For the Joy of Pancakes

I know, I know. If we’re friends on Facebook or your follow me on Instagram then you may be about sick to your stomach with all the pictures of what has been filling ours….


and now a blog post?!

img_5238Just think: we’ve been eating pancakes for 12 days. Not just eating them: prepping, cooking, planning, cleaning, talking about them… And maybe we are (a little) sick of pancakes as they’ve filled out bellies and hopefully filling our hearts too.

There we get to it though: filling our hearts.

What we just stumbled upon there is the why of the #12daysofpancakes: my heart and the hearts of each of my family members too.

My jobs running Camp Vick and the ABY Convention result in most of my year spent creating experiences for other people, pouring my time and talents into growing people, investing my energy into creating a space for people to encounter God in a “thin moment.” Without a doubt my family reaps amazing benefits from the work I do and the place at which they are blessed to live and grow up. I can’t stress that enough. But, a lot of my year is spent focused on providing something special for other people.

So, while other people in Western New York lament the coming of winter and the lake effect snow storms, I breathe a sigh of peace as winter is my time to rest and Christmas is a time I can (in my own way) pour into my family. From our Advent tradition, to giving each child 3 gifts in the pattern of the Gifts of the Magi, to our #12daysofpancakes fun.

This is my chance to do something special, pour out my time and talents, invest my energy and create an experience for my children… through something as silly as pancakes.

It started about 4 years ago when Josh and I had been spending a lot of time on recipe sites like and to find new meals to make because I sure do get into meal routines so deep they turn into ruts. Josh saw this 12 Days of Pancakes thing they had going on and thought we should give it a try.

A few things you should know:

  1. I can’t say I really used to like pancakes.
  2. I couldn’t really cook them- unless you consider burning them cooking.
  3. I often don’t have patience for learning new things.

Needless to say he took the lead at first on the whole thing. But as the years passed my interest grew in serving my family through this tradition. A little at a time my patience grew, my skills expanded and my heart was filled as I attempted to bless my family and do something special for me as well.

img_5306It turns out that the mental exercise of learning to cook these different types of pancakes and develop a little more skill in still photography is good for my heart too.  Josh told a friend that some days the whole thing is really more an exercise in photography than it is in pancake making (he’s gifted me some nice camera equipment to make that possible). And that can be true. Both the making of pancakes and struggling to learn how each nuanced batter needs to be cooked to make a nice looking/tasting pancake AND the art of capturing a beautiful image to remember to day BOTH have grown me and fed my heart. I guess, for me, there is great joy found in this pancake tradition.

There are times it is stressful. There are days it seems no one likes the pancakes. There are some recipes that just plain flop. But in the midst of all of that there is the blessing of serving my family, time together, making memories, and filling our bellies with tasty treats along the way.

So that, my friends, is the back story on the 12 Days of Pancakes with the Narraways.

Below I’ll link for you all the recipes we used (in case you want to give any of them a try).

12 Days of Pancakes 2017

Day 1: Brown Simg_5203ugar Pancakes with Bacon Maple Butter

We started with a new recipe, and was it ever tasty! We do have some bacon lovers in the house, which is what drew me to trying this one out. The pancakes cooked nicely and the spin on traditional syrup was fun too. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

Dayimg_5243 2: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes.

I took my first bite of these and exclaimed, “Wow,
these are so tasty!” For real… so good! VERY TASTY! They were fluffy pancakes. A little bit of a misnomer because they are Cinnamon Pancakes with an apple syrup topping. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

img_5253Day 3: Christmas Tree Pancake Stacks.img_5251

These are always a favorite (of those at our house eating them and people seeing the pancake pictures). They are really a plain pancake batter with green food coloring and then fancy plating. Not everyone had a plate as neat looking as this one… but they are fun nonetheless. The recipe has ideas on how to measure to get different sized pancakes if, like me, you don’t have a steady batter pouring technique. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

img_5280Day 4: Oven Baked Blueberry Pancakes.

I like this recipe both for taste and ease. I chose these to make Christmas morning for just those reasons. I mixed it up and then set it to bake while we opened a few gifts before breakfast. I even took these pancakes to a family Christmas gathering brunch. They handled a 1.5 hour car ride rather well ;-). You can find the recipe by clicking here.

img_5286Day 5: Strawberry Valentine’s Day Pancakes.

