Monday, September 5, 2011

Oatmeal and Banana Pancakes

Over the past year-ish, I have been trying to re-program my brain on breakfast.  Growing up, I never really ate breakfast.  I can't remember when I was really young, but I can remember back to at least 4th grade.  I remember because my 4th grade teacher said in front of the ENTIRE class, "Shanon, your mom told me you don't eat breakfast."  I was embarrassed beyond belief.  I think I started eating breakfast in late high school, but I have no memory of what I ate.  In college, I definitely ate breakfast.  I would eat a wide variety of things from granola bars, bagels, stuff from the cafeteria, fruit, etc.  Once I met Scot, I started eating cereal.  And with all of this, I am just talking about everyday breakfast, not like weekend, fun breakfast.  And I have never eaten weird kid cereals like that marshmallow one, but I usually ate Cheerios, Honey Bunches, Life, Mini Wheats, or Raisin Bran.  

My problem is:  I really, really crave savory things.  Pretty much always, but especially in the morning.  Number two problem is that I really want to cut out processed foods completely.  Cereal is the only processed food that we eat on a regular basis.  I mean, I am not going crazy about it.  I will buy potato chips for a BBQ.  And for camping, my standards are much lower.  Gummy bears are part of my life.  But I don't want to eat cereal every morning.  Plus, I don't even like it.

I started thinking...why are the majority of breakfasty foods that Americans eat sweet?  Why is that the standard?  And why don't we eat vegetables for breakfast?  Fruit is pretty normal.  Veggies in an omelette, frittata, or other egg dish is normal.  Who decided this?  I think we can all agree that lunch is kind of the same as dinner.  I guess most people consider lunch to be a quicker meal.

One factor that is certainly important is that in the morning, you want to eat something that is easy to digest.  And easy to prepare.  And easy to eat (which is different than easy to digest).  This is why I think we don't eat salads, raw veggies, etc.  It is also why we probably stay away from heavier foods, meats and even fish.  I know we eat those things for fancy breakfast and brunch, but most people don't wake up before work and cook up a nice cut of salmon.

After coming to this realization, I semi-accepted the focus on whole grains and carbs being the main bulk of breakfast.  Oatmeal, granola, whole grain toast are all pretty common.  Protein usually comes in the form of eggs or yogurt.  Maybe some cheese or milk.  And then fruit and veggies might be thrown in depending on which grain or protein.

Now I love oatmeal with fruit, nuts, etc.  And I love a yogurt parfait with granola and fruit.  But I can't eat those every morning.  Plus, I don't want my everyday breakfast to be sweet.  And eggs and toast won't last forever.  So, I am going to be further exploring eating less "breakfasty" food for breakfast.  Soups.  Quinoa.  Beans.  Tacos.  Leftovers.  And most importantly, I am going to see if I like how other cultures do breakfast.  I could eat congee for breakfast.  I found this NY Times article, which was very helpful.  Mark Bittman puts it quite well, "But even putting aside the healthy argument, the narrow spectrum of highly sweetened morning food is limiting and ultimately boring."

So stay tuned.  I will let you know how it goes.  You may be wondering why I am sharing a recipe for pancakes after all that gibberish up there.  Well, I just am.  I like pancakes.  These are pretty good too.  Did you know that oatmeal pancakes can be made with:  oat flour (ground up oats), instant oats, quick oats, or whole old fashioned oats? It doesn't matter, they all taste good!  If you process the oats into oat flour, the pancakes are a bit smoother, but even when putting in the whole old-fashioned oats, the oats cook through and taste great and hearty.  I like both.  I also like not dirtying my food processor when I am super lazy.  I also added some chopped pecans.  If you are making the oat flour, it is best to process the nuts the same way so that you don't have big chunks.  I just chopped mine because I was going for a hearty, crunchy pancake.  Scot loves this kind of stuff.

Oatmeal and Banana Pancakes

1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry milk powder (I did not use)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 banana, mashed

Place the rolled oats into the jar of a blender and blend until the texture resembles coarse flour. Whisk together the blended oats, whole wheat flour, allpurpose flour, brown sugar, dry milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside.

Whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Stir in the mashed banana. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 15 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  9/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5


  1. Hehe, talk to Dan about your comment "eggs and toast are not forever". He will disagree strongly. Although he said to me this morning he's trying to eat oatmeal sometimes too, but so far it isn't working too well. I've been on the tea and toast kick for quite a while now. I used to love cereal every morning, and then Dan happened... I'm sure I'm better off for it. But oh! Honey Bunches of Oats, do I miss you at times. I do not, however, becoming ravenously hungry again at oh, 9:45am after a bowl of cereal at 8am.

  2. errr, that's "I do not miss becoming ravenously hungry". Can I not edit my comment once it's been posted?

  3. I usually crave savory foods for breakfast too. But a pile of healthy and hearty pancakes? I'll take those any day! Thank you for making me smile and my stomach growl. I hope you are having a wonderful evening, my friend. Love from Austin.