Brunch with a View

Fall is in full swing here in Santa Cruz and the weather is much too beautiful to stay inside!santa cruz beach

Hikes, pumpkin patches, hay mazes, beach fun… we’re trying to get it all in without letting these last days of warmth slip by.

Of course, the cat did get out of the bag – all of Northern California seems to know that Santa Cruz is too amazing to miss in the fall, so nature can get a bit crowded; and while people watching can be lots of fun, this time of year I prefer to get up and out the door nice and early on the weekends so that we can get a little bit of paradise all to ourselves.

Of course, an early morning outing is always best when followed by a delicious brunch and for us, that means pancake muffins! That’s right – The Pioneer Woman taught me how to make pancakes that I don’t even have to worry about flipping! You can find her original recipe here or read on for my slightly adapted version:

Preheat oven to 425









Prepare pancake batter – I used Ree’s recipe but any will do.


If early morning mixing isn’t your thing or you’re holding an excited toddler in one arm, be sure to enlist a little help in the mixing department.


Proof of my mixing menace!


Spray your muffin pan with cooking oil – you can either make mini-muffins or regular sized. Fill each cup 2/3 full of your batter.

*** Before you judge me by my messy, over-filled muffin pan above, scroll back up to the picture of the adorable toddler. 🙂

Muffins will need to bake about 9-10 minutes for minis or 16-18 minutes for regular sized. Will be golden on top when ready.

While muffins are baking, I put together the rest of my bento box:

  • purple 193Fill one medium container with sliced, fresh cantaloupe.
  • Fill the other medium container with fresh strawberries.
  • Fill one medium lidded container with yogurt. Top with a couple slices of strawberries.
  • Fill the other medium lidded container with syrup.
  • Leave one large container free for the pancake muffins.

Of course, for those of you that don’t live amongst a sea of extra containers, you can always mix your fruit together in a large container or leave one container out and utilize the open space for something dry.

When your muffins are ready, they’ll look something like this:









Allow your muffins to cool for a few moments before putting a couple into your large container. Let those muffins cool for a few minutes longer before putting the large container back into your bento lunch box.

By the time the car is loaded and everyone is ready to go, your muffins should be cool enough to put into your lunch box, so pack them up and head out to enjoy!

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