This was a new recipe to our home. These were a little finicky and took a bit of work to get them to look right. But the kids liked the taste with a dollop of whipped topping. When I say “finicky” what I mean is that adding sprinkles is a neat idea but they melt into the batter making a mess when you flip the pancakes, if you aren’t careful. And they made a mess of my hands too (since I didn’t have a shaker top on these sprinkles). They are a really cute idea though and you can find the recipe by clicking here.


Day 6: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

In the past we’ve done Cinnamon Roll Pancake Stacks with which you don’t cook the brown sugar mixture, it goes in between plain pancakes (which are MUCH easier to make). This type requires more skill. We had some happy kids (and parents) tonight with these tasty pancakes for dessert. Someone said we should have them every night. But… it took me A LONG time to make them so that probably isn’t a good idea. The recipe has good tips on how to get a good looking pancake to go with the great taste! Fun story: I think 5 people share this recipe (or one VERY similar) with me after I’d made them. Seems that this recipe is popular on the internet! You can find the recipe by clicking here.

img_5292Day 7: Apple Pie Pancakes with Vanilla Maple Syrup

I like to bake pies so I thought a pancake day with a pie theme would be fun. I wanted to do pumpkin but was outvoted by the children. These pancakes use shredded apple in them, which was interesting. I like the pancakes from day 2 better than these, but they were still good pancakes. The recipe was made by someone who admits she doesn’t bake pies, and I think that is why her recipe has way too much spices! I reduced the amount of nutmeg and cloves and I’d say they were both a little too strong! You can find the recipe by clicking here.

img_5304Day 8: Pannukkau (Finnish Pancakes).

We tried a foreign recipe this year. Two years ago Isaiah studied Finland for a second grade project, he’s been obsessed ever since! This pancake has a different texture than us Americans are accustomed to eating. The recipe describes it as, “Basically if a crepe, a custard, a pancake and french toast had a baby, this would be it! Doesn’t that just sound amazing?? All of your favorite things rolled up into one!” Not sure all the children agree it was amazing but it was worth the try! This was a SUPER easy recipe. Like crazy easy. And all pieces turned out this picture perfect. So… if the mixture of textures is fine with you then give this one a go! You can find the recipe by clicking here.

img_5308Day 9: Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes.

There were a bunch of kids that were very apprehensive about these, but all-in-all they were pretty good. However, this was a VERY picky batter that burned easily! It took me a while to catch on to how to best cook these ones. This recipe called for A LOT more lemon (zest and juice) than I actually used. I also greatly reduced the amount of poppy seeds. Oh- the trick that worked for cooking these: covering the pan while the pancakes cooked on the first side. This kept the heat in more evenly and then I could keep the pan at a lower temp to avoid burning, at least not as much burning. I just ate the leftovers this morning and these were very good warmed up. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

img_5332Day 10: Chinese Scallion Pancakes.

And… unfortunately I didn’t enjoy these much 😦 But at least we tried something fun/different for New Year’s Eve. I think the disappointment came in that they were a lot of work. They are really a dough not a batter. You knead the dough for 15-20 minutes until smooth and there is a ton  of rolling out each pancake. But I think it all went wrong with the dipping sauce, which really may have been my fault not that of the recipe. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

img_5333Day 11: Gingerbread Pancakes (with homemade maple whipped cream).

This recipe has a lighter gingerbread flavor and doesn’t use molasses and has a much more gentle gingerbread flavor over other recipes. Which works better for us. The apple butter does like to brown up/burn faster though. You can find the recipe by clicking here.


Day 12: Cranberry Pancakes.

These rank high on my favorites list. They cooked up nicely for the last day of pancakes. This is a Betty Crocker recipe but you could use any basic pancake mix and add the extra ingredients listed. I like the cranberry topping and we added some creaminess to the top with the previous day’s homemade maple whipped cream. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

What pancakes do you enjoy making in your home? Did you try any of these?

One thought on “For the Joy of Pancakes

  1. Pingback: the 12 days of pancakes |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s