Jax Garren: Elves and Apple-Ginger Pancakes (gluten free, nut free, vegan)

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Foodie Friday Magic! Jax Garren is here today with Apple-Ginger Pancakes. What’s the magic part? They are gluten-free, nut free, and vegan (and still yummy!). Jax writes very modern urban fantasy romance. I’m a huge fan of her Tales of the Underlight trilogy. Today she’s brought along her ambiguously paranormal (Is he? Or isn’t he?) holiday foodie romance, The Elf and the Ice Princess. There are five FREE copies up for grabs if you’re willing to talk breakfast temptations in the comments.

I will be highly motivated to make an amazing breakfastJAX:

Brett grinned slyly. “I make a good breakfast. Pancakes. Waffles. I have experimental lox at the house. You could give me your professional opinion.”

“You want me to stay the night to critique your salmon?” Carrie meant it to sound like a joke, but it came out more like an accusation.

“No! No. I’m trying to convince you to stay the night with breakfast incentives.” His face lit up. “I will be highly motivated to make an amazing breakfast.”

Sex was one thing, but…“I’m not sure I’m ready for breakfast.”

Though his shoulders may have sagged a bit, Brett’s smile stayed intact and his voice light. “Okay. That’s fine. I understand. But it’s a package deal for me.” He wagged a finger at her. “I may be easy, but I’m not cheap. Or, something like that. Basically, I’ll wait.”

She narrowed her eyes. “I offered to get naked with you, and you’re turning me down?”

“I offered cuddling and pancakes, and you turned me down.” He snatched her hand and kissed it again. “I’m A-plus-plus boyfriend material, Carrie Martin. You’re going to figure that out—I hope—and then there will be nakedness and cuddling and pancakes. All of it. It will be epic.” Until then . . .” He yanked on her hand, and she stumbled forward, landing against his chest. “Until then, I’ll just have to work on convincing you.”

~ from The Elf and the Ice Princess


I love pancakes (and nakedness and cuddling), but when I went grain free, I thought I’d never have them again. (At least not the pancakes.) Then I discovered plantains! Plantains are related to bananas, and are usually found next to them in the grocery store. When green, they have a high starch content and neutral taste, so they can replace flour in all kinds of recipes. These apple-ginger pancakes are one of my favorite ways to use them; I make these about once a week for breakfast. They’re super easy, require just a few ingredients and a food processor, and have enough room for error that they’re almost impossible to mess up. I love them! Of note, they’re not cake-y like pancakes. They’re more like funnel cake–crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. Which, in my book, makes them even better!


I never measure my ingredients; I just toss stuff into the food processor until it looks right. The recipe below is approximately what I shoot for each time, but you can miss the proportions by a wide margin and still get the same results. Plantains are cool that way. After years of baking fancy cakes and breads, it’s a relief to put something together that doesn’t require any fastidiousness.



Apple-Ginger Pancakes Recipe (gluten free, nut free, vegan)

Makes 4-6 pancakes (and I can eat them all in one sitting, but should probably share with another person)

1 medium-sized green plantain*, peeled and chopped for your food processor

1/4cp applesauce (or peel and chop half an apple)

1 tbl coconut cream or milk (can sub regular cream or whole milk. Of course it’s not vegan then! These will still work if you leave this out entirely, but the texture will be hard all the way through instead of crunchy outside, soft middle)

1 to 2 tsp ginger ( I really like ginger, so I use a lot!)

pinch of salt + sprinkle extra

pinch of cloves **

coconut oil (or other cooking fat)

maple syrup for serving


  1. In a food processor, chop the plantain into bits (and the apple if not using applesauce)
  2. Add the applesauce and process to combine
  3. Add the coconut cream, ginger, salt, and cloves. Process until a thick batter is formed.
  4. Meanwhile,  over medium high to high heat, melt enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan
  5. Once the coconut oil is hot, scoop dollops of batter onto the frying pan and flatten into pancake-like shapes, the flatter the crunchier. I shoot for ¼” thick (½ cm for you metric types.) Add another sprinkle of salt to the wet tops.
  6. After a couple minutes, when pancakes are brown on the bottom, flip them. Add more coconut oil if the pan is drying up.
  7. When browned on both sides, remove them to a plate. Repeat until all the batter is used.
  8. Serve with maple syrup or, for something fancier, a berry compote (I love these with leftover cranberry sauce!)


