Pancakes & Pumpkins
Bainbridge Island is magical year-round. The community lends itself to raising a family, but the atmosphere changes come the holidays, when suddenly, the island becomes a wonderland for children. (Adults, too, but my goodness, the kids have it good!) We enjoyed two Autumn traditions this weekend; the Bainbridge Island Fire Department Pancake Breakfast and a visit to the Suyematsu Pumpkin Patch. Then I made the most delicious Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes to quite literally continue savoring the memories we made over our weekend!
Lucca wants to be a firefighter when he grows up, so he was elated to attend the annual Bainbridge Island Fire Department Pancake Breakfast inside the brand new Fire Station 21. The firefighters go above and beyond by cheerfully interacting with the kiddos while making breakfast and conducting firetruck rides! True heroes serving the community, in every sense.
Lucca's fascination with passing firetrucks and the beautiful Fall day led us outside to dine. As we enjoyed our pancakes, eggs, ham, orange juice, and coffee from our sister island, Ometepe; we watched the firetrucks proceed with lights flashing, sirens blaring, and brimming with children and parents relishing a rare experience while digesting breakfast.
There was a short wait for a firetruck ride, but it made no matter as our paths unexpectedly crossed with friends also making their way through the snaked line. It was not long before we found ourselves boarding the firetruck and nestling in with other equally excited kids and parents.
Lucca loved every second of the 10 minute ride. He was in awe of the trucks, sirens, and mostly, the firefighters. He spent the rest of the day consumed; wearing his fireman hat, fighting imaginary fires with his toy extinguisher, building a (rather impressive) Lego firetruck, and then requesting his fireman pajamas before bed. Clearly, this community event made quite an impression on my little man's heart.
Onto our next island adventure at the Suyematsu Pumpkin Patch! We love this farm. We picked fresh raspberries over the summer here and visited the pumpkins when they were merely flowers on a vine. Finally, under the sun of an ideal Autumn day, we walked the hillside dotted with mature pumpkins, oohing and aahing the patch that yielded so many unique colors, textures, shapes and sizes.
On the weekends, they have tractor rides, a hay maze, farm-fresh pumpkin pie and cider, and occasionally food trucks. The scenery is breathtaking; a rolling vineyard lined with towering cedar trees make an idealistic backdrop for taking pictures and making memories. We are so fortunate to have this jewel of a farm on the island.
We picked our pumpkins and got lost in the hay maze, but being the parents of a young boy, we were not to leave before riding the tractor. We hopped right on with zero wait, and the leisurely ride through the patch was the perfect way to wrap up our weekend adventures.
As quirky as it may be, I love to use cuisine to recollect our adventures. It is captivating how food can imprint on your memory and/or transport you to a different place and time. In this case, I captured our weekend by combining our firefighter pancake breakfast and pumpkin patch experiences to create Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes!
Oh. My. Goodness. These Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes are unexpectedly divine! Sweet Maple syrup is a match made in pumpkin pancake heaven, and freshly whipped cream gives it that silky pumpkin pie feel. Top with roasted pecans and you will have the coziest, Fall-inspired breakfast to start your day!
In full disclosure, I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin. It's not that I have an aversion to it, but it is certainly not something I crave. That said, I recently found that it's the ginger and nutmeg combo traditionally found in pumpkin pie spice that I do not like. Once negated from a recipe, the pumpkin itself is able to shine in the most delicate and luscious way. These Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes definitely hit the mark and piqued my interest in getting creative with pumpkins! Even David, who is not a pumpkin fan either, wholeheartedly jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon for these pancakes. In my mind, this solidifies how good the recipe is, meaning you should hop on the bandwagon, too.
Do not shy away from making the entire batch! Perhaps my favorite aspect of these pancakes is they freeze beautifully and are easily reheated in a toaster - think Eggo waffles! (Visit the recipe for freezing instructions.) I consistently have frozen, homemade pancakes on hand (in a variety of flavors) for quick and easy breakfasts, and these Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes are requested to be a year-round staple in our household. Needless to say, I am confident your family will Fall in love with them, too.