Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janny-Friendly Recipe: Pancakes

Most Sundays, my grandma makes us pancakes. Her recipe includes Sprite (to make them more fluffy) and—of course—sugar. Then we top them with syrup and enjoy. They're wonderful. Unfortunately, they're not a Janny-friendly food.

This version of pancakes doesn't taste like Grandma's, but it's still very good.

The original recipe was by Steph. I adjusted it to omit the sugar and make it into a single-serving.

The Recipe

Click to view the full-size photo
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup flour (any kind)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 pint blueberries
Stir baking powder, flour, and salt together. Melt 3/4 tablespoon butter in your pan (medium-high heat tends to work well). Pour excess into bowl with dry ingredients. 

Combine all and pour half the batter into pan.

When bubbles start to form, flip over (about 30 seconds). 

Repeat. (Bubbles don't form on this side, but it takes about the same amount of time.)


Some Notes
  • This makes 2 pancakes that together have 308 calories, 46 carbs, and 10 grams of sugar (natural, not added). 
  • The egg could be replaced with 2/3 tablespoon of water, though I haven't tried it.
  • I like them with whipped cream (heavy whipping cream whipped to deliciousness). But they're just as good on their own - or with your topping of choice.
  • I haven't had a problem, but if you're concerned about the batter cooking completely you could wait with the blueberries, chop them up first, or use them as a topping. (Other fruits could work well as toppings, too.)
  • After the first pancake, the butter in the pan is gone. You could spray it with cooking spray in between orlike I dojust watch it more closely.
  • This recipe leaves 2/3 of an egg. I scramble it up with a little cheese and bacon so it doesn't go to waste, but using water instead would avoid that. Or you could triple the recipe—my family asked me to next time I make these!

Book Tour: Jennifer Wirey

Jennifer's book, published by Rivershore Books, is one of the sweetest memoirs I've read; it's a beautiful tribute to her precious daughter. Today, I'm part of her book tour.

"No child can ever replace the one you lost and no one can take that child’s place in a parent’s heart. But, by writing this story and sharing Kaitlyn with readers, mothers, families and parents, I hope all parents will understand that children make mistakes, sometimes they say and do the wrong thing, and it is your job not to yell, hit or scream but to teach them the right way or the right thing to do. This book is a must read for all parents and young adults."
Book Description

You never think it could happen to you. You have heard the stories from someone who knows someone who has had it happen to them. You see on the news about tragedies, heartbreaks, unexplainable events, cruel individuals, medical complications, or accidents. The thought of losing a child is an unexplainable feeling that brings instant panic. It is an unexplainable feeling that makes several thoughts cross your mind. How could this happen? Why would God let this happen? How could medicine or procedures fail with all the technology we have? Why does it happen to such good people? Why did such a good parent lose their child when so many children are being mistreated, going without food, or being pawned off because the parents put their needs first? 

I knew this could never happen to me—until it did.

Would you like to review For the Love of Kaitlyn? Send an email to for a free ebook copy in exchange for your unbiased review.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Tour: Nikki Min Yeong Abramson

Nikki published her first book, an inspirational autobiography, through Rivershore last year. I'm excited to be part of her book tour this week!

"Abramson does a good job of describing why and how she chooses hope to deal with her many issues, and her faith shines through all the way. It is a lesson for others dealing with seemingly hopeless challenges, and a joy to read about how positivity can change the most dire situations."
Book Description

Being told by doctors at the age of five that she would die in her teens, Nikki Abramson learned how to live in the present. Mentors taught her how to overcome challenges and obstacles through faith and believing in the power of positivity. Nikki addresses what it is like to want to 'fit in' with society through her struggles as an international adoptee and battling serious rare disabilities. Her courage to go on when life is challenging is an inspiration to all. Nikki spells out what hope means to her. Finding hope is not easy and is an everyday battle. "Struggles are a part of life. We can either go through it with a cloud over our head, or we can look at it as an opportunity." She sees life as an opportunity: to help others discover their potential and to make a difference in their lives. This book includes pictures of Nikki’s life, beautiful illustrations, and journal and discussion questions to reflect upon one’s own life experiences.

Author Bio

Nikki Abramson is passionate about encouraging people to find hope and achieve success in their life journey. She is a Korean American adoptee who battles several rare and severe medical conditions and is overcoming many obstacles. Nikki resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her parents, younger brother, and two cats. Nikki is a proud alumnus of International School of Minnesota (Eden Prairie, MN) and Bethel University (St. Paul, MN). She holds a B.A. and teaching license in elementary education, early childhood, and computers, keyboarding, and technology. Ms. Abramson is a performer and teaching artist, teaching others acting, improv, and choreography. She also has a company, Renew Hope, LLC, that offers motivational speaking and life coaching. Her desire in life is to change the world by inspiring others through her story, changing one person at a time. For more information, you may contact her via her websites at or or by "liking" her on Facebook.

Would you like to review I Choose Hope? Send an email to for a free ebook copy in exchange for your unbiased review.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Janny-Friendly Recipe: Mocha (or Hot Chocolate)

In my last Confessions for a Tuesday, I mentioned the part of my health journey has been to temporarily give up sugar. One of the hardest parts of this decision has been my morning coffee routine. I used to enjoy it from home with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar, or (even better) from Caribou as a sugar-laden mocha. Naturally, both options had to go.

I needed a "Janny-friendly" alternative. I call it Janny-friendly, rather than diabetic-friendly or sugar-free, because while this fits into my personal diet choices, it may not fit into yours. That's something you'll need to decide for yourself.

This recipe is so simple, yet so good. I didn't discover it until a few weeks after I'd given up sugar, so for me it's sweet enough on its own, but your tastes may be different. My mom, who hasn't given up sugar, likes it as it is.

