Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes

Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes | Kneading Home

Okay so last February when I posted those chilaquiles I had zero intention of completely letting this blog go, though it had been increasingly more difficult to maintain with grad school. Then I became completely immersed in a dissertation proposal, started teaching an undergrad class, on top of yoga, a huge load of classes, and practicum. By the time summer came I told myself I couldn’t wait to dive back into recipe making but honestly I was so exhausted I ended up using the whole summer just to catch my breath. As sad as I felt to leave this little plot of the internet behind, I desperately needed rest, so I prioritized taking care of myself in other ways.

Then in August I got pregnant. It was about as planned as a pregnancy could be but still incredibly exciting. I’ve had the baby fever badddddd, for several years now and was done allowing grad school keep my life on hold. So this Spring I finish my final class (a meager 1.5 credit elective) on Thursday and our sweet baby girl is due that Saturday. I cannot wait to spend every second of this summer with her until I start internship (like residency) full-time in the Fall and put this grad school life behind me.

Being pregnant has been both blissful and unexpectedly challenging. The first trimester was hell on earth. I was so sick. All I ate was bread. I think I cried almost every day. It hit me way harder than I could have anticipated. But it ended and I had a wonderful 4 weeks or so starting in the second trimester where I felt amazing. Then Thanksgiving hit, I ate way too much butter, and this mystery gallbladder/rib pain took over. 1 gallbladder ultrasound (no gallstones phew!) and a couple of weeks eating a vegan diet later, and I’ve learned it pretty much hurts no matter what I eat so I might as well enjoy life (though I’m still avoiding fried food just in case). Fast forward to this Saturday I enter the 3rd trimester and I feel like I’m finally settling in. Feeling our girl kick and dance in my belly is still the most magical thing I’ve experienced in this life. My body has become her home and our connection feels like nothing I have ever experienced. I am completely obsessed and in love with her in every way.

I haven’t had too many pregnancy cravings, with the exception of dried mango and berries. I wake up every morning and think “what breakfast can I top with a massive cup of fresh berries?” They are the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted and I don’t care one bit that they aren’t in season. I’ve been eating about a cup of fresh berries per day. Enter these pancakes. I’ve made them 4-5 times in the past month. They are so simple, sweetened with just banana, and filled with oats and berries. They are tender and come together so quickly!

Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes | Kneading Home
Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes | Kneading Home
Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes | Kneading Home
Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes | Kneading Home
Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes | Kneading Home
Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes | Kneading Home
Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes | Kneading Home
Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes | Kneading Home
Triple Berry & Oat Pancakes
Makes 10-11 pancakes
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

2 large ripe bananas, smashed (yields 1 - 1.5 cups)
3/4 cup quick cooking oats (or old fashioned oats roughly pulsed in a food processor/blender)
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used sprouted whole wheat)
1/4 cup hemp seeds (optional)
1/2 cup milk of your choice (+ 1-2 tablespoons)
3 heaping cups fresh berries (I used raspberries, blueberries, and chopped strawberries)

In a medium bowl smash the banana then mix in the oats and salt. Nuke this mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm then set aside for about 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. Sprinkle in the cinnamon followed by the vanilla extract and egg, mix to combine, follow with the baking powder, stir to combine. Add the whole wheat flour and mix (it will be a little dry that’s okay), mix in the hemp seeds and 1/2 cup of milk. If you prefer your pancakes on the more biscuity side stop here, if you like them a little smoother/flatter (like me) I recommend adding another 1-2 tablespoons to thin the batter a bit).

Heat your griddle over medium heat. Meanwhile, stir the berries into the batter (it’s okay if they get a little mashed). Spray your griddle with cooking spray (or a knob of butter) and dollop 1/3 cup sized pancakes onto the pan to cook. Flip when lightly browned on the bottom and cook until set. Serve immediately. Top with butter, maple syrup and more berries if you’d like!

Pistachio Lemon Granola Bars

Pistachio Lemon Granola Bars | Kneading Home

The number one thing I hear in response to my love for cooking is always how stressed cooking makes people feel. People often associate cooking and childhood memories around it with a stressed out parent struggling to get the big meal out on the special holiday. And to that, I say, I totally get it.

Michael Pollan, whose documentary series I just started watching on netflix, talks about how the entertainment industry plays on this stress by making cooking shows that portray cooking as something better left up the pros (iron chef anyone?) and the food industry has been telling us we're too busy and too stressed to cook for years so that they could valiantly come in and save the day. 

The first time I made these granola bars, my vitamix died mid-blend of homemade almond butter. And as I was trying to figure out what the hell was wrong I burnt approximately $15 worth of pistachios that I had just spent 20 minutes shelling. I slammed the pan of burnt nuts down on the counter, yelled at my husband about how next time will be paying extra for store-bought almond butter and pre-shelled pistachios and screw the fact that I was trying to be responsible and save money because look where it got me! Then I slammed the door of our bedroom and put my legs up the wall for a couple deep breaths. 

Pistachio Lemon Granola Bars | Kneading Home

So yeah, I totally get it how cooking can be stressful. That's one of the reasons I prefer to cook alone without a time limit and without a crowd to please, and preferably with a good playlist in the background. As ocd as I sound, I need to start with an immaculate kitchen, and clean as I go, even if it takes longer. This, by the way, drives my husband nuts. But my kitchen is my workspace, and a clean kitchen takes away stress and makes the whole cooking process much safer, trust me. 

