Love is in the little things

I’m a big believer in a little bit of special all the time, rather than a whole lot of special just once in a while. It’s just how I am. Not that I’ll turn down the occasional grandiose gesture, you understand, but I am not a Special Occasion person.

I’m a Little Details person. Usually.

Needless to say, every now and then I trip myself up. I get a wild hair—I decide I Must Do Something Special—and nine times out of ten it results in an unmitigated disaster. Give you a kiss every morning? Sure! Do your laundry? Okay! Make your dinner? Absolutely! Plan something extra special? Um, please don’t get your hopes up.

My favorite part is that no matter how often I do this—a metaphorical blowing up of an otherwise perfectly fine situation—I KEEP DOING IT. As the kids would say, I’m “special.”

Anyway. As you well know, things have been a little rough ’round here, lately. Generally I am not a Valentine’s Day type, but why not? Why not seize this opportunity to express my love for my children, right? It’ll make them happy! It’s something where I can maybe give them a lovely memory!

So I decided to make pink pancakes for breakfast.

I am not going to link to the recipe, but it’s the Jessica Seinfeld “Deceptively Delicious” one, and as a friend said to me, “Well, yes, I think it IS deceptive for anyone to think THAT’s going to be delicious.” Because the pancakes ARE quite pink. Do you know what makes them pink?

Beets. BEET PUREE, specifically.

Do you know what tastes really, really wrong in pancakes? BEETS.

And it wasn’t just the taste (beety!), either. They were all gummy and weird. Her recipe calls for adding all this stuff to boxed mix, and I think what I used did not have all the ingredients she was assuming. Or maybe it’s just that SHE’S INSANE. But I don’t want to be passing judgement.

So at 11:00 last night I was making beet puree, and I got up early this morning and started making pancakes, and what I ended up with was a gigantic steaming batch of BEETCAKES with the consistency of of curdled jello. AWESOME.

Why, the men in the family enjoyed them SO MUCH, I was able to take this picture after they were DONE. Yes.

(Monkey took one bite and started to gag. Otto bravely soldiered through an entire pancake, then apologized profusely and went for a bowl of cereal.)

On the other hand, my darling daughter, She Who Finds Me Tiresome, kept reassuring me that they were FINE, Mama, they’re GOOD, they’re just, you know, a little different. I LIKE THEM, MAMA, she insisted. I told her she didn’t need to worry that my feelings would be hurt—I knew they weren’t very good.

“Look, Mama,” she said, finally, “I made you a heart.

She certainly did.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and Happy Love Thursday, everyone! May you know the love that means watching your heart make sense of the world—sometimes with you, sometimes not—today and every day.


  1. MomCat

    Sweet…that story can’t be beet.

  2. Megan

    That’s love right there – on all sides.

  3. The Other Leanne

    Let me be the first to wish the MirOttos a Happy Valentine’s Day…
    Love means never having to say you’re sorry you made beet pancakes.
    (What do you think Mr. Seinfeld thought of those?)

  4. Jenny

    “Steaming Beetcakes”

  5. Amy@UWM

    Uh, they look more fucshia than pink. But it had to have been worth the effort just to get that gummy heart from C. Sweet story.

  6. Jenny

    Yeah, there was supposed to be more to that. Wouldn’t “Steaming Beetcakes” be a terrific band name?

  7. tori

    I love the story! I have had good luck with some of the recipes in her cookbook, while others leave me wondering if maybe she didn’t know people would actually try them and find out they were not so good.

    What kind of plates do you have? I wouldn’t normally even notice but ours are so ugly and old that I have been looking for new ones and that seems to be all I notice lately.

  8. Bob

    so you have no red food coloring?

    HLT to you too.

  9. Amy

    I have to say that I look forward to Love Thursday so much that it’s probably my favorite day of the week. Thanks for making Valentine’s Day extra special with such a sweet story.

  10. FireMom

    :) Happy Love Thursday to you and yours!

  11. Leandra

    Um…those look…delicious? I’m sorry but that Deceptively Delicious book just sounds all kinds of wrong.

    I thought about doing something special…at about 6:15 this morning, right before the kids got up. Oh well, there’s always next year.

    Happy Love Thursday!

  12. All Adither

    Aw, I’m sorry about that. I’ve had many a pancake disaster when I was trying to perfect my egg-free flapjacks (let’s just say that egg replacer and dried cherries do not a good breakfast make).

    I’m considering doing the regular-colored pancakes with powdered sugar hearts sprinkled on top. Because I like to go all out.

  13. birchsprite

    That’s true Love… she’s going to be such a fantastic Woman one day!

  14. Sheila

    Oh. My.

    I think I’ll just stick with the more traditional method of stuffing my kids full of chocolate to show my love. But my hat’s off to you for trying.

    P.S. to MomCat: *snort!*

  15. Amy-Go

    You get a gold star for effort…but beets? In pancakes? Um, I’m not sure where to start listing all the things that are wrong with that idea. Happy Valentine’s Day anyway! ;)

  16. Crisanne

    This will be a Valentine’s your family will remember forever. And celebrating Mom’s good effort, despite a not-so-great result, is a fantastic lesson for Chickadee!

