It’s so bittersweet to be back in rainy New York after a gloriously sunny, warm, wonderful week-long vacation. We just got back from a much needed vacation to Puerto Plata on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, and let’s just say, one week wasn’t enough.
The week was spent relaxing to the absolute max. Of the seven days we were there, most hours were spent laying on fluffy white beds on the beach (apparently lounge chairs are a thing of the past?), soaking up the sun, catching up on reading, and slurping down refreshing adult beverages.
We took only a couple of breaks, the first to visit a horse ranch and do a horseback tour of the island, which took us through Dominican farms and under hundreds of fruit bearing trees, past everything from avocados and mangos to coconut and papaya. Dominican farms look very similar to the jungle itself – not a whole lot of rhyme or reason that us foreigners could see, though apparently they’re planted this way to protect the soil and the land. The farms were all interspersed throughout the wild fruit trees, leaving the whole countryside laden with edible delights.
Our second break from laying beach-side was to visit the 27 Charcos de Damajagua – or the 27 Waterfalls of the Damajagua River – an absolute MUST do if you ever visit Puerto Plata. Essentially, we hiked through the jungle to the top of the twelfth in a series of connected waterfalls (the full 27-waterfall trek takes several hours), and then proceeded to jump, slide, and swim our way down twelve waterfalls back to the bottom of the mountain! All I can say is, you haven’t lived until you jump feet first down a cascading waterfall rapid! This trek was a total rush, not to mention a beautiful, fun, adventurous way to enjoy Puerto Plata. It was the highlight of the trip!
It was really, really hard to come back to the States after such a restorative getaway, but return we did. And one thing I have to admit that I was looking forward to getting back to was the food. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort in the DR, and while the food was overall pretty good (and better than I expected), I couldn’t wait for a hot, home cooked meal. And there was one thing in particular I was craving.
To me, a pancake breakfast is synonymous with vacation. Sadly, though, the pancakes in the DR just did not cut it. To be frank, they were chewy, rubbery, and I’m pretty sure the same batter was used to make everything from pancakes to waffles to danishes. After a distasteful bite on the first day of our trip, I stuck to the much more delicious french toast at our hotel’s breakfast buffet for the whole week, but when I landed in New York, I was suffering from a fierce pancake craving.
But not just for any pancakes. Adam’s mom’s super special, ultra hearty oatmeal walnut blueberry pancakes. First thing Saturday morning I rushed downstairs to whip up a double batch for a family breakfast. Using the food processor, these pancakes come together in a snap, and are ready in minutes. Which means you can eat them even faster!
For an oatmeal lover like myself, these are pretty much the ultimate pancake. They’re hearty and comforting, fluffy, and full of nutty crunch from the walnuts. Blueberries, my berry of choice, add a tart burst of sweetness that balances the hearty oat flavor nicely – but you could add just about any berry, or bananas to the batter. Just don’t forget the butter and syrup – they might be slightly healthier, but they’re still pancakes, after all!
Oatmeal Walnut Blueberry Pancakes - Serves 4 to 5
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1-1/2 cups of whole rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1-1/2 cups of skim milk
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup of frozen blueberries
1. Place flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, milk, vanilla, oil and eggs in a food processor and puree until smooth.
2. Transfer the batter to a bowl. Add the chopped walnuts and blueberries and stir to combine.
3. Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until golden brown on both sides and set in the middle. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.