Maybe giving yourself a double digit mile run for your birthday isn’t exactly something that normal people do.

I’m willing to concede that.

(And now you see why all of the birthday presents I have given over the past three years have been in the form of some sugar/flour/butter/(sometimes)chocolate revelation.  Maniacal exercise just isn’t quite as celebratory as I’m inclined to believe.)


But what about birthday breakfast-for-dinner?

Can you all hop on that gravy train?


When the awesome folks over at Marxfoods sent me some butternut squash seed oil to play around with, I knew I wanted to pair it with something on the sweeter side.  Oil with savories is totally a no-brainer but a flavored oil in a baked good takes a little bit more effort.  And I think we all know that the road less traveled with a few hill repeats thrown in for good measure is the one I’ll choose. Every. Time.

Whenever I think of olive oil in baked goods, I remember those citrus olive oil cakes that always seem to abound at this time of year.  Which is when it hit me.

Grapefruit cardamom polenta pancakes.  But with butternut squash seed oil instead of olive oil. Naturally.

Grapefruit and cardamom are kind of meant for each other, you see.  There’s something about the woodsy spice paired with the sour, tangy, slightly sweet grapefruit that just…works.  And then there’s the oil.  Which is slightly nutty and buttery and chock full of vitamins A and E, and happens to pull the whole thing together.  Add in some whole wheat flour for health and polenta for texture…and you’ve got yourself a seriously fluffy delicious pancake.

Just make sure you top it with powdered sugar.  And maple syrup.  Birthday breakfast-for-dinner just wouldn’t be the same without ’em.

As for the rest of that bottle of butternut squash seed oil…well, I have plans for it.  Plans that involve pesto on pumpkin ravioli, kneading into pizza dough, any number of vinaigrettes, and churning into ice cream.  Stay tuned.

This recipe and post has been submitted to the Marxfoods Take Squash Seed Oils for A Test Drive contest!


Can we recap February?  I don’t know about you guys, but this is how it went for me.  It was a vicious cycle of – eat healthy for four days –> eat absurd amounts of cake/peanut butter/chocolate chips for three days –> feel really guilty –> vow to never eat sugar again –> rinse, repeat, recycle.

And thus, I have ended the month at exactly the same weight that I started it off at.  Which is still five pounds less than I was in January.  But the point is to move forward, not stand still.

What it all comes down to is the decisions that I make.  I can decide to sit at my desk eating chocolate chips by the handful. Or I can decide to not eat things that don’t even taste that great and save my sweet tooth for something that’s actually worth it.  As the quote says…it’s my choice.  And it will be whatever I make it.  And what I want…is to make March a month of awesome.  Let’s do this.

On a slightly unrelated note, could you please please pretty please click on this link to vote for my entry into the Skinny Mama’s Mustard recipe contest (this barley risotto with roasted brussels sprouts, apples and champagne-honey mustard)?  Your votes will help me get to the top ten, after which point the recipes will be tested and Saucy Mama judges will choose a winner.  You can vote once a day so, have no fear, I’ll keep reminding you. In as unobtrusive a manner as possible.  Thanks so much!


Grapefruit Cardamom Polenta Pancakes
Serves 4, adapted from Food and Wine


  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup butternut squash seed oil or other nut oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour with the cornmeal, sugar, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside. In a second bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the eggs, oil and grapefruit juice.
  2. Whisk the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined, leaving small lumps.
  3. Set a griddle or skillet over moderate high heat and spray it with vegetable oil spray. When the pan is hot, spoon in 1/4-cup mounds of batter and spread to form 4-inch rounds. Cook the pancakes until the bottoms are browned and bubbles appear on the surface, 2 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve the pancakes warm, topped with powdered sugar (a MUST) and maple syrup.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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90 Responses to Grapefruit Cardamom Polenta Pancakes…Eat.Live.Be.

  1. Such unique flavors! Wish I could reach through the screen to see what these taste like… Yum! Definitely voting for your mustard recipe! 🙂

  2. I would give myself a gift of maniacal exercise. 🙂 Voting!

  3. Simply Life says:

    wow, I’ve never heard of this type of oil! so fun!

  4. Megan says:

    This recipe looks gorgeous and as usual, beautiful pictures. Thanks for the post.

  5. Sam says:

    I’m not a big pancake eater, but these look delicious. Polenta pancakes? With cardamom and citrus…I need to find some excuse to make these.

