Blueberry Pancakes

I know, I know… this blog has been active for four-plus years and there are no pancake recipes! Seriously it’s a little embarrassing, which is why I’m excited to share this one today.

The truth is I’m a single gal so the idea of making a big breakfast fit for a family doesn’t normally occur to me. But this morning I woke up craving pancakes. Like, I HAD to have them. So I did, and they were delicious!

I worked with what I had on hand and wasn’t disappointed, even though that meant using unsweetened almond milk with a squeeze of lemon juice in place of milk, buttermilk or even yogurt that you traditionally find in pancakes. And the truth was – it didn’t make a difference!

Blueberry Pancakes

These pancakes were perfect – fluffy interior with a nice crispy edges. They were hearty and sweet with fresh blueberries and an amazing maple syrup I’ve become obsessed with from Burton’s Maplewood Farm (if you’re in Chicago, they sometimes sell at Green City Market). I also included rolled oats, a trick I learned when helping with a Top Chef cooking event a few years ago.

This recipe makes enough for two, although as long as I’m telling the truth here, I’ll admit that I ate ‘em all.

Here’s the recipe:

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Blueberry Oat Muffins

Blueberry Oat Muffins

Blueberry Oat Muffins

In my quest to eat healthier I’ve temporarily given up so many sweet foods that I love (read: chocolate cake). While muffins weren’t among my sacrifices, I’ve found myself craving a healthy, slightly sweet muffin that I could grab for breakfast or quick snack without feeling guilty about overloading on sugar and fat.

These delicious blueberry oat muffins definitely fit the bill. Not too sweet or too dry, these muffins really are just right. They taste healthy, which was important for the mental guilt factor, but not in a cardboard way. They’re a bit on the dryer side but not at all crumbly, and have a nice crunch from pecans that had been folded in the batter.

Each muffin contains 184 calories with 5 grams protein and 3 grams dietary fiber (see below for complete nutrition breakdown), making them a smart choice for a filling treat. Plus, the muffins are chock full of antioxidants!

Blueberry Oat Muffins

Blueberry Oat Muffins

Here’s the recipe:

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Maple-Cinnamon Oatmeal with Blueberries

Maple-Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal

Maple-Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal with Blueberries

I’m not much of a breakfast person, probably because I’m not a morning person. I never have time to make myself pancakes, French toast or even simple scrambled eggs as I scurry out the door. In the summer I often grab a yogurt or granola bar to eat on-the-go, but in the winter I prefer a heartier breakfast, like this maple-cinnamon oatmeal made from steel cut oats, also known as Irish oats.

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You must be thinking: steel cut oats, has she lost her mind? In case you’re not familiar with steel cut oats, they’re whole oat kernels that have been cut into small pieces by a “steel.” These oats are a great source of protein and fiber, and are known for helping improve cholesterol. However, they also take a relatively long time to cook (about a half hour), but I find the slightly nutty flavor and chewy texture worth the extra effort once or twice a week.

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The trick is to make this oatmeal recipe in a big batch on the weekend or at night and it will last for four days. All you have to do is mix a cup of the cooked oats with a smidge of water and a half cup of frozen blueberries and microwave for 2 minutes, stirring once or twice. Quick and easy for a busy morning with very little cleanup.

Maple-Cinnamon Oatmeal with Blueberries

Maple-Cinnamon Oatmeal with Blueberries

Here’s the recipe:

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White Peach & Blueberry Buckle

White Peach & Blueberry Buckle

White Peach & Blueberry Buckle

It amazes me how something neither myself nor most of my friends had heard of could so quickly become a most requested recipe. Until a few weeks ago a buckle was known as something belonging on a belt or a cool pair of boots, certainly not something to eat, which was why the first time I announced I was going to make it the common response was “what’s a buckle?”

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It turns out a buckle is essentially a fruity coffee cake that gets its name because the top “buckles” as it bakes. But seriously, this buckle is so much better than any coffee cake I’d ever eaten. First of all, it’s extremely light and fluffy, not to mention moist. The crispy crumb topping adds a perfect touch of sugary goodness, and the peaches and blueberries throughout make you think you’re eating something healthy.

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In fact, as far as baked desserts go, this one is relatively healthy. The total amount of butter is just a bit more than one stick and I like to tell myself that the fruit cancels out all the sugar.

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As for feedback, this buckle was such a huge hit at the first dinner I brought it to that it was demanded for an overnight hiking trip just two weeks later where it was eaten as both dessert and breakfast. Sadly, I used up the last of my peaches on the second buckle so there won’t be another one this year, but the results were so worth it.

Here’s the recipe:

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Apricot and Blueberry Clafouti

Apricot & Blueberry Clafouti

Apricot and Blueberry Clafouti

Ever hear of a “clafouti?” Me neither, until about month ago when suddenly it seemed like that’s all anyone could talk about. I was intrigued by this strange sounding dessert so I looked it up in one of my go-to baking cookbooks, “The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook.” And there it was, the clafouti, a French dessert traditionally made with sweet cherries that also works well with apricots, peaches, pears, plums, and more (the book advises against using raspberries).

And the best part was that the recipe looked simple. In fact, it was so simple I was ashamed I hadn’t made it before: toss some fruit in a casserole dish, whisk together a quick custard-like batter, pour it over the fruit and bake. Done.

Clafouti: dry and wet ingredients Clafouti: pour wet into dry Clafouti: mix batter well

Seriously, that’s all there is to it – chop, mix, pour and it’s in the oven in less than 10 minutes!

I used apricots and a smattering of blueberries, both of which I’d picked up at the farmer’s market the previous morning, and the combination was amazing! Clafouti is a fantastic and unfussy way to celebrate summer fruits: it’s sweet, decadent and has a smooth custard-like texture that will impress your guests.

Clafouti: sliced apricots Unbaked clafouti

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