K is for Cookie…O Wait, That’s Not Right! (Mini PB Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe)


On our last “sick day” at home, K and I reread all of the library books we checked out the week before. One of her new finds was Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond’s “The Best Mouse Cookie” where Mouse burns his first batch of cookies but makes a comeback by baking a mountain of chocolate chip cookies to enjoy.


And just like “if you give a mouse of cookie,” if you give K any idea of a cookie, she wants to bake some herself! So that’s what we did.

One of my Mama friends in our co op shared this great gluten-free recipe for peanut butter cookies. Mmm! They were good. You should have seen the faces of our littles as they stuffed themselves silly 🙂

Since we don’t have white/refined sugar in the house (what the recipe called for), I thought I would do a little tweaking and come up with a version of my own. Oh! And I had to add some chocolate chips in it of course…what cookie at our house doesn’t have chocolate in it?

While I enjoyed both versions very much, my version of the cookies were a little more likely to crumble and melted in our mouths (probably because I substituted a tiny bit of honey for the cup of sugar the recipe called for)…and chocolatey!

Hope you enjoy the recipe as much as our family did!

Mini PB Chocolate Chip Cookies
Refined-sugar-, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free, gluten-free

This recipe takes about 12 minutes (5 minutes prep time plus 5-7 minutes baking time) and makes about two dozen mini cookies

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
medium sized bowl
measuring cup & teaspoon
cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil

1 organic range-free large egg
1 C organic creamy peanut butter
3 heaping Tbsp organic honey
1/2 tsp salt (I use pink himalayan)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life dairy-, soy- and gluten-free chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Crack egg into bowl and whisk
3. Stir in peanut butter and honey
4. Add salt and baking soda and stir well
5. Mix in chocolate chips
6. On your lined cookie sheet, form balls (2 1/2cm in diameter) and push flat (about 1cm thick) leaving an inch of space in between
7. Put them in your oven for about 3 minutes and then rotate cookie sheet and leave in for another 3 minutes or until golden brown
8. Let them cool thoroughly (or they will crumble apart) and then enjoy!

*I made these a few times already and discovered the more honey you add, the less crumbly and more chewy they are 🙂

How K assembled the cookies:

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Rolling the cookie dough into small balls

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Placing one an inch away from another

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 Pressing the ball down until about 1cm thick

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All ready for the oven!

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After waiting patiently for cookies to cool…K takes her first bite!

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K licking off the crumbs that were left on her chin. Yum!!!


Cupcakes, Balloons and the Birthday Girl (My New Favorite Chocolate Cupcake & Frosting Recipe)


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Towards the end of August, Baby K began counting down the days until early September…a very exciting time for her…K’s 2nd birthday. Each day, K would ask me to help cut off and read one of the birthday links on her colorful paper birthday chain (made by friends and family on her first birthday). Each message brought joy and smiles to both K and me as we read sweet notes that read something like “You make me smile” and “I’m so proud of you.” We glued each link into her notebook and counted how many days were left until her birthday.

Everyday she would sing, “Happy birthday to K, happy birthday to Mama, happy birthday to Dada, happy birthday to (everyone she knew),” followed by “Make a wish. Blow out candle. Take it off. Eat it. Yaaaaay!” (while clapping her hands). She couldn’t wait to celebrate! Everything in our house was a cupcake, a candle or birthday related. Her plastic strawberry toy was a strawberry cupcake. Her straw in her smoothie was a candle. Her play telephone was meant for calling her Nana, Papa or Grandma to invite them to her party.

Fingers crossed she wouldn’t request anything extravagant, I asked K, “What would you like for your birthday?” Without even thinking, she simply stated, “Balloons and cupcakes.” Grateful and relieved, I assured her we could have balloons and cupcakes for her birthday. Balloons and cupcakes? Easy peasy! Right? Well, the balloons were easy as she named the colors of the rainbow, all of which were available for purchase at our nearest party store. Cupcakes, on the other hand were a bit of a challenge once K described what she thought was a cupcake fit for her birthday (more like a queen!). Everyday she would ask me, “Mama make cupcakes for K’s birthday? Cho-lit (chocolate), raw-berry (strawberry) cupcake with ra-berry (raspberry), cho-lit frosting and sprinkle coconut on it.”


