Gluten Free For Good


More About Melissa

I’m a bit of a book worm. Actually, I’m a word worm, reading constantly. Not always novels though — I read science journals, magazines, text books, cook books, blogs, and lots of political stuff.

Have you ever read the book Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston? It’s a wonderful collection of romantic stories about spunky women and wild men.

And good dogs.

I like Pam Houston’s writing, she’s an outdoorsy girl who lives here in Colorado, a woman after my own heart. And as much as I agree — cowboys are cute, intriguing, look good in Levi’s and blah, blah, blah — pancakes are my weakness. Actually, it’s the pure Vermont maple syrup that gets to me, the pancakes are just the delivery vehicles.


If you look closely, this western pancake plate of mine has a bit of a dip in it. That way the pancakes can literally float in maple syrup and I don’t get a sticky mess all over my table.

I know, I know, not exactly what you’d call nutrient-dense food. Not the best thing for balancing blood sugar levels. Not great for providing sustainable energy. High in calories, low in nourishment. Yeah, yeah, yeah — I know the whole story inside and out.

But — Maple Syrup Is My Weakness and sometimes I just can’t resist. Not often, but once in awhile I give in and totally indulge, only to wake up after my sugar coma wondering, what the heck was I thinking?!

Maple Syrup Holders

1 Cup + 1 tablespoon Pamela’s GF Flour Mix (or your favorite GF mix)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 duck egg (or, if you’re a normal person, 1 extra large chicken egg or 2 smaller ones)
3/4 cups brown rice milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Gallons of pure organic Vermont maple syrup

Whisk egg in small bowl. Mix all ingredients and egg together until no lumps appear. Depending on batter consistency, you may need to add a touch more flour or milk. It shouldn’t be too thin or too thick (got that?).

Pour 1/4 cup batter onto pre-heated, lightly oiled griddle (medium heat). Flip once and serve immediately. Drown in pure Vermont maple syrup, which you will regret later. Eat and take a strenuous hike to process all the sugar.

Makes 2 servings, or about 6 to 8 pancakes (of which I can eat all by myself).
If you’re smart, you will eat two pancakes and freeze the rest for later. Reheat in the toaster.

Trisha Yearwood singing Cowboys Are My Weakness from her album Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love.

In weakness,
P.S. For those of you who were expecting organic veggies and whole foods, that girl will be back soon. In the meantime, what are your weaknesses?

33 Responses to “cowboys are my weakness (hmmm?)”

  1. Cid says:


    I like all kinds of pancakes but often find them hard to digest, perhaps your version being wheat free, is easier. I would only manage one or two but I do love maple syrup. In fact I have a recipe for a cake which is sweetened with maple syrup…. it’s quite expensive in the UK but available in supermarkets and deli’s.

    As for my weaknesses…. there are almost too many to mention but if we’re sticking to food and drink, I’d have to say tea and biscuits…. no real surprise there! Apart from the wholegrain and fig biscuit I scoffed yesterday, I have mostly given up my ‘in between meals’ nibbles. I would have said chocolate but although I love it, I would miss other things more. Did I mention dates and nuts? Well I like those too, as well as figs…. and cheese. Condensed milk is another thing… I could go on but I’ll finish with the delicious macaron…. which everyone should try. Something tells me there’s a new post coming our way on that very subject 🙂


  2. Meghan says:

    I love that you called these maple syrup holders. I bake all sorts of grain-free breads and crackers that my mom refers to as ‘serving vehicles’ for whatever good stuff we put on top.

  3. noble pig says:

    I love the name, maple syrup holders. That is the greatest.

  4. Ha ha … maple syrup holders! Too cute! I find that I actually like our honey better for pancakes than maple syrup—gasp! But have been enjoying the pure maple syrup our Vermont friends brought us in Feb. some. While they were here, we enjoyed it on the volcano pancake I made. And, I love using it in other recipes. I love that you added pecans to your mix. Yum.

    I have so much to learn about dairy-free options. I didn’t even know there was a brown rice milk. Makes sense, but I just didn’t know.

