Celebrating Mardi Gras in the Gluten-Free & Raw

Oh, the life of a PhD student... I was super excited to post about our Mardi Gras and some initial thoughts about Ash Wednesday and Lent last night, but readings, presentations, and papers caught up with me and left a big pile at my door that I was busy picking up until this morning. Anyhoo, Mardi Gras has always played a big role in my life, you know, to stuff my face with crepes and go all out before the season of Lent.

In the spirit of the "stuff your face" aspect of Mardi Gras, Andrew shared with me that the only thing his family ever did for Shrove Tuesday was eat pancakes. I'd never heard of that, but since I knew that one of two things I would be giving up for Lent was grains, I was game for respecting his culinary heritage. Having just looked Shrove Tuesday up on the Universal Life Source called Wikipedia, I have learned that:
  1. Shrove Tuesday is what English-speaking countries, including the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Philippines, call Mardi Gras.
  2. While European Catholic countries have celebrated Mardi Gras for centuries by eating goodies and hosting carnivals, after the Protestant Reformation, other countries "changed" it to Shrove Tuesday; shrove is the past-tense of the verb "to shrive," which means to obtain absolution for one's sins through confession and penance, which people were expected to do in preparation for Lent... that sounds a lot less fun.
  3. To make up for the seriousness, Shrove Tuesday also came to be known as Pancake Day. Derivative of Mardi Gras, the point is to eat as many fatty foods as possible before the season of restriction and abstaining, so conventional pancakes hit all the marks: white flour, eggs, butter, milk, etc.
Long story short, Andrew eats pancakes. I eat crepes. It's Mardi Gras, so the conclusion was we eat pancakes AND crepes. I had already planned for raw banana crepes, so to fulfill Andrew's traditions, I really wanted to recreate the amazing vegan and gluten-free pancakes we've had at Cafe My House. After gleaning what I could from their menu I came up with the following deliciousness:

Vegan Gluten-Free Pancakes
(makes 6-8 medium sized pancakes)
1 C brown rice flour
1/2 C soy flour
1/2 C arrowroot powder
3 teaspoons of organic cane sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 C milk (we used hemp milk)

1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Slowly pour liquid into the dry, mixing to avoid lumps.
3. Using coconut oil (or Earth Balance margarine) once your pan is hot, make pancakes!

Those yummy pancakes, were in competition with my slightly amended raw banana crepes recipe:

Raw Banana Crepes (Take 2)
(makes 6 crepes)
4-5 ripe bananas
1/2 C ground golden flax seeds
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 vanilla bean stick

1. Blend ingredients in Vitamix until uniform.
2. Pour batter onto dehydrator sheets, and spread with a spatula into crepe shapes.
3. Dehydrate at 115 for 4-6 hours (don't let them get too dry!)

Possible Toppings
Strawberry "jam"*
Banana whip (blend frozen bananas with vanilla!)
Orange marmalade (blend 1 orange + a few dates)

*this is a brilliant trick I got from Gena: Place 1 C or so of halved strawberries onto a dehydrator sheet for 6 hours, then blend them. Dehydrating them actually gives that "jam" consistency.

Everything was fantastic. It was the perfect meal before Lent. As I mentioned the two foodstuffs I've decided to cut out this Lent were selected to make me stick with my LFRV-ism, the diet I know leads to my optimal well-being. So for 40 days, I'm breaking up with grains and any non-fruit sugars. After our meal, I went into our pantry and hid all our cereals and non-raw treats. Out of sight, out of mind! The more spiritual changes I'm making I'm obviously keeping to myself, but I'm really looking forward to this season of renewal, cleansing, and self-improvement. I didn't realize until we went to Church last night, just how much I'd been missing the spiritual in my life.


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