Happy New Year! I’m guessing that like me, most of you are “back to reality” this week, which means work, school and real life – boo! It seems especially cruel after spending two fun-filled weeks celebrating the holidays with friends and family.
Getting back into a routine is important, and for us that includes starting the day with a Real Food breakfast. I’ve admitted that I don’t cook breakfast during the week – instead I prepare breakfast for the week ahead of time on the weekend. Which is exactly what I did this past Sunday, with a new Breakfast In a Hurry recipe. And today I’m going to share the recipe with you (and it’s a good one).
I’ll start by telling you how this recipe came to be. On Christmas morning, my mom always prepares a big breakfast for the family. Eating delicious food in our pyjamas as a prelude to opening our stockings, is definitely one of the highlights of Christmas for me! This year pancakes were the main dish - served alongside a large selection of other delicious items of course. There was so much food that there ended up being lots of leftovers. My mom decided to put the pancakes in the freezer so we could eat them later in the week.
Fast forward a few days. We were rushing to get somewhere in the morning and I was looking for a quick breakfast for Tyson, Jon and I. I remembered the pancakes in the freezer, but quickly realized that they were frozen solid. Darn! Since I am not a big fan of using the microwave, I figured my pancake dreams were dashed. However, Jon jumped in with an idea – why not pop them in a toaster like an Eggo waffle? We tried it, and it worked like a charm. We were eating hot, delicious pancakes in 10 minutes. Isn’t my husband brilliant??? (As an aside, did you know Eggo waffles actually contain food dye? What the heck???)
I decided that I needed to take this idea and make it work for me at home. Plus, I received some fun pancake molds for Christmas so I was dying to try them out. I played around with ingredients and came up with an awesome Real Food pancake recipe (using sweet potatoes and applesauce believe it or not!) and then Jon and I spent a few hours on Sunday up to our ears in pancakes.
Note on the pancake molds – I encourage all of you to try to make food and mealtime fun so that kids see eating as a very positive experience. Making the actual food more fun (lots of colours, different shapes, fun presentation etc) is one way to do this. Tyson is starting to learn his shapes so I know he is going to love naming the different shaped pancakes. In fact, I’m sure I will have a smile on my face when I pop one into the toaster at work.
Check out some of our creations below (how fun are these?):
Okay, I admit that Jon did most of the cooking as I kept burning the pancakes, but we ended up with enough to feed a small army (but given Tyson’s HUGE appetite, they may only last a few weeks).
Oatmeal Freezer Pancakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-20 minutes
1/2 cup pureed sweet potato (simply peel, steam and puree a sweet potato)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup milk of choice
2 tbsp melted coconut oil or butter (plus extra to grease the pan)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup oat flour*
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or any combo of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and/or all-spice
1. Mix the sweet potato, apple-sauce, milk, coconut oil or butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract together in a small mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat well.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes.
4. If the batter is too thick, add a bit more milk.
5. Heat some butter or coconut oil in a skillet or griddle. Once cooking surface is hot, pour pancake batter on in the size (or shape!) that you want.
6. Cook until the batter starts to bubble and the bottom is slightly browned (around 3-5 minutes) and then flip.
7. Cook on the other side for 2-4 minutes or until cooked through.**
8. Remove from skillet and serve immediately, or if planning to freeze, let cool on a wire cooling rack (so the steam can escape, otherwise they will get soggy).
*You can buy oat flour, but I always just make it myself as it is so easy. Simply process old-fashioned oats (NOT quick oats) in the food processor until they turn into a fine flour.
** Honestly, I can’t in good faith recommend temperatures or cooking times for pancakes because I really could not get it right. My griddle was packed away so we used a pan on the stove and we had a hard time finding a good temperature, which resulted in a lot of “well-done” pancakes. I say start on medium-low and turn it up if they aren’t cooking fast enough.
These pancakes are simple, healthy and really delicious. They aren’t as sweet as your typical pancake – just a hint of sweetness from the maple syrup, apple sauce and spices. Personally, I think it is better to add toppings to pancakes, including sweetener of choice, when you are eating them. I won’t even put fruit in pancakes – only as a topping!
We ate some for an afternoon snack the day we made them and I topped them with a syrup made from cooked down strawberries and maple syrup. Mmmmmmmmm. They would also be great with some nut butter lathered on – but what isn’t great with nut butter lathered on?
The recipe makes 4-6 pancakes (depending on how big you make them), but you all know how much I love batch cooking, so we quadrupled the recipe.
To make freezer pancakes, you could use any pancake recipe of course. To freeze, lay pancakes out individually on a cookie sheet until frozen solid and then store them in the freezer in a ziplock bag or tupperware container. When you want to have them for breakfast, just pop the pancakes into the toaster and toast until cooked through.
So. Darn. Easy.
I hope you enjoy the pancakes, and I hope your 2014 is full of fun and lots of Real Food!
What is your favourite pancake topping?