WHO: Kristin Marr, 29, of Clearwater; wife and mother of two kids, creator of the Live Simply blog
WHAT: Gingerbread Pancakes With Sauteed Pears
ABOUT THE RECIPE: "Cooking should be a celebration," Marr said. And there's no better way to celebrate the fall season than with gingerbread pancakes.
"We have pancakes a lot," she said. "I have two little kids, and that's a real staple. They love maple syrup. My husband gets a little bored with the same thing all the time, so I decided we need something for the holidays."
Experimenting with the spices of autumn, she created a recipe that's now a family favorite. As the finishing touch, she added sauteed pears on top and drizzled it with real maple syrup. They're sweet with a rustic feel from the pears and spices, she said.
Marr hasn't shopped in a "real" grocery store in years. She's part of a local food co-op, grows food in her garden and raises chickens in her back yard. "We're like a little farm in the middle of the city," she said, especially now that people keep trying to give her their unwanted hens. "We're like the refugee camp for chickens," she said with a laugh.
Her passion for healthy living inspired her to create her Live Simply blog. She started it in April and now has more than 5,000 Facebook fans. Now she's writing a cookbook — or trying to. She said taking care of two children means sometimes the middle of the night is the only time she has to write but sharing an alternative lifestyle of healthy eating is important.
She said she'd like to change the American habit of picking up fast food, replacing it with the traditions practiced in other countries where food preparation involves the entire family.
She's already starting to involve her kids in the kitchen. Her 3-year-old son is proud of his chocolate chip cookies, which he makes every week. "He knows how to work the KitchenAid mixer — he does the whole thing," she said. When it's time to make dinner, she encourages him to prepare the salad. The results?
"Half the time our salads are huge, massive chunks of carrots because that's how he cut them," she laughs. "We're eating like an entire head of lettuce. But for him, that's valuable."
TIPS: You can make a big batch of pancakes and freeze half. Use wax paper to separate them and put them in a sealable plastic bag. When you're ready to eat, pop them in the toaster oven and then drizzle with honey or maple syrup. They'll keep three months if wrapped well.
CAN'T COOK WITHOUT: Mumford and Sons playing in the kitchen.
Emily Young, Times correspondent
If you have a recipe that you would like featured, or would like to nominate other home cooks and their dishes, email [email protected] with a name and daytime phone number. Include SIGNATURE DISH in the subject line. Or mail to Taste, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.