Fall Mornings


Lately I’ve been waking up like clockwork at 7:30, rolling out of bed and getting right to work. I’m up a good hour before Sam on most days, so I start the coffee and sit down at our breakfast nook and begin prioritizing emails. Some days I don’t get up again until it’s time for lunch (it’s been a big month: more on that very soon), and work can really cloak the whole day in a way that can make it tough to differentiate a Tuesday from a Saturday. And then a book and a conversation can change that quite suddenly, too, and introduce a new morning routine. Even if just for a day or two. Such was the case with these whole-grain pancakes.

20130923_AttuneWholeGrainPancakes-102In the newish memoir, Blue Plate Special, Kate Christensen details family life and relationships through the lens of food. While there’s a great bit to say about the book, there was one line that grabbed me in particular. To set the scene, Kate decides to set off on a 13-mile round trip hike up the Continental Divide alone (her husband John pulled his ankle muscle on a hike the previous day). As the weather turns and she finishes her water and starts to grow more and more tired, she begins to hurry just to get home before exhaustion sets in. A hike becomes more of a frantic, harried run. Finally back at the motel room after a hearty dinner and a few glasses of wine she thinks to herself, “I looked out at the lake and surrounding mountains, replaying in my memory all the views I’d missed that day.” While I can assure you I haven’t been doing many 13-mile runs lately, I have had that same feeling doing short errands around our neighborhood: when did the leaves become this vibrant? How did I miss this? No, really: there’s so much to see here, and clearly I haven’t been paying attention.

My friend Keena lives less than a mile from us but is currently doing some work for her company in India. The other day we were texting and she asked how the leaves were at Greenlake, one of our favorite walking spots. She insisted that they must be wonderful and lamented the fact that she couldn’t see them in person. I felt pretty sheepish that I hadn’t yet seen them in person myself despite the fact that, unlike Keena, I can walk right on down anytime.

This recipe is fitting because while it’s simple at heart, it is one step beyond oatmeal in terms of time and preparation. So it forces you to slow down for just a moment. And because pears are in season and pancakes are good fuel for leafy walks, I thought it was a good time to share it with you today. It’s in a series I’ve been doing for Attune Foods, and this recipe in particular uses their delicious Uncle Sam Rye and Hemp Cereal. I often fold rolled oats into my pancake batter to add a little more heft and personality, but lately I’ve been grabbing the Rye Hemp Cereal instead. It’s crunchy (and maintains that crunch even once baked) and has a really subtle earthiness that works so well with these simple whole-grain pancakes. I hope you enjoy them, slowly, with a good view of the trees.

Whole Grain Pancakes with Cinnamony Pears

Whole Grain Pancakes with Cinnamony Pears

  • Prep time: 15 mins
  • Cook time: 25 mins
  • Inactive time: 10 mins
  • Total time: 50 mins


For the Pancakes:

1 large egg
1/2 cup (120ml) milk
1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup (60g) spelt flour
1/2 cup (70g) buckwheat flour
1/2 cup (30g) Uncle Sam Rye & Hemp cereal, optional
1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Cinnamony Pears:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Bartlett pears—cored and sliced 1/3 inch thick
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
maple syrup, for serving (optional)


In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, buttermilk and butter.

In another small bowl, whisk together the flours, cereal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir well to combine.

Let the batter rest for 10 minutes to allow the whole-grain flours to soak up some of the liquid.

Prepare the pears: In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add the pear slices and cook until lightly browned in spots, about 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle in the sugar and cinnamon, stir well, and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until pears are completely soft and fragrant.

Cook the pancakes: Melt a bit of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Scoop ¼-cup of batter into the pan. Repeat, cooking each pancake until the tops begin to bubble and the bottoms are golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side an additional 1-2 minutes.

Serve warm with cinnamon pears spooned on top. Maple syrup is nice, too.


    1. megang

      Thanks, Katrina!

  1. Gail {A Stack of Dishes}

    Thank you for reminding me to slow down and breathe. It's so easy to keep ones head down and not look up. And yes, a beautiful nourishing plate of yummy is another thing I sorely miss. Beautiful post.

  2. Lindsey | The Next Course

    I love the idea of pancakes with a little crunch! I can't wait to try this recipe.

    I love the changing of the seasons because it helps me to remember to pause and look around--whether its the changing leaves of fall, the snowy landscapes of winter, the colors of spring flowers, or the deep greens of summers, with each new season I am reminded by these changes to look more carefully, and I see my surroundings in a new light. Mornings are perfect for things like this.

  3. Shona Jane

    Pancakes are one of those breakfast foods that in between mixing the batter and slowly cooking them over the stove, we really can take a moment to enjoy what is so beautiful about that day, and what may have passed us by in other hectic mornings. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe - I know I'll be glad to cook up a big batch of these come the weekend!

  4. jean blasdell

    just tried the pancakes but made them into waffles ,a staple on the breakfast menu in future quick and tasty.

  5. Sara

    Hi Megan,I bought your book and just love it! We've been on a breakfast tear with it! There's only one recipe that's vexing me, and that's the whole grain pancakes (not this recipe). They turn out far too watery, even when allowed to sit for longer than 10 minutes. I finally end up putting them in ramekins and baking them, and the taste is fabulous (despite their somewhat deflated appearance)! But I'd love to figure out how to make them as, well, regular pancakes. I know most recipes don't call for whisking them so thoroughly, and I'm also wondering about the flour/liquid ratio. Please help if you can! Love the taste and have visions of pre-made mix at the ready...

    1. megang

      Hi, Sara! So glad you're enjoying the book. And thank you for taking the time to comment! That is really bizarre about the pancakes -- I've made them a number of times and each time they're great. We have friends who make them regularly, too. I wonder what's going on for you ... whole grain flours can really vary for people depending on the age of the flour, type of wheat etc. so I wonder if this has something to do with it. If I were you, I'd mix up your next batch with only 1/4 cup milk (and 1/2 cup buttermilk) and see how that feels. Sounds like your whole grain flour just isn't absorbing much liquid, so that would be my suggestion. I hope it works for you! ~Megan

  6. Sara

    Hi Megan, Could it be that I was using rehydrated powdered buttermilk (which doesn't have active cultures anymore)? In any case, I'm happy to report I've continued to make these, and as long as I make just one in the pan at a time, it's working! Still a bit thinner than pancakes I've made before but so very delicious. We have a dry mix, and it's so easy knowing I just need a 1/4 cup mix to 1/4 liquid if I feel like a personal pancake in the morning!

    1. megang

      Gosh, Sara, good question. It certainly could be a factor -- I've never tested them with rehydrated buttermilk, but I'm really glad you've found a groove that works for you. We haven't made these in far too long ... hope you're having a wonderful weekend + thanks for the update, ~Megan

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