The Recipe

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (Trader Joe's has an organic option for under $3)
  • Your choice of one of the following:
    • Milk
    • Half and half
    • Heavy cream
  • Coffee

That's it! You can heat the milk/cream in the microwave or on the stove, then add the cocoa powder to taste. (The powder mixes better when the base is heated.)

1/2 cup milk or 2-4 tablespoons of cream mixed with 1 teaspoon cocoa powder is a good ratio for me. The amount of coffee I add depends how strong it is, but it's usually less than half a cup.

To turn this into hot chocolate, just omit the coffee. Sometimes I add more cocoa powder—up to a tablespoon—to increase the chocolatey flavor and use a full cup of milk.

It usually ends up being under or around 100 calories, with relatively few carbs (there are fewer carbs in cream than in skim milk but more calories).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Confessions for a Tuesday

Confessions for a Tuesday is a blog series I'm starting. Today's deals with my health; many will relate to writing, motivation, work, or balancing this beautiful life. Don't worry; they won't all be this long.

Last month, I visited the doctor for the first time in about ten years. Clearly, having regular checkups isn't something I've prioritized.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
I consider myself a mostly-healthy person. In the past year, I've only been sick once (and I blame my sick brother, two plane rides with him, and two all-nighters within 72 hours for that). I exercise "regularly" (if between one and five times a week is "regular") and try to eat well. But I'm overweight. It's an ongoing journey—and an imperfect one.

Confession: I have a sweet tooth. A big one. 

Although I don't often eat candy, I do enjoy cookies, cake, peanut butter, all things chocolate, and lots (and lots) of sugar in my coffee. Sugary coffee was a daily joy, the rest was a once- or twice-a-week treat. I worked those into my 1200-calorie diet, even if it meant skimping on the more-important food groups. That all changed last month.

The doctor diagnosed me with pre-diabetes. That means I'm at risk of diabetes, but they caught it early. It's reversible. 

I'm counting this as a praise.

Her instructions to me were vague: "Exercise regularly, eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day, and lose weight."

I wanted to shout, "I've been trying!" but my computer screen and the people nearby wouldn't have understood the outburst. (Ohthe diagnosis arrived via email.) Instead, I did some research and made some changes.

In short: I gave up added sugar until Easter (when I'll have it in very moderate amounts), and I limited my carbs to 100 grams a day or fewer.

The first day, I looked in the fridge, pantry, freezer, and cupboards, and I sighed. There was nothing for me to eat. Everything, it seemed, had sugar.

I settled for plain tuna and celery. It wasn't great.

This is all I'm allowed to eat now, thought Dramatic Janny.
The next day, though, I went grocery shopping. I stocked up on all kinds of Janny-friendly foods: vegetables and fruit, lean meats, low-carb and sugar-free crackers and bread (to have in moderation), eggs, and cheese. I even found some peanut butter made from only peanuts—no sugar and very few carbs (made by Smucker's). It's thick, but it's sweet.

There is actually plenty of food I can eat.
I'm learning new recipes every day—most are savory, but some cater to my sweet tooth. I miss sugar, but I'm finding ways around that. Stevia is a Janny-friendly option when I really need one (though I don't love the aftertaste). Coffee was a struggle, but I found a way to make a sugar-free mocha, even without stevia (recipe coming soon).

Papa helps with even trivial things.

The best part, though, is that giving up sugar helped me to overcome a weight-loss plateau. I hit a 12-pound loss (since Christmas) this week. The journey continues, but these little victories will keep me motivated.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Book Tour: Mike Turnbull

Today, I'm excited to be a part of Mike Turnbull's book tour! Mike is one of Rivershore's authors, with two books already published, Random Thoughts of a Stupid Man and More Random Thoughts of a Stupid Man. I've read them both, and they're as funny and enjoyable as they sound.

"Very interesting biography from a story teller who can put a humorous spin on life. The story from a wise man who is gifted with common sense. Thank you Mike, Pam, Lexi, and Blaine for sharing your family life for all to read." - 5-star Amazon Review

"Just as amazing as the first one! Great read! Couldn't put it down!" - 5-star Amazon Review
Book Description

Random Thoughts of a Stupid Man is exactly that: somewhat tongue in cheek at times but definitely random. I call it a memoir with a twist. I have attempted to allow you to wander through my life as I have, ranging from childhood, high school, college, and my experiences as a husband, father, and coach. Along the way, there are several distinct, random thoughts sprinkled amongst the not-so-distinct, random thoughts.

Author Bio

I am 55 years old and my wife Pam and I have lived in Hibbing, Minnesota for the past fifteen years. I coach and teach at Hibbing Community College, and Pam runs the Mitchell-Tappan House Bed & Breakfast in Hibbing. Pam and I own and live in the B&B, but she is the Innkeeper and I claim to be the Groundskeeper; either way, she is the boss and does a great job. Come stay with us sometime.

Pam and I have been married for thirty-two years and have two grown children. I have taught and coached all over Minnesota for the past 33 years. I have cherished every minute of my career.

I had never attempted to write a book before Random Thoughts of a Stupid Man. I had thought about it and had been encouraged to do so by friends and family members. Now, I have written my second book and I am very excited to have the opportunity to share it with you. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. It is truly a humbling and rewarding experience to put your thoughts to writing and put them out to the public.

I have always taken pride in being referred to as “Coach,” second to my favorite titles as “Husband” and “Dad.” I never dreamed I would ever see “Author” in front of my name. I can only hope this might help me gain entry to the “Stupid Man” club, if and when I get to heaven.

Would you like to review Random Thoughts? Send an email to for a free ebook copy in exchange for your unbiased review.