Finding a gluten- and grain-free cupcake without refined sugar was the first obstacle, and then to create some sort of frosting? Just researching alone took more time than I thought. After about three days of browsing through recipes, I found this Chocolate Cupcakes recipe on Elana’s Pantry, tinkered with it to make them just right (used organic virgin coconut oil instead of the oil called for and used 25% less honey than called for). And boy, were these babies AMAZING!!! Light and fluffy yet moist and chocolatey…I could eat one a day for the rest of my life…especially when topped with the buttercream frosting I whipped up. I thought…butter…cream…well, that’s easy! I literally creamed softened organic butter with my electric hand mixer and then added some cocoa powder and a drizzle of raw honey for the chocolate frosting and some fresh raspberries and a drizzle of raw honey for the raspberry frosting. Heaven in my mouth…and K’s! Once she tasted these (topped with coconut), she was more than satisfied with our flavor selection for the party.

We were only days away and K’s anticipation and excitement level grew. Her friend, baby M, gave K her first birthday gift of the year and it could not have been more perfect…a Melissa & Doug Bake and Decorate Cupcake Set! Now K was role-playing her birthday song and making wishes with these cute frosted wooden cupcakes in liners, even topped with candles! She was SO ready for her birthday celebration!!!

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A dozen rainbow colored balloons, party decor and 100 frosted cupcakes later, we were ready to PARTY!!! On her big day at her favorite Clover Park in Santa Monica, all K hoped and dreamed for on her birthday came true. That morning she picked out her pink, fluffy birthday dress (a hand-me-down we received only a few days before ~ what perfect timing!), our matching sparkly pink TOMS and proudly wore the birthday party hat I put together the night before. Family, friends, balloons, cupcakes and being surrounded by her loved ones singing “Happy Birthday” to her, K felt so special and overwhelmed with love. Her face was full of joy and minutes after her birthday song, chocolate and raspberry buttercream frosting! She couldn’t get enough of it…even after all five cupcakes she devoured (apparently some friends and family decided to sneak them over to her, all of which I thought was one of the two cupcakes she originally had)!


It was a very special day for K and thanks to her friends and family (and her Grandma’s videoing of the birthday song and K eating her cupcakes), this day will always be remembered by the birthday girl.


**Santa Monica Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Zoodles of Fun With Octopus Friends


I was at the Virginia Park Farmers Market with my family last weekend and was thrilled to see all the fall vegetables starting to come in! As I scanned the rainbow of organic produce on the tables, I couldn’t help but stop at the beautiful zucchini and yellow squash, just picked the day before. Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins…Squash Fritters…Zucchini Pancakes…my mouth began to water. The dark green and deep yellow skinned squash were calling my name! So I walked over, asked for a few samples and all I could hear was crunch, crunch, crunch followed by, “Mmmm, Mama. Soooo dee-lish-ish!!! May I have more please Mama?” So I picked up a handful of zucchini and yellow squash, already excited to make something yummy for K and the family!


Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a recipe e-book collaboration with a company and they asked me to create 10 toddler/kid-friendly dishes, one of which I will share today: Zoodles of Fun With Octopus Friends – Octopus Hot Dogs & Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) With Peas. I hope you and your little one enjoys this gluten- and grain-free pasta!

Here’s what I did:


Took two hotdogs and carefully sliced them into little octopi..


I carved cute faces on them with my knife and a toothpick and then adored them for a few minutes…


Until K found a few, got hold of ’em and the fun began! She had a few minutes of play while I heated them up on the pan…


K turned the vegetable spiraler and laughed as the Zoodles came out of it…


After sautéing the Zoodles with some butter, I threw in some frozen peas and then topped the dish with the friendly octopi 🙂

While I loved eating this tasty noodle dish (one of the few I get to enjoy with my eczema/allergies), I savored the HUGE smile on K’s face as she giggled and then smiled back at the octopi on her plate!

Octopus Hot Dogs & Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) With Peas
Paleo, refined-sugar-, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, gluten-free

This recipe takes about 15 minutes and makes 1 adult-sized serving, 1-2 kid-sized servings or 2-3 toddler servings (all depending on their appetite).

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
Cutting board & knife
Vegetable spiraler  or Julienne Peeler
Small bowl
Small sauce pan & spoon
Serving dish/bowl

1 hotdog link (I use Applegate’s organic nitrate-free 100% beef dogs)
3-4 Tbsp filtered water
1 medium-sized zucchini squash
1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or coconut oil
1/4 C frozen peas

Directions (Hot Dogs):
1. Using your knife, slice the hotdog link in half so that you have two half sized links.
2. Leaving 3/4″ at the end of each link (where the casing ends are), slice the rest of the link in half, making two long tentacles.
3. Slice the two tentacles in half again making four tentacles on each octopus.
4. Slice each tentacle in half so that each octopus has 8 long tentacles (if your little one doesn’t eat a full-sized hot dog, you can save the other octopus for later or make smaller sized ones like I did).
5. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of filtered water into your sauce pan so that it covers the bottom and put it over a medium-low flame. Once the water starts to bubble, place your octopus hotdogs in and rotate until they are tender.
6. Once ready, remove and let cool. Using your toothpick, poke holes to make little eyes and using your knife, carefully carve out smiles!