    I like that Trisha Yearwood tune. Very understated for her. I’d never heard it before. This post makes me think back fondly to our time at guest ranches (a.k.a. dude ranches, but guest ranches tend to be more realistic than Billy Crystal having the cows run after him).


  5. After all that writing, I still forgot to tell my weaknesses … sweets, especially cookies. I love to bake for people. Chocolate, of course. Other things I love, I don’t really consider weaknesses … like seafood, a nice creamy soup. Maybe a really good margarita. I think that is definitely a weakness. 😉

  6. Hey there Melissa,

    I wanted to ask if that Pamela’s baking mix tends to bother your tummy? I noticed they just started selling the gi-normous bag of it at Vitamin Cottage and I haven’t bought it because of the fact that it contains buttermilk. I know you can be sensitive to dairy sometimes – so I was just curious more than anything. I am kind of too scared to try it. Dairy and I – we’re not so tight anymore.

    I have stopped using maple syrup even tho I LOVE it to death. I grew up in New Hampshire – where the authentic stuff is from. Sadly, it just makes me feel too cruddy after I eat it. So, I started making a berry compote in summer and a fruit compote in winter for pancakes and waffles. Or use frozen berries any time of year. Add to saucepan, pour in some cinnamon and agave/honey. Simmer for a few minutes to reduce it – it is so stinkin’ good. I posted a recipe last May/June for strawberry rhubarb compote slash fruit dip. Not that I want to wish time away but I cannot even wait for rhubarb and strawberry season…

  7. Mmmm…chocolate. Which reminds me, I have my home-made chocolate-cherry cookies in my freezer — gotta go!

    But, not without saying first that I too love the name of “maple syrup holders” and that’s how I think about cake – frosting holder 😉

  8. Melissa says:


    There are reasons gluten (the storage protein in wheat, barley, and rye) is difficult for many of us to digest, even people without celiac disease (long story). Regardless, eating a big plate of pancakes and maple syrup is not the best way (nutritionally) to start your day for a variety of reasons, but we don’t always do what’s best for us, do we?

    I like maple syrup as a sweetener for baked goods too, but it’s not wise to be slopping it up by the cup full.


    Dates and nuts are good snacks. In fact, I have a cocoa/date/almond dipping recipe, which I’ll share with you soon.

    Chocolate is one of my favorites, but I agree — there are other things that would be harder for me to give up.

    Yes, we all have our weaknesses, whether it’s cowboys or pancakes or chocolate. They tend to vary depending on what’s put in front of us.

  9. Melissa says:

    Cathy (NP) — thanks for the comment. Sadly, “maple syrup holders” really are what pancakes are to me. I should definitely know better!

  10. Melissa says:


    Using your own honey made from your own bees sounds wonderful. I might give up my maple syrup for that!

    I use “Good Karma” Organic Ricemilk made from whole grain brown rice. It’s GF, DF, and soy free (I’m not a soy fan). It does contain organic brown rice syrup, which is sugar, but I think it’s a good alternative for certain things and it works fine in baked goods. I like coconut milk for certain things as well.

    Thanks for the Billy Crystal/City Slickers reminder. I’d forgotten all about that movie. That was hilarious!

  11. Melissa says:


    Excellent point about Pamela’s Baking Mix. Yes, it contains cultured buttermilk which comes from cow’s milk. Buttermilk is the liquid that remains after cream is churned to make butter. Cultured buttermilk is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to milk. It becomes thick because of the way the acid acts on the casein (protein) in the milk.

    I think maybe the cultured buttermilk in Pamela’s flour mix made add some leavening properties to GF baked goods. It doesn’t bother me, but I actually don’t eat baked goods very often.

    I used to make my own flour blend out of several different sources, but it’s too expensive unless you bake a lot. I also like the addition of almond meal in Pamela’s mix, but you really have to find what works best for you. There are SO many options now. When I started on this GF journey many years ago, you had to come up with your own mix. I buy the small bags (24 ounce) of Pamela’s. The big bags are just too much for me.