Pistachio Lemon Granola Bars | Kneading Home

Somehow after picking out the black nut pieces, these bars came out just as I imagined. They're adapted from one of my favorite food blogs, Cookie and Kate, and inspired by my favorite larabar flavor, lemon! I'm such a sucker for tart, springy lemon. The bars are bound together with a combination of nut butter and honey and packed with so much protein and fiber they could almost qualify as breakfast. 

I stocked up on homemade granola bars before this semester of grad school started, and individually wrapped them in plastic wrap then tossed them in a freezer bag on the door of the freezer. They defrost in about 30 minutes, and warm perfectly in the toaster if you're in a rush. Super filling and totally guilt-free on-the-go-treat that will ultimately save you money and leave you feeling fuller than any store-bought kind. Bring these to work or class and people will be jealous. Just saying. They're pretty awesome. 

Pistachio Lemon Granola Bars | Kneading Home
Pistachio Lemon Granola Bars | Kneading Home
Pistachio Lemon Granola Bars
Yields 12-16 bars
Adapted from: Cookie and Kate

1/3 cup pecans (1.5 oz)
2/3 cup shelled pistachios (1.5 oz)
1/3 cup pepitas
2/3 cup dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choice)
1 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 packed tablespoon lemon zest (from about 3 lemons)
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt (decrease if your nut butter is salted)
1 cup almond butter or peanut butter (I did half and half)
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Line an 8x8 (for 12 thick bars) or 9x9 (for 16 thinner bars) inch baking dish with parchment and set aside. Toast the pecans, pistachios and pepitas in a skillet over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. 

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the oats for about 5 seconds until broken up significantly, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Once the nuts & pepitas are toasted add them to the bowl of the food processor along with the dried fruit and run for about 10 seconds then transfer to the mixing bowl with the oats. Add the lemon zest and salt and whisk to combine.

In a small bowl bowl (or liquid measuring cup) combine the nut butter, honey, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and stir until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. I found using my hands to integrate the ingredients into a thick, sticky batter was easiest, but you could also use a wooden spoon and some elbow grease. If the batter seems too dry add in another small scoop of nut butter. 

Press the batter into the parchment lined baking dish (the bottom of a drinking glass works best for this) then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight. Cut into bars and serve. Bars store best individually wrapped in plastic then stored in a freezer bag in the freezer. Stored this way they should last up to 6 months. 

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan}

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan} | Kneading Home

I must confess, I've always been a sucker for muffins. I'd choose a sweet, moist, crumbly muffin filled with bursting fruit over a cupcake any day. Don't even get me started on the the muffin top crumbles. I have a collection of muffin tin liners above the microwave with colors and designs for every season. But you see, I have this issue where once I eat one muffin, I eat ALL THE MUFFINS. Like zero self-control. They are just so small and delicious, I swear they call my name, and before I know it my desk is covered in dirty muffin tin liners and I feel super guilty. 

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan} | Kneading Home
Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan} | Kneading Home

So in attempt to get inspired while scrolling through my favorite food blogs last week, I discovered these cranberry orange muffins. I've never been much of a cranberry fan, but I knew we had a big bag of them left-over from when I made Dark Chocolate Cranberry Crumble Cake last month so I figured I'd give them a try. Knowing my muffin obsession, I attempted to make these a little healthier so I tossed out the 3/4 cups of sugar the recipe called for and poured in a nice 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup (seriously, I put that shit in everything) instead. To make them more suitable for breakfast, I swapped out the all purpose flour and pulsed some oats into flour for added protein and fiber. While I was at it I trader butter for coconut oil and threw in some flax seed to replace the egg because why not make them vegan? How easy was that?! {cue Ina Garten} I added a touch of cinnamon for warmth and to combat the tangy citrus and topped things off with a sweet oat crumble. The results are so so good. 

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan} | Kneading Home

They make the perfect breakfast muffins that won't leave you feeling guilty. They are bright and zesty (the fresh squeezed OJ does that!) which serves as the perfect pick-me-up for cold winter mornings. They are unbelievably moist and the oat crumble makes them feel like such a treat but somehow still healthy at the same time. Pop these guys in the toaster with a nice smear of butter/earth balance and you will thank me. 

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan} | Kneading Home

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins 
Adapted from Pastry Affair 
Makes 24 muffins 

For the muffins:
2 flax eggs (1/4 cup + 1 tbsp water + 2 tbsp flax seed meal + 1/4 tsp baking powder) or chicken eggs
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats 
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry 
zest of 2 oranges 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon salt 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 cup pure maple syrup 
1 cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (from about 4 oranges) 
2 heaping cups cranberries (fresh or frozen) 

For the crumble: 
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats 
2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour 
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons coconut oil, cold 

Prepare the flax eggs. In a small prep bowl stir flaxseed meal, water, and baking soda together. Let sit for 15-20 minutes while preparing the other ingredients. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend oats in a food processor fitted with a blade until it becomes powdery, about 1 minute. Don't worry about getting it as fine as regular flour, it will have more body and chunkiness and that's okay. In a medium bowl, whisk the oat "flour", whole wheat pastry flour, orange zest, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder together. Set aside.

Make the crumble. Whisk the oats, flour, sugar and salt together until combined. Using a fork mix in the coconut oil until mixture becomes wet and crumbly. Refrigerate until right before use. Even 3 minutes in the fridge will help the coconut oil harden up. 

In a large bowl whisk together maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and flax eggs. The oil will look like it won't incorporate, but just keep whisking, it will. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, one third at a time, whisking to combine. Once incorporated it will be super thick and hard to stir. Pour in the orange juice and whisk until completely incorporated. Stir in the cranberries. Pour into lined muffin tins, top with oat crumble, and cook for 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.