Banana, Oat, and Almond Pancakes

June 07, 2015

My husband and my sister have high cholesterol levels. I was actually surprised when I first learned about it (two years ago).  They were just 32 and 29 years old then.  I was thinking, we were living in the same house and we eat the same food, how come both of them have high cholesterol levels while mine was perfectly normal?  Then I realized there's one food I religiously eat everyday that they don't -- OATS.

I love oats.  Everyday, I eat oatmeal for breakfast and dinner.  It's my comfort food.  But my husband and my sister hate it and I can't understand why.  Oats is considered one of the world's healthiest food.  It helps lower cholesterol, reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, stabilizes sugar, etc.  I mean, if it's that healthy, why wouldn't they want to eat it?  Please, help me understand!

I've been trying to convince them to eat oats ever since to help lower their cholesterol levels, but they won't.  (They're sooo stubborn, I know!)  Sometimes I would even prepare it as their 'baon' in the office but they will just go home with the oats left untouched.  It was disappointing!

I was upset but I can't quit trying and just watch their cholesterol levels shoot up, leading to a more serious health condition.  I can't do that and I won't let that happen.  So we ditched all the unhealthy fat sources in the kitchen and replaced them with healthier alternatives; we became more cautious in preparing our meals, staying away from anything fried as much as possible; and we always take a one hour walk every afternoon for our exercise routine (except during summer when the temperature in the middle east can rise up to 44C or even higher).  Those efforts somehow helped to lower their LDL and triglycerides, but not enough to reach the normal levels.

It was disheartening.  For two years, I've been trying my best to lower their cholesterol levels but I always fail.  It's hard especially when the people you're trying to help is very stubborn -- hates eating healthy and loves to secretly snack on junk foods (especially behind my back).  What to do yanni?  

To tell you honestly, I feel like I've got two more extra kids (my husband + my sister) to look after to, aside from Rafa.  That makes me an instant mother of three!  So whenever I cook, I have to always take into consideration not only the nutritional content of the food, but its ability to please my audience as well (just to make sure they're going to eat it).  And since my two extra kids hate oatmeal, unlike Rafa who loves it as much as I do, I decided to look for recipes where I can incorporate oats without being too obvious just so I can make them eat it (minus the element of force).

So for my first oat recipe, I will be sharing with you a remake of  Deliciously Ella's vegan banana pancakes. The original recipe had a problem though in making the pancakes set.  The first time I cooked it was a disaster because the pancakes kept on sticking to the pan and won't hold together, making it impossible to flip without breaking.  I checked on the comments section of the post and saw that most people who followed the recipe encountered the same problem.  So I made a few alterations with the original recipe and fortunately came up with better results.

This banana, oat, and almond pancake is perfect if you're looking for a deliciously healthy breakfast.  The combination of oats and almonds in this recipe make it ideal for people who want to lower their cholesterol levels.  In addition, this hearty meal is technically and literally good for the heart for having a nutrition grade of A.  Meaning, it's super healthy, minimally processed, and rich in essential vitamins and minerals.  And the taste?  Delicioso!  I'm proud to say that this recipe passed a toddler's taste test.  Actually, my one and a half year old son loved it so much (compared to the commercially available pancake mix he doesn't even want to taste) he kept asking for more!

(Makes 7 medium pancakes)

1/2 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup almonds
3/4 cup all purpose flour (use spelt or whole wheat flour if you want higher fiber content)
1 cup water
2 ripe bananas
2 tbsp honey (use maple syrup to make this dish vegan)
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
olive oil for cooking

For the topping (optional):
1 ripe banana
1 ripe mango
almond pieces

Start by placing the oats into a chopper or food processor, blend for about a minute or two until they form a smooth dusty flour.  Do the same with the almonds and banana. Combine all ingredients (except olive oil) into a large bowl, mix until well blended. The mixture should turn quite thick, not too runny.

Place a frying pan on the heat.  Once it is really hot, add a teaspoon of olive oil to grease it.  Put about 1/4 cup of the mixture to the middle of the pan and cover.  After about a minute check the bottom of the pancake.  If it is cooked, flip it over and allow the other side to cook for another minute. 

Garnish the stack with fresh fruits and nuts of your choice and serve!

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