelling to twice their size. This is why I only add half the milk, because otherwise the Chia seeds would soak up all the moisture and the pancakes would be very dry. Another solution would be to add less chia seeds of course, such as 1-2 Tbsp, but this would lower the overall protein content of the pancakes.

Next, mix the chia-yogurt mixture and pour it into the dry ingredients, along with the extra milk, the egg, and the fruit. Mix until just combined and cook in a hot buttered pan!

A good butter can definitely improve the taste and texture of pancakes, I fancy Amish Roll Butter, which I picked up at Penniman Hill Farm on a weekend getaway to the South Shore with the fiance. I hear that it’s not ACTUALLY Amish, but it hardly matters because it’s still hand-churned and absolutely more delicious than anything in the grocery store.




Everyone knows how much I love Vera Bradley products, who couldn’t love so many pops of color and spring floral prints? I think I’ve found a reason to like them even more, and that is every Wednesday they feature a crafty way to reuse, recycle, or just make something fun with their products! Even with products that eventually get old, like this calendar, they show can always be made into something wonderful. As if I don’t have enough crafty projects on my to-do list!

Inside Stitch: The Official Vera Bradley Blog

If you’re patient and willing to invest a little bit of time in this D.I.Y., we promise, it will pay off. We’re sharing steps for crafting colorful jewelry beads using the Ugandan method of rolling paper scraps (we used a 2012 On Top of Things Desktop Calendar). Why search for the perfect accessory, when you can make it yourself?

D.I.Y. Paper Beads

Paper Beads

D.I.Y. Paper Beads

What you’ll need: A used page from a Desktop Calendar, thin drinking straws (the size of coffee stirrers), tape, a long ruler (preferably one that measures at least 24 inches), pencil or pen, scissors, glue and some sort of string or ribbon if you are making a bracelet or necklace

D.I.Y. Paper Beads1. Tear an expired page from your Desktop Calendar. On the back of the calendar, along one side, measure and mark every 1/2 inch. Every inch will create 3 beads.

D.I.Y. Paper Beads2. On the opposite side, make…

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My Generation

Generation X, Generation Y,  the Baby Boomers: some generations get their own nicknames. I never identified with any of those categories, and never heard tell if I belonged to a defining era. What do those born in the years around me have in common with myself? (Here we’re talking late 80’s early 90’s). If I could choose one thing that was with me through childhood into today it would be…drumroll please…the books, the movies, the characters of Harry Potter.

Like the three little wizards growing older and fighting obstacles at school and beyond, so I saw myself, just struggling to survive college and make my way in the world. As a young kid, I first shunned the emerging books as trashy young adult fiction, unworthy of the grandiose vocabulary I was seeking to develop by reading only the greats. Little did I know that the lightning bolted Boy Who Lived would be a timeline tracing my own journey through Hogwarts, aiding my friendships as a common thread, and becoming a sort of closure to a time I was reluctant to relinquish.

Growing up as I did, the idea of a far off boarding type school was foreign to me, but fun to imagine nonetheless. Then all of a sudden it became relevant as I left for college (only three hours away by a magical train called Amtrak), and Harry Potter’s crazy adventures with his school friends gave me solace as I coped with the sudden change in my life, that of living away from home. Since most around me loved the books as much as I had grown to, watching the accompanying movies all together became a must-do, often at midnight the day of the launch. I had found my own Hogwarts-y friends, and each book release or movie debut was a milestone through the years as I grew. As my personal struggles would change and evolve, the way I read the books would change, how I related to the characters would change, and their dramas were a backdrop to my life. It is incredibly cheesy, and I hesitate to give the impression that I was a fanatic about the saga, I was not. It was simply just a constant thing to look forward to, a minute way to escape when I had to, a topic of conversation always acceptable when the table topics petered out. When in school, the young years of all our lives could draw parallels to Harry Potter,  and he was my version of teenage angst. When I had a huge a midterm coming up, it was like I was taking my O.W.L.S., trying to earn entrance into the next year. When I felt overwhelmed with something or other I thought, well at least I don’t have to fight dragons or face a cruel nose-less man bent on killing me. Yes, Harry Potter was my generation, and I can see myself growing up when I watch him growing older from movie to movie.

Now, years later, it’s easy to lose touch with those college buddies, but Harry Potter helped us reunite, and now for the last time we met to watch the last movie. It was like all the sadness of leaving my beloved college years was finally given closure. So far I had been in denial, always thinking my life was in some sort of limbo, and at the end I would see and live near everyone I loved all the time as in the old days. Identifying with a teenage wizard was never my intention, and the odd personal closure I felt from the resolution of his journey made me think seriously about mine. What does my love of Harry Potter really say about my life so far?