Directions (Zoodles WIth Peas):
1. Rinse and dry your zucchini, cut off its ends and use your “pasta” tool to create Zoodles (if you’re using the vegetable spiral, get your little one involved by turning the handle and placing the Zoodles into your small bowl).
2. Cut Zoodles into an appropriate length for your child (1 1/2″ is just right for K).
3. Rinse your saucepan clean, put your butter or oil in the pan and place over a medium-low flame.
4. Saute your Zoodles until they are al dente and then remove and let cool.
5. Put peas in the sauce pan, stir them around until tender and then remove from heat.
6. Once cool, lay the Zoodles onto a dish, sprinkle some peas on top and joyfully pop in your happy octopi for your little one (or yourself) to enjoy!

**Santa Monica Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Chocolate Pudding (Paleo, refined-sugar-/dairy-/nut-/soy-/grain-/gluten-free)


It’s extremely HOT out here in Santa Monica! We’ve been trying to beat the heat with icy cold treats like Coconut Sprinkled Chocolate Covered Bananas, Homemade Shamrock Shakes, and Coconut Pear Avocado Popsicles. One of K’s favorites that we enjoy making together is our Paleo, refined-sugar-/dairy-/nut-/grain-/gluten-free Chocolate Pudding! I remember someone telling me that you could make your own pudding so that it fits your needs (no refined sugar, additives, preservatives, etc.) so I thought I’d give it a shot. After doing some research on Paleo puddings and several tries with a few ingredients and my Vitamix, I think I figured out a perfect recipe (at least for us)! I LOVE how this recipe only needs a few ingredients and could be prepared within minutes. I like to make a large batch, divide it up in glass containers and place them in the fridge/freezer to serve later in the week. K especially likes it when I place it in the freezer for about 15 minutes before serving on a hot, hot day like today!

I have MANY versions of this pudding using a variety of spices and fruits but two of my favorites are coconut milk based and strawberry based…

Here’s what I did (coconut milk version):


Gathered the ingredients and pureed them in my Vitamix for about 15 seconds…


Had K slice and then chop some strawberries to use as a topping…


Served about a half cup to K and she LOVED it, licking the bowl clean!


I stored the rest in glass containers and placed them in the freezer for later.


I also saved the pit, placed it in a water-filled mason jar with toothpicks and watched it grow in the windowsill (this is the one we just planted ours in a pot after 5 months and it’s now thriving outside in the sun)!

I hope you have a fun time experimenting with different versions of this chocolate pudding…please include your version in the comments below. We’d love to try a new one!

Chocolate Pudding (coconut milk-based)
Paleo, refined-sugar-, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, gluten-free

This recipe takes about 3 minutes and makes 2 servings (or 3 for a toddler)

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
blender with spatula
serving bowl & spoon
knife & cutting board (optional for fruit toppings)
glass (freezer) containers (optional for storage)

1 peeled organic banana (the greener the healthier)
1 pitted organic ripe avocado
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C coconut milk
fruit or coconut flakes for a topping

1. Place all ingredients (except toppings) into the blender and puree.
2. Use spatula to remove putting and place into bowl/storage containers.
3. Slice/chop fruit and then sprinkle over pudding.
4. Enjoy immediately or place into the freezer for about 15 minutes for a frozen treat!

Chocolate Pudding (strawberry-based)
Paleo, refined-sugar-, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, gluten-free

This recipe takes about 3 minutes and makes 2 servings (or 3 for a toddler)

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
blender with spatula
serving bowl & spoon
knife & cutting board (optional for fruit toppings)
glass (freezer) containers (optional for storage)

1 peeled organic banana (the greener the healthier)
1 pitted organic ripe avocado
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C organic strawberries (I use frozen ones)
fruit or coconut flakes for a topping

1. Place all ingredients (except toppings) into the blender and puree.
2. Use spatula to remove putting and place into bowl/storage containers.
3. Slice/chop fruit and then sprinkle over pudding.
4. Enjoy immediately or place into the freezer for about 15 minutes for a frozen treat!

