Monday, September 03, 2007

Pancakes That Are Not Empty

After a recent triathlon, they served a pancake breakfast for athletes and families. My son came through the line with me and loaded up on a stack of traditional pancakes, hot off the griddle. After pouring maple syrup on (and commenting how it was soaked up like a sponge), he tucked in. Almost immediately, he looked at the pancakes strangely and then said "These pancakes are completely empty! There's nothing inside them." LOL, he's used to my nutrient-dense whole grain and nut pancakes, and these were just white flour, butter, and salt.

It reminded me of a story my mom tells about me when I was three or four years old. She had taken me over to a babysitter's house for the day and I refused to eat this lady's sandwiches because they were on strange white bread. I think it shows that what kids are raised with is what they get used to, and I've always said that there's a small window of a few years to help kids get used to what healthy food really is before they've got the rest of the universe to compare it with. In our case, my kids have grown up with my pancake recipe, and anything else tastes strange. If they'd grown up with balloon pancakes (the other word my son used for the white flour kind), that's what they'd think of as normal. In extreme cases, some kids eat such a narrow diet that what you feed them in the early years really matters. I've known two kids who really only ate a few foods by the age of five or so. One of them ate blueberries, cashews, a ginger-granola mix, red peppers, black beans, orange juice, and oatmeal. The other ate processed frozen waffles, french fries, white bread, american cheese food slices, crackers, and some kind of juice drink mix in little boxes. In both cases, the kids had settled on what they were used to by a couple years of age, so what they ate in those first couple of years hugely determined the nutrition that they would get overall growing up.

I'm lucky in that my kids both have a very broad range of foods that they eat, and it is pretty overwhelmingly nutritious. So I don't have a lot of food worries. I do think that when kids garden and pick fruits and vegetables and carry in the eggs from their own chickens, and pet the goats that are giving them milk, it really helps connect them to the food that they're eating and encourages healthy choices.

As for the pancakes, here's what's in them:

Robin's Non-Empty Pancakes

1 cup raw milk (ours is goat's)
1 cup yogurt
1 1/2 cup whole grain flour (sometimes I combine oat, spelt, wheat, coconut flour, whatever I have available)
1/4 Cup Ground Flax Meal
1/4 Cup Hemp Seeds

If I have time, mix everything above together and let it soak for 12 - 24 hours to ferment a little bit.

Then, the next morning, I mix in:
6 eggs
4 Tbs coconut oil or butter
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Tbs Raw Evaporated Cane Juice (Sucanat)
1 tsp sea salt

Sometimes I make them with bananas and pecans or blueberries or huckleberries in season. These also make great rollups with peanut butter and honey for a middle of the day snack. If I have the time, I'll mix up a double or triple batch and freeze a bunch so the kids can get pancakes any day of the week. It's both more nutritious and much more cost-effective than breakfast cereals.


hak said...

Very true about kids and their eating habits from a young age. I have one who decided she didn't like fruit at age 3 and has refused to touch it since. She's now 10.

I'll have to give that recipe a whirl! Looks yummy!

Madeline said...

Well, we are on an organic farm and the kids eat a huge variety of good foods but at the recent L&L conf. they rediscovered all kinds of junk food that they really liked. I was surprised. They are so excited to get more junkie cereals. blech. I'll balance that out with lots of home baked good food that they love. The pancake recipe looks great. I like to ferment our's too. I'll try your's soon.

VoiceInTheWilderness said...

Unfortunately, we are somewhat new to healthy eating. My kids were used to white flour pancakes. I'm having trouble getting them to eat the whole grain ones. Your recipe looks great, though. I'm planning to try it!

Karen said...

Robin - how many will this make?
We're counting carbs right now.