Monday, November 29, 2010

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Flax Pancakes

Ahh, pancakes.  The long standing breakfast staple.  There is no substitute for warm, fluffy pancakes to start a Saturday morning, at least not at my house.  My son and husband are nuts about pancakes, but I was less than thrilled with the recipes I had tried.  Not that every single thing we eat has to be uber healthy, but it does have to have some nutritional value or I won't allow it on our table.  The recipes I had experimented with that met my nutritional standards didn't pass my hubby's taste test- so now what?

I started with the basic pancake recipe that my husband loved.  Then I subbed out half of the white flour for whole wheat, added some buttermilk, and finally a little flax to up the fiber content, protein, and add a ton of omega 3's.  The end result satisfied all the critics in our house.  Hubby and son were happy because the pancakes were fluffy and tasted great.  I was content knowing that they were consuming a healthier version of their favorite breakfast meal.  A few additions and a couple changes was all it took to create a healthier version of an old favorite.  It wasn't difficult and it didn't mean we had to sacrifice on taste either.  We've been eating these healthy, delicious pancakes for some time now, and hubby doesn't seem to miss the old ones at all!

So, what's all the fuss about these pancakes?

Whole Wheat- referred to as the staff of life, wheat is the best known, most cultivated and consumed grain on the planet.  Eating wheat in its whole, unrefined state has many health benefits including cancer prevention and heart health, offering protection from cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  Eating whole grains contribute to a healthy weight and have been shown to reduce high cholesterol.  Whole wheat contains fiber, protein and a multitude of vitamins, including iron, zinc, magnesium, riboflavin, thiamine and an excellent source of B vitamins. 

Flax- flax has been cultivated and used for centuries.  It has been shown to fight everthing from cancer to diabetes to heart disease.  It is one of the richest sources of plant based omega 3 fatty acids.  It contains lignans, which are plant estrogens and offers powerful antioxidants.  Flax seed has 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.  Flax is a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. 

* Our bodies cannot break down flaxseed in its whole form.  It is digested most effectively when ground.  Ground flax seed is virtually tasteless, making it a great addition to anything from smoothies to baked goods- like these pancakes.  I add flax to our daily smoothie and to many other recipes,  even unlikely ones, such as casseroles and chili! 

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Flax Pancakes

3/4 c unbleached, all purpose flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
3 T sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 c ground flax seed
1 1/2 c buttermilk
1 T vegetable oil  (optional)
1 egg
1 egg white

Sift flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into large bowl.  Add flax and whisk until combined.

In another bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs and oil.  Mix until blended.

Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and whisk just until combined.

Heat griddle over medium heat.  Melt a little butter on pan or spray griddle with oil.    Add about 1/3 cup of pancake mixture.  Cook for a couple minutes or until bubbles form on top.  Flip and cook for a few more minutes until golden.

Serve warm with your favorite pancake toppings.  My husband and son love theirs with peanut butter and maple syrup.  For me, it's pure maple syrup and nothing else.

These freeze incredibly well, so they are great for rushed mornings when you need to pop something in the toaster and go.  After cooking, allow pancakes to cool completely and then lay on a cookie sheet.  Freeze for half an hour, place into Ziploc bags and freeze up to 3 months.

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