Coconut Avocado Pear Popsicles


Looking for a healthy frozen treat for you and your family (baby included)? Or maybe something to help with your teething baby? I just discovered these icy creamy treats on The Spunky Coconut’s blog the other day and with organic avocados and pears in the fridge, I thought I’d give it a try. And for an added bonus, we just had to dip them in coconut flakes just like in my last recipe I posted. They’re not only rich in healthy fats and are full of fiber, they taste DELICIOUS!!! Baby K enjoyed her first popsicle this morning and we all LOVED them! I hope you (and/or your little ones) do too!

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Coconut Avocado Pear Popsicles
Paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free
Adapted from The Spunky Coconut’s Avocado Pear Baby Food Pops

This recipe takes about 45 minutes or however long your freezer takes to freeze popsicles (10 min. prep & 35 min. + in the freezer)  and makes 4 popsicles

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
blender or food processor
popsicle molds (I used these Mickey Mouse ones) OR small Dixie cups, aluminum foil & popsicle sticks
thin spatula or teaspoon (for filling molds/cups)
small bowl

2 ripe pears with skins removed (I used organic d’ anjou pears)
2 ripe avocados pitted and scooped
1/2 C finely shredded coconut flakes (I use Let’s Do Organic Coconut)

1. Puree pear and avocado in blender/food processor.
2. Fill popsicle molds with puree (try to fill all the air pockets) .
3. If using cups, fill with puree 3/4 full and cover the with foil. Push popsicle sticks through the center of the foil, making sure the stick is 2/3 of the way down (make sure it does not touch the bottom).
4. Place into freezer. While waiting, pour coconut flakes into small bowl and set aside.
5. Once frozen, defrost for a few minutes and then remove popsicles (I ran some warm water over the molds for a minute before removing).
6. Dip popsicles into coconut flakes, using your fingers to coat them. If coconut flakes are not sticking, quickly run cold water over your pop and try again!
7. Serve immediately and enjoy on a hot day!

**Santa Monica Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Almond Flour Carrot Cake Muffins (Paleo, sugar-/gluten-/grain-/dairy-free)



Me: What would you like for breakfast? 
K: Care (while signing carrots)
Me: What would you like for lunch? 
K: Care (while signing carrots)
Me: What would you like for dinner? 
K: Care (while chuckling and signing carrots)

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Raw, steamed or pureed….in salad, soup or anything really, K LOVES her carrots! I’m still not sure if she loves them so much because of its taste, the fact it’s her bunny’s favorite treat or they’re featured in one of her favorite Apple Park books, Bunny’s Garden, but whatever the case, I’m happy she enjoys them and gets plenty of beta-carotene and Vitamin A.

K has been begging me for some carrot cake and muffins. Whenever we turn to her favorite page in Bunny’s Garden, she points to the carrot cake and muffins and says Moh cay pees…moh muh pees! (more cake please….more muffins please!). And every time she insists we have some, I promise her we’ll make some one day. And that day finally came!

Sprouts Market had a great deal on carrots last week so I picked up a whopping 10 pounds. And that meant steamed carrots with lots of butter, carrot based smoothies, ginger curry carrot soup and our first try at some Almond Flour Carrot Cake Muffins!!! A few days ago we were invited by Mama Binita for a playdate with baby S on Wednesday and we thought it would be fun to do some baking together.


Before we left, baby K and I prepped the carrots: scrubbing, peeling, and then shredding them in my brand new amazing Cuisinart Food Processor (thanks to my in-laws).


The girls helped out with the baking process from mixing the dry ingredients, counting out the eggs as I cracked them into the bowl, stirring the wet ingredients and making sure the Honey Cream Cheese Frosting tasted just right!


We frosted the muffins once they cooled and plated them so they were ready to eat. And they didn’t stay on our plates for long…

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Mmmmm! is all we heard from the girls as they stuffed their mouths with muffin and licked each bit of frosting off of their tiny fingers. The delicious moist warm muffins were devoured and we all enjoyed every last crumb. All K could say was, Moh! Moh muh pees! Success!!! Later that evening I experimented creating a variety of other ways to display these carrot treats…


A muffin as it is…simple but delicious!


Frosting topped and filled…great to display at a party.

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And good ‘ole cream cheese frosted layered carrot cake!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!!!

Almond Flour Carrot Cake/Muffins (adapted from Elana’s Pantry)
Paleo, sugar-free, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free

This recipe takes about 90 minutes and makes 30-36 small muffins, 18-24 medium sized muffins, a 9″ round layered cake or a combination of smaller versions.