    I also add my own flours to her blend — maybe a small amount of coconut flour, mesquite, or hazelnut (whatever I feel like).

    As for feeling “cruddy” after you eat maple syrup — I absolutely relate. It’s because your blood sugar spikes and crashes. Not good. It’s definitely my weakness!

    Your berry compote recipe sounds wonderful. I’ll go check it out. I became addicted to rhubarb last summer after my CSA started delivering it. OH MY GOSH, I can’t wait either. I made the best GF strawberry/rhubarb cobbler ever. We’ll have to share recipes when the season starts!


  12. Melissa says:


    Chocolate, cherry, cookies? Did you post that recipe? Would you like to lead us to it.


    I love your description of cake! Frosting holder is perfect and I agree. Yeah, darn it — it’s that sweet stuff that gets me.

    I’m about to embark on my annual spring cleanse though. That always gets me back on track! It’s not easy in the beginning, but after about a week, I feel wonderful.

  13. greedydave says:

    I seriously went overboard with the pancakes on Shrove Tuesday this year. I was eating them off the production line, eating one while the next was cooking, until my jaws plain refused to chew anymore. It is good to do something you know is bad, every once in a long while.

    My weakness is a bit odd and not GF either, sorry. It’s malt vinegar. Just the smell of it on hot chips (fries) can make me stop what I’m doing and make a beeline for a fish & chip shop. Pickled baby onions, pickled eggs and pickled mussels or cockles; all just irresistible to me. It must be a British thing, no wonder you kicked us out! 🙂

    Here’s to letting our weaknesses exploit us!


  14. Melissa says:


    Shrove Tuesday? Like in Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday?

    Well, if over-indulging in pancakes is the worst thing you did, than you’re on the right track.

    Malt vinegar? We have a version of vinegar potato chips which I find — umm — icky. But lots of people love them.

    Pickled cockles? What ARE cockles, anyway? I’ve heard the saying, “you warm the cockles of my heart” but I’ve never thought about what it actually meant until right now.

    Hmmm, you just raise more questions, GDave!


  15. greedydave says:


    Yeah, as far as I know Mardis Gras and Shrove Tuesday are essentially marking the same date in the Christian calendar, Lent. We don’t have the carnival aspect of it here in the UK though. It’s the day when we are supposed to use up all of our fresh ingredients before 40 days of Lenten fasting. Somewhere along the line pancakes got involved but I’ve no idea when/how. Perhaps Jesus liked pancakes, who knows?

    As for cockles, just think of clams. I’m sure a marine biologist would look at me disapprovingly for saying so, but they are as similar as really matters. “The cockles of your heart,” I think is one of those expressions of which no-one truly knows the origin. They do look quite heart-shaped when you look at them sideways, though.


  16. Cid says:


    I’ve thought of something that might cure you of your vinegar habit… some years back someone suggested I try a glass of hot water with a table spoon of organic cider vinegar in it. Now admittedly I did add some honey perhaps more than I should have, but never the less I found it hard to drink, while all the time telling myself that this is a fabulously healthy beverage 🙂 Apparently one should give it some time to get used to but they say it’s good for lots of ailments and general health. Judging by the look of my three quarters full cider vinegar bottle, I’d say I didn’t give it long enough 🙂


  17. Melissa –
    Yes! This one needs sharing 🙂

    GF chocolate cherry cookies:

    Good luck on your spring cleanse!

  18. greedydave says:


    What a strange concoction. I’m not surprised you didn’t keep up the regime. I’m no nutritionist but I could only recommend drinking proper organic cider and maybe sprinkling a little extra malt vinegar on your chips. 🙂


  19. Melissa says:


    You are full of all kinds of interesting (and I must add, odd) information and a very entertaining “guest blogger.”

    Thanks for the input!

    P.S. I’m still lost on the “cockles” thing. So — are clams cockles?

  20. Melissa says:


    THANKS! I’ll be right over as chocolate and cherries are seriously one of my favorite combos. Chocolove (a local chocolate company) makes a dark chocolate, almonds, and cherries bar, which is another one of my weaknesses.


  21. Melissa says:

    Cid & GDave,

    Apple cider vinegar is one of those folk-medicine health tonics, touted as a cure-all for everything under the sun (and under your bed). The elixir you’re referring to, Cid, is fermented smashed apples. I actually use it regularly in salad dressings — just a touch so you don’t end up with that awful puckered up feeling. I like it mixed with olive oil, dijon mustard, and honey.

    Research hasn’t shown it to be the cure-all that it’s been touted to be though. Plus, many of the studies were done on rats, and usually in large doses, so I’m not so sure it would have been worth your effort, Cid.

    I’ve read it may be helpful for people with type 2 diabetes though.

    Cid — we can have macaroons while Dave is eating his vinegar and chips. That’s a much more worthy weakness.


  22. Cid says:


    While we’re on the subject of homemade medicinal curatives, I must tell you about a tv series on BBC2 in the UK called Grow Your Own Drugs. Now at first this title must have escaped my attention but now I’m hooked. The episodes are available online and the recipes can be printed out and kept. Interesting to note they have been using herb Melissa as a lotion to help troubled skin. I have lots of this herb in my garden and the dilute oil as well. It’s strong stuff so must be used with caution like all essential oils. This year I’m going to try to drink more Melissa tea and not quite so much of my usual Keemun.


  23. Melissa says:


    I’ll check that out, it sounds interesting. I’m a “holistic nutritionist” so my training and interest is in alternative methods of healing and health care. Food, herbs, plant medicinals — things like what you’re referring to. You’re right though, Cid, we need to take caution with these things. Just because they are plants and “natural” doesn’t mean we need to overdo it.

    I get frustrated with all the hype about supplements and super plants. Obviously, I’m really interested in nutrition and healing through herbs and food, but so much of this is about marketing and making money. People are making lots of money off of consumers looking for a cure for this or a quick fix for that.

    Herbs can be powerful substances and may interact with drugs people are taking and sometimes even good things may not be good for certain people.

    For instance, goitrogens are foods that, in some cases, may interfere with thyroid function. Kale, Brussels sprouts, peaches — these are wonderfully healthy foods, but may not be a good choice to overdo if you have a thyroid problem.

    I guess the bottom line is, you’re RIGHT — some of these substances are strong, so we do need to use with caution.

    I’m in the process of writing a post on vitamin D, which has become the hot new thing lately. Just because something is good for us doesn’t mean we need to run out and overload on it.

    Thanks for bringing up that point!

  24. Melissa says:


    I don’t know why, but your comment got lost in my spam folder. I just found it — and love your mom’s “serving vehicle” comment!

  25. You are funny Melissa!

    I have never tried Pamela’s baking mix or any other GF baking mix for that matter. My kids do love pancakes, I make them sort of wholesome but you still get a blood sugar rise for sure, especially with that yummy maple syrup!

    -Ali 🙂

  26. Yes. Some are into cowboys. Farmers are my thing.

  27. Brian says:

    Great looking pancakes. My wife and I use Pamela’s mix as well. As for weaknesses, I have never met a dessert I didn’t like.

  28. Melissa says:


    Thanks! I never used those baking mixes either, but it gets so expensive to buy the individual flours that I’m trying different options. I wanted to try a few of the commercial blends and see which ones I liked. I work with all kinds of people, some who want quick baking tips, so I experiment on occasion. I like Pamela’s though.

  29. Melissa says:

    Meghan — since I live in the “wild west” I do like cowboys, but I agree, farmers are the best!


  30. Melissa says:


    Thanks, I appreciate your comment and couldn’t agree more — desserts are my weakness too!

  31. My weakness is the smile and laugh from my 2 year old. And as for as food goes, definitely the combination of coconut and raw honey.

    I also just requested “Cowboys are my weakness” from my library and am looking forward to reading it. I will let you know!

  32. I am immersed in the book, thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  33. Melissa says:


    It’s good reading, isn’t it? Pam writes for various outdoor magazines as well. She’s an interesting woman. Glad you are enjoying it. Busy mom’s need to lose themselves in books once in awhile!

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