Monkey Surprise Pancakes

To be healthy and to eat well has been a battle in my home for what feels like a very long time. Upon being diagnosed with diabetes at the tender age of four, a bright brown eyed boy figured out:

If I eat, I get a shot, so I will simply NOT eat.

 Panic ensued (for Mom), as did many low BG levels as well as some seizures (until we changed doctors and got the insulin ratios under control). And so began a battle with food that my very determined son has waged for 9 years now.

Since that difficult year, meals have been a struggle. Even when T gets to pick what he wants. We were just getting to the place where he would eat enough to counteract the lowest possible dose of insulin, when the boy was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. So the eating took another plunge. Over time I have learned that not all Gluten Free food is palatable. And that not all gluten food is (even remotely) healthy. And recent stomach difficulties have proved that not all gluten food is entirely digest-able.

 Due to “intestinal troubles” the diet is shifting again. With dread I anticipated yet another dietary adjustment. I’ve been sneaking veggies into food for months now, but this week I decided that if the boy is ever going to learn to eat healthy it is time to come clean. Might as well, since change is a comin’. And so I have set out to research the BEST gluten free/whole food based recipes. Also, I have determined to no longer make two meals- one GF and one “regular”. Since I have three guys to please now, each particular in their own way, each meal has one requirement above all:  taste good.

Using food from an organic farm co-op, (which you local folks can join by clicking here), I have been planning healthy veggie and fruit laden meals- with no fake or processed ingredients. Only good, healthy, REAL food.

The recipe which has been the best (small) crowd pleaser is Monkey Surprise Pancakes. First, two steps leading up to the actual recipe.

Step One: Give credit where credit is due
Hodgson Mill Multi purpose (gluten free) baking mix, which I found on the GF shelf at Walmart, was a starting point. I modified the recipe on the box to add more fiber. FYI- the multi purpose baking mix includes the following ingredients: Whole Grain Millet Flour, Whole Grain Sorghum flour,Whole Grain brown rice flour, and Xanthan gum.

Step Two: Grind up GF Flours (It’s easier than it sounds. Really!)
 I ground up (pre-sliced) raw almonds with my husband’s coffee grinder to make “almond flour” or almond meal. Next I ground up GF oats with my husband’s coffee grinder. I added 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed as well. (Love that coffee grinder!) This only took a couple of minutes, but the health benefits for these few extra steps are well worth it.

The final recipe (below) is preservative/processed ingredient free.

Little brother had some qualms about trying gluten free pancakes.  Big brother has been GF for going on 7 years, but we have found that not all GF mixes and flours are the same. And little brother is a foodie. Most of those GF mixes do not hit his sweet spot. “Mom, I will stick with gluten!” He is prone to say. But these pancakes are delicious! I received the much coveted BEST MOM EVER and BEST PANCAKES EVER awards, along with plenty of squeezes and one jump on my head. (Then Hubby saved me and wrestled Monkey away…)

(FYI- the large purple spot on Monkey’s cheek is a temp tattoo from Lego Land. Lovely spot to place it, I know.) 

Big brother, the resident GF expert, proclaimed that these were better than any he’d had ever before. He asked what was in them. I said there was a secret ingredient: Love. To which he made the teenager face. So I admitted that I put in a little surprise, too. After a rousing game of Guess what Mom Put In the Pancakes, the Big Reveal: Pumpkin! (“So that was why there was a pumpkin in the crock pot yesterday. Hmmm…” Monkey remarked.)

And then, my oldest, with a maturity that caused my heart to swell said, “Mom, I don’t care what you put in it. As long as the food tastes this good, I will eat it!” [Mom note: without complaining. He can sit at that table for hours waiting to eat his food. And sometimes does.]

For those that know my son, the Pickiest 13 Year Old in Texas, this is quite a victory! I am so excited! And when I am excited, what do I do? First I jump up and down and hug little boys with chocolate drop eyes (see where monkey gets it?) And then, I write! And so, fellow sojourners, I share this recipe with hopes that you too will have lots of compliments and plenty of monkey love in your future, as well.

Here’s the recipe:

Monkey Surprise Pancakes

1 cup of  Hodgson Mill Multi purpose or other gluten free flour
1 cup almond flour
1/2 c ground gluten free oats
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp sugar in the raw (which I left out at first, but a taste test convinced me to add in, after all)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocnut oil -(It’s SO much healthier than canola/ veggie oil- and good for the skin, too)
1 egg
1 1/2 c almond milk
1 c pumpkin puree
(which I made easily in the crock pot the day before. See instructions here. Totally easy, and without the massive sodium content of canned food.)

Optional: 1 banana (to make a smiley face for the monkeys)

Variations: I omitted the ‘called for’ 1/4 tsp salt (T is a salt lover and I worry that he gets too much salt as it is)– and I ended up adding another tablespoon of the ground flaxseed after the pumpkin puree to thicken it up just a bit. You can add more or less flour or milk depending upon your desired consistency of pancake.

You will want to add xanthan gum or guar gum if not using a mix that already has it. Otherwise the dough does not thicken. (Learned this a few weeks back when trying to make GF cookies with almond flour only. Had very thin, flat cookies.) See here for more info on the two types of  gum.

I coated the pan with more coconut oil and cooked on “3” (medium low) for 3 minutes on each side. This makes about 12 pancakes, but I held about a cup of batter back, put in a (greased) loaf pan, added chocolate chips, and voila:

Next on the list of things to make: Monkey Bread! We will see how it goes… if it turns out this well, I am sure to blog about it!

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