Though I’m fighting a battle with flab, I’m not into diets. Never have been. Probably never will be. I’m much more interested in overall healthier living, rather than sporadic dieting. Why deprive myself? There are plenty of ways to eat healthy and yet enjoy really good food.
That’s why I’m glad Ellie Krieger feels the same way. I’ve spoken about her in the past — she’s the nutritionist and cook from Food Network’s “Healthy Appetite” and released a cookbook just last year called The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life.
Her philosophy of food is that a person really shouldn’t have to sacrifice the things they like to eat, because there are ways to make them healthy. Case in point: Pancakes.
I love pancakes. Fluffy, delicious, swimming in sweet syrup pancakes — but without the fat? Seems like a tall order. Well, I happened to have a small carton of strawberries in my fridge that I didn’t want to go to waste, so when I saw this as the very first recipe in the book, I stopped right there and made them for dinner. That’s right, dinner. Because I’m just that bad ass.
Come on, I know I’m not the only one out there who would eat breakfast any time of the day.
Our dear web admin was not as enthused. He was worried that it was a lot of sugar for dinner. “Nope,” I said, “there’s no sugar except for the two tablespoons of pure maple syrup and sprinkle of powdered sugar on top.” Once he was on board, I set up the kitchen and started making breakfast.
Ellie includes nutritional information with each recipe. Here’s how this stacked up:
Serving Size: 3 pancakes and 1/3 cup strawberry sauce
Total fat: 3.5g (1 sat.)
Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce
Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Healthy Appetite & The Food You Crave
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-grain pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
3/4 cup nonfat milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioner’s Sugar (optional)
Strawberry Sauce (recipe follows)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, nonfat milk, honey, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine them. The batter will be somewhat lumpy.
Coat a large nonstick griddle or skillet with cooking spray and preheat over medium-low heat. Use a 1/4 measure to ladle the batter onto the griddle or skillet. Flip the pancakes when they are golden brown on the bottom and bubbles are floating on top, about 1 1/2 minutes.
These fluff up really nicely in the pan. I was elated to see that they became these puffy clouds — I hate flat pancakes. At the time, I was worried about cooking them on medium-low, but they did quite well and cooked pretty quickly on that setting. I played with the heat a bit to see what might work better, but in the end I thought medium-low worked better, as they cooked just as quickly and the ends didn’t darken as much as when I had it up higher.
Cook the other side until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Keep the pancakes warm in a 200-degree F oven as you finish cooking the remaining ones.
A trick my mom used to do is she would cover the pancakes with a damp towel and put them in the oven. The steam from the towel would keep the pancakes from drying out. That method works well for me.
2 pints (16 ounces) fresh strawberries, hulled, or 4 cups frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Place the strawberries in a food processor and process them into a chunky puree.
Stir in the lemon juice and maple syrup.
Plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar, eat, enjoy. Lick plate clean.
I suggest the powdered sugar for anyone who is used to high sugar content. If you are a person who is trying to change your palette into something a little more healthy and needs something that’s got a hint of sweetness in it, put a shake or two of powdered sugar on top. I put a few spoonfuls into a sifter and just shook it over the pancakes. What you’re seeing in the picture is a bit much — I’d cut that down to half for the right amount of sweetness without making the healthier pancake a moot point. It’s like going to McDonald’s and ordering a diet coke with your burger and fries.
I really enjoyed the pancakes and strawberry puree together. Let me explain — I didn’t like them separately. I tried the pancake alone. It was okay, but some of the ingredients were a little odd just plain. The strawberry puree alone was also a little funky. Somehow the syrup in the puree really threw me off because, although there wasn’t much in there, I could taste a lot of it.
Together, it all worked. I spread some of the puree on the pancake, and really liked how the fruit and hint of sweetness in the strawberries brought out the different flavors inside the pancake. It was a light meal, and I was happy to know that I was eating something nutritious. Next time I probably won’t put as much confectioners’ sugar on it, but I do believe it required a tiny bit for additional sweetness. These pancakes were a fun and healthier option of the regular smothered in sugary syrup breakfast — or dinner, whatever your poison.
Lots of dishes involved in this one, because there’s mixing and pouring and pureeing. The taste was delicious and it’s something I will make again as a fun and tasty treat, and is even something I would serve to guests. It’s not what I’d consider five-star, so I do have to knock it down for that, but the healthy component and the fact that it’s tasty enough to be served at a quaint, country bed and breakfast support a positive rating.
Weeknight Cooking: B+
Overall Dish: B+