Supercharge your pancakes
There is nothing like making 21 unicorn pancakes at midnight to remind you that you don't quite have it all together. Needless to say, there I was — flipping these magical beasts into crispy perfection because I'd forgotten I'd promised Chloe that she could do it for her school project.
“Promised” is a loose word; it's more accurate to say that Chloe asked me when I was busy and I replied, “Uh huh, sure!”, without really being aware what I'd agreed to.
That will teach me for not concentrating. And to be fair, Chloe did most of them and I just had to redo a few that fell apart or were unrecognisable.
But after an evening of lunch boxes and laundry and dinner and cleaning out the fish (not to mention feeding the veritable farm of other animals we seem to have collected), it was the last thing we needed!
The biggest question of course is ... what kind of school project requires 21 unicorn pancakes anyway? And your guess is as good as mine!
It's something about identity and self-expression and bringing in an object that helps show people who you are.
Chloe began by asking if she could take Jules, her cat. I remember saying no to that one quite clearly, thinking that it would be too much drama.
However, having just dealt with 21 unicorns with delicate horns and flowing manes, I can safely say the cat would have been easier. To be honest, a herd of wild bloody horses would have been easier, but there you go!
On the up side, storing pancakes in the fridge overnight reminded me what a useful go-to breakfast they are.
And, had I made them earlier in the evening while watching Netflix and sipping a glass of wine, it wouldn't have been a painful process. Then it would have just a quick reheat in the morning, adding a dash of syrup and some berries. So easy.
I'm OK with a little syrup at the start of the day (when they are so active) when the pancakes have a dose of protein too. It's easy to add it in.
For a start, most recipes include eggs but you can also add collagen, protein powder, ground seed mix (eg Linwood's from Miles) or plain chia seeds.
Just replace a small portion of the flour with your protein of choice! And when picking flour, go wholewheat or, if gluten-free, choose a bean-based flour (eg Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix) versus a rice or corn base because the protein is much higher in the former.
For an extra dose of goodness, serve some scrambled eggs on the side. You'll have full, happy kids with sustained concentration through the morning. For a gold star nutrition award, replace the syrup entirely with a fruit compote or apple sauce.
I've given you my vegan chia seed pancake recipe below — my kids love these! — but also some extra tips on how to supercharge your pancakes in general. Give the ideas a try and have a great weekend!
Chia Seed Pancakes (serves 2-4)
Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix
Milk (dairy, hemp, almond, coconut, organic soy or flax)
Refined coconut oil (melted) or light olive oil
1 tbs chia seed
1, Prepare the mix as per package directions using the suggested oils and choice of milk.
Leave out the egg and replace with the chia seed. Whisk together as per usual and allow to sit for a few minutes before cooking. This gives time for the seeds to become soft.
2, Heat a little extra oil in a pan over a medium heat. Drop the mixture in and cook until the base has turned golden and the top is set enough to flip. Flip and cook the reverse side.
3, Keep the pancakes warm as you cook the rest and serve with fruit, a little syrup, lean English-cut bacon, scrambled eggs — the choice is yours!
Supercharge your pancakes
Four extra tips:
1, Pick the best base you can. If you are gluten-free, look for one that is less refined such as the Bob's Red Mill gluten-free option.
If you are not gluten-free, then Bob's Red Mill have a great wholegrain pancake mix. You can also make your batter from scratch using wholewheat flour, or follow the almond butter pancake recipe (Paleo) on my Facebook page.
2, Add some extra omega-3. I am a big fan of adding it through either chia or ground flaxseed. If you are serving these to kids, use the flax seed conservatively as it can be a laxative!
3, Sweeten wisely. Put away the Aunt Jemima, which is sweetened with the worst of all evils — high fructose corn syrup. You also get a good dose of sodium benzoate, artificial flavours and sodium hexametaphosphate. Sounds delicious?!
Instead, pick a little local honey or maple syrup. Get some extra sweetness from some fresh berries which provide fantastic antioxidants too.
4, Serve with protein. Try some Niman Ranch/Applegate Canadian cut or English bacon, and avoid the streaky kind.
Scrambled eggs are also a good source of protein. Adding protein helps to slow down the release of the sugar into the bloodstream so you get a more steady energy supply instead of a peak and crash.
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram