No doubt about it, my kids love “cake.”
My kids call pancakes, waffles, muffins…all of them are cake.
We have been experimenting with different flours. Flax, coconut, almond, and beans all make good alternatives to the traditional flours.
If you aren’t sure about switching from whole wheat, you don’t have to. For my family we have chosen to cut down on our whole wheat eating because of the high carbs, and evidence of wheat “bellies.” We do still eat whole wheat (the kids more than me) but we have cut it down to a more minimal usage in an effort to improve our health and expand our nutrients.
First lets talk about flours.
~Flax seed: Flax seed can be bought either in the seed form or already milled. If you buy it milled make sure you keep it in the freezer to keep it from going rancid. Flax can be used in place of oils and in place of eggs. It works wonderfully in tangent with almond or coconut flour. This can be found either in the gluten free section or the cereal section. Sometimes it is in the herbal/pharmacy section as well. I get a big bag at Sam’s for inexpensive.
~Almond flour/meal: You can buy this in just about any store in the gluten free section. Or you can get a big bag of raw almonds and grind it yourself in your food processor or blender. I have a Cuisinart that works wonderfully for this process. Look around and you may find it on clearance. I lucked out and found it at Sam’s for less than half the price it is on Amazon!
~Coconut flour: You can make your own coconut flour from coconut if you can get your hands on pure, unsweetened coconut. I have not tried this as I have not been able to find coconut “meat” in a form that is unsweetened or cheaper than the store bought variety. You will find this in the gluten free section of just about any grocery store.
~Bean Flour: There are lots of options when it comes to bean flour. I am just now embarking on this one. Dried beans can be ground up into powder (I find my blender actually does a better job than my food processor and I do have a cheap $20 Oster which is 4 years old). These can be used in tangent with the other flours and do not add an odd flavor. You can also use beans from a can or beans that have been cooked in a variety of recipes such as this delicious chocolate cake recipe. The best trick for baked goods with beans in it is to allow it to sit for at least 8 hours. That will take away any remaining taste of beans that might be present.
~Ground Oatmeal: Now I have yet to buy oat bran or oat fiber but I have discovered that oatmeal that has been through my food processor works wonderfully as another flour alternative. This is probably my favorite as oatmeal is cheap (and can be purchased through our WIC checks) and is super yummy. We have been using ground oatmeal in cookies and other recipes for awhile now. Think oatmeal cookies that don’t have any other kind of flour. Amazing!
THM has introduced me to sprouted bread as well. Although this is made from whole grains, these grains are unaltered. And delicious! I admit that I save the sprouted bread just for me. It isn’t cheap. The boys are growing, not overweight, and are fine eating the basic whole wheat bread that we get through WIC.
Bonus, my husband is doing Atkins. These are great options to help with his weight loss goals as well.
Pancakes: The first thing you need to think about is what kind of “flour” you want to use. I enjoy using either coconut flour or ground oatmeal. I think they produce the lightest pancakes.
Second, be prepared for more of an egg-y consistency than regular wheat pancakes. They do not fluff as much and can be dry without enough liquid.
Here is a recipe from The Wannabe Chef that uses Greek yogurt and almond flour (keep in mind that if you are following THM you will want to use 0% unflavored Greek yogurt but you can still add things like blueberries and stevia into the mix for a delightful sweetness).
I tried making this recipe using ground oatmeal and it was a delicious success! I used a homemade blueberry syrup in the mix and then I topped the pancakes with them as well. The boys ate way too many of them!
You can alter this recipe in so many different ways. Try different add ins. Strawberries, cinnamon/apples, chocolate powder, or your favorite extract. You can also swap out the Greek yogurt for cottage or ricotta cheese. Another option is to swap out the flour. The original recipe called for almond flour. You could play with coconut flour (you will need a lot more liquid anytime you use coconut flour), stick with the almond flour or use ground oatmeal like I did. Or you could try another form of flour. Just make sure that any change you make includes the correct amount of liquid to compensate for the extra dry ingredients.
Here‘s another one, from Gwen’s Nest, that I have heard rave reviews on but have not personally tried. This is a great option if you are low carb or wanting an S pancake for THM.
