Mon Dieu!

I’m sure you all have seen, or heard reference to, the melanoma awareness video entitled “Dear 16-Year-Old Me“. It is a powerful message reminding us that melanoma is a young person’s cancer, and to check your skin monthly for any changing lesions or moles. Well, hypochondriac that I tend to be (curse you, WebMD!), I took it a step further and visited the dermatologist for the first time yesterday. Good news, everybody! I (probably) don’t have skin cancer! He checked over my whole body (including places like my scalp, inside my ears, and between my toes) and all my little spots and dots are perfectly benign. He said it’s good to establish a baseline anyway, though. That way, as I go forward, I know what sort of things to look out for. In his own words, melanoma is nothing if you catch it early, but if it spreads it can kill you within a year.

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I was never a sun goddess growing up — I got burnt pretty easily when I was in high school and college, so I tried to stay out of it when I could, and slather on the SPF 50 when I couldn’t. That said, in the past year or so (as I’ve gotten more comfortable with my body), I will shamefully admit to being less and less safe in the sun. On came the bikinis, down went the SPF amount, and I will shamefully admit to having used a tanning bed more than once. I can attest to how addictive being tan is — all that Vitamin D makes you feel good, you look slimmer when you’re darker… I get it. But it’s a slippery slope, because the more tan you are, the less likely you are to burn, so the more immune you feel. Alas, as we all know, that’s not the case.

Apparently, the Chinese side of me does help lessen my chances of getting melanoma (and if you have Irish ancestry you may be more susceptible). So, you know, thanks for being Asian, Mama! In general, the whole experience gave me a lot of peace of mind, especially as my family is planning our next big vacation trip (to St. Maarten! Whoo!) in May. Much sunscreen shall be applied, fear not. I highly recommend making an appointment with a dermatologist just for a general checkup, even if you’re just bouncing the idea around. It took 20 minutes, a measly little co-pay, and I feel so at ease now. Plus, as an unplanned bonus, my dermatologist even gave me some samples of stuff to use for my super red cheeks, which are apparently the effect of me having a touch of rosacea (which only gets worse as you get older). Who knew?

Up at Night

After my appointment yesterday, I headed to the gym for a little cardio and legwork (I have a session with my personal trainer today, so I didn’t want to overdo it), then to the grocery store for some sweaty provisions-shopping. (I’m a classy lady, what can I say?) After a conversation with my sister, I had only one thing on my mind for dinner: crepes. Except, I had never made crepes before. I think you know what’s coming… More adventures in kitchendom? I THINK SO!

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I looked online at a few of Gina’s crepe recipes before haphazardly deciding to give it a try on my own.

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I was flabbergasted by how easy it was to make the batter! I ended up going with the following ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp melted butter
Pinch of kosher salt
Dash of herbal seasoning mix

Having never made crepes before, I wasn’t too sure what consistency to look for. I knew it had to be runnier than pancake batter, but I wasn’t sure by how much. Trial by fire it was! I heated a nonstick skillet to medium heat and sprayed it with fake butter spray (most recipes called for more butter to grease the pan, so if you’re uncomfortable with the calorie-free artificial ingredients in that stuff, feel free to use the real stuff instead). Then I poured in my first ladle-full.

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Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad at first…

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… until it was time to flip it. Whoops. I thinned out the batter with a little bit more milk, and went at it again.

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Success! They spread smoothly, and got nice and browned on the first side before flipping effortlessly. Since I don’t have one of those wooden… crepe… twirly… thingies… I had to work pretty quickly. I poured the batter in, immediately picked up the pan to swirl the batter around into a larger circle, let it cook until it was loose when I shook the pan (about 20 – 30 seconds?), then flipped it with a spatula. I even managed to flip the crepe without a spatula once, simply by shaking the pan like it was an omelette! But nobody saw it, so maybe I just imagined that, hahaha.

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I had thrown together a little savory filling before I actually started on the crepes – chicken breast and spinach, sauteed with garlic. I added it to the center of each crepe with some shredded mozzarella cheese, and threw together a light(ish) cheese sauce with skim milk and more cheese to put on top as well.

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NOM! It was SO delicious. I think that if I had a real crepe pan and a little more time to experiment, I could have gotten the crepes even thinner and crisper. Still, not bad for my very first try! In addition to the chicken florentine crepes (ooh, don’t I sound fancy?), I also made up a few dessert crepes (uh, duh). I added a little bit of powdered sugar to the batter, then thinned it out again with more water.

