Friday, August 19, 2011

How to Make Yummy Pancakes for Breakfast When You Don’t Have Pancake-Making Ingredients!

Oops, there’s no pancake on the plate!
Sorry, but they were eaten so lightning-fast that I couldn’t manage
to be quick enough to snap a picture to show you how delicious they look.
(Or maybe I didn’t think about taking a photo til it was too late.)

Ha! I said I might not be around much for a few days, and here I am posting more than usual! Visitors have delayed their visit to arrive a day later than planned, so there’s a leisurely spirit in the air! Today, I’m sharing my internet connection with Aaron, who spent the night and is doing some long, demanding tasks online.

And I putter around house and yard—to the garage to aimlessly shift piles for awhile, then out to the yard to move the sprinkler (I’m running up a scary water bill!), then to my room to have at the latest pile of notebooks I’m sifting through (why, oh, why do I keep so many notebooks full of miscellany? I’ll admit they’re fun to read, but they’re really so much clutter. . .), and off to the kitchen to fix another light thing to eat (Aaron is being plied with food today), then to my computer at the kitchen table to write about pancakes, then out to sit on the patio in the sun with a little stack of books, then off to sweep down spider webs that are amassing around the outside of the house, and so on.

And all the while I am planning in my head for the arrival of Michelle’s family: We’ll have our family’s traditional Saturday morning chocolate chip-lemon scones when they arrive, and for dinner I’ll make Shrimp Scampi with rigatoni pasta because it’s Aaron’s favorite and Monty loves shrimp. And I need to set up a section for kid-toys over by the kid-books. And on and on it goes today. Working and wandering and planning. But I like puttery days, so I’m happy.

But about those pancakes. . .

Have you ever stepped into your kitchen on a sunny morning and felt sure it was a perfect day to make pancakes? But suddenly you remember: There is no milk. And you don’t have eggs, either. . . or flour. . . or butter. . . or syrup. . .  Not a problem! You can still make pancakes for your breakfast.

Did you know that bananas or ground flax seeds make great replacements for eggs? Or that you can whip up almond milk in a blender in 30 seconds if you don’t happen to have dairy milk or an alternative milk in the house? Did you know you can make pancakes that are entirely flour-free? And instead of butter, you can add oil or melted vegan Earth Balance spread to the batter? And, I’m sure you have figured out that you can omit spreading butter on top of the hot pancakes before topping with syrup or sugared berries, or you can use Earth Balance in place of butter.

I do all of this all the time, and the pancakes are always tasty. There is absolutely nothing lacking in them.  So, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to use some of these alternatives when you want pancakes and don’t have the right ingredients around your kitchen.

Recently, my daughter, Aimee, asked me to share with her a vegan, gluten-free pancake recipe I cobbled together once to happy effect. I have made the recipe several times, but when I mixed the batter and cooked the pancakes on a recent morning to test the recipe again, it didn’t work like it should have, so I’m going to retest that one to see what’s up. I’ll post the recipe when I get it right. (That’s the one to make when you’re out of flour or when you want gluten-free. It calls for cornmeal, oats, and oat bran—or ground oats in lieu of oat bran—instead of flour. You have to look for oats that are specifically labeled gluten-free because some oats are rolled in equipment shared with grains that have gluten.)

In the meantime, while I wait to re-perfect that gluten-free recipe, I have a few other pancake recipes that can be eggless, dairy-free—entirely vegan, if you like. And they’re delicious. I keep certain staples around the kitchen that allow me to be flexible when I make pancakes. There are bananas in a bowl on the counter, a tub of Earth Balance spread in the refrigerator, flax seeds in a jar in the freezer, raw almond butter (bought in bulk) in a container in the fridge, and sugared raspberries in a glass jar in the refrigerator, too.

You can, of course, use real milk and real butter in the pancakes, but it’s kinda handy to know variations and substitutions to get you along in a pinch, don’t you think?

 Here’s the other “pancake photo” I took. For some reason, I like tablescapes,
so here’s the cheerful one I had going in my kitchen this sunny morning: Plate, napkin
(one of a set of pretty, colorful cloth napkins made for me by Michelle for Christmas one year),
sugared raspberries, coffee mug, book (The Music of Silence), Bible, and journal.

Today, I’ll give you two of my favorite vegan pancake recipes and tell you how to make 30-second almond milk. First, the recipe I made this morning (sans blueberries):

(I left out the blueberries this morning because I knew I would be spreading sugared raspberries over them instead of maple syrup.)

1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 c. medium grind corn meal
½ t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 bananas, mashed well
2 c. almond milk mixed with 2 T. lemon juice or distilled white vinegar (or buttermilk)
1 t. vanilla
2-4 T. melted butter (or use neutral oil or melted Earth Balance)

Fresh or frozen blueberries to sprinkle over batter in pan. (If you add berries to the pancakes, it’s nice to stir some finely grated lemon-zest into the batter when you’re mixing it.)

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, and then mix them together. Heat frying pan over medium to medium-high heat and add some oil or melt some butter in the pan for frying. Pour in 1/3-1/2 c. batter for each pancake, and if you are going to use blueberries, dot some around the batter in the pan and gently press them down.