* Yellow will work, but a fully ripe plantain, i.e. black, will be much sweeter, have a banana-like taste, and make the recipe wetter. They’ll take longer to cook, but it would probably still work if that’s all you have (and you like the flavor of bananas). If you’re unfamiliar with cooking with plantains, they’re like extra-firm bananas. To peel them, I chop off both ends, half the plantain, and then cut each side in half the long way. That makes them easy to peel with your fingers. Here’s a great video on working with them.


** Spices can be changed at will. Instead of cloves, sometimes I use a little nutmeg and a dash of vanilla. Cinnamon would undoubtedly be good, too. Use your favorite spices to make the pancakes your own.



Pancakes, waffles, or french toast; which should Brett best use to tempt you? (I’m a pancake girl, but if anybody has a good grain free, egg-free waffle recipe, I’d love to hear it!) I’m giving away 5 copies of The Elf and the Ice Princess, a holiday foodie romance, to commenters. If any answers particularly catch my eye, I’ll give copies to those commenters, then randomly select the rest.


The Elf and the Ice Princess by Jax Garren

Holiday Foodie Romance – Available now!

The Elf and the Ice Princess

A frozen heart…
Three years ago the man who made Carrie Martin believe in happily-ever-afters deserted her after a holiday tragedy. Ever since, she’s seen no reason for holiday joy amid the materialism and chaos of the most stressful time of year. So at happy hour when a drunken man in an elf costume falls into her lap and spouts poetry, it’s just one more reason to be disgusted at the season’s excess.

A prince in disguise…
Brett Virtanen, however, proves a lot steadier than his tipsy entrance. With a buoyant humor and a knack for giftwrap, Brett sparks her interest in the man behind the green polyester. But when Carrie’s ex returns with devastating results, it’ll take more magic than a costumed elf can conjure to make an ice princess once again believe in love.

Author Jax Garren

Jax Garren is the author of hot, urban paranormal romance like the Austin Immortals and the Tales of the Underlight. Though descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish), Jax was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin then found her own Happily Ever After with a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Jax can be found at jaxgarren.com, at facebook.com/JaxGarren or on Twitter as @JCGarren. She loves meeting new people, so online or in person, make sure to give her a Viking Hail!

Don’t forget, Jax wants to know Pancakes, waffles, or french toast; which should Brett best use to tempt you? and she is picking her favorite comments to win first before any random drawings! To enter, leave a comment below. We’ll leave the contest open until at least noon Saturday. Make sure to leave your email or other contact so we can reach you if you win!


Filed under Foodie Friday, Guest Authors

Katie Graykowski: Hand over the cinnamon rolls and no one gets hurt

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Best-selling romantic comedy author Katie Graykowski is here for FOODIE FRIDAY today. I still remember the first time she shared the opening to her first book, Perfect Summer, in our local writer’s group. I laughed out loud then. I laughed out loud again when I read the actual book, and I’m still a fan today.

Katie’s brought along some FREE BOOKS and CINNAMON ROLLS. To be clear, the books (5 copies of CHANGING LANES) are free to a few lucky commenters. I’m going to eat the cinnamon rolls. All of them. Back off my cinnamon rolls. I doubt we could squish them into an email attachment anyway.

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Katie’s Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing


For me, the holiday season is all about the food…specifically breakfast. On Christmas morning, I make cinnamon rolls and an egg/sausage casserole. For drinks, we have mimosas. This Christmas morning food ritual is one that I carried over from my mother, Barbara McCelland. She likes to fill her cinnamon rolls with apples and cherries while I prefer straight up cinnamon.

For those of you who don’t know, my mother has written three cookbooks and has written a cooking column in the Longview News Journal for over forty years so baking comes naturally to me.

In my mother’s house, after breakfast, she starts on a lavish feast that includes turkey, ham, and a billion sides dishes. And don’t get me started on the desserts. While in my house, I figure that the effort of making homemade cinnamon rolls is enough. If you want a Christmas dinner…there’s the kitchen and don’t forget to clean up after yourself. I’ll be right here on the sofa drinking the rest of the mimosas.

What are your holiday food rituals?

{Katie is giving away 5 free copies of her new book CHANGING LANES – make sure you leave your email or other contact with your comments to be entered to win}

Hand over the cinnamon rolls and no one gets hurt.

Excerpt from Changing Lanes by Katie Graykowski

“Are those the ones she made last Christmas with the cream cheese icing and the little bits of orange zest?” Devon’s stomach sat back on its heels and begged like a dog for a treat.

“Yes.” Clint eyed him suspiciously.