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I think I must have thinned out the batter even more when I added the water, because these crepes were super thin! They were still totally manageable to cook, though, and they didn’t break. So now I know not to be scared to thin it out too much — it holds together very well!

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I filled the first two with bananas slices, strawberries, and a few chocolate chips (though really what I wanted was Nutella in these bad boys, hehe). The latter pair was just filled with raspberry preserves. All were extremely delicious! (For those of you who are aghast at the volume of crepes I seemingly devoured, fear not. I had plenty of help eating all of them, and have extras for lunch today.) It’s actually probably a little bit dangerous that I know how easy it is to make these delicate little fancy pancakes, haha. But considering how many crepes one batch of batter makes (at least 10!), the caloric damage really isn’t bad. Each crepe is only around 60 calories on its own, so it’s really all about what you choose to fill them with.

Much like the homemade pizza party I am always thinking about having, I think having a crepe party would be so much fun! You could lay out different fillings for both savory and sweet ones, make up the actual crepes, and go to town!

Are you a sun worshiper or sunscreen savant? Have you ever gone to the dermatologist for a general checkup? Are you a fan of crepes? What’s your favorite filling — savory or sweet?

23 Comments

  1. Rachelsays:

    Crepes are delicious and now I want some too. Did you know that there are delicious crepes at a food cart at Eastern Market on Saturdays and Sundays.

    And as a blond, blue eyed, fair skinned, and probably part Irish person, I also try to stay out of the sun as much as I can. But it is sooo nice to be outside in the summer.

    • Sounds like we need to take a trip to Eastern Market then…! In the summer, the Falls Church Farmer’s Market has a crepe stand too. Yum!

  2. Crepes rock!

    I used to make them all the time, but I don’t seem to now. You’ve inspired me, though. Crepes freeze really well, too, so you can make them ahead.

    Good for you, getting your skin checked. I’ve had lupus since I was a teenager (I’m 38 now) so the sun and I haven’t been on speaking terms for, like, 20 years now. If I had a nickel for every time someone made a vampire crack about me and my long-sleeves-hat-parasol-and-sunglasses, I’d be as rich as Stephenie Meyer! No, folks, I don’t sparkle, I don’t burst into flame, I just get sick as a really sick elephant.

    You should totally have that crepe party and take lots of pictures!

  3. Emilysays:

    I think it’s great that you blogged about going to the dermatologist! It’s never a fun visit, but it can be a lifesaver. I lost my dad to melanoma when I was 18. He’d been to the dermatologist before, but put it off when there were other irregular moles (ugh, this topic really does gross me out, but it is important!). Like your dermatologist said, it’s an aggressive cancer and if you don’t nip it in the bud, it just takes over. I’ve been going to dermatologists ever since and even got a skin map–a nurse takes photos of _every single mole on your body, while you are naked. Again, not fun to talk about or do! And I hate those photos. But, since I had baseline measurements on every single mole, my doctor removed one last spring that was the same kind my dad had. I used to be freaked out that I would end up with the same cancer as my dad, but now I know that if I just keep getting checked regularly and are familiar with my body, it’s pretty unlikely my moles will ever be a problem.
    Sorry so long…! And gross! But it’s such a relief to know you can have the upper hand on this one.

    • God bless, lots of hugs.

    • Oh gosh, Emily. I am so, so sorry to hear about your father. But kudos to you to continuing to spread the message of how important it is to get checked!

      Lots of love. 🙂

      • Thanks for the kind thoughts, guys. It’s been just over 10 years since he died and it does get better! I love my life.

  4. Sarasays:

    I love crepes too! And love how easy they are to make after a few trials! 😀 My favorite is when my parents used to make cheese blintzes with a sour cream, cottage cheese, lemon filling and we’d sprinkle sugar on top. Sounds weird but it’s amazing! Google it and I think you’ll love it! Especially for like a special brunch or something 🙂 That’s how we used to have them.

  5. Your crepes look amazing! Two things for me have changed as I’ve gotten older – I always wear sunscreen now, and I tend to prefer savory to sweet in many instances! Sometimes I feel like I’m way over nearly 31…

  6. Jen Robinsonsays:

    Glad i inspired you- now i’m even more excited to make crepes this week with mom! and i’m really proud of you for going to the dermatologist- dan’s mother had melanoma removed from her face and thank goodness they found it. i’ve gotten a lot better about sunscreen as i’ve gotten older too!

  7. occulasays:

    I’ve never made crepes, but when husband and I got married (we kind of eloped), we had crepes for brunch right afterward, so I always associate them with giddiness!

    As a ginger I get made fun of a lot for the amount of sunscreen I use and the time it takes to apply, and honestly, it kind of bugs me. It’s like they’re taunting me for not wanting cancer! On the plus side, after wearing at least spf 15 on my face every day for as long as I can remember, people always think I’m younger than I am (43). I did have a big dermatologist checkover a year and a half ago, and it was similarly very reassuring. But
    Me: I’m afraid I’ll get rosacea … ?
    Dr: Everyone who looks like you pretty much does have rosacea already.
    LOL! I’m a blusher and, well, the only part that’s NOT snowy white is my darned face! That really just reinforced the sunscreen thing. – because I DO forget once in a while, or get overconfident and not reapply when I should.

  8. I am definitely a suncreen savant :). I don’t leave home without it. The sun AGES the skin like no other more than any other culprit so no leathery skin for me, thank you.

    Your May trip sounds simply divine! You will have a blast I’m sure.

    Crepes ARE so easy to make and yours look wonderful. Try to make a mille crepe cake when you have the chance. It’s easy and looks amazing! I don’t make it that often though because I do watch my carbs 🙂

  9. Those are some GOOD LOOKING CREPES!! Yum!
    I go to the dermatologist every year for a full-body check- I have since I was a teenager. It’s not the most fun thing in the world, but not bad either. I went through a tanning bed phase in my mid 20s (although I was only going once or twice a week at most) and my doc discovered the very early stages of skin cancer in a mole on my chest. I had it removed (deeply) and had to go back for check-ups every few months for a while. But, I’m good to go now. I definitely applaud you for going- I know VERY few people that do!

  10. Crepes remind of me of being in Cardiff, Wales, believe it or not. They have crepe carts on the street. They make them on this small stone and swirl that with that wooden rake thing you were talking about. The fold them into a cone and put wax paper around them. Sprinkled with a little lemon juice and some sugar….seriously one of the best things I have ever eaten.

  11. Thanks for the derm check reminder! I will call and make an appointment today! 🙂

  12. Soo glad you don’t have cancer! If I ever get a chance to jump in the TARDIS (hoping you’re a who-vian as well based on your potter obsession) .. I’m going back to my 16-year-old ORANGE self and smacking her in the head. As well as my 23-year-old self and telling her to put sunscreen on for those long runs. I had sports bra/shorts lines that summer that looked like CLOTHING by the end of the summer. Was bad. I’m surprised I’m cancer-free.

    In other news, my friend Dave has melanoma. He’s a dude. I’m pretty sure he didn’t go tanning. But still. Send good vibes. He just sent another skin sample to some smart lab techs.

  13. Last summer I was diagnosed with melanoma. It was a complete and total shock and made me rethink my overall health… I was never a “sunner” or went to the tanning bed [sure, a couple of times for homecoming/ prom] so I was surprised by the news. Two minor surgeries later the melanoma was removed and now I just have two scars to show for it!

    P.S. I totes would be up for a crepe party! I’ve never made them myself, nor have I ever had one, but anything stuffed and filled is good in my mind 😀

    • Oh gosh, this is the exact reason why people our age need to think about this stuff! They’re not kidding when they say it’s a young person’s cancer. I’m SO glad you’re okay!

  14. I’m about as white as they come. Everyone looks at me and assumes I burn in the sun, but I’m actually olive and tan nicely when I get sun. Being a desk jockey doesn’t really lend itself to massive amounts of sunning though. Mostly just computer screen radiation…

    Have you ever gone to the dermatologist for a general checkup?
    I’ve actually gone to the dermatologist once because I had this gigantic ugly mole on my right arm that got all misshapen. They cut it off and now I have a wicked long scar. I like to pretend I got it in a knife fight during my 5 years living in Worcester, MA. The real story of “oh I had a mole” is kind of lame.

    I actually have never had a crepe. You may have inspired me to try my hand at making one this weekend though!

  15. I always thought crepes were sweet until I went to a restaurant a few years ago with some friends. That was my first time trying a savory crepe and I am a fan! One of my favorite ways to eat a crepe is just with a little sugar and rolled up 😀

  16. Crepes are something I’ve yet to attempt but definitely want to – I must start with your recipe! Also, very glad to hear your skin health is in the clear!

  17. mmmm crepes.. I want all of those right now!

  18. Wow this post is making me so hungry! Those crepes look amazing, especially the chocolate, banana and strawberry one. Also, I live in Florida and constantly exposed to the sun, so I know the importance of protecting your skin.

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