Happy First Day of Spring!

In honor of the first day of spring (and, fun fact, the name *Vanessa*), enjoy these butterfly shape pancakes!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

I may not be Irish, but sure, I’ll take some luck and a smooch.

IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, MLB and NHL Network Studio Host Scott Braun

Happy 2017, FanCakes! Excited to kick off the new year with Special Guest, MLB and NHL Network Studio Host, AND SiriusXM talk show host, Scott Braun.

Prior to his big break with the big leagues, fellow East-Coaster Braun has made quite the impact in the world of sports-casting. During his time at the University of Miami, Braun worked for ESPN as a college basketball play-by-play announcer for ESPNU and ESPN3, and was the host of ESPN.com’s Heat Index, where he covered the Miami Heat. In addition to his work at ESPN, Braun anchored sports updates for CBS Sports Network and was a studio host for CBSSports.com, including Fantasy Football Today. Braun’s credits also include the play-by-play voice for the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod Baseball League, the Cape League Insider on Sirius XM MLB Network Radio, as well as a talk show host of Sports Blitz Now on Huffington Post Radio. Braun then furthered his already busy career after graduation – I mean, look at this LinkedIn resume! Oh, and did I mention that he’s super cute?

When deciding where to go for our pancake review, Scott mentioned his allergies to gluten and dairy. Pssh no problem, we’re in New York City! Piece of cake – er, pancake. Or so I thought. Turns out, if you live in NYC and suffer from intolerance or allergies to both gluten and dairy, you’re basically SOOL! I mean, I hate knockin’ my hometown, but NYC has nothing on LA in terms of catering to food allergies. In fact, if you Google “gluten free, dairy free pancake restaurants in NYC,” while almost all of them might be gluten-free – they’re not necessarily dairy-free, as I vastly discovered after calling about 25 restaurants. Oh and – because I was lucky enough to catch Scott during the tiniest free window, simultaneously while I was home on vacation, the review had to be after 4pm on a Thursday. Not too many places serve pancakes during the week, let alone after 4pm. I think due to his competitive sports nature, Scott thoroughly enjoyed giving me quite the challenge. Challenge accepted, my friend.

Just as we were about to land on Cafe 82 – which by the way, checked all of the boxes: they serve pancakes after “normal hours,” AND with gluten-free and dairy-free ingredients – Scott called with a curveball and through word-of-mouth, suggested the grand-slam of a pancake spot, Sun in Bloom for our In The Mix review.

Now, you’re probably wondering how I didn’t find this spot from the beginning – because my search included “NYC” and “restaurant,” Sun In Bloom actually doesn’t fit this category; in fact, Scott and I went to their little shop in TriBeCa, whereas the actual restaurant resides in Brooklyn. Who knew.

The staff at Sun in Bloom explained that every item in both their restaurant and shop is vegan, and while the shop contains mainly bagged items, they actually cook their pancakes instantly in front of you on the griddle. Check it out!

Now, considering two crucial ingredients for a pancake to be delicious include gluten and dairy, let’s just say I expected this pancake to taste like air. I have reviewed vegan pancakes before, we can all remember (even though I’ve tried to forget) Bloom Cafe; while those pancakes tasted like cardboard, my hopes were a bit higher with this cute little mom-and-pop shop.

Overall, these strawberry, banana and blueberry vegan pancakes were actually quite tasty – in fact, you wouldn’t necessarily know they were vegan; healthier, yes. But not vegan. Not only did Scott agree, he then explained how he cooks his own pancakes at home. Breaking news for you FanCakes only: Scott’s secret homemade recipe is that he uses more egg white than yolk, as the egg whites make the batter fluffier. Scott, maybe next time we’ll save ourselves twenty phone calls and just dine at your place instead, thoughts?! Scott then mentioned his favorite pancakes are fruit-loaded with blueberries, bananas, strawberries, plus some pecans on top. And just like Ma’amCakes, Scott is a “fruit in the batter” (vs. on top) type of guy; that said, both of us agree the pancakes at Sun in Bloom are still great.

A huge thank you to Scott Braun for being a Guest Reviewer with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to check out Scott on MLB Network & NHL Network and his most recent venture, being a food influcencer on Menud. Follow Scott @ScottBraun on Twitter, Insta, and Facebook.

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Fluffy Fall Pancakes

There are only so many days left where these yummy fall pancakes are appropriate to eat – not to mention, only so many days left where its ingredients are sold in grocery stores!

Check out these 19 fall-pancake recipes that are great for Thanksgiving weekend!

