Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

Allow me to introduce you to a very good friend of mine: My all-time favorite pancakes. I know a lot of people would give me some serious side-eye to for saying that the greatest pancakes of all time involve whole wheat and oatmeal (there are a lot of white flour/buttermilk devotees out there) but stick with me. Cuz these pancakes are a-mazing.

I love these pancakes for the same reasons I love oatmeal: because they’re so hearty and filling–and healthy, too! I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I eat a stack of white flour pancakes, I find myself hungry again by mid-morning. Unlike those full of refined carbs, these whole wheat breakfast babies have longer-lasting complex carbs that stick to your ribs. And they manage to taste just sweet enough with only one itty bitty tablespoon of brown sugar.

Plus, instead of buttermilk, these use Greek yogurt, which makes them extra rich and thick. Quick-cooking oats take a soak in the yogurt (and some milk) to soften them so they’re not too crunchy in the finished product. And–possibly best of all–a cinnamon-nutmeg spice mixture gives the pancakes an almost chai-like flavor.

If you like oatmeal, I think you’ll agree that these take the (pan)cake. They keep well, so feel free to make a big batch on the weekend and continue enjoying throughout the week. Slap some peanut butter on top and you have a wholesome mid-morning or afternoon snack. Or make them with bacon and a fruit salad for BFD (breakfast for dinner). Any way you serve them, they’re a high-protein, whole grain menu choice you can feel good about.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

Whole wheat oatmeal pancakes bring the hearty goodness of oatmeal to your favorite weekend breakfast!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c. quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 6 Tbsp. milk of your choice, divided
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed

Instructions

  • In a large measuring cup, soak the oats in 3/4 c. Greek yogurt and 2 Tbsp. milk for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • To the dry ingredients, add the soaked oats, the remaining 1/2 c. Greek yogurt and remaining 4 Tbsp. milk, the egg, melted butter, and brown sugar. Stir until just combined.
  • Heat a griddle over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop batter onto griddle. (You may have to use a greased spatula to flatten the batter a bit.) Cook about 3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Notes

Adapted from Epicurious.

Banana Almond Butter Muffins

Why is it that every time you search for a recipe with almond butter (especially baked goods) everything that comes up is touted as Paleo? Do a quick Google search for almond butter muffins and you’ll find results like this:

Almond Butter Muffins {Paleo}!

SUPER Paleo Banana Almond Butter Protein Bites {PaleoPaleoPaleo}

Flourless Almond Butter Muffins With Secret-Ingredient Buffalo Meat–As Paleo As It Freakin’ Gets!

Apparently, in the world of Paleo (aka the way our ancestors supposedly ate) peanuts are legumes, not “real” nuts, so for some reason, hunter-gatherers wouldn’t have eaten them. Almonds, on the other hand, are allowed on the diet.

Since I’m a freelance food and nutrition writer and I usually write for other people, sometimes it’s such a joy to get to write my own opinions on my own blog. So let me just say, I think all this Paleo almonds-versus-peanuts business is nonsense. Looking at the nutrient profile of peanuts and almonds, I think we’re splitting hairs, so I don’t really care whether my furry forebears ate or didn’t eat one or the other. I’m just trying to find a decent almond butter muffin recipe because I happen to like almond butter, mmkay?

So what’s a girl to do when she can’t find a muffin recipe that’s not made with rice flour or coconut sugar (and/or buffalo meat)? Make her own!

These Banana Almond Butter Muffins are a riff on the always-reliable Sally’s Baking Addiction’s skinny peanut butter banana muffins.

They do have a couple of unique ingredients, like some flax seed for extra fiber and omega-3 fats, and in place of almond milk, I used an interesting banana nut plant-based coffee creamer I’ve been trying out. But of course, if you don’t have flax seed or banana-nut coffee creamer, whole wheat flour and any kind of milk will do. (Even cow’s milk–take that, Paleo!) Heck, you could even revert to peanut butter instead of almond butter. In addition to these ingredients, you’ll find Greek yogurt, honey, whole wheat flour, and a couple of mashed bananas.

Healthy? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely. Paleo? Nope, not for me.

Banana Almond Butter Muffins

Creamy almond butter meets wholesome whole wheat flour, mashed banana, and ground flax seeds in this healthy breakfast recipe. Chocolate chips optional but necessary.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time17 mins
Total Time27 mins
Servings: 14 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. banana nut coffee creamer (or almond or any other milk)
  • 1/2 c. creamy almond butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease 14 muffin cups.
  • In a large bowl, combine mashed banana, honey, brown sugar, yogurt, egg, creamer/milk, almond butter and vanilla.
  • To the same bowl, add white whole wheat flour, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips, if using.
  • Divide batter evenly between muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 12 minutes. Muffins are done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Store in an airtight container, preferably in the refrigerator.

Notes

Inspired by (but heavily edited from) Sally's Baking Addiction.

Blueberry Flax Seed Muffins

Oh, breakfast, I love you. How can anyone not eat breakfast everyday? I know there are those who say they feel nauseous in the mornings, or they’re just not hungry first thing, but breakfast is MY JAM. When my kids were really little, eating an entire breakfast for myself with no interruptions was something I’d fantasize about. Sitting there with my coffee steaming, a buttery muffin or crunchy bowl of cereal in front of me (and only me) sounded like pure bliss–the perfect start to the day.

Now, when I have a great breakfast to look forward to, it literally extends its joy to the night before. Last night, knowing I had these Blueberry Flax Seed Muffins to wake up to was enough to curb my late-night sweets cravings and make me wait until morning to eat. That’s right, I said NO to the COSTCO CHEESECAKE in my fridge for these things.

See, I’ve been kind of obsessed with flax seed lately. (And planning a post all about it and how to use it–so for now I’ll restrain myself for the moment from launching into accolades about its many benefits.) Suffice it to say, a switch has flipped in my brain and I am in full-on Flax Seed Mode. Energy balls, smoothies, and, of course, muffins make excellent vehicles for this mega-healthy–and, I think, mega-tasty–ingredient.

In light of recent evidence that more dietary fiber reduces the risk of numerous chronic diseases, I’m digging flax seed’s enormous fiber content. A single tablespoon of the stuff contains about 3 grams of fiber. Plus, flax seeds contain plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fats. So even if they’re not a familiar ingredient for you, why not try something new?

These Blueberry Flax Seed Muffins are springy with flax seed, chewy with oats, and bursting with luscious blueberries. Maybe you can see why the thought of them sustained me when Costco cheesecake was calling.

Oh, and did I mention that each muffin has only 125 calories?

Oh. YEAH.

So whaddaya say? Gonna try flax seeds in your muffins? (And if you put them in your muffins, I have a feeling you’ll want to put them in everything.)

 

Blueberry Flax Seed Muffins

Ready for something a little different? These blueberry muffins use a combination of ground flax seed and oats to achieve their unique texture--and blueberries for juicy pops of flavor. Delish!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast
Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c. ground flax seed meal
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. quick-cooking or rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients: egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, yogurt, oil, and almond milk.
  • To the same bowl, add dry ingredients: flax seed meal, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries.
  • Divide mixture among 12 muffin cups and bake 20-22 minutes or until browned on top. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

Adapted from Running With Spoons.

Apple Cinnamon Energy Bites

Energy bites are one of those trendy foods that seem to be popping up everywhere. These golf ball-sized snacks with vaguely nutritious connotations have appeared at bakeries near my house, and my husband and I saw several varieties on display at a cafe on our vacation in England a couple weeks ago. As a bit of a food traditionalist, I tend to shy away from anything that strikes me as super hip (see also: kombucha, golden milk lattes, anything with matcha). So until recently, I definitely had not jumped on the energy bites bandwagon.

Then again, I never realized how ridiculously easy they are to make, or that they don’t even require turning on the oven–two factors that pretty much seal the deal for a snack-slash-breakfast item to add to my repertoire.

