Thanksgiving Traditions: Mountains and Pancakes

Fall winter 2012 204

Thanksgiving 2012, Virginia. Appalachian Trail near Big Meadows.

20131128-144538.jpgIn the craziness of daily life around here there aren’t many moments to step back and think, “Hot damn. I am a grown up with a family of my own.”  This realization can prompt the following train of thought, “These are not just the people that live in my house- this is my FAMILY.  It’s Thanksgiving!  We can start our own traditions and renew the ones our  parents created as well.  We can do whatever the hell we want!”

john day photo

John Day Thanksgiving 2008.


The pancakes before filling.

La Pine Thanksgiving 031

Exploring Fort Rock State Natural Area Thanksgiving 2010.

Usually we go on a fun and exciting trip away during this holiday weekend.  My husband and I spent our very first Thanksgiving together making stuffing on our camp stove at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Eastern Oregon.  Our fingers were frozen but we watched the sunset and thought about how lucky we were.  We stayed in a small inn in the tiny town of Mitchell and hiked our way through several crystal blue days.  It set a precedent.

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Thanksgiving 2009 on the side of the Pacific Crest Trail near Ashland, OR.

We’ve continued to go somewhere amazing every year except the year our daughter was born.  She had a cold, was getting her first tooth, and was only 5 months old.  We weren’t up for any more adventure than that.  We had another baby this year and he is still young, only 7 months old.  I guess we should have remembered that history repeats……

We weren’t supposed to be home this year.  We had planned an ambitious 10 hour drive to upstate New York to visit family.  The evening before we’d hoped to depart our son was vomiting and  breaking out in a scary rash.  He is also getting some teeth at the moment.  So we stayed home.  Thanksgiving Eve found us at the pediatrician for the second time this week and when we woke up this morning the only plan we had was to create, bake, and consume a lasagna at some point during the day.20131128-144526.jpg

Breakfast in our house is mostly a functional meal- it only exists to keep us going until lunch.  Oatmeal, frozen waffles, and yogurt are regular staples.  Gourmet breakfast just doesn’t happen around here.  However this morning we had a house full of fruit and I remembered my dad’s go-to holiday breakfast- German Oven Pancakes.  Perfect.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
1/2 cup milk                                      1 box frozen or fresh raspberries
1/2 cup all-purpose flour                     1 20 oz. can of drained chunky pineapple
3 large eggs                                      4 bananas
dash of salt                                       Other fruit as desired (raisins, blueberries, etc.)
2 T. butter                                        1/2 cup packed brown sugar
   Top with either whipped cream.


Made whipped cream out of a can of coconut milk. Have since discovered it is advisable to chill the can overnight.

Put milk, flour, eggs, and salt into mixing bowl. Mix well with wire whip. Melt 1 T. of butter in each of two 9 inch pie tins in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees. When butter is sizzling, swish around to grease bottom & a little up the sides. Increase oven temp. to 425 degrees. Pour batter evenly between the two tins. Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. The edges will puff up into a nice bowl. Transfer to plate and spoon on the fruit, adding your own favorites. Sprinkle with brown sugar and top with your choice of cream.


Through our children’s children traditions live on.

We don’t plan on spending many Thanksgivings at home.  We hope to be out exploring new places and filling those precious days off with experiences that are new for every member of the family.  But when we are here or if we’re staying somewhere with an oven, it’s German Oven Pancakes for us every time.  Enjoy!

What’s your go-to holiday breakfast?


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