If you don’t have syrup, skip the blueberries in the recipe (or not) and pour/spread sugared raspberries over the top. (You can quickly make some sugared berries from thawed, frozen berries if you’re in a hurry; you can even use the microwave to thaw them.)

These pancakes are truly yummy, but I think I already said that.

: : : : :

I made up the above recipe based on a recipe Melissa created over a year ago when she was visiting.  Here’s what she mixes together for her vegan pancakes. They are super-good:

½ c. white spelt flour
1 ½ c. whole-wheat pastry flour
1 t. salt
4 t. baking powder
4 T. agave
2 t. vanilla
2 bananas, well mashed
2 c. milk alternative
4 T. oil

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, and then mix them together without over-stirring. Cook as usual, adding berries if you like. Top with maple syrup or sugared berries or whatever sounds good.

: : : : :

Here’s how to make almond milk in 30 seconds. I got this from the book Raw Food Real World, and I make this milk all the time.

Whirl all of the following together on high speed in a blender until very-well mixed and frothy:

2 slightly heaping T. raw almond butter (roasted will work, but raw is best)
2 c. water
Pinch salt
2 T. agave or a packet of stevia (or a few drops of liquid stevia)
½ t. vanilla
1 T. coconut butter (optional, but I use it)

Pour into a jar, twist on a lid, and store it in the fridge. You don’t need to strain this milk, but it will separate as it sits, and almond stuff will collect on the bottom of the jar. Just give the jar a vigorous shake when you need to use the almond milk again.

To make an alternative to buttermilk for a recipe, add 1 T. acid (lemon juice or distilled white vinegar) to the almond milk. You aren’t looking for it to curdle or get thick. You simply need the acid to interact with the baking soda in a recipe that calls for buttermilk. If you don’t have something acidic in the recipe with the soda, use baking powder instead.

: : : : :

Okey dokey! I’ll run along now. Have a lovely what’s-left-of-your-Friday!


  1. These look wonderful, Susan! I'll be trying one tomorrow morning. I have everything on hand, including the Earth Balance! (Actually, I don't have ww pastry flour, so may sub white spelt or regular ww flour). I love your pretty tablescape as well!

  2. Thanks so much for my breakfast menu this morning. I was just lamenting that I needed to head to the store and now you have inspired me to step outside my usual culinary box...who knew you could substitute bananas for the eggs! Off to the kitchen...yay!

  3. Susan--just wanted to let you know that I tried the second recipe today and they were delish! I didn't have WW pastry flour but just used regular WW flour along with the white spelt, which I did have. Used sucanat instead of agave. Yum! Thanks so much for posting these. I'm still planning on trying the first recipe when I get some cornmeal.

  4. Mmmm, thanks for sharing those recipes! The sunlight pouring into the kitchen, along with the table scene, made for such a lovely picture.

  5. Oh my!!! I'm drooling over that nice big jar of sugared raspberries! ;D We have a kitchen table just like yours. And I have a set of the Desert Rose dishes too! How appropo for you who once lived in the high desert to own those. I agree with contented sparrow to a tee about all that loveliness. I also love pretty tablescapes, and yours is lovely. I'm also loving those pretty napkins that keep showing up in your pictures and thinking it looks like a great sewing project for my daughter to teach her that skill. ;D


  6. apropos. (Just have to correct that spelling error!)


  7. Susan,
    Quick blog related question - how do you get three pictures across the top in a blogspot header? I'm flummoxed! You could email if you have an answer. My address is in my profile. Thanks in advance if you can help. Hope you're having a lovely Sunday.

  8. Mary, I hope you liked them! :-)

    And, Mary Beth, I'm glad you did. Thanks for coming back to tell me so! I particularly like the cornmeal version, so I'm curious to know if you'll like that one (I don't like to consume too much wheat flour, so other grains in the batter is nice). :-)

    Thanks, Megan! :-)

    Judi, you are always observant! I like it because I'm like that, too. I notice details in photos and posts. :-) The dishes were actually bought after leaving my old home. I was looking for thrifted Christmas gifts for my children, and I found a large set of these dishes on Craigslist for a happy-low price. The set was so large, in fact, that I divided it in two. I kept the old dishes made in American, and I gave the newer (better condition) set that was made in England after Wedgwood bought the pattern. Now it has been purchased by some Asian (Chinese?) company who is making it in really garish colors. Anyway. I like the old pink vintage dishes. I still haven't unpacked most of them, but I will. I love those napkins Judy, and all the more because they were made for me by Michelle. Thanks again for a fun comment! :-)

    Beth, I don't know much about the computer and pictures, but Michelle showed me a quick way to make double photos once, and I did the same thing with this triple photo. I don't know if I can explain it... Oh, you know what? I'm going to go ahead and send that email. I'll probably rattle on way too long here trying to explain what I mean! :-)

  9. Susan, did you ever see the forget-me-not dishes made by the same company? They were only made for a very short time,as far as I know, back in the eighties. My college room-mate and her mom both got a set and I just loved them. Still do. The last time I saw them they were selling out at a shop when I was on my way moving back north from Texas. I was SO tempted to buy them, but I really couldn't affort them at the time. I've kind of regretted that I didn't though. Never saw them again since. (Now I'm going to try to see if I can see them googling them.)


  10. Drat! I was hoping you would explain here about the double photos. I've been wondering the same thing. Perhaps a post about that?