Rise 'n Shine

When March rolls around, I start thinking spring ... even though weather that remotely resembles spring seems months away in frigid Wisconsin. But, to feed my spring fever, there's nothing quite like a stack of fluffy pancakes topped with wonderfully fruity sauce.

There seems to be a connection between a traditional morning meal like pancakes and the start of the spring season. Maybe it's the renewal that takes center stage with both events. Enjoying a meal of healthy pancakes topped with a springtime-inspired fruit sauce is a great way to begin the day. And who can argue that Mother Nature doesn't get style points for heralding the spring with a lovely crocus poking out through the snow? It's all about starting fresh with the best there is to offer.

We begin our springtime meal with a stack of hearty whole wheat pancakes. These simple pancakes take advantage of some high fiber stars like whole wheat flour, rolled oats and toasted wheat germ. Add some egg whites and nonfat sour cream and you end up with a recipe that yields some surprisingly light and fluffy pancakes that pack an impressive nuitritional punch. If I want to save some time in the morning, I mix the dry ingredients together the night before and add the wet ingredients in the morning. You'll have the batter ready in less than five minutes and the pancakes on your plate moments later!

Whole Wheat Pancakes

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. rolled oats
  • 1 T. toasted wheat germ
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. skim milk
  • 1/2 c. nonfat sour cream
  • 2 egg whites
  • Cooking spray

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to mix. Add the milk, sour cream and egg whites to the bowl and beat quickly to moisten the dry ingredients and form a batter.

Spray an electric griddle and heat to 400 degrees. Measure 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake and pour onto the hot griddle. When bubbles appear on the top of the pancakes, turn them over using a spatula and cook on the other side until they are golden brown. Transfer the pancakes to a heated platter and serve warm with the toppings of your choice.

  • Yields: about 1 dozen pancakes
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

While the pancakes would be great topped with traditional maple syrup, I like to top them with a fruity sauce featuring peaches and mixed berries in a thickened citrus sauce. If you don't want to spend the extra time on this sauce, you can sprinkle your favorite fruit over the pancakes and drizzle maple syrup or honey over the top. However, I'd suggest you try this Citrus Fruit Sauce at least once!

Citrus Fruit Sauce

  • 1 c. orange juice
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 c. frozen peaches
  • 1 c. frozen mixed berries

In a jar, combine the orange juice, cornstarch and honey. Screw the lid on tightly and shake vigorously to combine. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until thickened. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and add the frozen fruit. Continue mixing the sauce until the fruit thaws and the sauce heats through. Serve warm over pancakes, waffles or french toast.

  • Yields: about 3 cups sauce
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Enjoy and Happy Spring!