Pumpkins seem to herald fall. Sometime in September, pumpkins start making an appearance on doorsteps, in store displays and on restaurant menus in every form possible. Since fall has always been my family’s favorite time of year, pumpkin is a welcome ingredient in any meal.
Yes, pie is where we see this winter squash the most, but it’s far from the only option for working this nutritious vegetable into your family’s diet. Muffins, soup, quick bread and even pasta sauces are all great vehicles for pumpkin, but one dish I find myself making often is Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes.
One thing to note: Fresh spices make all the difference in a recipe like this one. In fact, with holiday baking right around the corner, now’s a good time to examine the freshness of all the spices in your pantry.
Once a whole spice is ground, it immediately starts to lose its potency. Whenever possible, start with whole spices and grind them yourself. It will have quite an impact on the flavor. Pre-ground spices are fine to use — and easier — but not if they’ve been sitting in your pantry since before the start of this millennium. If you’ve had ground spices for longer than a year, it’s time to toss them and restock.
While pancakes are typically thought of as a breakfast food, and they are great on crisp fall mornings, they also make a great “brinner” dish — a breakfast/dinner hybrid.
Yes, serving these pumpkin pancakes might make you feel like you’re being bad, but they won’t make you feel guilty. They’re packed with pumpkin purée and oatmeal, both “good-for-you” ingredients. Using whole wheat white flour brings another element of whole grains, which gives these pancakes a nuttier, heartier flavor.
Feel free to celebrate the fall season and serve pancakes for dinner. Your kids will think you’re the best, and you’ll know they’re still getting a nutritious meal.
Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of “Everyday to Entertaining” and “The Big Book of Appetizers.” Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.