Waffles: I’m not going to spend much time talking about waffles, because waffles and pancakes use very similar batters. My suggestion for waffles is to use egg whites instead of the whole egg. It helps to make the waffles more fluffy. Otherwise I simply follow the pancake recipe and pour it into my hot, greased waffle iron.
Update: We tried this waffle recipe, by Foodie Fiasco, this morning. I liked it although I think I will add blueberries to it next time. My husband is apparently not a fan of coconut flour as he said it turned to powder in his mouth. If you like coconut flour and are used to the dry texture then I recommend this recipe. The waffle looked just like a white flour waffle. It was big and fluffy. I dipped it in a homemade ricotta/blueberry mix. Yum!
French Toast: Now here is where I love to get fancy!
I don’t believe that french toast should just consist of eggs and a little bit of milk. Nope. That’s boring!
For my kiddos I use whole wheat bread. Since they are growing I like to use the whole egg for the healthy fat. Because I want them to fill up on protein instead of carbs I use greek yogurt instead of milk. And to add some interest I add a variety of different seasonings such as vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, pureed fruit, applesauce, etc.
Here’s how my “batter” looks.
Take a flat bowl that is wide enough to dip your bread in. Crack 2 or 3 eggs in the bowl. Add in approximately 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt. Then add your seasonings. Don’t forget to add a bit of sweetener (we use stevia)! Whisk it all together with a whisk (or a fork).
Now heat your greased griddle and get dunking! I can usually get about 6 pieces of french toast from this batch of “batter.” Your goal is just to coat both sides. Don’t worry about it soaking in or being perfect. As it cooks it will create an egg-y goodness on the outside of the pieces of bread. You will know it is ready when the eggs are no longer liquidy. Serve with some fresh fruit jelly/syrup, or a tsp of honey. Or if you are feeling fancy, spray a little bit of fat free whipped cream onto it and sprinkle some seasoning/berries over it. Yum!
Since I am trying to lose weight I make mine a little bit different.
I use sprouted bread instead of the whole wheat. It tends to fill me up a lot more than the ones I use for my kiddos. Instead of whole eggs, I stick with egg whites for mine. I do eat whole eggs but I choose to use egg whites for a lot of recipes due to the lack of fat and the benefits of the nutrition an egg provides.
In my bowl I use two egg whites (one whole egg is equal to two egg whites), and one tablespoon of Greek yogurt. Then I add in whatever mix I added to my kids french toast. Cinnamon or blueberries are my favorite. You have to experiment with it to find out how much but start with about a tablespoon of fruit or a teaspoon of seasonings. Sprinkle in some stevia and whisk the “batter.”
I usually fix my “batter” up while the french toast for my kids is on the griddle cooking. Then I allow my sprouted bread to soak up the “batter.” It does a great job of really soaking up the goodness. After I clear the griddle of my kids’ breakfast I put mine on and allow it to cook until the eggs are cooked through. Yum!
I personally don’t like syrup on my pancakes, waffles, or french toast, so I tend to make something on the side that I can dip my food into. The other day I made myself up some cottage cheese that was sweetened with stevia and flavored with vanilla, blueberries, and strawberries (all frozen) to go with my cinnamon vanilla french toast. Served it with some homemade strawberry lemonade and turkey sausage. It was delicious!
(By the way, I didn’t eat all that cottage cheese with fruit! It was a ton! The boys had some and I saved some to eat later. This was a picture of the food all ready to go to the table.)
I hope this inspires you to come up with some new ideas for breakfast. Breakfast doesn’t have to come out of a box. It doesn’t have to be boring! There are lots of options!
In a later post I will talk about muffins, which is another great option for breakfast but also works great for a snack or other quick meals. But for now I will leave you with these suggestions for mixing up your morning routine.
(PS. If you are short on time, you can make up your pancake, waffles or french toast the night before. Wrap them in individual paper towels to grab and eat cold on your way out the door, or microwave, starting with 30 seconds and increasing the time by 30 seconds as needed. Or lay them out on freezer paper lined cookie sheet so they are not touching and allow to sit in the freezer for a couple hours, until solidly frozen. Then place in a gallon sized freezer bag. Pull out what you want in the morning and heat in the microwave or in a hot, greased skillet.)