Here’s a trick someone once taught me for dealing with stress: Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Now, imagine your perfect day. Start from the beginning. What happens when you wake up? What’s the first thing you do? Who’s around? What do you do for breakfast? Then, move on through your day. Imagine how you’d spend your afternoon, what you’d do for dinner. Think about who you see that evening and what you’d do.
I love this trick. It’s a good way to put everything in focus. For me, it comes down to spending time with my family and friends, getting in a good workout outdoors, eating good food and being surrounded by good friends who make me laugh.
For my perfect day (winter version), I’d wake up at Island Lake Lodge with S. (That’s where we got married.) We’d eat a breakfast of gingerbread pancakes while looking out at the mountains and then we’d snowshoe or ski all day long. It’d be a bluebird sky and warm but with heaps of fresh snow. At the end of the ski day, we’d meet our family back at the lodge for dinner and drinks. My nephews would be be allowed to stay up late and eat all the chocolate they want. Friends would be there, too, and — nerd alert! — we’d play trivial pursuit and Dance Dance Revolution. I’d read a good book for hours before I fall asleep.
Over the holidays, I’ll make much of this come true. I might get up to Island Lake Lodge. There will certainly be board games, chocolate with nephews and drinks with friends. And without question, I’ll gobble up some of these gingerbread pancakes from the Island Lake Lodge Cookbook. (This book makes a great Christmas present, by the way! We also like their toffee almond squares. )
Island Lake Lodge Gingerbread Pancakes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- Pinch grated nutmeg
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup cold black coffee
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Additional canola oil for frying
- Maple syrup and icing sugar to serve
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt until well combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together coffee, canola oil, water, eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Gradually add coffee mixture to flour mixture, stirring until almost smooth.
Heat a large oiled non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake into skillet. Cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown on undersides. Flip pancakes, then cook for about one minute until golden. Remove pancakes from skillet and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, oiling skillet occasionally if necessary.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with maple syrup.
~ChrisPS – The photo is by Henri Georgi, courtesy of the Island Lake Lodge cookbook.