Blueberry Coconut Pancakes with Coconut Yogurt

Makes about 10 (1/4c) pancakes

Blueberry Coconut Pancakes

I get excited about food.  Back in the States, the days we got our CSA boxes were happy days.  My husband and I would go through the box, checking out our goods while talking about this meal or that for each beautiful piece of produce we touched.  Here in the UAE, that excitement has doubled…at least doubled!  We don’t get the exotic, heirloom treasures that the Hudson Valley has given us over the years but then again, we do live in the desert.  And I don’t mean that figuratively.  We actually live in a desert.  So, any produce (and so far we’ve gotten arugula (aka rocket), strawberries, peppers, sweet potatoes, chard, beets, carrots, celery, green beans, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, a whole bunch of fresh herbs, organic eggs, organic, low-heat pasteurized milk, to name a few) we get that is local AND organic is amazing!  What really doubles our excitement is that Claire is now very much a part of our conversation and investigation of our beloved farm fresh boxes.

This week she went straight for the blueberries.   Like mother, like daughter.  They were like blue little pearls peeking up at us underneath all that glorious green.  They were irresistible.  While Claire got through one box, I managed to put another away for a special breakfast.  Little did I know how special it would turn out.

Berries in general are super stars (and why you should always go organic when buying some).  When you hear about blueberries especially, and their amazing health promoting properties, the first word to come to mind is likely, antioxidants.  And, rightfully so! Blueberries are not messing around when it comes to its antioxidant power.  What’s special about it is that the antioxidants in blueberries offer whole body support.  Each and every system in our bodies, from the cardiovascular system to the nervous system to the digestive system, benefits from the antioxidants in blueberries.

Another word that should come to mind is, phytonutrients.  While anthocyanins are the most popular, given that the berries get their blue from them, there are a myriad of other phytonutrients that work together to make this berry the super star it is.  Got cholesterol issues to deal with?  Eat blueberries.  Need a cognitive boost (as in memory, especially)?  Eat blueberries.  Got insulin issues to contend with?  Eat blueberries.  Want general protection from cancer?  Eat blueberries.

I’m sure by now you’re getting my drift.

More good news.  If you find yourself having to freeze blueberries, or buying frozen blueberries, you won’t be compromising much of the antioxidants at all!  Buy out your farmer’s blueberries and make a home in your freezer for them.  This way you can enjoy this super berry all year long!

On to the recipe now.  It became this on its own.  I’m not sure what I even had in mind anymore, but this one is a winner.  If you’re a GF eater, opt out the spelt for GF all-purpose flour OR GF oat flour.  My new favorite topping for pancakes is yogurt and I can get some pretty decadent yogurt here!  Next time I may try putting the yogurt into the actual batter to see how that goes, but if you get to it first, please let me know how it goes!

You’ll need:

  • 1 C organic spelt flour*
  • 1/4 C organic coconut flour
  • 1/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut (or dessicated coconut for my new UK and AUS friends 🙂 )
  • 2 T coconut (or date) sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 medium eggs (I used farm fresh eggs which are typically smaller, so 2 large eggs would probably be OK, too)
  • 1 1/4 C organic whole milk
  • 1/2 C coconut oil or melted butter (organic of course!)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C organic blueberries + more for garnish

To make:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flours, shredded coconut, sugar and baking powder.  Combine well.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, milk, coconut oil (or butter) and vanilla.
  3. Add wet ingredients into dry (make a little well in the dry ingredients to incorporate evenly and prevent too many lumps) and mix just to combine.  Resist the urge to over mix!  The batter will be slightly thicker than you’re used to because of the coconut flour.  Don’t worry.  It’ll even out when cooking.
  4. Add blueberries and stir again, gently.
  5. Heat a cast iron griddle over medium heat and melt some butter.  Using a 1/4C measuring cup, pour the batter into the pan and cook for 3-4minutes or until golden brown.  Flip pancake over, gently!  Resist the urge to press on the pancake!  It will cook evenly and quickly without any tampering. 😉
  6. Keep pancakes warm in the oven until ready to serve.
  7. Serve with a dollop of yogurt, a few fresh blueberries and your favorite sweetener such as maple syrup, date syrup or honey.
  8. Enjoy!

Blueberry Sunflower Smoothie

Makes 4C

Sunflower milk?  Once upon a time I might have been skeptical of this, almond milk, hemp milk, etc.  I had already had my prejudices against soy milk and it extended to all milk “substitutes”.  Then I got educated.  It’s amazing how it often takes the smallest things to open your mind and your world.

So, when I ran into Steve at Whole Foods with Claire in tow, I was excited.  He was giving samples of Sunsational sunflower seed milk.  (I was so intrigued by this non-dairy beverage that I failed to notice that Steve was both the founder and creator of this milk.)  It was tasty and creamy.  It reminded me a bit of cashew milk because it was quite rich.  Both the original and vanilla flavor were good.  Unfortunately, they both contain evaporated cane juice.  Steve told me that they are working on a non-sweetened version as well as an organic option.  I’m looking forward to both!

Seeds and nuts are little, nutrient dense wonders.  Sunflower seeds are full of health-supportive goodies, starting with anti-oxidants.  Steve boasted that one serving of this milk contains more anti-oxidants than the same serving size of green tea.  Bad news for free radicals, good news for us.  They’re a great source of fiber, which does wonders for our digestive system.  According to Rebecca Wood, sunflower seeds have more protein than beef!¹  Great for vegetarians to know and to use when questioned about their protein intake!  These little sun seeds (don’t they look like they come from the sun!) are a good source of Vitamin D, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and several of the B-complex.  The last bit is about phytosterols which are compounds found in plants that are of similar chemical structure to cholesterol.  High enough consumption of this goody reduces blood levels of cholesterol, boosts immunity and plays a preventative role in some cancers.²

These are pretty good reasons to get sunflower seeds into your diet.  Throw some onto your salads, in your trail mixes or better yet, whip up this smoothie.  Your taste buds thank you in advance.

You’ll need:

1.5 C Sunflower milk

2 dates, chopped

1 T cashew butter

2 C + 2-3 T blueberries (fresh or frozen are ok, though I only had fresh ones)

1 T chia seeds

1 T fresh squeezed orange juice

4-5 ice cubes (if using fresh fruit only)

To make:

1. Place chopped dates and sunflower milk in a blender and blend until dates are broken up pretty well.  Add the cashew butter and blend again until smooth-ish.

2. Add remaining ingredients (reserve the 2-3T of blueberries) and blend away until you’re left with smooth deliciousness.

3. Garnish with remaining blueberries to add a touch of gourmet to this nutritious and delicious smoothie.

4. Enjoy

¹ Rebecca Wood, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia

² http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=57 (There is also great info on the role Vitamin E plays in the body.)