Pancake Mix, Avocado Toasts, Bean

Good morning and happy Wednesday. Yesterday was a busy one — lots of recipe testing including a zucchini pizza I’m working on for the book. The one you are looking at here was solid, but not book-worthy, so no recipe just yet. (Leftovers will, however, be a most excellent lunch.) I also went for a run and listened to the fifth episode of Rabbit Hole, which has served to a) explain the phenomenon of Trump completely and b) convince me that I really have no idea what’s going on in the minds of a sizable population of this world. I guess that’s what good journalism does? Anyway, here are today’s kitchen notes…

Project: A Pancake Mix Road Test

Forget the overnight yeasted waffles and the sourdough pancakes using your grandmother’s 50-year-old starter — what about those mornings you just want to pour some water into a box mix and call it breakfast? I road-tested five of the top store brands for my Cup of Jo Wednesday food column. The winner completely surprised me!

Pantry: Avocado Toast

We are way into avocado toasts again for lunch. Part of this is because we’ve been on a long hiatus from them (after completely overdoing it from 2016-2019) and part of this is because our home delivery service, Baldor, seems to give us perfect avocados every single time, which is hard to do. We could debate all day on the best way to eat one, but my favorite remains the simplest with a twist: Instead of buttering my toast, I use coconut oil. Then I lightly fork-smash the slices and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt. That’s it. So good. Abby’s preferred version includes cream cheese underneath the avo, and sprinkled with Everything Bagel seasoning.

No real “Purpose” entry today — just wanted to tell you that my sweet little Bean had to get a growth surgically removed from her leg on Monday, and is recovering nicely. We aren’t sure what it means yet, but I would appreciate any positive energy you can send her way. xoxoxox

Stay safe.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at

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Rabbit Hole sounds like a good idea. I, too, am baffled about the way many of my fellow Americans think. Also, thanks for mentioning your local hiking favorites as you visit them. I’m keeping notes. Looking forward to the zucchini pizza recipe.


Poor Bean! Please keep us posted on the outcome! My heart’s with you all.


i never comment, but I had to tell you that I look forward to your posts EVERY day!! they are such a light right now, so thank you 🙂

Carol Barnes

I have so enjoyed your Project, Pantry and Purpose posts throughout this pandemic! If by chance I don’t see it in my Facebook feed, I find myself checking the DALS website each afternoon like instead of looking again in my kitchen for a delicious snack. When you started writing did you ever think we’d be in our tenth week of this? Thank you so much!


So much positive energy coming your way from MN! That pup is such a little beauty – sending some (extra) solidarity to you all!


I’m just catching up, but wanted to say how much I love the Project, Pantry, Purpose series. And to wish Bean a speedy recovery! xo


I have been seeing your red and blue tablecloth (or is it a runner?) for weeks now and LOVE it. Any chance you have a link? Thanks so much! These posts and your posts on Cup of Jo are life affirming!


Sending Bean all the positive energy I can. She looks so sweet. Wishing you no worries and her a quick recovery.


Sending puppy love to Bean. And a boatload of appreciation to you. I’m loving your daily posts. They are so uplifting and I learn something new everyday.


From the San Francisco Bay Area, two poorly behaved, but much beloved dogs, Lola and Coco, send warm wishes for Bean’s good health. And their human owner sends her thanks for your daily dose of sanity and levity.


Awww…Bean…Sending good thoughts. FaceTime with my 5 and 2 year old granddaughters is the only thing holding me together through this. They carry me around the house and prop me up so I can see them dance, or read books, or play with toys. Yesterday I made an egg casserole and took it to their porch. My daughter baked it this morning and the 5 year old FaceTimed a review. She sounded like the judges on Chopped, critiquing each aspect as she took a bite, but of course it was all compliments. Someday she’ll own her own network…


My avocado toast is pretty much a rustic guacamole-like smash on top of toasted (preferably multigrain) bread.


An avocado toast twist I have been loving lately: toast, mayo, harissa (specifically New York Shuk), avocado, hemp hearts, pepitas, maldon salt.