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Butternut Squash and Pecan Pancakes

TGIF!

Celebrate the weekend with a pancake shot!

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Fall Pancake Shapes

Thanksgiving is two weeks away! Get in the spirit with these cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma that you can also use with your pancake batter!

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Free Scary Face Pancakes at IHOP

Have an extra Spooktacular Halloween with your kids at IHOP, and get a FREE Scary Face Pancake!

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See below to learn more about the IHOP Scary Face tradition all throughout the month of October:

IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guests, E! Dating Coach Laurel House and IVY Members

This weekend I had an extra special brunch with E!’s “Famously Single” Dating Coach, Laurel House AND members of The Ivy!

Over the past few months I’ve joined fellow young professionals across the country as a member of The Ivy. The Ivy, aka the world’s first Social University, was created to unite thoughtful individuals through inspiration and connections. The Ivy’s mission is “to trigger transformative ideas and collaborations that lead to unprecedented human unity, progress, and fulfillment.” As a member of the Ivy, there are various monthly social opportunities to attend, including discussions with distinguished leaders, art nights, cocktail and dinner parties, film screenings, theater and symphony performances, fitness and wellness activities, getaways, and more. Ivy Chapters are located in major cities across the country including LA, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Washington DC, and chapters are opening soon in Tokyo, Tel Aviv, South Africa, Sao Paolo, London, Paris, Dubai, and more!

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Photos from The Ivy Summer Soiree White Party

As part of my Ivy membership interview we discussed Ma’amCakes at length, and soon after being approved as a member, my concierge mentioned that we should throw a Ma’amCakes-specific event! In brainstorming the perfect Guest Reviewer for the brunch, I came across this super interesting interview with Dating Coach (and Ivy member) Laurel House (unfortunately, only Ivy members can read the interview), and decided Laurel would be the perfect candidate.

Laurel, best known for her “tough love” approach, is a Dating Coach on E!’s“Famously Single,” co-host of “The Great Love Debate” podcast on PodcastOne, a Dating Coach for Three Day Rule Matchmaking and CupidsPulse, and has been a featured expert on KTLA Morning News, E! News, Good Morning America, Nightline, Glamour, AskMen, Brides.com, Thrillist.com, and dozens of other print, online, and television outlets. Her FIFTH(!) book “Screwing The Rules: The No-Games Guide to Love” was recently published with Running Press. Laurel is an expert on how-to advice, specifically how to empower clients to move on from breakups, learn how to have successful first dates, and turn those dates into healthy, fulfilling relationships.

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In spite of the frequent city-wide “no reservations” brunch policy, Doughboys graciously allowed me to make a reservation, and the lucky first 15 Ivy members to sign up had a guaranteed seat. While it was originally suggested that this be a girls-only brunch, as the main topic was about the dos and donts of dating, I thought it was crucial that this be a diverse discussion; as a result, almost half the attendees were men.

After glancing at the brunch menu and drooling over all the pancake options, we landed on the Black & Whites, Malted Cornmeal, Rice Krispy, and the Blueberry Flax pancakes, which were all split among the table.

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As brunch was being served, our table sure had a hot conversation over those delicious hotcakes. The Ivy guests were definitely not shy around Laurel, as they kicked off brunch by asking “what would you say are the biggest mistakes/trends of dating these days?” “Defining gender roles,” said Laurel, “it’s important to let the man be the man and the woman be the woman. A man should always pay, unless the woman offered to take the guy out. And also, clearly stating your intentions from the beginning – uf you’re looking for a relationship, or you’re just looking for a hookup, that’s something you need to make clear on the first date.” After all, we’re not mind readers, people!

After one of the Ivy dudes mentioned how guys are in trouble from the get go, as they have to live up to Prince Charming, Laurel explained why you should screw Prince Charming – but not literally; Prince Charming swoops you up from the life that you know, locks you up in a castle and only sets you free on his terms. Um, well THAT’S an interesting way to look at it! Laurel went on to talk about how you should be open to meeting a spouse in any surrounding (i.e. airports, Starbucks, the grocery store and more), how dating apps have seriously affected dating (and, unless you app-date with a strategy, it’s hard to find love), and how imperative it is to keep an open mind.

Overall, we shared funny stories, interesting relationship lessons, and most importantly, DELICIOUS pancakes! Laurel’s favorite were the Blueberry Flaxseed while mine, of course, were the Rice Krispy pancakes – look at those melted marshmallows! Doughboys’ Pumpkin Pancakes are some of my favorite in LA, but keep in mind, they are only served seasonally.

