Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. And while my daily breakfast is pretty plain –either a big bowl of Greek yogurt or some sort of porridge –I like to get a little more creative on the weekends, especially before long, base-mile rides.
And when I say “creative” I mean taking straight-up recipes and making them healthier. My partner is the (un)fortunate recipient of my experiments –some significantly better than others –and she is a big fan of my latest recipe.
I had recently returned from a two-week trip to Interbike, CrossVegas and the UCI World Championships, and came home to find that fall had arrived here in Seattle. Leaves had changed colour, the air is getting crisp and the fall harvest is bringing in some of my favourites veggies like kale, carrots, Brussel sprouts and, of course, squashes. So, getting into the fall spirit, I picked up a pie pumpkin at the store the other day and decided to make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast.
Using my own protein flour mix and wholesome ingredients, these “healthcakes” as my partner call them, are loaded with protein and are a great way to fuel a long day of activity.
AMR’s protein flour
It’s super simple really, whatever the amount of flour a recipe calls for, I break down as:
- ½ ground oat flakes (organic, GF, 6.6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup)
- ¼ gound chia seeds (also naturally GF, 8 grams of protein per ¼ cup)
- And ¼ Whey protein (I uses Bob’s Red Mill whey protein, which is GF and organic, and has 15 grams of protein per ¼ cup)
Pumpkin puree from scratch
Yes, a store-bought can of pureed pumpkin is 10 times easier than making your own, but making it from scratch is so much better than the pumpkin that was canned a year ago. There are many ways to make pumpkin puree, I like the quick-and-easy microwave method:
- Buy a small pie pumpkin from the store.
- Wash the outside with warm water
- Cut the pumpkin in half –stem to base –and scoop out the seeds and innards. (Do not toss the seeds! Remove the seeds from the stringy stuff, rinse, dry and roast with a little bit of salt – delish!)
- Once cleaned, place both halves in a microwave safe bowl with the inside face down. Pour a little bit of water in the bottom of the bowl (maybe a half a centimeter) and place inside the microwave. Cook on high for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Check to see if the pumpkin meat is fully cooked by poking a fork through the outside of the pumpkin. If it’s still hard, repeat cooking in small, 5 minute increments, until the meat is soft enough to easily scoop out.
- Once cooked, scoop out the pumpkin meat and place in a bowl. You can puree it using a hand mixer or by throwing it in a blender –depending on what you have at your disposal –and Ta Da, you’ll have pure pumpkin puree from scratch, no additives, no preservatives.
And now on to the actual pancakes!
- 1 cup of pumpkin puree from scratch
- 1 cup of protein flour
- 1.5 cups of milk (any kind but I use almond or brown rice)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice (or pumpkin spice)
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1.2 teaspoon salt
- pinch of ground gloves
- 2 table spoons melted coconut oil
- 1 egg
- Mix all the dry ingredients –the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt –in one (big) bowl.
- And the wet ingredients –the milk, pumpkin, coconut oil and egg –in a separate bowl.
- Slowly mix the wet ingredients in with the dry
- Grease a pan (with coconut oil) and heat over medium heat
- When the pan is hot, pour 1/4 cup batter into the middle of the pan for each pancake.
- Cook pancakes about 2 minutes per side or until solid.Note: You’re going to want to keep stirring the batter between use as Chia seeds are water absorbent and the batter will thicken if left sitting around. If it does get thick, thin it out with milk or water.