Pathetic? Maybe. Telling? Probably. We are the techno kids, addicted to iPods and TV and movies, no longer internet novices. While we remember days without cell phones, we have now grown them as extensions of our arms. When moments once defined generations, now it’s which gadgets or digital media. We have the iPod, the cell phone, and the laptop, where our parents had record players, land lines, and floppy drives (no offense, those things are now vintage-cool of course). With all that change in so short a time, why shouldn’t a set of books turned mega-movie saga define the metamorphosis of my childhood? Even the reluctance of JK Rowling to transition the books from literal page turners to digital media says just a little bit about my generation…

The journey of Harry Potter is like the journey we all face in life: the question of whether we are born with an identity that shapes our future, or whether we define ourselves as our choices become experiences. We all want to find meaning in our past while writing our own futures, and it is the balance between the two that truly defines us.  But let us not forget that it is the people in our lives that give us hope and strength, so it’s not a bad thing to lean on them once in a while. Could Harry have done it all on his own? Or maybe the lesson is really, How to Write a Hit Book and Make Tons of Money…naw that one isn’t as poetic. Instead I think I’ll just make one of those little bracelets: WWHD?

Those Things

We all have them, those things that we refuse to think about, that make us shudder and panic at the mere mention. The involuntary tightness rising in our chests as the heart rate quickens. I have one of those things, it’s called a standardized test. I thought I left them behind after STAR testing (anybody?) and the SATs, but now they are back to haunt me in the form of the GRE. I had this freak out in 2009, when I wanted to apply to graduate school but I refused to even look at a GRE book, talk about it, study, and I even postponed the first date I set for myself, forfeiting $50 so I could avoid the dreaded day longer. In a self fulfilling prophecy, my avoidance translated into a terrible score, one which I refused to tell anyone, so traumatized was I by those two little numbers, that I nearly forgot them myself. This irrational hatred was a little hard to explain, most people saw the test as a necessary evil on the way to ambition. But for me it dated way back to high school, when peer pressure and insecurities abounded and everyone in my class did better than me, shattering my self confidence and laying the foundations for another decade of self-confidence issues, warranted or not. I always felt alone, isolated and strange.

Now I’m in that position again, with the test date finally here and my nerves threatening to snap.  But this time I did what I had avoided all those other times: I studied. In college I developed a study strategy, and I tried to best to turn that back on just for the occasion, even if there really were other things I wanted to do with my weekend. I would study the better part of the day, Nate making sure I still eat, still relax a bit in between ranting and raving and banging my head against the wall.  Each weekend since mid-May I studied for this mid June date, reassuring myself that if I did poorly, I could jet off to France to quell my sorrows. But this time feels different…I’m not marching to the gallows like it felt before. This time I’m me, doing what I do best, studying to hell and gone and stepping in there to pull it out. Even if I can’t I know I tried my damnedest, and one little hiccup is not going to slow down this ambitious career train. No one is perfect in every aspect of their resume or application, but they WANT it, and they know they can do it, and that’s the kind of confidence I’m channeling today.

No has zero faults, and maybe some people can just walk into that room and get a perfect score. I thought I should be able to do that, if I really had the smarts and was cut out for graduate school. But I can’t do that, and it’s not because I’m stupid, like I had previously assumed. “What’s wrong with me?” I would ask. Well, what do people do when they don’t have one particular skill? They look at the skills they do have, and use something in their toolbox to get it done: their way. I’m not a genius and I don’t work my best under pressure, but I do work hard, and I know how to prepare. I’m organized, and this time instead of wallowing in fear and avoidance, I’ve gotten out my big guns and I’m going to get the job done: my way.

Okay, flash forward 7 hours and the test is over. I can’t stop taking those big sighs of relief and wondering if it was really real, but I’m so happy it is over. Amazingly my studying did pay off and I scored a whopping 80 points better on both the verbal and the math sections, independently. I don’t think I ever have to sit in front of that nasty computer again! My bank account isn’t so happy, however, since directly after the test (the testing center is next to a gigantic mall) I walked straight over and celebrated with my friends Anthropologie and Banana Republic. But now I’m up to my neck in vacation worthy clothes and I’m ready to hit the streets of Paris!

Snowy Day Poem

Today in lab meeting I got a little lost, and began looking out the window at the snow and composing an alliterative poem corresponding to all 26 letters of the alphabet…well almost. It went something like this:

After an aching arch of

billowy blizzards blow a

casual cake comes

down, daring dads to

enter. Ever extracting the ectoplasm of

flowing flurries further.

Gathering grossly

higher, hefty. Huge.

Interested in interacting,

just jaunting joyfully,


lamenting lost love.

Motionless by morning,

not nearly

operating overtime-

preparing people to

quell quietly

restrictions regulating

society. Snow is stress by snowflake.

Today, tomorrow, to

understand undoing:

violent victory vying for a

white wipeout. Weather


Yearning for Yesterday…

Ze End.

Shopping Withdrawals

This weekend is the long one and I started off uncharacteristically grumpy, and at first I had no idea why. After ruminating over possible scenarios for weekend plans, I realized the problem was my silent and self imposed abstinence from any weekend shopping sprees, spontaneous or otherwise. It all started Friday afternoon when I ran an errand, serendipitously seeing a new Anthropologie store on the way, and instantly I longed to go in. The adorable window displays were like an invitation, a teasing introduction to the wonders to follow, and I pictured the cozy floral interior as a fantastical getaway from the cold harsh snow that lay all around me. The gorgeous displays were beckoning and nearly compelling me to enter, and I had to consciously remind myself of my current month of six items, which was supposed to be a lesson in my spending habits. Wasn’t the fact that I was experiencing guilt for not wearing anything else in my overstuffed closet testament enough to the state of my wardrobe? I do not have the money or the space to spare for new items, and yet just the prospect of not shopping was enough to put me in a bad mood. Confronted with my temptations and successfully resisting was enough to throw my into a gnawing and anxious feeling of withdrawal, or in other words, I was pouting.

Shopping has become a hobby for me, a thing to do, an exciting outing, a reason to get out of the house and “have fun.” How sad am I that even when I have no one to shop with, I am still unable not to shop. I did not give in to my desire that afternoon, but the rest of the day and into the night it became like an itch, a tiny thought in the back of my mind where I was conspiring to make time for a trip there later, or to the mall, or shop online, all under some pretense of going to the gym (oh it’s so close by) or shopping for someone else (so-in-so’s birthday is coming up…). And while I show none of the telltale signs of someone who is a pathological shopaholic, most notably the credit card debt, I think I underestimated how much I rely on shopping as a fun activity, and how much I enjoy buying and wearing clothes. My goal is to get through the whole month without shopping extraneously, sticking to necessities, and paying all the bills, early no less! This six items or less experiment is already having a positive impact on my life, I really hope I can turn this experience into a habit, and control my wardrobe budget for years to come.

Hottest New Trend: the SNOOD. Wait, the what…?

It’s winter now and there is one trend never goes out of style, the scarf. While there are countless variations, colors, shapes, and sizes, one thing never changes: that you wear it around your neck. Any fabric made to encircle your neck for warmth is and should be called a scarf, but it seems like the someone is trying to change that.

You’ve probably seen them, it’s the latest variation of scarf that is trying to make a fashion statement: one with no ends, usually called a loop or tube scarf. You wrap it around a few times to the desired length or tightness, I knitted one myself just a few days ago, inspired by a girl at work. Since then I have seen them popping up in stores all over, such as H&M, American Eagle Outfitters, J.Crew, and others. They are practical, cute, and sparking controversy in, strangely enough, the English Premier Soccer League.

Yes, I’m talking about soccer- this season players in all the high profile teams are seeking to make fashion statements by donning a sporty version of the popular loop scarf during games, especially ones in chilly English weather. But can you really have an English trend without calling it something strange? This particular soccer scarf is referred to as a “snood,” but if you Google this without adding the word “soccer” to the search, you will come up empty. It’s not a surprise that this reference isn’t catching on, and there is even an implication circling around England that snoods are not for manly men, which can hardly help their popularity. Even though this trend was started by a man (the very one, pictured), it’s becoming such a big deal (why…?) that some coaches are going so far as to ban their players from wearing them. Really? You’re upset by something called a SNOOD? After all, it’s only meant for warmth since the players are forced to run around in shorts and freezing cold temperatures; shouldn’t this trend be seen as a practical necessity? Most people think the fight is stupid, and players, both snood wearers and anti-snooders were asked their opinions on the matter. It seems this is the best they came up with:

Ex-Leeds United hardman Norman Hunter, 67: “We used to rub Algipan oil all over. That kept us warm.” –In NBC Sports News

Um…okay then. I guess that’s one option. So I suppose the Snood isn’t going to take over the world yet…