Devon and Keshaun exchanged a look.

Keshaun crossed his arms. “Think we can take this skinny-assed white boy?”

“With my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back.” Devon nodded. “Hand over the cinnamon rolls, and no one gets hurt.”

Recipe: Summer’s Cinnamon Rolls



3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

1 cup milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3 1/4 ounces active dry yeast (7 1/2 teaspoons)

1/2 cup orange juice

5 large eggs

Zest from 2 oranges

8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

5 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks)

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon


1/2 lb cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup whipping cream, approximately

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


For the dough- heat the butter with the milk, 3/4 cups of the sugar and the salt in either a small saucepan or in the microwave, until the butter is melted. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm orange juice (110-ish degrees) and add the remaining teaspoon of sugar, stir and set aside for 10 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly. Add the lukewarm mixture and the eggs, beating until well combined. Add the flour a cup at a time, stirring and using enough flour to form a stiff dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and satiny, approximately 10 minutes. (Or place in the bowl on a heavy duty electric mixer and knead with a dough hook until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl, approximately 5 minutes). Place the dough in a very large buttered bowl, turn to butter the top and allow to rise, covered loosely with a kitchen towel, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, approximately 1 hour. Punch the dough down and roll out to a large rectangle, 24″ x 36″. Butter two 9″ x 13″ baking dishes.

 For the filling- beat together the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon until it looks like wet sand. Spread evenly over the surface of the dough. Roll up lengthwise and cut at 2″ intervals to make 12 rolls. Place 6 rolls in each buttered dish. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350. Bake the rolls for about 20-30 minutes or until puffed and browned.
For the frosting- beat the cream cheese, cream and vanilla until well combined. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth and soft, not stiff. Frost the rolls and serve immediately.

RECIPE: Katie’s Sausage Casserole

Here’s the recipe for the casserole. I don’t have a book reference because well…I don’t like eggs so none of my characters do either. For me, breakfast is all about the baked goods.


1 lb. breakfast sausage cooked and drained

1 lb. grated cheddar cheese

1 large can green chills

8 eggs beaten

16 oz. sour cream


Grease a 9×13 casserole dish and preheat oven to 350.

Mix sour cream and chills into eggs. Layer casserole starting with sausage, cheese, and then pour the eggs mixture on top.

Bake for 1 hour or until egg mixture is set.

Changing Lanes, a romantic comedy novel by Katie Graykowski

Changing Lanes is available now!

Changing Lanes:

Professional Football Player, Devon Harding found his soul mate at the age of seventeen. Trouble is, he can’t remember her last name. For the last fourteen years, he’s been waiting for The Universe to send her back to him. When that day comes, he nearly falls all over himself to get to her. But he plays it cool and waits for her to come to him.

And she walks right past him.

Pediatric Oncologist, Laney Nixon has only been in love once—at the age of sixteen. For the last fourteen years, she’s looked for him, but not knowing his last name has made finding him impossible. But when she comes face-to-face with him, she doesn’t recognize him.

Can Devon get her to remember the past so they can have a future?

Because all is fair in love and football…and the past is just the beginning.

Buy Changing Lanes on Amazon

Picture of Katie Graykowski - Best-selling author of romantic comedy

Katie Graykowski

Katie Graykowski is a bestselling author who likes sassy heroines, Mexican food, and glitter nail polish. She’d love to hear from you.

Visit her at www.katiegraykowski.com.

See all Katie’s Books on Amazon

Comment to Win!

Don’t forget, Katie wants to know, “What are your holiday food rituals?

To enter, leave a comment below. We’ll leave the contest open until at least noon Saturday. Make sure to leave your email or other contact so we can reach you if you win!


Filed under Contests Freebies and Give-aways, Foodie Friday, Guest Authors

A TASTE OF YOU Available for Pre-Order

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My gay-foodie-friends-to-lovers-contemporary (whew!) upcoming release is now available for pre-order at Amazon and most of the major e-tailers.



A Taste of You by Irene Preston

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1st Friday Food Fight

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Food Fight on Foodie Fridays!



Want to play?

Just go to the comments and share any of the following:

  • Foodie excerpt  from your book (300 words or less, please!) – don’t forget a buy-link!
  • Teaser and link to your food-theme blog post
  • Title and Buy-Link to your Cookbook or other food-theme book

Help share the love with this ready-made tweet (or create your own)

FOOD FIGHT!!  Come play with your food or ours! http://bit.ly/_foodfight  #foodiefriday

Don’t forget to check out the tasty tidbits your fellow food-lovers are sharing!