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you!!

  17. Sarah G.

    Our special treat for breakfast was allowing the kids to eat the little teeny tiny box of Nerds they all got from Nate and being the generous Mom I am, Nate too could have a box.

    Hooray! Candy for breakfast! Now go to school.

  18. saucygrrl

    HAhaha! Oh heavens, how I hate beets. Yet, I’ve had so many of those types of occasions. I feel your pain, girl. That heart just had to make you melt though.

    You know who has a GREAT pancake recipe? Ina Garten. Crazy good pancakes.

    Happy Valentine’s Day Mir!

    Note to Bob: Excessive amounts of food coloring actually make pancakes taste like play dough. I wouldn’t recommend it.

  19. Aimee

    Mmm, mmm, good. NOTHING says breakfast like beets and maple syrup. I will say, though, that I don’t necessarily think the idea is bad… beets can be sweet, maybe it’s just the RATIO of beets to normal pancake ingredients.

    Anyway, Chickie’s heart is very sweet. Happy Love Thursday!

  20. Someone Being Me

    Maybe you could redeem yourself with some pink frosted cupcakes for dessert this evening or something. They will appreciate the thought either way. Next year a little red food coloring to the pancake mix should do the trick just fine. Happy Valentines Day!

  21. Bipolarlawyercook

    Happy LT! May all your beet pancakes turn into hearts.

  22. ImpostorMom

    Sweet of you to try and so sweet that Chickie powered through. Those do sound awful however.

  23. Fancypants McGee

    Um… beets? In pancakes? I am afraid. Beets scare the bejebus out of me, I won’t lie… never tried them. Possibly because they are called beets. Jessica Seinfeld is a kook. I have tried a few of her recipes and they were all completely messed up, probably because I am the worst cook on the PLANET, beets or not.

    Its the thought though… red pancakes. Mir, you are a doll I am sure of it.

  24. Katherine

    I’m not as ambitious as you. I cut the frozen waffles into heart shapes. MUCH easier – and tastier, it seems, too. You get an A+ for effort, though!

  25. Headless Mom

    There really are no words for beet pancakes. Really? And with all due respect, I can’t believe you actually tried them. I love the sentiment, though. And for a break through with Chickie it is all worth it!

  26. Katie

    For the record I have never touched a beet in my entire life. And I plan to keep it that way. (I made my kids cupcakes, yay!)

    Your family must love you lots. ;) Happy Valentine’s Day!

  27. Sports Mama

    Ok. So usually all I do here is lurk and laugh a lot. However, I came across this this morning, and immediately thought of you! (And because I am shamefully somewhat HTML challenged, I can not figure out how to link the silly thing here. *sigh* Sorry… you’ll have to cut and paste.)

  28. Liz

    I heart your kids!

  29. dishes and laundry

    You KNOW that Jerry Seinfeld had those on his plate this morning! You were just making a celebrity breakfast. Of course Jerry hid them in his napkin that he threw away on the way to McDonald’s.

    I don’t like the whole premise of her book. Not the lying part – I lie to my kids all the time “Mom, what happened to my Halloween candy?” “Ants got into it. Only the chocolate though. Weird. Had to throw it away. Have a Pixie Stick.”

    What I don’t like is that I’m supposed to believe that by adding 1/4 cup of some cooked and pureed veggie to an entire dish is going to boost the nutritional value of one serving. Not buying it.

    You do get tons of points for trying though. It’s a great family memory – that’s what counts-The Valentine’s Day Congealed Jello Beet Pancakes. Great post!!!

  30. Jamie AZ

    Aw, what a sweet idea! I’d have gone with food coloring…

  31. Lori

    Maybe next time, just get one of those heart shaped forms to use in the pan. And, I think just a couple of drops of food coloring would make them nicely pink. No need for excessive use. Maybe some dried cherries in the batter for color. Have a very happy valentine’s day!

  32. Stacey

    Ummm…food coloring? You have a wonderful family. Happy Valentines day.

  33. Cindy

    Mir, I can’t help feeling people are insulting your intelligence with the ‘food coloring’ comments. Hopefully it’s just me.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  34. Shalee

    I happen to love beets… but even this recipe would make me turn up my nose…

    Yes, I’m spoiled like that.

    Oh and my coworker tried the Brownies with broccoli puree. All I can say is that she says DON’T. (Chocolate and broccoli? That one gives me the heebie geebies. What’s funny is that I said, “Broccoli? I’d have thought it called for a beet puree.” Somethings should just be left alone…

  35. Mara

    Eh, food coloring is nasty too. What’s great is pancakes or waffles with strawberry or raspberry stuff on them. Then it’s pink/red AND yummy.

    Coincidentally, I had beets for the first time ever last night. Nobody told me that they turn your pee red. Is it supposed to be a Beet Conspiracy Secret?

  36. Anne Glamore

    I think that sounds like a perfectly kick-ass Valentine’s breakfast. It’s something we’d do if I cooked in the morning. Somehow the screwed up dishes turn into fond family memories down the line.