Thank you so much to Laurel House for being a Guest Reviewer with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to check out Laurel’s website for more tips and tricks – and especially if you’re looking for a dating coach!

Special shout out to The Ivy for helping me put this together, and a huge thank you to the guests who came to dine with Ma’amCakes and Laurel. If you’re interested in learning more about the Ivy, email teresa@ivy.com so that she can personally make sure you are guided through the membership process.

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The Pancake Prince Charming

In an unpredictable series of events, last weekend during my ride home, my Uber driver/actor began talking about his proficient pancake skills. After sharing the step by step directions to cook – from scratch – his favorite pancakes back home in Boston, I decided that he should put his money where his mouth is and prove that this skillet skill-set was in fact, no joke. To my surprise, Kevin showed up Saturday morning with two bags full of groceries, as he was ready to make me a “Belated 30th Birthday Pancake Brunch Bash.”

Check out our fun Saturday morning baking feast below!

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Happy birthday to ME!

Time to eat!

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IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Singer/Songwriter Skylar Grey

Last weekend I was incredibly fortunate to spend Sundance 2016 with singer/songwriter Skylar Grey, AND have her join me as a Guest Reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

Holly Brook Hafermann, aka Skylar Grey, is originally from Mazomanie, Wisconsin – yep, you read that right – and first signed a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group along with a recording contract with Linkin Park’s Machine Shop Recordings imprint, all at the age of 17. In 2010, Grey co-wrote Eminem and Rihanna’s hit single “Love the Way You Lie” with Eminem and British record producer Alex da Kid. Some of Grey’s best known guest vocals include Diddy’s “Coming Home,” Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor,” T.I.’s “New National Anthem,” Nicki Minaj’s “Bed of Lies,” and Fort Minor’s “Where’d You Go.” In 2011 and 2012, Grey was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards, including “Love the Way You Lie” for Song of the Year, and “I Need a Doctor” (with Eminem & Dr. Dre) for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Song Collaboration.

In February 2015, Grey released a song from the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY soundtrack called, “I Know You,” as well as the FURIOUS 7 soundtrack with, “I Will Return.” The following month in March, Grey appeared at her third WrestleMania event, performing a medley of “Rise” and “Money and the Power” alongside Travis Barker and Kid Ink. On September 25, 2015 Grey released the first single from her sophomore album, a collaboration with indie rock artists X Ambassadors titled “Cannonball.”

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After spending the weekend with her in Utah, I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek into the every day life of this uber talented woman, and see the real fifty shades of Skylar Grey for myself.

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Not only is she musically gifted, she’s another type of artist as well; I happened to ask who drew this massive bear mural that hangs in the stairway, and sure enough, it was none other than Skylar herself.

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While all of the musical pieces were insanely impressive, the most effective way for any house guest to get acquainted with its owner is to chat over a stove while cooking pancakes. “This is my secret family recipe,” said Skylar, “it’s been in the family for years.” Skylar continued as she said “I like to make my pancakes small – not silver dollar small, slightly bigger. So I make (4) small and thin pancakes, maybe about a 1/4 size per pancake.” While I was carefully noting the importance of size and girth to Skylar, little did I know it was in fact the drizzled topping that’s most important. “I got this syrup as a gift one year, and now it’s the only thing I will put on my pancakes.” Well folks, that’s because it’s aged in Whiskey Barrels. Slopeside Syrup is organic pure Vermont maple syrup, with one line of syrup that’s aged in High West Whiskey. And yes, in those mountains of Park City, it tasted as delicious as it sounds.

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When pouring the syrup over my pancakes, I felt like Buddy the Elf pouring out his travel bottle of syrup. Interestingly enough, while you can taste a hint of the aged whiskey, the syrup is actually incredibly lite and sugary; this gives the pancakes enough of a kick to keep them moist, and simultaneously, you wanting more bites. Skylar’s pancakes were simple yet delicious, and considering they come from a traditional family recipe, “homey” would be the perfect way to describe their taste and smell.

After asking Skylar what her favorite type of pancakes are to eat, naturally I figured she would say pancakes with Eminems; but to my surprise, her favorite pancakes are Buttermilk with “lots of butter on top and extra salt.” I think Skylar’s fans would agree that her creativity is better served over a piano than a plate of pancakes anyway.

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Thank you so much to Skylar Grey for her warm hospitality and Ma’amCakes Guest Review during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival weekend!

Be sure to check out Skylar’s clothing line Woodrat, and check out her website for exciting new stuff coming up this spring.

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