Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nutrition Nerd Alerts!

So excited today to have purchased my very own domain name!  And even more excited to get Nutrition Nerd Alerts up and running on a more regular basis.  I've been waiting for this for a long time!!!

More details coming soon!  Thanks for being so fabulous, nutrition nerds!

:) - Jenn
The Nutrition Nerd

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vegan "PB&J" Pancakes

I woke up this morning and wanted to write a blog.  I'm also on an intense budget this summer while my job at school is on temporary hiatus and I've been focusing on volunteer experiences instead of paid ones (SO worth it!).  So ... I decided to see what I could come up with from my pantry, fridge and freezer that is easy, quick and healthy to make (and FREE since it was with ingredients I already had!).

The first thing I found was my whole grain kamut pancake mix in the refrigerator that I needed to use by the end of this month (Do you store your whole grain flours in the refrigerator or freezer? You should!) I bought it to play around with different ingredient substitutions anyway, so this was the perfect opportunity to do something fun and creative.  If you don't have a mix to start with, this is a great vegan recipe where you can do your own substitutions or follow along as-is :)

The original recipe called for:
1/2 cup pancake mix
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup (+1 Tbsp) milk

I didn't want to use the last of my good local honey and had always wanted to remove the canola oil from pancake recipes ... and it hit me!  I'll substitute homemade blueberry jam a friend had sent me (thanks Teej!) for the honey and tahini leftover from a hummus recipe in place of the canola oil!  I wanted to try to keep this vegan (something I try to do at least once a week, in addition to Meatless Mondays) so the milk was out and water was in.

With my new recipe in hand I prepped my work station

and got to mixing.

I like my pancakes thick, but even this was too thick for me.  I added an extra 1/4 cup water and was ready to cook.

I used the lightest of sprays of olive oil and cooked until large bubbles formed on the top.  A quick flip and lightly browned the second side.

All done!

Played around with presentation (note to self: powdered sugar is easy to get everywhere when you only meant to sprinkle a little here and there!).

My favorite photo of the day is actually from my phone:

The final recipe:

1/2 cup pancake mix
1 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp blueberry jam
3/4 cup water (add up to 1/4 cup more if you like your pancakes thin)
olive oil spray
fresh/frozen fruit
cinnamon/nutmeg (freshly ground)
1/4 cup measure
Mix ingredients (with whisk or fork) until lumps in batter disappear.  Heat non-stick pan on medium-low.  Spray very lightly with non-propellant-based olive oil.  Pour pancakes from 1/4 cup measure into heated, oiled pan for perfect individual-sized cakes.

Cook on first side until top has large bubbles (about 3 minutes).  Flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes until lightly browned.  Top with fresh fruit or a small dab of jam used in the pancakes.

This creation is dedicated to the lovely Nutrishh, who will love the Malliard reaction reference :)

- Try not to mix too much past the point where the lumps disappear (not including the lumps created by using a chunky jam).  Working the gluten (protein in wheat) too much and cause the pancakes to be tough!  This is mostly a note for those using an electric mixer.
- You can easily omit the olive oil spray if you have a high-quality non-stick pan.  I am slowly diminishing this habit myself.
- The time for cooking pancakes depends on your pan, heating sources, and altitude.  These may need to be adjusted based on how long it normally takes to cook pancakes on your stove.
- Lightly browned (completed Malliard reaction for you nutrition nerds) is a good thing, but don't let the pancakes get too dark.  Starchy foods like pancakes can begin to form acrylamide (a carcinogen) if they get too dark.