    I think I’m going to try some Brocco-Brownies just for the fun of it, now that I’ve seen how disastrously entertaining this was!

    PA – Lone beet lover here??

  37. Vane

    Haha, lovely story!!

    Happy Valentine’s Day … or … Feliz dia del Amor y la Amistad ;)

  38. Velma

    Just in case a couple weeks go by and you think, “Hmmmmm, this brownie fix-up recipe looks promising,” I’m going to say it loudly and clearly right here:

    I don’t care how much you call it “purple puree” or whatever, SPINACH HAS NO PLACE IN A BROWNIE RECIPE. Learn from my mistakes, people.

  39. Donna

    Beets? in pancakes? Ugh. I was won over with carrot cake as a child, but carrots have a natural sweetness. But beets? in Pancakes?

  40. Wyldflower

    Ha! Next time you want to make pink pancakes, add red food colouring to the pancake batter. Much less offensive than beets.

  41. meghann

    I like your plates.

  42. Colleen

    Here’s what you do, and I guarantee it will be a hit with your kids, unless they don’t like cherries. Get a jar of maraschino cherries. Use the cherry juice for half of your water (or milk) requirements. If you’re feeling adventurous you can cut up cherries and add them in there as an extra bonus. Pink and sooo yummy.

  43. Heather

    Aww Chickadee, that’s adorable! I saw that cookbook at Costco, and I wondered. Now I’m thinking the Seinfeld children just aren’t terribly smart.

  44. Chris

    Oh, beets. Ugh. You’re a good mom to try so hard. I just handed my kid a card. ;)

  45. Loth

    Is it just me, or does that look like it might be an actual slice of an actual heart?

  46. Stephanie

    Ouch, I haven’t tried the beet pancakes, but I have the book and it’s really really ridiculous. I tried one recipe, the grilled cheese sandwich with sweet potato puree, tasted like butt. I threw the book in the junk drawer and haven’t touched it since :-)

  47. Jenny

    (pssst — doesn’t Monkey have a problem with food coloring? maybe that’s why the beets instead of the red food coloring… just sayin’.)

  48. mama speak

    I like beets & this just doesn’t sound right. I think maybe if the ratio was much, much less, but then it might not be pink, which kind of defeats the point.

    ummm, we got daddy heart shaped pancake molds from target for v-day. So it’s kinda like a gift for everyone; he gets the gift, we get the pancakes! ;-)

  49. The Over-Thinker

    I really hate that book. Deceptively Disgusting is right. It’s deceptive in that it makes you THINK you bought a Cookbook to make FOOD when it’s actually a Devilbook that makes you have to apologize profusely and order a lot of last-minute take-out.

    ANYways….Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Love Thursday!

  50. Chuck

    Sounds like a pancake that couldn’t be beet!

    They were just like a broken drumstick…you can’t beet it.

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist a couple bad puns…I’m done now.)

  51. Veronica

    You know what is really good? If you make the pancakes from scratch (an egg, flour and milk to make the right consistency) and then add strawberry puree or really ripe raspberries and a little sugar.

    Has to be MUCH better than beets.

  52. Heather in NH

    Happy V Day!

    I love you new plates too!

  53. getsheila

    Awwww…that Chickadee. She’s a keeper.

  54. Shalet

    Cracking up at this story can’t be beet :o)

    Happy Love Thursday!

  55. Jill

    I saw your pancakes over at Otto’s blog this morning, and they made me feel happy. I bet they were yucky, but they just said love to me. And it sounds like they said the same thing to your family.

  56. Zee

    OMG, that is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. Beetcakes….

    I think I might have gone with good, old fashioned food coloring in regular pancake batter… ;-)

  57. Flea

    Oh ew. My boys woke up to farting silly putty and silly string, which definitely put them in the Valentine’s mood. Their teachers loved it too, all the farting noises in the back of the class and the other children giggling and pointing. I can imagine how much MORE exited my children would have been to sit down to steaming beet cakes. You’re a special mom, Mir. :D

  58. StephLove

    I cut tortillas into heart shapes at dinner last night. Much simpler.

    A for effort, though.

  59. carson

    But did she make you eat it?

  60. bleeding espresso

    I’ve read some blog posts about decent recipes from the book; hopefully the beet one was just an abnormality.

    But that heart is *too* cute :)

  61. Julie Stiles Mills

    Thanks for testing that particular recipe for me!

  62. M

    Wow, I received that cookbook for my b-day a few weeks ago and have been debating returning it with the gift receipt… these reviews are steering me in the return-it-quickly direction. I’ll spend the money on something else.

    Thanks for the laughs – and the advice!

  63. merlotmom

    OMG! I am so glad to read this post and the other comments. I spent the money on this “thing” Oprah had the audacity to promote to millions of unsuspecting women. This “thing” that calls itself a cookbook is DISGUSTING! I wasted hours one night cooking and pureeing various veggies while I could have been catching up on my TIVO. I made the chocolate brownie recipe. Ewwww. Gross. What was I thinking! Oprah got two dozen pair of Christian Louboutin shoes from Jessica as a thank you and all I got was this lousy cookbook.

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