Getting Real with a Recipe

Don’t you love food porn? Those inspiring photos of well-executed steps and beautifully plated dishes. Pristine ingredients, colorful spices in tiny glass bowls, gorgeous gadgets of all sorts in perfectly appointed kitchens.


I’m a sucker for a gorgeous cookbook, especially one chock-full of healthy recipes. Once we moved into a smaller house, I’ve controlled this purchasing compulsion in two primary ways: utilizing online content more often and revisiting cookbooks I already own.

Though I adore those beautiful photos and reading recipes, I hate to shop. So when it’s just me to cook for, I play a little game: How long can I make do without a trip to the grocery store? Using what’s on hand, whether ingredients or cookbooks, can lead to some creative successes. . . and interesting failures.

What you’re about to see is more crime scene than food porn.

Strawberry Banana Pancakes

Ingredients and recipe for strawberry banana pancakes Healthy Gut CookbookOne morning, I’d gone for a run and returned home craving something warm and sweet and healthy for breakfast. Aha! I stumbled upon a recipe for strawberry banana pancakes in The Healthy Gut Cookbook by Lindsay Boyers. A quick pantry and refrigerator revealed, miracle of miracles, all six of the necessary ingredients were on hand. Sweet!

Even better,  my fruits were on their last legs, so I was saving them from a compost bin demise. High five for less food waste!

As I mixed together the egg whites, banana, strawberries, and almond butter, I found myself wondering. How, exactly, would these bind together? Would the egg whites form that mouth-watering pancake I was eagerly anticipating? Hmmmm.

Mix for strawberry banana pancakes The Healthy Gut Cookbook

Such a pretty combination of ingredients! I heated my coconut oil, making sure to swirl the warm oil around to coat the pan’s bottom before pouring in my mix.

strawberry banana pancake mix cooking in pan

Now, I have a tendency to flip too soon, so I set a timer after covering the pan as instructed. An unusual move for pancakes, right? After those 2–3 minutes, I lifted the lid. Uhhh…that’s not right. Not only was nothing “golden brown” about the bottom but the top was still gooey.


Nervously, I slipped the spatula under the edge to see what lay underneath. Except there was no edge; the entire “underneath” was firmly adhered to the pan. Crap! This was not going as expected.

strawberry banana pancake failure to flip
Yeah, THAT’S not flipping like a pancake.

Gently flipping the pancake turned into frantic scraping. The best I could manage was piling overturned bits into a mound of goop. Great. I cooked the scrambled mess for the requisite time (another 2–3 minutes), scraped it onto a plate, sprinkled the cinnamon on top, and tried a bite.

cooking pan with burned bits on bottom
Not the usual food blog content, huh?

While the flavor was nice, the texture was extremely disappointing. Porridge, not  pancake. I couldn’t get past the mushy banana bits.

Our compost bin ate breakfast and I disappointedly settled for a hardboiled egg.

plate with cooked strawberry banana egg white mix
Nope, that’s not remotely a strawberry banana pancake.

Recipe Post Mortem

So where’s the fatal error in such a total foodie fail?

  • Should the banana have been mashed? In “Easy Pancakes,” Boyers says mash, not slice, the bananas.
  • Was flour needed? “Fluffy Coconut Pancakes” requires 1/2 cup coconut flour.
  • What about those egg whites? Each of the other pancake recipes uses the entire egg(s).
  • Can I call user error? Maybe my pan/coconut oil wasn’t hot enough; maybe I didn’t “swirl” well enough to keep my pancake from sticking.
  • Were expectations unrealistic? The fluffy, bread-y stack pictured on the “Breakfast and Brunch” intro page had my mouth watering. Perhaps, though, this was supposed to be mushy.

What do you think went wrong? And should I give The Healthy Gut Cookbook another try or find some new food porn?






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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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