  6. Julia says:

    1. I want to try butternut squash seed oil. 2. Our February’s sound FAR too similar! 3.My favorite gift to myself for birthdays, or any holiday, is a long run. Makes me happy.

  7. london bakes says:

    I love the idea of making March a month of awesomeness. I’m totally in! Butternut squash seed oil sounds totally intriguing and I love the flavours that you’ve paired it with.

  8. Um, I’m sorry. I didn’t hear anything you said after BUTTERNUT SQUASH SEED OIL. What?! Oh yeah, and your pancakes look good too:-)

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Ah yes, I am all to familiar with that cycle. Btw, I know citrus olive oil cakes abound, I want to see it in pancake form though.

  10. Where interssting combination Joanne. Right now I am wondering how u got that idea for those lovely pan cakes. I have never tried to combine grapefruit with cardamon, never actualy came into my mind. which cardamon do u use? the green or black one?

  11. Big Dude says:

    Joanne – I don’t know how you come up with these combinations and this one sure sounds interesting, especially since I’m a big fan of grapefruit. Maybe wash it down with a Salty Dog.

  12. What a cool combo – never would have dreamed it up but the spice of cardamon plus the tang of grapefruit sounds divine!

  13. brandi says:

    i love cardamom! i can’t even imagine how tasty these are

  14. Victoria says:

    What can I say? We both have excellent taste in citrus fruits 😀 PS I voted for you! Good luck, my love!

  15. sally says:

    The combination of grapefruit and cardamom sounds like a great one. I’ll have to give it a try.

  16. Mary says:

    These are completely intriguing to me this morning. I can’t even imagine all those flavors together. If I had what I needed in the house, I’d be making them for breakfast! Have a fabulous day. I’m off to vote now!

  17. Great flavors in those pancakes. I’d love a pancake with cardamom and grapefruit.

  18. WOW these look amazing! What an intriguing combination of flavours. I love the idea of including polenta.

  19. brocstar says:

    Why do we do everything in our power to destroy ourselves?!
    I’ve been feeling super.. fluffy.. lately, so I’m on the, “Don’t eat so much crap” train right now, too. When it all comes down to it, we control what we eat/ do/ how we feel! celebrate that control!

  20. SallyBR says:

    March 1st – the beginning of phase II of P90X2. I am ready.

    it is also my Bday month, and I am thrilled to say that I’ll be 52 and probably in the best shape of my life. So there!

    let’s make indeed March an awesome month!

    (as to the pancakes…. I would have to go back to running long distance to face those… 😉

  21. Shannon says:

    oh my, these sound heavenly! i wish i had opted in for this challenge 😉 but i knew i wouldn’t have enough time… love the pesto with pumpkin ravioli idea!

  22. Amy says:

    Yes, most people would be offended if given a gym membership as a birthday gift. I think it would be awesome…although I prefer the privacy of my own garage, thankyouverymuch. For the record, I am also not offended when given appliances. My eating has been all out of wack, too. One week of stellar low cal, healthy meals..followed by 10 Doubled Stuffed Oreos on the weekend. Sigh.

  23. Amy says:

    Oh, and voted. Of course!

  24. These sound amazing! I need to check out that butternut oil!

  25. Very unique combination of ingredients. And I didn’t realise they were making oil from butternut squash seed. I guess its similar to pumpkin seed oil.
    Good luck with the contest

  26. Girl, I am with you! I am making March awarness month. I need to do better. My stomach and thighs are getting bigger! Eck!! I don’t get it either, becasue I have been exercising almost everyday, so depressing. I think it must be what I’m eating. Sigh… I guess eating healthy 80% of the time isn’t working for me, I need to do it 95% of the time.

    Your polenta pancakes look amazing. I need to get my hands on some butternut squash seed oil. Is it the same calorie as other oils? Does it taste different, I’m curious.

    I’ll vote for ya in your contest!! Good Luck!!

  27. Joanne, you should be able to have your cake and eat it, too… with some salad. 🙂 I love how you still enjoy the sweet side of life. 🙂 Way to go on the running, again!

  28. Jenna says:

    Cardamom and grapefruit–though I’ve never tasted the combo, you’ve led me to believe that they were indeed meant for each other! Thus is the power of your words and photographs.

  29. daphne says:

    Hey, it’s still progress regardless 😉 These pancakes look fab! and what a grapefruit recipe 😉

  30. Pam says:

    You are the most creative cook I know. You put ingredients together that I would never think to do. These pancakes look fabulous!

  31. Lyndsey says:

    Yum, this looks like a hearty meal!