This particular Apple Cinnamon Energy Bites recipe was inspired by a mailer I received from my grocery store. Anyone else feel like grocery stores are seriously stepping up their marketing game these days? We’ve long since left the territory of mere boring newsprint circulars. My local store now sends me books of custom-curated coupons that include glossy, colorful sheets of recipes. Though I don’t generally pay much attention to the recipes in these mailers (I tend to gravitate immediately to the 50 cents off of cream cheese, thank you) this one caught my eye. Something about the small size and roundness of these bites made them seem so delightfully poppable, like donut holes, but healthier. Inspired, I even went out and bought flax seed meal just so I could try these. (Ironically, however, I went to a different store than the one that sent me the recipe. Ha.)

Once mixed and molded–with some ingredient adjustments based on my preferences–these energy bites turned out remarkably tasty with a texture I could eat all day–smooth and chewy for the most part, but with snappy crunches of chopped pecan. Everyone in my family was a bit surprised by how they were a bit sticky to handle, but that didn’t stop us from finishing these off in 24 hours. I’ll definitely be making them again for a nutrient-packed after-school snack for my kids (and myself). And maybe from now on I’ll keep my eyes open for more successful recipes on grocery store mailers.

Where do you get new recipes from? Tell me in the comments!

Apple Cinnamon Energy Bites

A tasty mix of chewy and crunchy gives these apple cinnamon bites their appealing texture. And did I mention they're no-bake?
Servings: 12 balls

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats (gluten free, if necessary)
  • 3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1/3 c. flax seed meal
  • 1/2 c. pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients from oats through cinnamon. Using a box grater, grate green apple (complete with peel) directly into the bowl and mix.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Using your hands, form mixture into 1.5-inch balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe, inspired by a Fry's Foods mailer.

Red, White, and Blueberry French Toast Casserole

As far as food goes on the Fourth of July, it’s always the cookouts and barbecues that get all the glory. We think of char-grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, bright yellow corn on the cob, and wiggly-jiggly Jello salads served at lunch or dinner. Rarely do we think of breakfast as an opportunity to make (and eat) something patriotically themed. Well, it’s time to change that! This Red, White, Blueberry Overnight French Toast features a mix of raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries in a sweet-but-not-too-sweet custard that will start your Independence Day off right.

I served this up yesterday at a fun pajama party breakfast (soon to be blogged) that my kids and I hosted for a group of friends. As one item on a menu of several breakfast dishes, it was so nice to know that I could put this French toast casserole together quickly the night before and not stress on the morning of our event. All it really takes is a loaf of French bread, cubed and layered with frozen berries in a baking dish like so…

Then, whisk together a quick milk-and-egg mixture with a bit of brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon, stash in the fridge, and pull out to bake when you’re ready!

Our young guests–a dozen or so elementary-aged kids–certainly approved. And with just a half cup of sugar in the whole 9 x 13-inch pan, I felt pretty good about feeding it to them, too. For a special occasion breakfast treat, this comes in at a surprisingly modest 240 calories per serving (before maple syrup, anyway).

So if you’d like to spruce up your Fourth of July festivities by starting early in the day, don’t forget to whip up your Red, White, and Blueberry French Toast Casserole the night of the Third.

Have a wonderful Independence Day!

Check out these other Fourth of July recipes from A Love Letter to Food!

Red, White, and Blue Berry Cheesecake Parfaits

Dysfunctional Family Recipe Salsa

Fresh Blueberry Ice Cream

Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

Mexican Street Corn Dip

Pavlova with Fresh Berries

Mediterranean 7-Layer Dip

Red, White, and Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Bursting with berries, this French toast casserole is a special occasion breakfast that takes next to no time to prepare!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time4 hrs 10 mins
Course: Breakfast
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 1 1/2 c. frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • 2 1/4 c. whole milk, or a mix of 2% and half and half
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • maple syrup for serving

Instructions

  • Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Slice French bread into 1-inch chunks and spread half of them in the pan. Sprinkle half the berries on top. Repeat with the remaining half of bread chunks and berries.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and brown sugar until smooth. Pour over bread, pressing down the top with a spatula to help bread soak up the milk mixture.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours (overnight is preferable). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. Serve with maple syrup.

Notes