What You Need:
ingredients (listed below)
large bowl
medium bowl
mixing spoon
measuring cups/spoons
vegetable peeler, knife, cutting board & food processor (with shred disc) if carrots are not pre-shredded
tablespoon (one you eat soup with) for pouring batter into muffin cups
muffin liners (pre-greased) & muffin tins (if liners are not silicone) OR 9″ round pans

3 C blanched almond flour (homemade or Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour)
1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp cinnamon
5 organic range-free eggs (at room temp)
1/2 C mashed ripe organic banana (1 large banana)
1/4 C melted/softened organic coconut oil (I use Trader Joe’s or Nutiva) or melted grass-fed butter
3 C organic carrots (shredded or about 8 large carrots)
1 C organic raisins (optional – if not soft, soften by soaking in hot water for a few minutes)
1 C organic chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Place the first 5 dry ingredients into your large bowl and whisk together.
2. Whisk your eggs in your medium-sized bowl and then whisk in the melted/softened coconut oil and mashed banana.
3. If your carrots are not shredded, peel your whole carrots, chop off the ends (save in the freezer for when you make bone stock) and then shred them in your food processor. Place 3 cups of shredded carrots into your wet ingredients along with your raisins and walnuts.
4. Pour your wet ingredients into your large bowl and stir until well combined.
5. Scoop batter into your greased muffin liners filling them 3/4 full if making muffins OR fill a greased 9″ round pan with 1/4 of the batter.
6. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean at 350 degrees F.
7. Once ready, let cool on and then frost with Honey Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (see below). If making a cake, carefully remove each layer and then alternate cake/frosting/cake/frosting/etc. and then frost the sides.

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting 
(for a dairy-free version, check out Elana’s Pantry’s Coconut Cream Frosting)

This recipe takes a few minutes and the frosting can be made while your muffins/cake are in the oven. If you are making the carrot cake and want thick, even layers, double this recipe and frost generously!

What You Need:
ingredients (listed below)
medium bowl
electric hand mixer (with mixer or whisk) or a metal whisk and a strong arm
rubber spatula
knife for frosting

1 8oz container of regular organic cream cheese (softened/at room temperature)
1 stick of organic grass-fed butter (softened/at room temperature)
2 heaping tsp raw organic honey (you can add more to taste)
2 tsp organic vanilla (optional)

1. Place cream cheese and butter into bowl and mix on a medium low setting until fluffy.
2. Once combined, turn off mixer and add honey and vanilla to your frosting.
3. Mix on a medium low setting for another 10-15 seconds.
4. Generously frost cooled muffins or cake. Store in an air tight container in the fridge and let defrost for 15 minutes before frosting/serving. Enjoy!

**Santa Monica Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Celebrate National Pancake Day!


Last Friday was National Pancake Day and while restaurants like IHOP are celebrating by offering a free short stack of Buttermilk pancakes tomorrow (March 4, 2014), my husband, baby K and I have been celebrating over the last few days by making and trying a variety of my Paleo (grain-, gluten-, dairy-, sugar-free) pancake recipes!

I woke up on a very rainy Friday morning humming Jack Johnson’s Banana Pancakes:

Can’t you see that it’s just raining?
Ain’t no need to go outside…

Waking up too early
Maybe we can sleep in
Make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it’s the weekend now

And we could pretend it all the time
Can’t you see that it’s just raining?
There ain’t no need to go outside

And so our day began (besides the “maybe we can sleep in” idea…the idea of sleeping in is looooong goooone!). I decided to make a batch of my Almond Flour Strawberry & Blueberry Pancakes and I am so glad I did…they were a perfect, healthy way to start our morning! (recipe)


Saturday morning began with an adaption of Friday’s recipe (used raspberries in place of strawberries) and our family enjoyed Almond-Flour Raspberry & Blueberry Pancakes. These protein-filled pancakes fueled us up for a long, fun morning and afternoon of celebrating Dr. Seuss’ Birthday!


Sunday brought us to Mar Vista’s farmers market for breakfast and this Monday morning was all about devouring my husband’s new favorite, Coconut Flour Banana Blueberry Pancakes. (recipe) We were lucky enough to have a few left over (usually not one crumb is left with baby K around) and take one as a snack and one to share with baby M at the park later in the afternoon.

So, if you’re not able to head over for your free short stack of pancakes tomorrow (or you’re making an effort to eat healthier options), pretend that it’s the weekend now and give one of my recipes a try!

Oh! And for you chocolate lovers…Chocolate Chip Banana Mac Nut Pancakes recipe coming soon!

What are your favorite type of pancakes?