  32. Faith says:

    That is definitely a gravy train I can hop on! The pancakes look wonderful and Happy Birthday, sweetie!

    Good luck in the Saucy Mama contest! I’m participating too (already voted today ;), but I promise I’ll vote for you tomorrow!

  33. Tammy says:

    Ooooh these look sooo good! And wow, what timing!! I got my computer back from the repair shop just in time to wish you a splendid birthday!!! 😀 I hope you have the best day!! Sending b’day wishes your way~~~~

    Tammy <3

  34. Happy happy birthday! And, I voted. And, I am so intrigued by what butternut seed oil would taste like. AND I love that you used cardamom in these because it’s flipping delicious.

  35. Rachana says:

    Happy Birthday dear 🙂

    Those pancakes look really good.

  36. Suzi says:

    Happy Birthday Joanne! Wonderful combination of flavors in these pancakes. The grapefruit juice parobably adds a bit of tang. sounds delish.

  37. Epicurea says:

    can only second everyone here, such a creative combination of flavors and it is pretty :-)!! and i really like pumpkin seed oil which is very versatile (best thing was a pumpkin seed oil mousse!), would love to try butternut squash seed oil.

  38. I love breakfast for dinner and don’t do it nearly often enough! Love the sound of butternut squash seed oil and using it in ice cream sounds intriguing! I also love that you share the ups and downs of your healthy living journey. 🙂

  39. Jenn Kendall says:

    these sound delicious! the combination of flavors is just so creative!

  40. Laura says:

    What an incredible combination of flavors!

  41. Interesting combination of flavors. I have never made pancakes with polenta, definitely something to try.

  42. OohLookBel says:

    This looks delicious and would be perfect at any time of day (and any day of the year, including birthdays!).

  43. Reeni says:

    This makes a delectable breakfast for dinner! I never heard of that oil. The things people think of. Amazing. Just like the pancakes. Just like you. You kept the 5 pounds off – something to be proud of.

  44. Joanne you always surprise me with you recipes! I never heard of this combination of flavors for a pancake – genius! Happy Birthday too!
    Mine is tomorrow the 1st – a Pisces like me! wonderful LOL…..

  45. Amy says:

    What an interesting combination of flavors and ingredients!

  46. Mo 'Betta says:

    I need March to be a month of awesome! I’m in a vicious cycle of work out great one week, terrible the next…if my kids could stay well I might be able to stay on track!

  47. No matter how good they are for me, I never truly loved grapefruits. They always have this bitter taste.. but pancakes with polenta?! Delicious!

  48. teresa says:

    i had no idea that a butternut squash oil even existed. how cool! these pancakes are genius, plain and simple. i am dying to try them! i’m with you for march, let’s make it our best month yet!!

    i’m off to vote 🙂

  49. elly says:

    I’m definitely on a huge grapefruit kick right now. There’s always at least 4 or 5 in my fridge. I never really think to make anything with them, and just gobble them up whole. But between this recipe and all the ones Shawnda has posted lately, I need to get cooking!

  50. Katie says:

    I can’t quite imagine grapefruit and cardamom, so I think I’ll definitely have to try it! A pancake dinner sounds like the perfect birthday treat (much better than a long run, I imagine!).

  51. what an interesting sounding oil! Sometimes, your weight needs to stabilize for a bit. Off to vote …. 🙂

  52. I love all of these flavors and have never considered putting them all together – but it seems just beautiful! That oil sounds very interesting indeed.

  53. Johanna GGG says:

    grapefruit? I think I need orange because I grew up with grapefruit being the sour diet food that only my mum was crazy enough to love and I still haven’t got beyond that way of seeing it – though your pictures are gorgeous and I think I enjoyed it in a juice once – but give me those pancakes any day – they look delicious

  54. That Girl says:

    I am so into citrus this time of year. But not as into double digit runs 😉

  55. Camila Faria says:

    Oh, I can hop on that train anytime! Fabulous Joanne!

  56. Oh just stunning! i love polenta but sometimes get tired of the soft texture- these polenta cakes are perfect for when that happens!

  57. Nicole, RD says:

    I love grapefruit…a lot. I love cardamom – so good and sweet. And pancakes? Well, obviously. But butternut squash seed oil…that is a train I need to get on! These sound amazing and they will be made. Probably this weekend, because I won’t be able to wait much longer than that. P.S. I just voted 🙂 Happy belated birthday here…love that you pounded out a long run. I mean, why not? I’ve spent a lot of my birthdays training for halfs and fulls – no regrets…you never regret a run!

