Whole Story

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Hidden Veggie Pancakes

In this ongoing blog series, Christine, a budget-minded first-time Mom and Team Member, explores ways to create healthy, organic foods that appeal to both toddler and husband. See other posts on making vegetable soup out of a pea base, a carrot ginger soup from locally grown carrots, finger foods, zucchini pesto, berry cobbler and a green smoothie.

play·date noun: a play session for small children arranged in advance by their parents. As a new mom, the concept of having a “play date” was completely foreign to me. I mean, when I was single, dating was hard enough and now I’m expected to be social and meet new parents with a baby in tow? However, after going with my son on his first play date, I discovered that play dates aren’t scary at all. In fact, they provide an environment for children to meet other children, while moms and dads can interact with other adults. In fact, I’ve learned a lot about everything from child development to healthy foods for children while sipping coffee and chatting with other parents as our kids happily played with toys.

I am always trying to find ways to add more vegetables to my family’s diet. On one of our play dates, my new mom friend, Mandy Hutton, suggested vegetable pancakes! Mandy said, “It's great to have more options for meals and I like the fact that this recipe is an all-in-one meal. I try to make a big batch ahead of time, then just microwave each pancake one by one, as needed.” As soon as Mandy mentioned the pancakes, I couldn’t wait to get home and whip up a batch of my own. My toddler seems to gravitate toward foods such as toast and crackers rather than the vegetables I wish he’d eat. It seems to be a textural thing rather than taste, so by marrying grains with vegetables, I can give him a healthy, well-balanced meal he’ll enjoy eating. Here’s the veggie pancake recipe that I’ve come up with:

Wet Ingredients

1 ½ cups of vegetables (shredded zucchini, carrot, onion and frozen corn)

3 eggs (1 full egg and 2 egg whites)

4 TB (½ stick) butter

1 ¾ cups milk

Dry Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cornmeal

¼ cup oats

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

This may seem like a long list of ingredients, but these pancakes are really very simple to make. The most time consuming part is preparing the vegetables, so do that first.

Start by shredding 1 ½ cups of vegetables. For my pancakes, I used zucchini, carrot and onion and then added some frozen corn. But you can use whatever vegetables you like. (And if your child is not ready for chunky foods, you can pre-cook and puree the vegetables and place them in the batter that way). Once shredded or pureed, place the vegetables aside. Crack open three eggs and place one full egg and two of the egg whites into a small bowl. Whip the eggs and then add the butter and mix until creamy. Now, add the milk and vegetables and stir all of the wet ingredients together.

In a large bowl, add the wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them together. At this point, heat up a griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Add a bit of butter to the pan, if desired, to help keep the pancakes from sticking. Pour on about 1/8 cup of batter for each pancake – on my griddle I cooked three pancakes at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes, until bottom of pancake is set. Flip and continue cooking for 2 minutes. The recipe makes about 12 pancakes. I like to keep the cooked pancakes in a warm oven as I cook the remaining batter.

My family enjoyed the pancakes topped with butter and sour cream. I also served homemade apple sauce on the side, which turned out to be a lovely combination. The texture of these pancakes is great! My son loved them and I loved seeing my son eating up his vegetables (secretly hidden in those pancakes) and since breakfast is my husband’s favorite meal, he loved them too! Now, its “breakfast for dinner” at our house. For other yummy pancake recipes that sneak in the veggies, try these Fresh Corn and Zucchini Cakes or Carrot Cake Pancakes. I am anxious to hear how other parents slip veggies into their kids’ meals. Let me know!