I’ve got your Saturday morning all figured out for you.

There are recipes to keep on hand for when you notice brown specs on your bananas and don’t want to waste them. And, there is a different category of recipes for which you plan ahead, buy bananas, and put them in a paper bag to ripen in order to satisfy your ingredient requirements. These pancakes were invented for the first category and have graduated immediately to the second. BUY BANANAS now so you can eat these banana bread pancakes on Saturday morning.

Almost always, my over ripe bananas are used to make this banana bread recipe. I go for this whole wheat version when I am planning to use them for school lunches or feel the need to be a bit healthier. Most of the time when I veer from my standby recipe, I am sorry. It is so easy and so foolproof, I’ve found that it can’t be trumped.

Last weekend, I woke up with an urge to make something fancy for Saturday breakfast. The girls were indulging with a few cartoons so I indulged myself. With sun streaming in the window and a freshly brewed cup of coffee in my hand, I decided to experiment and use my spotted bananas in a new way.

During the past 6 years as I have juggled my business and raising two little children, I’ve learned not to expect more than “moments” of time in a day that are relaxing or particularly rewarding. Thirty minutes alone in the kitchen with silence and a new recipe to concoct felt like heaven. I even found the time to toast some nuts and garnish the plates. Those polka-dot cloth napkins aren’t even a prop – I did it up!

Recently, I drove my new 24-year-old assistant home on a Friday. She lives alone and while making conversation, she confessed that she really had to put forth effort to make plans over the weekend to ensure that she got out of her house and found time to be social. My eyebrows furrowed as my mind tried to ungarble itself to comprehend… You mean you could walk in that door, stay in bed all weekend, talk to no one for 2 days and not emerge until Monday morning if you wanted to?!

Oh, how stages of life differ. I can no longer imagine a weekend of nothingness nor the need to guard against it. Though on the surface I crave it, I would also never give up my crazy life. Fellow parents: you know what I am talking about. Parents-to-be:  don’t worry, it really is all worth it. Non-parents:  I hope you’ll keep reading my blog, I rarely ramble on about things like this.

No matter what your weekend norm is,  buy some bananas. Let them get heavily spotted with black dots. Make these pancakes.

Banana Bread Pancakes

Makes 20 3-inch pancakes or 10 6-inch pancakes

1 cup oatmeal
2/3 cup milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
Additional butter for cooking
Maple syrup, for serving
Toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 Fresh, sliced banana (optional)

Put dry oatmeal and milk in a bowl and let sit for 10-15 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir with a whisk to combine. Add the egg, vanilla and bananas to the oatmeal and milk mixture. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in melted butter to incorporate. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat for at least 5 minutes. Add a small piece of butter and pour batter into pan. When bubbling (a few minutes) and browned on the first side, flip pancakes and cook a few additional minutes. Don’t over cook. Serve with maple syrup, toasted nuts and sliced bananas.