  58. kyleen says:

    That whole eating cycle happens to me too. During the week, I’m usually so good about it, since there aren’t really any baked goods to gorge on and the fact that I have to go to practice three times a week. But then come the weekend, I bake so many unhealthy goods, which I can’t justify giving/throwing away so I try to eat most of it. These pancakes look so delicious. I’ve never tried grapefruit with cardamon, but it sounds like an intriguing flavour combination. By the way, you should post pictures of all the unhealthy stuff you eat. I bet it looks really tasty.

  59. Donna says:

    Grapefruit and cardamom makes perfect sense, coming from a woman who runs to celebrate her birthday.You go girl!

  60. Strangely pancakes are on my short list of foods I am not fond of… but I’m always open to suggestions and the flavors here certainly are intriguing 🙂 and I LOVE grapefruit!

  61. Ranjani says:

    Butternut squash seed oil? What what? I have never heard of such a thing but I want it now!

  62. Mmm these sound lovely! Also, happy birthday!

  63. Racheel says:

    There is so much amazing struff going on in those pancakes, I can’t even wrap my mind around them! I would certainly take a dinner of those pancakes for a birthday gift!

  64. I had to check these out. What a fantastic combination of flavors!

  65. Hannah says:

    Happy belated birthday, Joanne! I hope you were able to take it a bit easier after that run and enjoy it, too… You deserve a good one, and a very good year ahead. 🙂

  66. Yum! This is a great combination of flavors!! Good Luck in the contest 🙂

  67. What a unique combination of flavors! I love each one individually so I’m sure I would love these. Off to vote for you 🙂

  68. Those look so hearty and marvelous, Joanne. 🙂 I adore cardamom, and have been adding it to so many things lately – especially sweet things. Deeelish!

  69. Carolyn Jung says:

    Ooh, butternut squash seed oil sounds incredible. You have me thinking of Thanksgiving and all the wonderful holiday dishes that would go so well with.

  70. Julie says:

    What amazing flavors!! I wish I had these for the weekend breakfast!

  71. Faith says:

    Just voted for you, sweets! 🙂

  72. Hotly Spiced says:

    What a beautiful looking breakfast. And happy birthday! And are you a jogger? How many miles did you run on your birthday? I don’t jog. I used to but now it gives me a sore lower back. Have to swim instead. I’ll go and click on the link and give you a vote. Good luck!

  73. Haha, Feb was asugar fest for me too. But I have been super excited about grapefruit this week – yummy, pretty and healthy! So these pancakes look perfect to me. Yum!!

  74. I can dream about this breakfast and be happy and being a sweets person, I go for the pancakes first and eat the grapefruit to cleanse the palette.

  75. Wow! Grapefruit in pancakes! Your creativity is endless!

  76. These are very unique, with cardamom and grapefruit, would sure love to try!

  77. Lora says:

    Butternut squah seed oil – wow! Need some. Your Grapefruit pancakes are genius.

  78. I love the way your brain works in the kitchen! Your creativity knows no bounds. That photo of the grapefruit flesh, BTW, is making my mouth water. That has to have been a really excellent grapefruit. Want.

  79. bellini says:

    They sound so incredibly healthy Joanne.

  80. JasmyneTea says:

    What an excellent birthday treat 🙂 They look gorgeous! Good luck for the mustard competition!

  81. Claudie says:

    Actually I think that’s the perfect birthday present! My birthday is approaching soon, and while I can’t say I’ll go into double digits on that day, I’ll definitely go out for a run! :)) And this will be the perfect day to also try your pancakes since I just made last Saturday cupcakes with cardamom & sumo oranges frosting for a guest post and now have plenty of extra cardamom to use 🙂

    PS: As long as you have the positive attitude you’ll make progress, I’m sure of it! 🙂

  82. Chris says:

    Most of my life grapefruit have been the red headed stepchild of citrus but I’ve been using it more this year and loving it.

  83. hey that’s a good birthday present!
    i need to cross the grapefruit cheesecake off my to-bake list–you’ve reminded me

  84. Kerstin says:

    I love cardamom with orange, so I bet I’d swoon over these 🙂

  85. Cardamom is such a great spice and perfect for these pancakes–they look wonderful.

  86. Grapefruit and cardamom – what a great combo!

  87. Deborah says:

    As I sit here eating a spoonful of Biscoff spread… Yeah, I need to move forward! You really are always so inspiring. And those pancakes? Yum!

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