Saturday morning is pancake day. It’s a leftover from my childhood. As kids, we would wake up before our parents and have a bowl of cheerios, but when Dad eventually made it out of bed, he’d be cooking up his whole-wheat pancakes (long before anyone else in the world was crazy about whole wheat) and we’d be begging him to put chocolate chips in the last batch. Now that I am all “growed-up”, the tradition continues, only I have taken Dad’s place in the kitchen…and I don’t need a handful of chocolate chips to appreciate a good healthy pancake. Each week I like to vary the pancake recipes, although we do have a couple of real favourites: oatmeal yoghurt pancakes from the McCann’s Oatmeal website, cornmeal pancakes from the Heart Smart Cookbook, and my own invention: multigrain pancakes.
These pancakes are hearty and filling. They contain flax seed, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, cornmeal and oats – all of them high in fibre. Oatmeal especially is a favourite of mine. While I rarely eat just “oatmeal” (as in porridge) I slip it into my cooking wherever I can. Maybe it’s the Scot in me, but I believe oatmeal to be one of the wonder foods of this planet. Oatmeal and cornmeal are rich in soluble fibre – a cholesterol fighing agent – and are known to be blood sugar stabilizers. Oatmeal does not loose its nutritional benefits in cooking, which means you can use it and abuse it (if that’s even possible!)
In this recipe, I added flax seed for extra fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B. Flax seed is a power food, too, but needs to be ground. Wheat germ is the nutrient-rich “germ” of the wheat kernal – in other words, it’s the part of the wheat kernal that germinates into a plant. Thus, the bulk of the wheat’s vitamins, minerals and fat are found in the germ. It only takes a few tablespoons of wheat germ to gain some of its nutritional content.
Finally, I add a cup of berries. When picked ripe, berries are packed with sweetness yet low in calories. In this recipe, I use frozen mixed berries (unsweetened) that I thaw and drain for about an hour before cooking (alternatively, I place them in a bowl in the fridge the night before breakfast, and drain before using). Use a good quality frozen berry mix, and if there are strawberries in the mixture, you will want to cut them in quarters before adding them to your pancake mixture.
(Makes 8-9 medium sized pancakes)
¼ cup white flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup cornmeal
¼ cup oats
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp wheat germ
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp honey or sugar
¼ cup low fat milk
3 tbsp low fat yoghurt
2 eggs (or egg whites)
1 cup frozen or fresh mixed berries
Mix dry and wet ingredients (except berries) separately and then combine. After mixing the pancakes well, you may need to add additional milk until the mixture is wet enough to ladle into a pan. At this point, when satisfied with the consistency, add your berries and only stir once or twice – otherwise your pancakes will take on a greyish-blue tinge (which does not affect the taste, but picky eaters may be turned off by the colour). If you don’t want to mix your berries into the pancakes, try heating the mixed berries in a small pot, using a tiny amount of corn starch (made into a paste with 1 tsp water) and adding 1-2 tbsp maple syrup for a sauce to top the pancakes. Ladle the pancakes into a pan (I use a titanium non-stick pan and I do not need to use any oil or butter at all – but if you do need to grease your pan, use a baking spray rather than oil or butter, to cut unnecessary fat). Douse your pancakes with real maple syrup and enjoy!