Cracking the Pancake Code

Since I started tracking our food waste nearly a month ago, I’ve been paying close attention to what we end up not eating, whether it be leftovers gone bad or “fresh” produce that we never got around to using. There has been blessedly little of the latter, likely because we’re just not buying much fresh produce right now; everything seems to be from Mexico or Chile this time of year, and I’m not willing to subsidize the transportation costs. As to the former, it happens more often than I like. I think I’ve found a clever way around some of it, though, thanks to my remember some helpful comments I got when I was wrestling with The Oatmeal Dilemma.

Now, this may seem painfully obvious to some of you, so bear with my sense of wonder as I walk you through my discovery. I make oatmeal for breakfast at least once a week, and overnight steel-cut oats once or twice as well. I tend to err on the side of abundance, making enough for six people when there are five of us, so there’s usually a portion left over. Usually I would tell myself that I’ll re-heat it later, and sometimes I would ; but often as not, it would languish in the back of the fridge until it was Time To Go. The results were both ugly and frustrating.

Then one Saturday, while I was preparing The Weekly Pancakes, I remembered something that Momof5 had mentioned in a comment on one of my earlier posts about breakfast, namely mixing leftover oatmeal into the pancake (or waffle) batter…as Gru would say, “Light…bulb!”

I decided to try it, substituting a portion of leftover oatmeal with raisins for 1 cup of dry pancake mix, using the same amount of water, adding another handful of raisins, and cooking as usual:

Oatmeal-raisin pancakes

Catch you on the flip side

The results were, to say the least, impressive. I actually got more pancakes (20 vs. 16) out of a batch of batter, I used less dry mix (2 cups vs. 3), saved some leftovers from the peril of doom, and gave The Family a nutrition boost all at the same time! I felt like a heady mix of Michael Pollan and Donna Reed (sitcom, not “From Here to Eternity”).

This should be enough...

Coming back from a weird mental space now….okay. We’ve landed.

Anyway, the Enhanced Pancakes were a big hit, and even better with a couple of old bananas mashed into the batter as well-although that version tends to stick to the pan more than I’d like. Pureeing the bananas first would probably help there. I wonder how big a batch I’d have to whip up to have leftovers.

...just barely

Now I have to figure out a similar trick for dinner. I don’t think Chicken Soup Pancakes are going to work.




About poorlocavore

Welcome to one family's journey towards a smaller food-mile footprint on a small food budget. How do our choices affect the environment, and what influences our choices? Read on and find out what I'm learning.
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9 Responses to Cracking the Pancake Code

  1. Sam Young says:

    Nice recovery. In the way of snacks n’ treats I remember that my mom used to make “oatmeal bars” with chopped dates and nuts in them. I guess same as oatmeal cookies except for the shape and texture.

  2. Momof5 says:

    Glad the oatmeal pancakes were a hit! I finally this week got around to trying your steel-cut oats in a bain-marie recipe – easy and delicious. Good thing, because I kept sending my husband to the bins at the natural foods store for oats to make granola – I meant to tell him thick-cut, but said steel-cut so we have a LOT of those around.

    But I noticed that, like you mentioned earlier in the year, all of us were hungry by mid-morning! Who would have thought that with a thick, hearty breakfast like the overnight oatmeal that would be the case, but it was. I suspect it’s the lack of protein, because the granola, which I load up with nuts and we eat with yogurt, doesn’t inspire the munchies quite as early.

    Keep up the good work!

    • poorlocavore says:

      I think it is the protein element. I put a 1/2 cup of powdered milk in with the oats (I forget it that’s listed or not), and I always have it with yogurt, which seems to add some volume as well as protein. Yum!

    • When I make oatmeal, it’s not unlike granola – go ahead and throw in seeds (pumpkin, sunflower) or chopped walnuts, or whatever you have – then it does stick to your ribs a lot better! If I’m making it straight away (rather than an overnight recipe, I’ll chop up an apple and put it in there, too).

      • poorlocavore says:

        I would add some of the almonds we always have around, but The Youngest One would disapprove, and he’s the one I’m most concerned about getting to eat. The other two will pretty much bolt anything down.

  3. Other ways to use up used (?) oats…

    Add them to bread dough as you’re mixing (adjust the flour).

    Stir them into chili.

    Mix them into ground beef (wait, I forget if you’re vegetarian!) but if you’re not…and make meatballs or meatloaf.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Pingback: Thanksgiving Thoughts, Part 1 | The Poor Locavore

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