BONUS ROUND for foodie authors – pop over to my Facebook page and add one (1) FOODIE Book Cover/buylink in the comments of the FOOD FIGHT POST!

I’ll throw the first pie with an excerpt from A TASTE OF YOU!

He picked up the little ball and inhaled, looking for the first clue. The fresh tang of citrus hit him first, followed by a more subtle hint of aromatic spice. Not ginger or nutmeg, something with a slight floral bouquet. Cardamom. Definitely. Now the citrus—not orange or lemon. Lime? The filling had a beautiful blush tint, but that didn’t mean anything. Grace had been known to cheat and color it.

Time for a taste, and he would get only one chance. The whole pastry barely made a bite. He let the delicate morsel dissolve slowly on his tongue, enjoying the cool cream and trying to nail down that elusive citrus flavor. He had a good palette, but, among the crew at Ransom, that was like saying he could breathe air. Garrett won this game every time, but Carlo was going to have to guess.

…More about A  TASTE OF YOU



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Pork – I’m not so open-minded after all

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Today I was going to write a post about pork and buttermilk. Mostly this was for my own benefit. I had two questions – is it safe to eat medium-rare pork? What is “cultured” buttermilk? (Or “uncultured” buttermilk for that matter.)

And, in case it wasn’t clear to any of you before – I’m a “Mom” cook. My specialties are things like “stuff you can make with canned tuna.” Don’t ever think I know anything. There. You’ve been warned.

A few years ago, restaurants started asking us how we wanted our pork cooked. Pork. The first time it happened, Bones and I just stared at the poor waiter until he started to sweat.

“We recommend medium rare,” he finally offered.

Greatly daring, we went medium. In my head, I was screaming. WELL DONE.

After he left, we stared at each other across the table. Medium-rare pork? Recommended? Now I knew how those people who order well-done prime rib felt (tastes just like roast beef!).

We had just committed the dining faux pas of ordering over-done pork.

Now, you have to know, Bones and I consider ourselves adventurous eaters. I’m down for head-cheese, boudin noir (which is illegal to sell, btw), frog legs, and snake. I’m pretty sure I could eat roasted crickets (so far, no one has offered me any). I’m not shy about trying International dishes I know nothing about (What’s good? How do I eat it?) I’m not skittish about not-so-cooked-meat either. If my beef doesn’t make it all the way to medium-rare, well, as long as it doesn’t moo, I’m happy. Fish? Okay, I’ll eat fish almost any way you offer it, but I’ll eat sashimi until you stop bringing it to me. I’m not even a huge stickler for FDA warnings (the expiration date post is here).

I’m happy to take server recommendations.

Except medium-rare pork. My self-image crashed and burned. It must be safe or restaurants wouldn’t be serving it that way. So why couldn’t I order it cooked as suggested?

Because when I was growing up, you did not eat under-cooked (by which I mean anything but well-done) pork. Period. Despite the fact that I have abandoned quite a few of the beliefs that I held growing up, I can’t shake this one.

I’m stunned to realize that it was easier for me to change my religion than deeply held food safety guidelines.

I’m obviously not as open-minded and free-thinking as I thought I was.


On the up-side, we managed “medium.” Baby steps.

Oh, and in case you think I took some college kid’s word that the pork was safe…yes, of course I looked it up.

Here’s Bon Appétit calling my feelings on the issue seriously outdated as far back as 2009. I’m only slightly mollified that their expert recommends medium rather than medium-rare.

Here’s the Chicago Tribune reporting the change in the FDA guidelines back in 2011 and here are the actual, current FDA guidelines for internal temps.

This post debunking 9 Cooking myths was fun – although they lost cred over the pasta thing. If you have left-over pasta you aren’t storing in sauce, the olive oil DOES keep it from sticking (I put leftovers in the fridge like this all the time, then heat and eat with a little fresh pepper and Parmesan). No oil and it’s a clumpy mess when you take it out.

And here are some statistics about trichinosis showing that only about 11 cases per year are reported in the US. Logic and statistics. This really should make me feel better. But somehow it is now an unreasonable phobia – like my fear that I’ll drive into a puddle some day and fall through to China.

So – my lesson for today: Question what you know. Seriously, keep questioning.

We’ll get to that buttermilk thing some other time. Today I’m still grappling with my stunning inability to accept modern thinking. Next I’ll deny climate change and insist that creationism be taught in school.

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