Sugar Free Chocolate Pancakes


I considered trying to come up with a clever title for this post, but they’re Chocolate Pancakes. I mean, really. You don’t mess with Chocolate Pancakes.

DH came up with this recipe by combining recipes for pancakes and marble cake. The sweetening technique came from some research he did on artificial sweeteners that showed that when you mix them, it both mitigates after-taste and multiplies the sweetening effect (so you don’t need as much). If you’re more concerned about  artificial sweeteners than calories, feel free to experiment with the sweetener of your choice. Sugar also works.

Chocolate Pancakes

(makes ~12 pancakes)

Wisk together in a large bowl:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3 T powdered splenda
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt

Sift in:

  • 1/3 c cocoa
  • 1/2 t baking soda

Whisk together in another bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 T vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 t vanilla

Blend the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Cook on a hot griddle, about 1/3 cup per pancake.

If using sugar: omit the Splenda and Sugar Twin, and add 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of sugar to the dry ingredients

I like to top these with fresh fruit and yogurt, or cream cheese and a bit of jam. They are also very tasty cold this way.

DH likes his with maple syrup. Yeah, chocolate and maple. He also mixes ketchup and Swiss Chalet sauce. Fortunately, I can forgive an awful lot from the inventor of chocolate pancakes.

This post is for Vicky (Some Kind of Mom), who has recently gone sugar-free. She also told me about gluten-free flours, and I must say that coconut and arrowroot flours sound like they’d be pretty tasty mixed with chocolate. If you give it a try, let me know how it works out!

What’s In The Crock? Peanut Butter.


Ok, so there’s chicken in there too, and a couple of other things. But the peanut butter is definitely the most important part.

I tried this recipe the other day, and as always, a little bit went onto the toddler’s plate. I wasn’t hopeful, the only meat I’ve ever seen her consume was in the form of a chicken McNugget, and I suspect that was only because she saw her cousin eating one. And as much as I’d like to get some protein into her, I don’t figure that’s a great way to do it.

So when she asked for peanut butter, I thought she was actually looking for peanut butter – but the chicken was gone!

I didn’t do anything to this recipe except double it, so rather than copy it all out, here’s the link:

Enjoy! And thank-you Stephanie O’Dea!

What’s in the Crock? Magic Black Bean Soup


What makes this soup magical? It can make just about any vegetable just disappear. I love it, partly because it’s tasty, but especially because it calls for ‘vegetables’. Pretty much any vegetable will do. We make it to

  • clean out the crisper
  • use up broccoli & mushroom stems
  • give a home to all that extra zucchini that I thought I would use for 16 different baking projects that I just didn’t get to.

In fact, at any given time we have a couple of soups’ worth of veggies in a ziploc in the freezer, either from fridge clean-outs or the off-cuts of other recipes.

The original recipe is from Stephanie O’Dea’s Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, and is also available on her blog.  But that version called for packets of taco sauce, and I try to avoid the restaurant that sells those :). So here is a version with some pantry-spicing and a couple of other tweaks:

Black Bean Soup

  • 3 cans of black beans (undrained)
  • 1 14oz can of stewed tomatoes (I’ve only ever seen 28oz cans here in Canada – so half a can)
  • 2 cups of broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped vegetables
  • 1 chopped apple
  1. Chop & dump everything in the crock.
  2. Cook for 8-10 hours on low.
  3. Soupify with an immersion blender.
  4. Serve with some shredded cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.
I love this soup, but our freezer-stash of veggies still tends to expaaand. Do you have any other “any-veggie” recipes?

What’s in the Crock? Snap Chicken.


Snap. As in it’s a snap. This is so easy I’m not sure you can even call it a recipe.

I started with a dish from, dropped some high-fat stuff, then a couple of other things I didn’t have, looked at it and said “well cripes, that’s nothing but chicken and soup”.

So I dropped the recipe, took the chicken, and the soup, and… hey look, why not try one of these spice mixes I won on Losing it in Ottawa?  And with chicken that was already cubed and in the freezer, this took me about 90 seconds to dump in the crock.

Snap Chicken

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup (I used low-fat)
  • spices*
  1. Dump everything in the crock, cook on high for 5-6 hours

I used Epicure Selections Herb and Garlic Dip blend, but you could use pretty much anything. Here are some ideas for some DIY herb blends and spice blends. You could also play with the soup, maybe try it with a cream of celery.

What are some of your super-fast crock recipes? Any other ideas for how to flavour this one? Do you have any tried-and-true spice blends?

What’s in the Crock? Chickpea Curry.


Curry, coconut milk, chickpeas…

Oh, stop! You had me at “curry”  ❤

This is a long-time favourite, based on a recipe from an old Weight Watchers mag (with a few tweaks).  I usually make a triple batch of the onions etc., freeze two “spice bricks” and use the third right away – then the next two batches are “dump & go”. It’s also a quick-prep if you have chopped onions in the freezer, and use pre-minced garlic.

Spice Brick
(makes one recipe, double or triple quantities if you want to freeze some)

  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp pickled jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Toast the curry powder in a dry wok over med-high heat until fragrant.
  2. Add the oil, onions, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender.
  3. Remove from heat and add the jalapeno and salt, stir to combine.
  4. Freeze in a 2-cup container (or use right away in the curry)

Chickpea Curry

  • one spice brick (above)
  • 2 19-oz cans of chickpeas, rinced and drained
  • 1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I use the PC fresh-frozen kind -> no prep required)
  1. Dump everything except the cilantro into the slow cooker and stir. Obviously, if the spice mix is frozen it won’t blend in yet – you can either throw it all together the night before (and then stir it when you put it in the cooker) or plan to give it a stir mid-way through cooking.
  2. Cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  3. Stir in the cilantro & serve over rice

Oh, and a tip that works for most slow cooker recipes: if you throw everything into the stoneware the night before, and then pop it in the cooker on a timer in the morning, the cool stoneware will keep the contents cool for a while on the counter, until they’re actually cooking. But be careful – you don’t want to go straight from the fridge to the heat of the cooker, or you could crack the stoneware. Check your cooker manual for any specific guidelines.